Listen Text

Authored by: Asma Khalid
Edited by: S. SadiaKazmi

Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) organized a bi-monthly seminar on the topic titled “Disarmament, Nonproliferation and Strategic Stability in South Asia” held on December 13, 2017 at the Islamabad Club. In the Inaugural session, the President/Executive Director of SVI, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, presented his welcome remarks. He welcomed and thanked the honorable Guest Speaker, Mr. Pavel Didkovsky (First Secretary at Russian Embassy, Pakistan), distinguished Chair, Lt. Gen. (R) Syed Muhammad Owais (Former Secretary, Ministry of Defence Production, Rawalpindi), worthy speakers and participants for affording valuable time out of their busy schedule and gracing the occasion with their presence. Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema well presented a detailed overview on the title of the seminar that primarily focused on Non-proliferation, Disarmament and Strategic stability in South Asia.
Dr. Cheema stated that the issues of nonproliferation and strategic stability are rising and gaining momentum in nuclear politics. Various regional and global developments are damaging for strategic stability and have the implication at global level. He mentioned that in the recent past two important developments have taken place: one is the United Nation’s recognition of Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty which is very significant development as large number of UN general Assembly member states has supported the Test Ban Treaty. He added that the treaty is important as we are living in a gradually increasing nuclear armed world. The significant manifestation of it is the nuclearization of North Korea.Moreover, the exchange of harsh statements between the leaderships in Washington and Pyongyang is more dangerous. North Korea’s nuclear capability may itself be not as dangerous as its intensions.
Dr. Cheema deliberated upon the recent development of Indian Admission in to Wassenar Arrangement (WA) right on the heels of its admission into Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Entry in Wassenar Arrangement, MTCR, and Australia Group (AG) shows that India is rapidly incorporated among the nuclear weapon states. Though, India has not acquired the legal status according to Non-Proliferation Treaty but these developments show that India is accepted as Nuclear Weapon state by the global community. The international narrative on Pakistan on this very subject is led by the US and the Western countries and is supported by India to keep Pakistan out of Non-Proliferation and Export control Regimes. Here it is significant to review three elements: non-Proliferation, Nuclear weapons and conventional military developments in South Asia and the surrounding regions, and impact of these military developments on security and stability of the region. Dr. Cheema urged students and young research scholars to not take western literature at its face value because of its lack of impartiality. In addition to this he shed light on conventional and non-conventional arms buildup of India. He maintained that India isleading the arms race in the region. It is almost 25 years ahead of Pakistan, as it possesses more sophisticated Conventional, Nuclear and Ballistic missile capabilities than Pakistan. Pakistan under its security imperativesis forced to develop responses against India’s military buildup. Dilemma of the issue is that India is pursuing its ambitions at the expense of Pakistan’s security concerns and is totally heedless towards its responsibilities to strengthen regional peace and strategic stability. Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema concluded his brief overview by analyzing the impact of Indo-US nexus in the nuclear politics of South Asia. After delivering welcoming remarks, Dr. Cheema invited the Chair and Speakers to formally begin the session. The discussion was chaired by Lt. Gen. (R) Syed Muhammad Owais (Secretary, Ministry of Defense Production, Rawalpindi). The four imminent speakers for the session were Mr.Pavel Didkovsky (First Secretary at Russian Embassy, Pakistan), Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal (Associate Professor, School of Politics and IR, QAU), Dr. Tughral Yamin (Associate Dean, Department of Peace & Conflict Studies, NUST), and Amb. (R) Zamir Akram (Former Permanent Representative to CD/United Nations, Geneva).
Lt. Gen. (R) Syed Muhammad Owais thanked Dr. Cheema for inviting him to participate in SVI’s deliberations on the emerging trends in disarmament and non-proliferation. In his remarks Mr. Owaisappreciated the efforts of Strategic Vision Institute to educate the policy makers and young generation on this very significant issue. While deliberating on the subject, he stated that the concept of non-proliferation, as enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), encompasses both horizontal and vertical proliferation, yet that very concept is under threat as major powers like the US and its allies manipulate the Treaty (NPT) to serve their own foreign policy objectives.
He said that presently, the biggest challenge that global non-proliferation efforts are facing is the implementation and enforcement. All the non-proliferation treaties e.g. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) , Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty(FMCT) are valid and relevant tool but the “enforcement” of these agreements is the key problem. Therefore, the greatest challenges to the Non-Proliferation Regime are the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) themselves. NWS promote the non-proliferation agenda but continue to practice vertical proliferation to serve their own interests which is highly contradictory. Basically the non-adherence of these treaties is creating the problems for Strategic Stability at the regional and global levels. He said that South Asia is the region of the world with maximum number of nuclear powers while almost 60% of the nuclear weapons lie in this region and its surroundings. If these Non-Proliferation treaties are not implemented in true spirit then it will pose serious challenge to the security and strategic stability of region. Maintenance of strategic stability in the region has become a continuous concern due to India’s military stockpiling hysteria and Indo-US nuclear deal. Only on behalf of the US, India is acting as bulwark of nuclear weapon in region; in this regard the positive trajectory of Indo-US nexus can substantially disturb the non-proliferation efforts and strategic stability at regional and global level.Mr. Owais explained that the offensive rhetoric of present US administration regarding various issues such as North Korea, Iran’s Nuclear Plan and Jerusalem is creating problems for strategic stability at regional and global level and likely to create nuclear holocaust.

The Guest Speaker for the occasion, Mr. Pavel Didkovsky, spoke on “Nonproliferation and Strategic Stability in South Asia: Russian Perspective”. Mr. Didkovsky thanked Dr. Cheema for inviting him to deliberate on the subject. He said that since the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia are swiftly developing in different spheres, therefore today’s event is another good opportunity to exchange views and better the understanding for each other’s concerns about Non-proliferation and Strategic Stability in South Asia. Mr. Didkovsky stated that the new disbalancing issue in Asia is Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense (ABMs). The two nuclear states in this region strive to acquiring and developing advance and sophisticated ballistic and cruise missiles in order to limit the quality of enemy’s ABMs. He understood that the more effective Pakistan’s AMB is, the more useless rival’s missiles become.
He agreed that this is a well-known formula of deterrence. In this regard, a perfect example of disbalance is when opponents possess different ABMs of different efficiency. Such state of things triggers the arms race and fuels geopolitical ambitions.
Accordingly, it is necessary to mention that Russia has reservations regarding the US efforts to establish a global ABM system with the help of some European and some Asian countries. Russia considers these efforts as a direct threat to its national interests and to the national interests of other regional players as well. He strongly recommended that Pakistani researchers should carefully analyze the history of US-Russian conflict around global ABM system as it will give valuable knowledge on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes made by the others.
Mr. Didkovsky acknowledged that Pakistan and Russia have common views on Prevention of Arms Race in Open Space. Russia believes that it is necessary to bring together our efforts to regulate military space activities and prevent placement of assault weapons in open space. Orbital weapons of any kind are underestimated, extremely dangerous and effective means of manipulation all around the world. Space weapons have broad scope and can be used to disrupt or destroy communication satellites which are very sensitive. Space weapons can include real assault means or any new types of weapons that the scientific progress might come up with in 10 or 20 years. In this regard Russia continuously calls on all the interested countries to pay attention to this matter and find opportunity to join and sign the “No First Placement Initiative”. It is just a first step in the direction of a full scale International treaty on prevention of placement of weapons in the outer space.
He maintained that Russia also appreciates Pakistani efforts in stabilizing strategic relations with India – the initiative as proposed by Islamabad on bilateral agreements with New-Delhi regarding pre-notification of missile launches and non-attack on nuclear facilities and the unilateral nuclear test moratorium contributes a lot to the regional stability. However, he expressed his disappointment that the suggestion by Pakistan to convert it into a bilateral moratorium was left unanswered by India. He believed that more opportunities to strengthen security in South Asia could be explored such as introducing a new international comprehensive agreement or treaty on missile activities. It can be worked out in Geneva on Conference on Disarmament and can be based on Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC) but without the weak points for which the HCOC is usually criticized. He further suggested that the scope of this agreement should include not only ballistic missiles but cruise missiles of different types as well (submarine launched and air launched). Mr. Didkovsky highlighted another issue of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). He said that Pakistan is directly associated with numerous cases of UAV attacks conducted by external forces without any permission to enter sovereign air space. Unfortunately these external forces recently announced their intention to resume such surgical strikes if war against terrorism on Pakistani soil is not effective enough. To prevent such things from happening, Islamabad could initiate a discussion to work out a Code of Conduct on UAV or even a more serious legally binding document. Surprisingly there might be a lot of supporters who are against irresponsible cross border use of attack drones. There are some movements in this direction in the international community and Pakistan could take advantage and lead in these efforts. He also advised not to forget that in October 2016 Washington already introduced Joint Declaration for the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled (UAVs), but in fact it has nothing to do with cross border attacks and humanitarian concerns. So the space for a new initiative is still free.
Consequently, similar situation is around new type of drones – Lethal Autonomous Weapons System (LAWS). Simply speaking the main difference from UAVs is the total independence from the operator and ability to take the kill decision – which means that the machine decides itself who to kill and who to ignore. Technical progress in this sphere is emerging and forecasts on 10-15 years can be a little bit scary. There can be flying LAWS, swimming LAWS, or even battlefield LAWS such as heavy armed warfare robotic systems. Such drones could be very effective against terrorists, but the possibility of misuse or technical errors could lead to many civil casualties. There is no common perception of LAWS among international experts. Some countries insist on full-scale prohibition of LAWS, some believe that reasonable limitations are enough and that there is no need at all in additional regulations. Which side to choose, is up to you. However that goes without saying – this issue also deserves serious attention of related governmental experts.
While discussing the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), he stated that it is no secret that PSI is facing crisis. One group of members including those mentioned above insist on the modernization of mechanisms for more freedom in crossing the sovereign water borders, capturing vessels, and searching the loads. He said Russia is directly against legalization of piracy. Accordingly what is the implication for Pakistan? India and the US are coming more close to signing Freedom of Navigation and Operation Agreement. This document allows foreign military ships to enter sovereign waters without notification to conduct special operations. Indian Ocean waters are the cradle of many important trade routes. It is still difficult to predict the outcome of all this activity around PSI, but the concerned states should stay alert and track the developments.
Speaking about strategic export control regimes, he said that Russia notices the particular efforts of Pakistan to adhere to the spirit of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Agreements (WA) and UNSC Resolution 1540. Russia considers it as an important step that Pakistan’s regulations in 2016 were raised to high international standards. This step definitely contributes to good image and brings it closer to the membership if needed. Since the regulation is already good – next step is to enhance the implementation. This is a big responsibility on the shoulders of authorities to carefully prevent any illegal activities which can harm the reputation. Implementation is always difficult and requires huge efforts.
Finally, while heading towards NSG, Mr. Didkovsky said that he will try to be very careful but fair in order not to distort the reality. He said that everybody is aware of the drama which has been going on with Indian and Pakistani applications to NSG. So many rounds of talks in Vienna have been organized to narrow the gap of misunderstanding but the problem is still unsolved. The very last i nformal meeting of NSG members in the middle of November also failed to deliver any feasible results. More and more experts today argue about the possibility of taking aboard nuclear states outside NPT, saying that it does not directly fit the NSG norms. It is clear that nobody is going to change the legal documents, because it will ruin NSG. The question is: are we able to find any solution? So what should be done? The possible answer is the criteria based approach. The idea of criteria gives opportunity to compensate for the applicant’s non-compliance with strict obligations of NPT. This is at least fair to all the other members of the Nuclear Cartel and correspond the spirit of nonproliferation. The current situation in NSG around Pakistani application is directly connected with lack of understanding and lack of consensus among the members, lack of knowledge about Pakistani nuclear program and probably lack of agreements between Pakistan and IAEA. Mr. Pavel Didkovsky indicated that he knows very well the diversity of opinions here concerning separation of nuclear program and signing of Safeguard Agreement and Additional Protocol. So, does it fit national interests or not– that’s a really tricky dilemma and nobody except Pakistan can resolve it. However, an imaginable profile of a hypothetical NSG applicant with both of these crucial IAEA agreements looks much better than without them. It provides transparency and basic understanding of commitments. As it was officially stated many times before, in principle Russia has absolutely nothing against Pakistani application in NSG. Russian authorities in close connection with Chinese and some other colleagues are negotiating to find acceptable solutions and reach consensus. Presently, key obstacle on the way to Pakistan’s NSG membership lies somewhere to the West and we can only guess what the outcome will be in the next round of talks. Mr. Didkovsky concluded his speech with the words of gratitude not only to all the people participating in seminar, but also to Pakistan. He held that Pakistan is also a responsible nuclear state, which contributes a lot to fighting terrorism like Russia does in Syria. He persuaded that the bilateral relations between Russia and Pakistan should definitely be developed. Both states have common views on many problems and this means they can unite their efforts and achieve the mutual goals.

The second speaker for the day Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal articulated his views on “Current Trends in Arms Race in South Asia”. He mentioned two important caveats: First, The arms buildup in South Asia is on positive trajectory that means there is an arms race in region; second, at the same time the prospects for Arms Control and Disarmament are very much pessimistic. The trends have revealed that India’s military spending is increasing. Trends in South Asia’s military services can be assessed by global systemic forces as well as the domestic forces. In this context the global forces trends demonstrate that every state has been investing in military buildup whether it is nuclear or a conventional weapon. These trends of growing military capabilities directly influence the South Asian region. While looking at these regional dynamics, one also cannot ignore what is happening in the neighborhood including. The strategic triangular competition between Russian, American and China regarding Afghanistan, West Asia and Euro Asia. Eventually these external drivers have often been leading the domestic situation of both India and Pakistan in South Asia. Within India there is vibrant military industrial complex where huge economic power houses such as TATRA and Avaal have been investing in the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Dr. Jaspal further describe that India’s massive military buildup gives a clear message that Indian has been working to operationalize a reliable Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) and proactive military operation strategy. He recalled that last week in Islamabad, advisor to the Strategic Plan Division (SPD) mentioned that Pakistan is also working on full spectrum deterrence. These trends between India and Pakistan indicate that dynamics are moving towards Arms Race in the region. Another important development is that last week India became the 42nd member of Wassenaar group. By getting the membership of Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) India got an opportunity to import vital military goods and technology which can be used for dual purposes. According to Wassenaar group’s amendment in 2013, there was prohibition in the export items list on certain technologies such as surveillance for non-member states. Now, India is the member of WA since last week and it can get access to these kinds of sophisticated technologies. Second important development is that India also got the membership of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Full membership of MTCR has allowed India to acquire vital equipment for its space. It is significant to note that India’s Space and Missile Programs are very much commemorating to each other, that’s mean that the higher missile technology will be also transferred to the India. In addition to these two nuclear groups, another important nuclear cartel is i.e. Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG). Though India is not a member of the NSG, it enjoys the waiver from the NSG member states. The waiver enables India to import nuclear dual technologies which will directly or indirectly contribute to India’s Nuclear Program. Hence one can see that the general trend is in the region is that India is acquiring large number of weaponry and Pakistan is trying to balance it out. In this context, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Report of 2016, from 2007 to 2011 India was one of the leading purchasers of the weaponry from the other states. And then from 2012 till 2016, again India was the biggest importer of military equipment. It has accumulated 13 percent shares of global arms import from 2012 to 2016. Whereas Pakistan’s biggest shares and military imports have witnessed decrease in last four to five years. Therefore among 40 leading arms importer states India is world’s biggest arm importer, Pakistan is 9th largest arms importer and very important aspect is that Bangladesh is among 15th largest arms importer state. The recent reports reveal that at least three states of South Asia have been importing arms from different countries while at the same time pursuing indigenous military industrial complex. Therefore, these trends prove that arms race is on a positive trajectory in South Asia. So question arises why regional states are not coming towards arms control? Accurate working of two Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) of “Non-Attack on each other’s nuclear installation and prior notification of the missile test” generates the hope of establishing arms control regime in the region. Second important factor that generates hope for the establishment of Arms Control Regime between India and Pakistan is “Deterrence Stability”. Dr. Jaspal maintained that CBMs and Deterrence stability germinates the hopes of establishment of Arms Control Regime. In this regard, the most significant issue is “mindset”. Such as India’s membership of MTCR, NSG and Wassenaar Arrangements (WA) propagate that India’s strategic thinkers still believe that Arms Race is in their advantage. Keeping in mind India’s Arms Race related strategy, it is explored that Indian strategy makers believe to acquire more weapons either to exhaust or to have an advantage over Pakistan. India’s strategy makers give the impression that their extensive military buildup will change the strategic and security situation in South Asia. This is the denial of the contours of the deterrence stability. Now India is heavily investing in Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD). In his concluding remarks, Dr. Jaspal maintained that the recent developments in South Asia’s strategic landscape shows that there is no probability of establishing an arms control regime within the region in the near future. The trend in regional and global environment demonstrates that the arms race will sustain. However, sustainability of the arms race is not a constructive development for deterrence stability as it has the ability to undermine the deterrence stability of the region.
Prof. Dr. Tughral Yamin expressed his views on the “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regimes and their relevance to the Strategic Stability in South Asia”, He explained that the strategic stability in South Asia is always teetering and the balance is not always in the favor of one country. Dr. Yamin presented the theoretical dimension of Non-Proliferation regime where he maintained that the base of Non-Proliferations regime is Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. There are number of treaties, tools and initiatives that aim to achieve the objectives of Non-Proliferation Regime.
There are following four significant Export Control Regimes:
1. Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG): NSG is a group of (48) nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
2. Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) On Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies: is a Multilateral Export Control Regime (MECR) with 42 participating states including many former COMECON (Warsaw Pact) countries.
3. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR): It is a multilateral export control regime and an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries to prevent the proliferation of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying 500 kg payload for more than 300 km.
4. Australia Group (AG): It is an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonization of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapon.
While explaining the Pakistan assistance on non-proliferation regimes, he added that the discrimination in NSG i.e. special waiver to India (given on 6th September 2008) and push for its singular membership is affecting the strategic stability in South Asia. Pakistan expects the worst because the NSG waiver has unencumbered massive Indian indigenous Uranium reserves to be used for building fissile Material stocks – this affects our strategic calculus. As well as the unilateral entry of India in NSG or even a proposed entry (India first – Pakistan later) will allow India to block Pakistan’s membership permanently as India will use the consensus rule. He further highlighted that three trends are visible in the US led international non-proliferation regime: first, these regimes are inherently discriminatory; second, the existing nuclear order exercises monopoly over the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; third, the US takes its “Tone & Tenor” from the prevailing geo political order. While concluding he added that the non-proliferation and strategic stability are interconnected. The immediate challenge Pakistan faces is its membership into Nuclear Suppliers Group and propaganda against the safety & security of Pakistan’s nuclear program, whereas CTBT is viewed as subsequent challenge. He concluded by stating that multiple factors including non-proliferation efforts and mindset of leadership are playing important role to maintain strategic stability in South Asia.

Talking about the overall topic “Regional Political Dynamics and Strategic Stability in South Asia”, Amb. Zamir Akram said that strategic stability is affected by what is happening around the world. He said that nuclear ban treaty is nonbinding, and is only a political document which has been opposed by several nuclear weapons states including Pakistan, India and China. Most of the nuclear weapon states do not support this resolution which speaks for itself regarding the future of disarmament or non-proliferation. Even more dangerous fact of today is the vertical non-proliferation by powers like China, US and Russia which are engaged in modernizing their military equipment. Horizontally, North Korea is a new addition to the states which possess nuclear weapons. South Korea and Japan despite being under the nuclear umbrella of the US might feel obliged to develop their own nuclear weapons. They can do this easily because they have vast quantities of fissile material. Questions that arise after Trump’s decertification of nuclear deal are: how Iran will react and how will Saudi Arabia react if Iran pursues nuclear capability by pulling out of the deal. These are serious issues which have implications for non-proliferation and disarmament not only in South Asia but also in the Middle East. He further highlighted that strategic stability dependence upon the existence of credible deterrence is a dynamic concept. It changes due to changes in doctrines, weapons systems, geopolitical environment. All these are taking place in South Asia. After the 1998 nuclear tests there was a period of strategic stability because there was a credible deterrence that came into existence due to Mutual Assured Destruction between India and Pakistan. This and some confidence building measures as envisioned under Lahore declaration resulted to some extent in the stabilization of situation. However, some more ambitious proposals made by Pakistan as part of strategic restraint regime for instance agree not to acquire more destabilizing technologies and delivery systems such as SLBM or ABMS were not accepted by India. Instead India has proceeded to acquire nuclear triad. The recent test of supersonic cruise missile designed to carry nuclear weapons is an escalation and enhancement of the capability that India has. Stability and therefore deterrence are constantly shifting. Analyzing the political domain, he stated that the emerging and growing rivalry between China and the US has resulted in Indo-US strategic partnership to contain China. But given the fact that India’s conventional and strategic capabilities are not aimed at China but Pakistan, Pakistan rightly feels threatened. India’s doctrines and postures are directed towards Pakistan, so it naturally feels threatened. China and Russia are also getting closer vis a vis US. The ceasefire violations by India on the Line of Control (LOC) and costly US insistence on military solution to Afghan issue are having implications for strategic stability in South Asia. Presence of Indian sponsored terrorist groups such as TTP and some Baloch insurgents being funded and abetted by Indians from Afghan territories is also a major hurdle. In this regard, Pakistan has serious concerns as TTP operates under the nose of American troops in Afghanistan. Consequently in this situation what could be the way out from Pakistan’s perspective? Amb. Akram expressed that maintaining strategic stability is the primary objective of Pakistan. For that it has to maintain credible deterrence in response to changing developments as mentioned earlier. Thus, as a response to India’s military developments, Pakistan has manufactured the low yield nuclear weapons (Nasr) and delivery systems. These developments of Pakistan cover the gap between the use of strategic nuclear weapons and conventional attacks provided by the Cold Start. Pakistan is also working on sea based deterrence, multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV) and long range missile to hit the target in India’s territory. However, Pakistan is also ready for dialogue and CBMs to stabilize the situation in the region. The talks were followed by Questions and Answer session.

Mr. Zakir Hussain from Cabinet Division asked why Pakistan should only focus on India while discussing the dynamics of Strategic Stability in South Asia?Amb. Zamir Akram responded that the answer is obvious because Pakistan’s threat perception develops from India that’s why Pakistan’s security policy is India centric. At the moment, Pakistan does not perceive threat from United States, Japan and South Korea to its security. That’s why Pakistan has to give the action response to the state from where its threat perception evolves.
Mr. Jamil Bandey, Retired Banker questioned if Pakistan could survive vis-à-vis India in face of its fast declining economy and rising defence expenditure? Dr. Jaspal responded by adding that Pakistan’s defence budget in 1998 was 3.2 billion PKR but now it is 9 billion. According to GDP from 2002-2012 Pakistan’s defence expenditure has considerably decreased from 3% to 2.1 %. So this expression that Pakistan’s defence expenditure is on a rise is not true. Pakistan is not trying to match up with India’s high military spending but actually pursuing the balancing tactics. Pakistan is not dragging itself into the arms race. The real problem is that India failed to create its hegemony despite the increasing defence budget because Pakistan is a nuclear weapon state and it is not dependent on any state for its survival.
Ms. Asia Maqsood, Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute asked Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal how he foresees the establishment of Arms Control Regime (ARC) with a trilateral approach that includes China-India-Pakistan or quadrilateral approach with the US-China-Pakistan and India. She further posed a question to Mr. Didkovsky as to how does he foresee the establishment of ACR with the cooperation of Russia-India and Pakistan? Dr. Jaspal responded by referring to his earlier point that Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) generate the hope for establishing arms control regime in the region. Theoretical analysis present that arms control measures can only take place between the states where both sides aim to maintain strategic equilibrium and believe that the addition of any weapon in defence inventory is not giving any advantage. In Pakistan and India’s case, stance of the both states is different. Pakistan is of the view that an arm race is of no use therefore it should be sustained or curtailed, whereas India believes that arms race is brings it a huge advantage to pursue its regional and global interests. While responding to the second question he added that the trilateral approach or quadrilateral approach with the US-China-Pakistan and India is not a very practical approach because the US strategic policies are calculated and their strategic interests have been changed. Presently, on global level, interest of the US is to sale the arms. Such as President Trump during his visit to South Korea and later to Japan maintained that both states should purchase nuclear submarines, missiles defence system to ensure security. In return the US will get money for its Military Industrial Complex (MIC). Thus the global trends are not in the favor of establishing quadrilateral approach Arms Control Regime (ARC) in this region. In response to the third question regarding establishment of ACR with the cooperation of Russia-India and Pakistan, Mr. Didkovsky said that presently it is difficult to imagine such a mechanism.

Ms. Asma Khalid, Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute questioned that India’s conventional deterrence and pro-active Cold Start Doctrine has the ability to undermine regional stability. In this regard what is the impact of India’s conventional deterrence on nuclearized South Asia? Secondly after Pakistan’s proposal of establishing strategic arms control regime by India, what kind of policies Pakistan should adopt to counter the arms race? Dr. Jaspal answered that the Cold Start Doctrine is for offensive objectives. India started working on the Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) in 2000 where India’s then Defence Minister George Fernandes stated that there is a possibility of war under the nuclear umbrella. It was during the time period from 2000 till April 2004 when India first time declassified the CSD and started modernizing its military forces. Pakistan in response to that gradually started working on strategies to counter the CSD and developed the Nasr missile. Nasr is viewed as a check mate to CSD. India’s desire to modernize its armed forces is a big concern for Pakistan. On the other side, Pakistan is not an aggressive state. By ratio of the weaponry Pakistan cannot initiate a war but can deter the war. That’s why Pakistan’s stance on deterrence, arms control initiatives and proposal for strategic restraint regimes shows that Pakistan is interested in deterrence that cannot be maintained without Arms Control. On the other side India is not ready for arms control initiatives. Here is a catch: Western world maintains that India’s military buildup is directed towards China, whereas India’s CSD and military purchases are directed towards Western and Eastern borders and on Himalaya there is no military buildup except the development of Agni V missile. Therefore Cold Start Doctrine is for punitive measures only. Dr. Yamin added that another factor that is negatively affecting the stability of Pakistan is the internal threat or the state of internal security. He suggested that both South Asian states should shift their focus to economic development in order to bring stability in the region.

At the end, Chairperson of SVI, Mr. Ross Masood Hussain briefly summed up all the presentations and thanked the distinguished speakers and audience.He offered special thanks to the speakers / chair and especially to Mr. Pavel Didkovsky for his participation and insightful talk. Mr. Ross expressed his profound gratitude to the SVI team that played its part in organization of the Bi-Monthly Seminar.

Media Converge: Bi-Monthly Seminar „Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Strategic Stability in South Asia was covered by the following newspapers. Dawn
Pakistan Observer
Pakistan Today
Arab News
Government’s official newswire APP also carried the story

Author of this article: