Statement Virtual High-level meeting of the Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day against Nuclear Tests (26 August 2020)

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, let me thank you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting. We also thank High Representative Ms. Nakmitsu, and the keynote speakers for their insightful remarks.

Mr. President,

The contemporary global security landscape presents a bleak outlook:

Global military spending has reached unprecedented levels and a new arms race is underway. Development and acquisition of destabilizing weapons systems have introduced new vulnerabilities in various parts of the world. Escalating tensions between States have increased the risks of war, especially in regions marked by prolonged conflicts and power asymmetries. Novel war-fighting doctrines contemplating “limited conflict” under a “nuclear overhang” have heightened the threats to peace and security.

Moreover, we are more concerned at the media reports that some States are contemplating the resumption of nuclear testing.

These developments at the global and regional levels pose serious threats to international peace and security and the arms control and disarmament architecture.

The CTBT - which represents the primary instrument for ending nuclear tests and which is vital to achieving the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world – could become one casualty of these developments.

Mr. President,

Pakistan participated actively and constructively in the CTBT negotiations and voted in favour at the time of its adoption in the General Assembly in 1996. We have since then been voting in favour of the annual CTBT resolution in the General Assembly’s First Committee. Pakistan is also an accredited Observer State of the CTBTO PrepCom and regularly attends its meetings.

Following the first nuclear tests in our region in 1974, Pakistan made several proposals aimed at keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery.

As underscored by our delegation on several occasions, Pakistan was not the first to conduct a nuclear test in South Asia and would not be the first to resume testing.

In the context of our region, Pakistan also proposed a bilateral arrangement to India on a nuclear test ban, which could have contributed to promoting regional and global stability. Regrettably, none of our proposals received a favourable response.

Despite regional security threats, Pakistan has maintained a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing since 1998. These tangible measures are a demonstration of Pakistan’s commitment to the objectives and purposes of the CTBT.

Mr. President,

Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world. We believe that nuclear disarmament can only be achieved as a cooperative and universally agreed undertaking, through a consensus-based process that involves all relevant stakeholders, and results in equal and undiminished security for all States.

As the international community commemorates the “International Day against Nuclear Tests” today, it would be relevant to reflect upon the reasons why the CTBT has not yet entered into force.

Towards this end, it is crucial to recognize and address the key motivations that drive States to possess nuclear weapons. These include:

These legitimate motivations are different from those of States that retain nuclear weapons as a matter of prestige, either to maintain or to attain the status of a global power.

I thank you.