Authored by: Maimuna Ashraf & Amanullah Khan
Edited by: S. Sadia Kazmi
Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad
Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) organized a One-day national conference on “Arms Control, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and International Security in 2016” on October 27, 2016 at Marriott Hotel Islamabad. The concept of the conference was to assess the changing dynamics of global politics and challenges to nuclear non-proliferation that are ineffectively addressed. Differences continue to persist in the interpretation and application of article IV of the NPT on peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The Conference on Disarmament (CD) has remained deadlocked over the years. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, once considered as the cornerstone of the international strategic stability has been abolished while the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has failed to enter into force. The other important element, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), has not been agreed upon, which questions the status of non-proliferation efforts. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopts an annual agenda to eliminate nuclear weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) but has not reached any agreement on nuclear disarmament and related issues due to refusal of the P5 to disarm their nuclear weapons. On the other hand no consensus has been reached to conclude an international legal instrument on the Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). All these developments demanded an in-depth evaluation of the above mentioned issues.
Session I – Inaugural
In the Inaugural session, Ms. Sadia Kazmi (Director Academics, Policy and Programs/Senior Research Associate SVI) gave an overview of what the SVI is, its aims, objectives, functions and various academic and research activities that it has been carrying out since 2013. This was followed by a welcome address by the President/Executive Director SVI, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema. He thanked the Chief Guest Senator (R) Mr. Akram Zaki, the respected speakers and participants who had turned up in large number comprising personals from academia, think tanks, civil and military establishments.
Dr. Cheema in his opening remarks presented an overview of the on-going developments in the nuclear politics around the world in general and the politics of NSG in particular. He mentioned that 2016 has been a landmark year in the international politics, especially with regards to the politics of the Nuclear Suppliers. He said that last year in Washington D.C. the effort was made to mainstreaming a nuclear Pakistan with some conditions. However the objectives of the mainstreaming were obscure and Pakistan had to reject the proposals since they suggested limitations on Pakistan’s nuclear program. Some of the proposed limitations were that Pakistan should stop producing fissile material; sign CTBT; and should no more test its ballistic missiles. Later in the year, there came NSG politics in which India was projected as a possible member of the group. He talked about the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which was created in 1974 as a reaction to the Indian nuclear test in the same year. Several assumptions were made in favor of Indian application for full fledged member of the group: It was said that India has excellent record of nuclear non-proliferation which in reality is a totally baseless argument because India was the first country that tested its nuclear weapons just after the NPT was introduced. It again violated international non-proliferation efforts by testing its nuclear weapons in 1998 that changed the entire nature of politics in the region. In other words, India nuclearized South Asia.
Dr. Cheema asserted that some members of the NSG rejected Indian application on the basis that there should be a criteria for every prospective member of the group and one of the conditions is that it should have signed the NPT. He pointed out that NSG, and non-proliferation regime is part of the politics which is driven by the foreign policy objectives of certain prominent countries. There are no standard principles and norms involved. Treating India as a special case since 2008 provides evidence of the politics and double standards of the big powers. Talking about NPT, he said that the treaty had two main objectives at the initial stages of its formulation: that non-nuclear weapon states will be prevented from making nuclear weapons; while the nuclear weapon states will disarm themselves. However, when the treaty was formulated in 1968, the balance of obligation was taken off. It maintained that only the legally recognized nuclear weapon states (P5) would be allowed to make as many nuclear weapons as they wanted, but non-nuclear weapon states will be prevented from developing and acquiring the weapons.
Chief Guest Address
Senator (R) Mr. Akram Zaki complimented Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema for organizing a conference on the important subject. He said that currently we are living in a dangerous and immoral world of double and triple standards. Major Powers and some small countries all talk about nuclear disarmament and arms control but at the same time they are spending billions of dollars to develop more weapons and even transferring them to their allies. In some cases, the major powers sign a treaty for the purpose of reducing the number of weapons; START is an example of such efforts. However, they still have enough weapons to destroy the world completely.
He explained that NPT has two important articles: IV and VI. The big powers, especially the US, has violated these articles by providing nuclear material to a non-NPT state i.e. India. This proves that there is no morality in the international politics.
Regarding terrorism and non-state actors, he said that there is no such thing as terrorism. It is the product of foreign policies of major powers. The two big powers, Russia and the US have been engaged in creating non-state actors. Current crisis in the Middle East is an outcome of the same policies. He prompted to think rationally as to who created Al Qaeda and Daesh. He underscored that initially there was a clear distinction between terrorism and national liberation efforts. The same was recognized by the UN resolutions from 1972 to 1988. However later on this was intentionally repudiated and resultantly during President Musharraf’s era, Pakistan was forced to declare some organizations fighting for liberation in Kashmir as terrorists.
Senator Zaki further shared that after collapse of the USSR there was an imbalance in the world politics. A single superpower emerged on the scene determined to preserve the sole superpower status forever. For achieving this objective, a doctrine was introduced to establish military bases in Europe, Middle East and Far-East. Another orientation was to acquire the capability and power to intervene and stop the rise of any potential rival in the world.
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was launched in 1997, the principles of which were immediately endorsed by the powerful Neo-cons, aiming at:
- Having overwhelming power and the will to impose its decisions anywhere in the world.
- Having the preemptive strike capability in case of an emerging threat.
- Having the ability to change the regime that did not suit its interests.
- Giving preference to military approach
Currently, the US is on its way to having overwhelming use of power as a strategy to achieve its goals. Some countries do not accept the hegemony of the US and are looking for a multipolar world. Russia and China took the initiative and formed a regional organization in 1996 by the name of Shanghai Five which later became Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the year 2001.
The West, under the leadership of the US, realized the organization’s potential and decided to intervene in Afghanistan in order to have influence in the Central Asian region. The decision to invade Afghanistan was taken in July and the incident of 9/11 was used as an excuse to intervene. Similarly, Iraq was attacked in 2003 to preserve US’ own interests in the Middle East. However, both interventions failed in achieving the desired objectives. The US economy started to decline gradually because of huge economic burden brought about by the foreign adventurism. The benefit went to China as its economy grew with a fast pace and it emerged as a second largest economy.
Presently there are two objectives being pursued: First is to make economic progress and share the benefits of the progress with allies in the region. The second is to use force to meet foreign objectives. They opted for the second one and chose two allies, Israel in the Middle East and India in South Asia.
In 2006, a new project was launched by the name of New Middle East. The arch of instability was intentionally created across Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The aim was to balkanize the whole region.
Further he said that it is Pakistan’s nuclear program that has prevented it from turning into Libya or Iraq. Both Libya and Iraq gave up their nuclear programs and one can now see the unfortunate fate of both the states. On the other hand, North Korea resisted and pursued its nuclear program. North Korea is vocal about possessing nuclear weapons and if necessary, will use them too. This is the main reason as to why North Korea has not been attacked yet. Likewise, Pakistan’s nuclear program is the guarantee of its national survival. Any compromise on the nuclear program would lead to destruction of the country. Pakistan should therefore learn from Libya and Iraq and also from North Korea.
He stressed that it is necessary to ascertain the real significance of the phrase Non-Proliferation in all its aspects. After the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998, the international community felt alarmed. They felt that the nuclearization of South Asia had made Indo-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir into a nuclear flash-point and recognized the urgency of persuading India and Pakistan to accept non-proliferation as well as to start a dialogue to solve the basic issue of Kashmir. He recalled that the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (P-5) met at Geneva on June 4, 1998 and issued a Joint communiqué in which they stressed the need for Indo-Pakistan Dialogue to address the root cause of tension, including Kashmir and also to bolster the international non-proliferation regime. The declaration observed that their goal continue to be the adherence by all countries including India and Pakistan to the Treaty of the non-proliferation of the nuclear weapons as it stands, without any modification. The Treaty is the corner stone of non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.”
He highlighted, the Security Council Resolution No.1172 and the Communiqués of P-5 and G-8 also demanded India and Pakistan (a) to stop all further nuclear tests, (b) to stop nuclear weapons development programme, refrain from development or deployment of nuclear weapons, (c) to stop development of ballistic missiles, (d) to stop production of fissile materials and (e) to undertake not to export nuclear and missile technology to other countries. The Security Council also asked other countries to prevent the export of technology and materials to India and Pakistan related to nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
He concluded with remarks that the P-5 Communiqué of June 4, 1998, the Security Council Resolution 1172 (1998) of June 6 and the G-8 Communiqué of June 12, 1998 have all linked non-proliferation to Kashmir. They have recognized the need for solving the root cause of tension and urged resumption of Indo-Pakistan dialogue on Kashmir. The chief executive has also taken a clear stand that Kashmir is the only dispute between India and Pakistan on which there should be a dialogue; other issues are just irritants while the major agenda of the West is Non-Proliferation. The agenda of Pakistan is to seek a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. The international community has established the link in Security Council Resolution 1172 (1998) and Communiqués of P-5 and G-8. He suggested that Pakistan should maintain the link as progress on Kashmir is essential for progress on non-proliferation. Solution of Kashmir will help peace and stability in South Asia, which in turn will promote nuclear restraint and objectives of non-proliferation.
The Session was chaired by Dr. Zulfqar Khan (Head of Department, Strategic Studies, and NDU). The three imminent speakers for this session were Dr. Tughral Yamin (Associate Dean, NUST), Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad (Director, School of Politics and IR, QAU), and Ms. Sadia Kazmi (Director Academics/Senior Research Associate, SVI). The theme discussed during this session was about “Arms Control and Conference on Disarmament: FMCT and Negative Security Assurances”.
Dr. Tughral Yamin talked about “Nuclear Disarmament, Article VI of NPT: Current Issues and Developments”. He briefly described the Non-Proliferation Treaty, its pillars and objectives. He said that the treaty entered into force on March 05, 1970.
The three pillars of NPT are:
- Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy
- Disarmament (Article VI)
He then set the aim of his presentation by addressing two core questions:
- Why there is so little progress on article VI of the NPT?
- Why member states should pursue its implementation more forcefully?
Further elaborating on the article VI of the treaty he quoted:
“Each of the parties to the treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
The speaker emphasized on the term ‘good faith’ which always carries a question mark on its definition, interpretation and implementation.
Talking about the 1996 ICJ (International Court of Justice) opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, he said that:
- Article VI of the treaty compels the member-states to more than simply an “action,” but to a final “result” obligation.
- The panel of fifteen judges decided unanimously that, “there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”
According to the ICJ ruling, the NPT member-state parties can pursue an injunction in the ICJ against the five nuclear weapon states under the legal argument that their proliferation actions are in violation of the good-faith duty to negotiate and actually create an ultimate nuclear disarmament under article VI of NPT.
He mentioned some arguments in favor of article VI of the treaty:
- Its legally binding
- Its ethically & morally correct
- It paves the way for general & complete disarmament
Dr. Yamin pointed out a statement by the nuclear weapons states regarding article VI of the NPT in its Review Conference in 2015 which essentially states that:
- As NPT nuclear-weapon states, we reaffirm the shared goal of nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament as referenced in the preamble and provided for in article VI of the NPT. In this regard, we remain steadfast in our commitment to seeking a safer world for all and achieving a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the NPT. We continue to pursue progressive and concrete steps towards this end, including the relevant recommendations of the action plan (2010), in a way that promotes international stability, peace and security, and based on the principle of increased and undiminished security for all.
- We continue to believe that an incremental, step-by-step approach is the only practical option for making progress towards nuclear disarmament, while upholding global strategic security and stability. This goal is what motivates our concerted efforts to pursue practical steps toward nuclear disarmament. All states can help fulfill this goal by creating the necessary security environment through resolving regional tensions, tackling proliferation challenges, promoting collective security, and making progress in all areas of disarmament.
Finally, he touched upon the chances of implementation of the article. According to him, there are little or remote chances because:
- NWS have little interest in ending an arms race or initiating general or complete disarmament.
- They will keep citing a precarious security situation to justify retaining their weapons.
He shared that the negotiations on FMCT were unearthed in 1993 with the intentions to define the term of non-discriminatory and internal verifiable treaty to “ban the production of fissile material.” Since then, the ample efforts are made to conclude FMCT regime but lack of consensus and multiple reservations of stakeholders are the main hindrances. It has also become a priority agenda for the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (UNCD). He also elaborated on the main objectives of the treaty.
- Successful conclusion of FMCT would lead towards ultimate end of nuclear weapons
- FMCT would contain arms race
- Completion of a verifiable FMCT would harmonize the NPT and CTBT
- FMCT would lay the structure for the reduction and later on elimination of fissile material stockpiles
- FMCT will help to bring non NPT Nuclear Weapons States (NNWS) in the formal fold of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
- Target States of FMCT (Nuclear Weapons States such as USA, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea are the target states of FMCT)
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbids all parties to the treaty excluding the P5 (Nuclear Weapons States by definition of NPT), from acquiring nuclear weapons. In the background of FMCT the target states could be highlighted as P5 including United States, Russia, France, Britain, China from NPT, whereas four exterior states from NPT which are India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. The states that do not have active military program will also be affected by this. Especially Japan, Australia and Canada will suffer a lot by this ban. Pakistan will be among the most affected countries once any negotiated settlement on FMCT is reached because P-5 has already enough fissile material and they do not require more in future. However, Israel and India, with the help of European countries and United States would also have huge stockpiles of fissile material. Ultimately Pakistan is left behind with minimal fissile material. Further discussing Pakistan’s Stance on FMCT and CD, he stated that Pakistan has assumed a principle standpoint over FMCT. Pakistan has also supported the 1993 UNGA resolution calling for “discussions on an unbiased, multiparty and universally as well as efficiently provable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or any other explosive devices (UNGA, 1993).” During 1995, Gerald E. Shannon in his assessment report “Shannon Mandate” analyzed the member states’ standpoints over FMCT. The report suggested the formation of a committee which would allow all delegation to raise any question regarding their concerns about the scope of the treaty. It will also allow all the states to raise their doubts about the present and future management of fissile material. Pakistan supported “Shannon Mandate” because it would help to deal with the pre-existing stocks of fissile material.
For the next few years the CD could not play an important role and assembled thrust on FMCT. In the meantime, the significant development during 1995 was the extension of NPT for an indefinite period as well as devoid of circumstances, highlighting the reservations that the nuclear weapon states might not go for elimination of their nuclear armaments. Whereas member states approved to immediately start and finalize negotiations in accordance with the mandate of CD on an evenhanded and generally appropriate agreement intended for hindering the production of fissile material with the intentions to use it for nuclear weapons/explosive devices.
The next year observed CTBT during CD, regardless of the objections coined by India. The treaty was sent to the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) to get it sanctioned as well as presenting it for signatures. The draft of the CTBT was approved by more than 150 states and Pakistan was one of the supporters of it unlike India which opposed its draft.
The detonation of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan in 1998 poured immense pressure on Pakistan to participate in the upcoming FMCT meeting. Meanwhile, a resolution 1172 was concluded by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on June 6, 1998. The resolution 1172 was aimed at bringing India and Pakistan to the table talks set in the form of CD, to halt the production of fissile material for weaponization.
In February 2009, while advocating Pakistan’s official opinion in the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador Zamir Akram said that Pakistan never initiated the nuclear induction in the region concerned. Instead it was provoked by design to establish a Minimum Credible Deterrence to meet its security anxiety vis-à-vis India. Similarly, Pakistan has also pronounced its nuclear program solely for defensive purposes. He also pointed out that Pakistan started its nuclear program to address lawful security concerns which is a sovereign right of any independent state of the world. Pakistan also chalked out its apprehensions about the potential FMCT in a detailed way. It was stated that “we believe that an extensive difference in fissile material stockpiles of India and Pakistan could erode the stability of nuclear deterrence.” He elucidated that there is every possibility that “India will transform its large fissile material stocks into nuclear weapons” therefore Pakistan must consider Indian stockpiles of “nuclear weapons and fissile material stocks.” Pakistan “cannot therefore agree to freeze inequality” he said. The ambassador, while making Pakistan’s position clear, raised an objection even to the term of FMCT, and argued that Pakistan will not accept FMCT which implies a ban solely on the future production of fissile material. Along with that Pakistan declared that it couldn’t approve the loose term coined primarily as FMCT to be discussed during CD. Responding to the situation, Pakistan devised an innovative title of “Fissile Material Treaty” (FMT) to support the global efforts initiated in this regard. Interestingly, several states along with a number of independent analysts also supported this very proposal. However, Pakistan consistently retained the demand of elimination of pre-existing stocks. At the same time it is important to note that Pakistan is not unaccompanied in its demand; most of the Non- Aligned Movement states like Egypt, Iran and Syria are also supporting Pakistan’s proposal.
Pakistan, along with some other parties discarded the most recent plan of work designed in CD. Group of 21, comprising North Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iran and Syria are teamed up in pursuit of a fairer plan of action, stressing particularly on the negotiations for disarmament (Reaching Critical Will, 2010). Remarkably, China followed the suit by rejecting the CD plan of work. Some states demonstrated a silent condemnation and opposed the treaty by benefiting from Pakistan’s refusal to permit discussions on FMCT. During 2006, Ambassador Masood Khan, envoy of Pakistan to the CD, maintained that the stoppage in the built-up of fissile material should be placed under an obligatory program for the elimination of asymmetries in the existing stock by a range of countries. Along with that the transmission of fissile material to safeguards must be completed primarily by the countries possessing massive stockpiles “both in the global and regional background (Khan M., Reaching Critical Will, 2006).” Furthermore, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty should propose a viable plan for stockpiles to civilian use and such stocks should be brought under strict watch via application of safeguards.
He further argued that FMCT will have lost its consistency if pre-existing stockpile of fissile material will not be addressed in a substantial means. In addressing the stuff of pre-existing stockpiles, higher restrictions of fissile materials and the principles of relative exactness along with adequacy should be considered. A pact that focuses only on limiting the future production of fissile material would be measured as a non-proliferation step while addition of the accessible stockpiles of fissile material will be a step towards nuclear disarmament. In the year 2010 Pakistan persistently obstructed the initiation of work at the CD. By 2009, Pakistan made a mind to accept plan of work, hoping high that it might lead Pakistan into such a stage where legitimate concerns of Pakistan would be addressed by the start of new Obama regime. But all such calculations proved futile as Pakistan has banned them as unachievable: “Pakistan now believed that this would not be the case (Akram, 2009).”
The speaker further shared that during 2010, the then Pakistani Premier and former chairman of NCA Mr. Yousaf Raza Gilani, expressed his views on the preservation of Minimum Credible Deterrence, regional strategic stability and accountability of NCA of Pakistan. In a meeting, on 13th January same year, he clearly stated that, “Pakistan, will not give and take on its security interests and the imperatives of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence.” Furthermore, the NCA declared that Pakistan is ready by all means to team up with the international community as an “equal partner” in pursuit of global and absolute nuclear disarmament as well as non-proliferation. In such a scenario there is a dire need to implement the non-discriminatory policies. In addition, Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapon category should be authenticated to enforce the Global Non-Proliferation objectives. Furthermore, Pakistan also underscored regional security complex as a key factor to be considered by international community while bullying Pakistan to support non- proliferation objectives as well as the need to deal with the “existing inequality and address the stupendous quarrels.” He further elaborated on the deliberations by Ambassador Zamir Akram, who held that it was detrimental to Pakistan’s genuine security interests that it must carry on to wedge the initiation of negotiation over the treaty backed by the US to halt the production of fissile material which is usable for nuclear weapon production. Some potent states in the prevailing situation have stepped up by violating international norms while concluding an unregulated, biased and provoking agreement named as Indo-US nuclear deal, which has ignited high level of reservations for the region. The intention behind such a policy is the acquisition of their profitable interests.
He explained that FMCT that contends only to disallow future fabrication of fissile material, will enduringly congeal an intentional drawback for Pakistan, consequently it is intolerable as well. He advocated that “Obviously it is not through choice but inevitability that Pakistan is contrasting to discussions on FMCT.” The constant uneven development regarding military capability among major, medium and small powers had escalated the anxiety as well. Thus the key regions are pronged to “Great Power Politics” which has caused trembling regional equilibrium. Pakistan is highly uncomfortable over various opinions endowed by different states that “United Nation Disarmament apparatus, in particular the Conference on Disarmament, had become dysfunctional, due to its rule of process.”
Talking about Pakistan’s position on FMCT, he opined that Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA) revealed during CD on FMCT that Pakistan’s stance is linked to “its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia.” While responding to Indo-US Nuclear Deal in 2008, NCA affirmed that this agreement would ultimately have multiple impacts on the regional strategic stability. This is because of the fact that it will facilitate India to manufacture momentous amount of “fissile material and nuclear weapons from un-safeguarded nuclear reactors.”
There is a difference in perspective on FMCT among Pakistan, India, US and the other Western states. “It was estimated in 2008 that 1670 tons of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) stockpiles are existing in this world and a first-generation Nagasaki-type implosion bomb requires 25 kg of HEU. It is also observed that P5 own the 99 percent of HEU stockpiles of the world. Whereas the worldwide build up stocks of alienated plutonium remains 500 tons and half of them is being consumed in civilian purposes and continues to rise.
IAEA denotes that 8 kg of plutonium is essential to devise a first-generation implosion bomb of the Nagasaki-type. Whereas US calculates that 4 kg of plutonium would be sufficient to fabricate a nuclear weapon. The production of fissile material aimed for nuclear weapons is being carried out in India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea at the moment. US, UK, Russia and France have formally and China has informally ended the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
In common, the nuclear weapon states favor a pact that prohibits merely the fabrication of fresh fissile material aimed for nuclear weapons; whereas, it has overruled the “pre-existing civilian fissile materials and weapons materials that have been declared surplus for military use.” The uncertainty prevailing among China, India and Pakistan regarding their existing fissile material stockpiles is obvious, if they contain adequate fissile material to address future security requirements and may want to produce more. The qualms remain there for Russia, US and rest of the countries regarding the intrusiveness and cost of authentication. Non-nuclear weapon states usually analyze FMCT as a noteworthy stride to abolish nuclear weapons. In fact, they urge for a universal agreement that would put off civilian stocks and stocks affirmed in surplus, diverted for nuclear weapons.
Discussing the official position of India, he stated that it supports the development of a Fissile Material (Cutoff) Treaty, or FM(C)T. Notwithstanding statements of in-principle support; however, if India were asked to sign such a treaty today it would not be ready to do so. That is true of some other nuclear weapon states too. But India and Pakistan are also unwilling, as of now, to join the voluntary moratorium of the NPT weapon states against producing more fissile materials for weapon purposes. India’s posture is dictated by its perception of its strategic requirements. Before signing on to an FM(C)T, India has to persuade itself that its security interests will not be jeopardized by doing so. India has for many years supported the evolution of some form of a fissile-material control regime—actively during certain periods. India co-sponsored United Nations General Assembly resolution 48/75L, in 1993, which contained the mandate to negotiate an FM(C)T. This support was reiterated by India after the Conference on Disarmament (CD) adopted a negotiating mandate in 1995, and in 1998, following the establishment of a negotiating committee. As part of the Indo-US Agreement (known commonly as the Indo-US nuclear deal) announced in July 2005, India also agreed on “working with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.” India’s position on a fissile material production moratorium prior to an FM(C)T was stated quite categorically, however, by the Prime Minister on May 17, 2006, when he said, “India has made it clear that it is not prepared to accept a voluntary moratorium on production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. India is only committed to negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. India is willing to join only a non-discriminatory, multilaterally negotiated and internationally verifiable FMCT, as and when it is concluded in the Conference on Disarmament, provided our security interests are fully addressed.” The difference between the Indian position and that of the NPT nuclear weapon states on a fissile-material moratorium is not hard to explain. The United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France have already built nuclear arsenals as large as they expect to need in the foreseeable future. These countries also have adequate stocks of fissile material to significantly expand their nuclear arsenals. They all have declared a moratorium on further production. China’s case falls somewhere between that of these four nuclear weapon states and India and Pakistan. China seems to have stopped India Country Perspectives: India production of fissile materials, but has not made an official declaration of a unilateral moratorium. A plausible explanation is that it wants to keep open its options of producing more fissile material should its security environment change in the future. The most frequently cited concern is a US ballistic-missile defense system that brings into question China’s deterrent.
India would gain a maximum time to build huge stockpiles of fissile material to attain two objectives: first, to deter China and Pakistan and second, to emerge as a regional power to maintain its hegemony in South Asia.
While deliberating upon role of China, the speaker opined that China has adopted a conditional stance which is linked with the US and other states support collaboration on dialogues over “Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS).” China won’t be able to match nuclear forces of the US, Russia and Europe, once treaty signed. During the past decade, several arms control negotiations have been proposed at the Conference on Disarmament (CD), including most prominently a Fissile Material (Cutoff) Treaty, or FM(C)T, banning the production of fissile materials for weapons; a treaty for the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS); a treaty on “negative security assurances” against threats or use of nuclear weapons against non-weapon-state Parties to the NPT; and a treaty on nuclear disarmament. Different groups of countries have very different preferences concerning these negotiations and no consensus has been reached on a mandate for any negotiation. China has pushed very hard for negotiations on PAROS, is very cautious about FM(C)T, and echoes other CD members on negotiations of negative security assurances and on nuclear disarmament. A key question in the FM(C)T cost-benefit calculation is whether or not China’s current fissile-material stocks are sufficient to meet its future weapons needs. China’s fissile materials usable for weapons include both weapon-grade plutonium and weapon grade highly enriched uranium. Recent non-governmental estimates of China’s stocks of weapon-grade uranium range from 17 to 26 tons and of its plutonium from 2.3 to 3.2 tons. These estimates are based on very limited publicly available information about the capacities and histories of China’s fissile-material production facilities and the quoted uncertainties in the estimates appear smaller than the uncertainties in the input data would suggest.
He further talked about Israel in this regard and mentioned that FMCT will not be able to bar Iranian nuclear program. Thus, it is a threat to the Middle East Weapon Free Zone. Israel has always viewed an FM(C)T as a “slippery slope” towards premature nuclear disarmament, mainly because it would undermine its long-standing commitment to a policy of “nuclear opacity,” under which it neither confirms nor denies possession of nuclear weapons. For this reason, Israel offered only token support to the FM(C)T proposals put forward by the United States during the administrations of G.H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. With its growing concern about possible Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons and the conviction that an FM(C)T cannot deal with this perceived threat, Israel’s attitude towards an FM(C)T has now evolved into strong opposition. At the same time, Israel is attempting to “balance” this opposition and its purely rhetorical support for the establishment of a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) by emphasizing various actions it has taken in recent years in support of the global nonproliferation regime such as its active participation in the Comprehensive Test Ban Organization and its adherence to international norms with regards to the export of nuclear and other military technology. In this manner, it seeks to make the case that Israel is a “responsible” albeit opaque nuclear state in contrast to “rogue” states such as Iran.
Similarly France supports the FMCT and is in favor of a ban on future production of fissile material. France desires that negotiation on FMCT should be held in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) only instead of other forums outside the CD.
Germany is a proponent of a nuclear free world. It supports the efforts for the arms control and disarmament. Also, believe that there is a dire need of early negotiations, economic development and prosperity to support the idea of the global peace and security.
Russia favors comprehensive ban on the production of fissile material intended for nuclear weapon production. Countries that possess nuclear potential/capability to develop nuclear weapons must sign FMCT and ban their production of weapon grade fissile material. Russia believed that the Security Council resolution 1540 primarily dealt with the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. There had been specific situations which could not be resolved through the existing legal channels and instruments. There were many channels for negotiations, but biological terrorism could not be discussed openly. What would the Conference on Disarmament be doing otherwise, given that the traditional items on its agenda could not be supported by consensus? What were the real chances of coming to an agreement on a programme of work this year? The Conference was the only multilateral negotiating forum in the area of disarmament, and Russia saw no obstacles to discussing the prevention of chemical and biological terrorism at the CD. It would be good to pull the efforts together and elaborate a single, legally binding instrument in that regard. UK views FMCT as a giant step towards a Nuclear Weapons Free World. It stress that the nuclear capable countries must step up to end this stalemate for the global peace and security. UK also enhanced safeguards for the fissile materials and wants every country to follow the suit.
USA is the proponent of Nuclear Weapons Free World. The failure of NPT Review Conference in 2005, the Bush administration rejected the implementation of the steps taken back in 2000 NPT Review Conference. In 2006, the US presented FMCT draft which lacked many important issues including independent mechanism for along with the reservations of existing stockpiles of the fissile material. However, the Obama Administration is intended to revive negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). During 2009, US President held: “And to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons. If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons-grade materials. That’s the first step.” The United States will have to deal with China’s concerns about the US ballistic-missile-defense program, the potential weaponization of space and an emerging US conventional threat against its strategic forces. This could include US agreement to begin talks among key concerned countries on a Treaty on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.
Ms. Sadia Kazmi, spoke about “PAROS, Negative Security Assurances and Non-Proliferation Issues”. She said that all these are the core issues on the agenda of CD. While talking about these terms she explained that PAROS i.e. simply stands for “Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space” is a treaty that stands for preserving the space for peaceful uses and prohibits the placement of weapons in the orbit or on celestial bodies, and also doesn’t allow the use or threat of use of force in outer space. Similarly the “Negative Security Assurance” is a guarantee by a nuclear weapon state that it will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. And “Non-proliferation” in the simplest term is curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Regarding PAROS, she underscored that the nuclear optimists’ assessment about the nuclear weapons impressive contribution in constructing strategic stability is severely under stress in the twenty-first century. The new military and combat concepts and theories such as “control of space” and “occupation of space” have been attracting the attention of the makers of modern strategy of the Great Powers. The danger of weaponization of outer space is increasing with each passing day mostly because there is a huge corporate interest. The military-industrial complex is marching towards world domination in space technology on behalf of the global corporate interests.
Elaborating on the Space related Treaties/legal instruments, she mentioned a number of treaties such as:
Outer Space Treaty, the Moon Agreement, Registration Convention, Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused By Space Objects, and Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
However she explained that these legal instruments are not without certain limitations such as:
They Lack the provisions to fully check the deployment of space weapons; The 1967 Outer Space Treaty only prohibits deployment of weapons of mass destruction in outer space, but not other weapons; Using Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapons has not been restricted by any legal instrument; China and the US displayed their ASAT capabilities by shooting down their own orbiting satellites in 2007 and 2008, respectively
Ms. Kazmi opined that these trends have direct impact on the strategic stability as it would spiral into Security Dilemma; it would generate arms race; The action-reaction theory underscores that it is more than probable that if one state starts pursuing the weaponization of outer space, others would follow; the US military ambitions to dominate space will compel Russia and China to accelerate their Anti-Satellite (ASAT) efforts and eventually ignite a new arms race.While deliberating upon what probable role PAROS could play in the strategic stability she shared that it is an effective arms control initiative; it could help sustain the prevailing strategic stability; and could serve as a confidence building measure.
Talking about Negative Security Assurances, she maintained that no International legally-binding treaty or resolution containing negative security assurances exists, despite repeated calls by a number of non-nuclear weapon states. This undermines a sense of security for states that have renounced nuclear weapons and reinforces the misconception that the possession of and right to use nuclear weapons will deter aggression and increase security. While negative security assurances are regularly addressed at the Preparatory Committees and Review Conferences of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), these meetings have not made progress on making them legally-binding. There are a number of challenges in this also, for instance, the very fact that China, US, UK, Russia and France have given unilateral declarations (not part of treaty), which is actually just a fill up and has no credibility. Although the five NWS have made various pledges regarding NSAs, each has been either non-binding, limited in scope, or unqualified in some way.
Regarding non proliferation issues, she highlighted that nonproliferation is concerned with three major types of problems. In the short term they focus on a number of regional crisis points: the India-Pakistan arms race, North Korea, and to some extent still Iran. There is also a concern about Chinese and Russian activities that may encourage proliferation in the other regions. A second problem is the disposal of plutonium and highly enriched uranium from dismantled nuclear weapons, while preventing it from falling into the hands of terrorists or other proliferators. In the longer term, the major problem is fulfilling the pledge in the NPT by the nuclear weapons states, including the United States, to pursue complete nuclear disarmament, in the face of skepticism about the possibility, or even the wisdom, of achieving that goal.
Some of the recommendations by Ms. Kazmi were that since the existing agreements, proposals and initiatives relevant to the prevention of an arms race in outer space, including the weaponization of outer space are not substantial. Therefore, further measures should be examined for a comprehensive, effective and verifiable legally-binding international treaty for outer space to ban space-based weapons. The new treaty should be constituted through diplomatic and political means in a comprehensive, balanced, non-discriminatory and step-by-step approach in the framework of the UN on the principle of ensuring no diminution of any State’s security, fully reflecting all parties’ positions and concerns, and comprehensive considering global strategic stability and regional security circumstances. Also there should be worked out an arrangement that provides for simultaneous negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and NSAs, together with a discussion mandate on nuclear disarmament and prevention of an arms race in outer space. This would ensure that the interests of both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states would be addressed and would also aid the delegitimization of the use and hence possession of nuclear weapons.
The session was followed by questions from the audience. Ms. Sadia Tasleem, Lecturer department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University asked why Pakistan is not signing FMCT. Dr. Ishtiaq replied that there is already asymmetry in fissile material stockpiles between India and Pakistan. Signing the treaty would not be in Pakistan’s advantage.
Dr. Aqab Malik, Assistant Professor, National Defence University, asked keeping in view the ground realities in the world, whether there is a workable and feasible way to implement article VI of the NPT. Dr. Tughral Yamin answered by saying that nuclear weapons brought destruction to Japan and are dangerous if ever used again. This is why disarmament efforts are underway, and article VI is also aiming the same. Total disarmament is a utopian dream however this is quite possible to agree on minimizing or reducing the quantity of nuclear weapons by the states.
Mr. Warriach from National Defence University asked about the role of US and China on non-proliferation issues in South Asia. Dr. Ishtiaq replied that India is the principle nuclear proliferator in the region and US is pursuing a policy to make it a regional power against China. US policy is further worsening the regional security environment and is creating a Cold-War like situation in the region for achieving certain geo-political goals.
Dr. Aftab Kazi asked that given the transitional nature of world order, how the ongoing developments i.e. geo-political and strategic, might impact India-Pakistan relations. Ms. Sadia Kazmi replied that geo-political environment will continue to be the major factor in their policies vis a vis each other. This has been the case in the past and will continue to be an important factor in the future as well.
The second session titled “Non-Proliferation and Arms Control: Achievements and Way Forward” was chaired by Mr. Khalid Banuri (Director General, Arms Control and Disarmament, SPD). The speakers for this panel included: Maj (R) Shams uz Zaman (Independent Analyst), Dr. Zafar Ali (DG, Strategic Export Control division (SECDIV), MOFA), and Brig. Dr. Naeem Haider (Independent Analyst).
Maj. (R) Shams uz Zaman was the first speaker of the session to deliberate on the topic “Nuclear Security, Technology Transfers and NPT Compliance”. He started his presentation by explaining the concept of National security. He said that all states perform almost similar functions. Since establishment of Westphalia state system, National Security has been the core concern for states. It is mainly about survival, prosperity and influence. Power, manifested through multiple forms is the key to these functions. However there is no universally agreed definition of National Security, it has become a relative concept and notion varies from state to state and region to region. In general National Security encompasses both internal and external dimensions. While talking about Arms Control, he said that these are the measures aimed at preventing the development and spread of special category of weapons. A general understanding is that weaker party usually seeks for arms control. There is no universal agreed consensus on what strategic nuclear arms control should aim at, however for many it should limit nuclear weapons due to their destructive yield. Others consider elimination of weapon systems and delivery means, few wish to limit the offensive nature weapon systems and some propose for inclusion of targeting controls rather than weapons like nuclear installations or counter value targets. Arms control measures also define the transfer of technology and subsequent controls. He emphasized that there is a strong connection between transfer of technology and national security. The more a state feels vulnerable to threats, the more it would be inclined towards diverting or misusing the technology. Transfer of technology plays extremely important role in the economic growth of developing states. Occasionally transfer of sensitive materials and dual use items were misused or diverted for other purposes. He further stated that the “Technological Determinism” best explains the implications of technology which presumes that impact of technology is reflected in state’s behaviour, cultural structure and social construct. Sharing dual use technologies with states facing security dilemmas or having an urge to dominate, increases the prospects and potentials for misuse. On the technology transfer issues, Maj. (R) Zaman said that technological development drives the urge to weaponize. Technology also served as a catalyst in Indian urge to acquire status of regional hegemon and for global recognition. Classical example is of India diverting fuel from CIRUS reactor to detonate a nuclear device in 1974. Whereas the technological structure in any state can be used to measure timeframe in which states can develop nuclear weapons. Concerns over nuclear and weapon proliferation prompted developed states to devise mechanism for controlling sensitive and dual use technologies. Other than various treaties related to nuclear and strategic arms controls, currently five international arrangements or regimes exist for technology transfer controls: (1) Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), created in 1974 after Indian nuclear explosion to oversee nuclear trade and proliferation, (2) Zangger Committee (ZC), issued Trigger List to control technology for fissionable materials in Sep 1975, (3) Australia Group (AG), was created in 1985 after use of chemical weapons in Iraq to prevent technology transfer related to BWC and CWC use, (4) MTCR created in 1987 by G-7 states to prevent transfer of missile technology with range exceeding 300 km and payload of 500 kg, (5) Wassenar Agreement (WA) created in Dec 1995 to control proliferation of dual use materials/technology and conventional weapons. He elaborated the purpose of Technology Control Regimes and said it helps in 1) preventing technology from falling in wrong hands (states of concern and non-state actors), 2) Monopolization over technology by developed states, 3) Exercising control over transfer of technology to developing states at discretion using it as a leverage for vested interests and political or economic coercion and 4) Preventing developing and underdeveloped states to advance their capabilities to keep them dependent for their defence and trade industry. Regarding technology transfer in South Asia he said that Pakistan’s quest for technology had been aimed at countering Indian offensive capabilities. Conversely, Russia and the US are engaged in a new Cold War and both are ready to provide high-tech military and scientific equipment to India due to competition and market. He opined that these technology transfers are becoming a threat for regional stability and peace, risking perpetuating a dangerous regional arms race.
Maj. (R) Zaman explained that Indo-US nuclear deal and grant of controversial NSG waiver to India in 2008 for granting access to sensitive technologies is in violation to NPT (Article I). Indian development of Thermonuclear Weapons Complex at Karnataka is a direct consequence of Indo-US nuclear deal. Development of INS Arihant with cooperation from Russia and technological assistance provided to India by France, Israel and Russia for BMD is disturbing regional strategic stability. Israeli technology has also contributed towards Indian BMD Radars, Barak-8 missile, DEW (Directed Energy Weapon) and EMP weapons for SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences). Moreover, the US is desperately trying to grant India the membership of NSG which would enable India (non-NPT state) to access sensitive nuclear technologies. India has recently joined the MTCR club as well and also signed a deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts at a cost of US $ 8.8 billion. India is also about to finalize a deal to purchase S-400 Air Defence system from Russia at a cost between US $ 5 – 6 billion. According to Indian Defence Minister, in the past 23 months, India signed contracts for military hardware amounting to US $ 34 billion.
He concluded by saying, in general the principles of NPT and technology transfers are followed selectively which increases prospects of proliferation and risks instability in various regions including South Asia. Pakistan would continue to abide by the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence while responding to national security threats across the complete range of conflict spectrum through obligations necessitated by the Indian hegemonic aspirations and technological acquisitions.
Dr. Zafar Ali spoke about “Nuclear Safety and Security Issues and the Non-proliferation Regime”. He stated that the existing nonproliferation regime is built around a complex web of freely negotiated multilateral arms control and disarmament treaties i.e. NPT, CWC, BTWC, CTBT. He explained that there are export control arrangements such as the Zangger Committee, NSG, WA, MTCR and the AG. He said that common characteristics of the four regimes are that they are informal (political) agreements, issue common guidelines for exports of WMD-relevant items, issue lists of controlled items (revised periodically), all decisions are based on consensus, allow national discretion in implementation and have closed membership. He also talked about the other “Informal Initiatives” which include 1) Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) – launched in May 2003 and interdict suspected cargo carrying WMDs & Delivery Systems. 2) Container Security Initiative (CSI) – launched in January 2002, which is a security regime for the US bound cargo. Three core elements of CSI are to identify high risk containers, pre-screen and examine containers before shipping and use of technology for screening without slowing down trade. 3) Mega-ports Initiative (MPI) – launched by the US DoE, in 2003 – strengthening capacity of foreign governments – NNSA works collaboratively with foreign partners to equip airports and seaports with radiation detection equipment & provide training and technical support. 4) Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) – Jointly launched by the US and Russia in July 2006 – voluntary international partnership – aims at combating the threat of nuclear terrorism – US & Russia are co-chairs and has garnered support from 86 partners. Pakistan joined in 2007.
He maintained that the existing non-proliferation regime, however inflexible and outdated it may appear, offers essential foundation for nuclear non-proliferation policies and demonstrates a highly developed example of the role of institutions as a powerful force for stability and order. Yet, despite some notable achievements the regime has failed to achieve the desired goals underpinned in the three pillars of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) i.e. non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Partly, the failure is attributed to major powers’ geo-political self-interests, being pursued at the altar of global and regional security and partly to the structure of the regime vis-à-vis current ground realities. Major changes have occurred since the end of Cold War including fast paced technological development, globalization and resultant diffusion of technology. Proliferation threats have correspondingly become more diverse and increasingly difficult to counter as goods and technologies with sensitive military applications frequently have legitimate commercial applications as well. The changed proliferation context requires new responses and policy initiatives. He concluded by saying that the current non-proliferation framework needs to be reinforced and strengthened to effectively deter, detect, and prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons while ensuring regional and international peace and security.
Brig. Dr. Naeem Haider expressed his views on “Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention: Current Issues and Implications for National Security”. He presented an overview of both conventions. He explained that CWC negotiation commenced at the UN Conference of Disarmament in 1980. The CWC entered into force in April 1997 and its main pillars are disarmament, economic and technological developments, assistance and protection against CWC and nonproliferation and stringent verification mechanism. On safety and security of CWC he said that the extremely hazardous industrial chemicals are stored and processed in huge quantities inside and near cities. The chemical release could threaten more than a million people and are attractive targets for terrorists. He gave an overview of the Bhopal disaster, about half a million people were exposed to deadly gas, about 3,000- 4,000 people were killed immediately, with 20,000 cumulative deaths and 200,000- 500,000 were left injured.
He further explained the challenges to chemical industry. On environmental challenges he said it creates hazardous waste that can be harmful to both the environment and human health. Developing countries have not developed environmental pollution control measures, or they lack the implementing structure for the effective implementation of related regimes, national laws, and policies. On proliferation challenges he highlighted dilemma of dual-use chemicals and said that the primary mission of the chemical industry with respect to the CWC is non-proliferation.
Regarding Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) he said that states parties to the BWC undertook “never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: 1) Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes 2) Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.” Brig. Haider also explained lack of verification issues regarding BWC. He said Biological weapons eventually will be used in a terrorist attack. He explained that Anthrax Crisis in history killed five people, infected 18 others, disrupted the operations of various branches of the US government, forced tens of thousands to take prophylactic antibiotics and frightened millions of people.
The Chairman of the Ad Hoc Group proposed a compromise text. It was mandatory declarations of bio-defense and biotechnology facilities. However the US withdrew from the Ad Hoc Group negotiations. John Bolton on the other hand continued to emphasize addressing issues of nonproliferation and noncompliance. John Bolton also stated that the BWC Protocol was “dead” and simultaneously offered an “alternatives package” of voluntary measures based on national implementation measures and existing regimes. However the speaker maintained that these issues may become the key security issues of the Twenty first Century.
The session was followed by interactive question answer session; Mr. Syed Saddam, NDU asked Maj. (R) Zaman why the line between dejure and defacto nuclear weapon states has been blurred since 2000 and if there are any prospects of change in the future geostrategic environment? Maj (R) Zaman replied that once a state acquires a nuclear weapon it is very difficult to reverse it and it has to be given a defacto status. Security compulsions drive the states to make nuclear weapons. Thus defacto nuclear weapon states would behave in a way that would lead to nuclear proliferation till the time global nuclear disarmament does not take place.
Ms. Noureen Iftikhar expressed concerns about the states demanding and supplying nuclear technology, she asked why the burden is on countries demanding nuclear technologies and why the supplier side is exempted from this pressure? Dr. Zafar Ali replied that the focus was on the supplier side initially but as the proliferation incidents took place more vehemently the focus shifted from suppliers to demanders. This imbalance will remain there unless other issues that prompt the demand and supplier side are not addressed. There is a need to explore why demand is increasing because there are reasons which push countries to reinforce their technological and energy security.
Ms. Qudsiya Saleem, student FJWU asked if the NPT is being regarded as a generally failed treaty, does it require a revival of NPT or a new treaty altogether? Maj. (R) Shams uz Zaman clarified that NPT is not a failed treaty as yet but rather failed to live upto its promises. For instance the global disarmament did not happen. Because all the nuclear weapon states want to keep their weapons and want other states to stop making them. On the question regarding the need for a new treaty he said it would be a difficult task so if the existing treaty is implemented in its true spirit, there will not be a need to make new treaties.
Ms. Rabia Nazir, student FJWU said the CTBT seems idealistic so what are the chances for it to come into force and where it stands in future? Dr. Zafar Ali said that the key lies with the US on the matter of treaty’s entry into force. If the US ratifies this treaty this would put tremendous pressure on other remaining eight states that have not signed or ratified it. Only then there will be prospects for this treaty to come into force.
Mr. Zafar Iqbal asked does the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action prohibit Iran to become a nuclear weapon state? Mr. Zaman explained that the Iranian nuclear deal puts limits on Iran’s nuclear weapon developments for ten to fifteen years in order to curb Iran’s desire to develop nuclear weapon because under this agreement there will be check and balances. Therefore whenever they will intend to develop nuclear bomb it will not go unnoticed. Dr. Zafar Ali said that Iran’s enrichment facility has been curtailed and a limit has been put on Iran about running certain number of centrifuges. He further maintained that if that condition remains applicable Iran would not be able to develop nuclear weapon for next fifteen years at least.
Ms. Zaniyat Owais, student FJWU, expressed that Pakistan’s model for safeguarding its nuclear assets is good so far but the problem lies in the interest of international community. She asked why then IAEA is being considered more reliable than self contentious approach of the nation? Mr. Zaman replied if there was no specified mechanism by IAEA or UN, the states would not go for arms control or disarmament. There should be some exercising body that would ensure that no biases are taking place and states are not violating the agreements.
Ms. Sehar Nisar Khan, student NDU, directed a question to Brig Naeem Haider about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and asked that how instrumental the Conventional of Chemical Weapons has been thus far in stopping the atrocities caused by these chemical weapons? Brig Haider replied that the states that are party to this convention are under the obligation of this convention but Syria is not party to Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). However since currently it has 192 states party to this convention thus it may have the universality. When Bashar al Asad’s regime used the chemical weapons the international community gave clear voices to Syria to destroy their chemical arsenals and facilities or be prepared for the military action. Therefore, under the strength of the regime Syria greed to destroy its nuclear weapon under Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Mr. Khalid Banuri concluded the session by expressing that no matter how discriminatory the NPT is, if you unravel it by suggesting having a new treaty, it will unravel the non-proliferation regime so with all the impediments this treaty would still have the same place. He said that CWC is the most inclusive treaty that ever existed in the world. There are routine inspections that are done all around the world including Pakistan and they are pretty effective. Mr. Banuri addressed the question on possibility of conventional war in South Asian region and said that in an environment when both sides are possessing nuclear weapons, resorting to even conventional war is an escalation. So the state that is willing to escalate has to be weary of the strategic calculus and the cost of escalation that cannot rule out the presence of nuclear weapons and hence could turn problematic. He stated that IAEA and its role is significant and cannot be undermined. Mr. Banuri said that a few important points can be extracted from the range of topics that were presented in the session: first absolute non-proliferation is not possible but international community can do more stringent technology control. Both responsible and efficient trade is important, and the key is to balance between the two so that no proliferation takes place. He added that having good faith in NPT is a positive approach but zero nuclear weapon situation in the world is a distant dream. So it remains the responsibility of all nuclear states that have nuclear weapons to be responsible regarding their arsenals and keep them safe and secure. Mr. Banuri referred to Fukushima incident and opined that nuclear power will not go out of the fashion but the cost of nuclear safety will increase and the world has to commensurate with that. He concluded by saying that exceptionalism has to be avoided in arms control and non-proliferation regime as the world needs an equal and undiminished security forum.
The fourth session “Nuclear Suppliers Group and Non Proliferation Regime” was chaired by Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema (President SVI). The speakers for this session included Dr. Zafar Khan (Asst. Prof., Department of Strategic Studies, NDU), Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal (Associate Professor, department of IR, QAU), and Mr. Waseem Qutab (Director ACDA, SPD).
Dr. Zafar Khan presented his views on “NSG Norms, Nonproliferation Regime: Critical Issues and Criteria”. He said that NSG plays an essential role that governs the set provisions for both nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports. Gradually, the NSG makes sure that it keeps itself updated, effective and credible. Currently, NSG seems to have increased its credibility much more by making sure that its members would follow the strict guidelines by not exporting the nuclear related technology to both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states if they are sure that these nuclear related items/technology/materials could be diverted for nuclear weapons program. NSG confronts critical issues with regards to its long lasting efforts for meeting the principles of non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. First, the US-India nuclear deal and the NSG’s nuclear exemptions to India has become a critical issue for the NSG in terms of sustaining its credibility. This indicates that NSG undermines its own credibility by violating its own set guidelines. Although India claims to follow the IAEA’s additional protocol by accepting its safeguards, it is not clear whether or not India is following the comprehensive safeguards. India states that it would follow the principles in phases in terms of bringing its nuclear reactors under the IAEA’s safeguards. The Phases could provide India with an opportunity to exploit the IAEA’s additional protocol. This could undermine the credibility of the NSG and the IAEA’s safeguard agreement when India would have already acquired much fissile materials for making nuclear warheads out of its currently 8 nuclear reactors. It is important to note that these reactors are not under the IAEA’s safeguards. India also claims to retain its nuclear moratorium. But the evidences show at Karnataka that India could go for more nuclear weapons tests including building more nuclear reactors for its nuclear submarines. Despite the NSG’s exemptions, India tends to remain outside the CTBT and the NPT at large. It tends to keep many of its civilian nuclear activities outside the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards reflecting that it could acquire more deterrent forces.
Second, NSG is not clear how and when it would need to increase its membership. Whether or not, it would include India as a nuclear weapon state, which is not party to the NPT. Also, it is not clear if it intends to bring both India and Pakistan into the NSG simultaneously by widening its scope of nuclear politics. As both India and Pakistan prepare the grounds for joining the NSG, it is important that NSG brings Pakistan in when and if India becomes part of growing cartel group. India without Pakistan into the NSG would have far reaching implications on the strategic stability of South Asia. This will also completely go against the norms and values of the NSG. Once the NSG accepts India’s membership for whatever reasons leaving Pakistan behind, it could make Pakistan’s membership into the NSG more complex and hard because then India will have the veto power to block Pakistan’s chances for the membership completely. That means that Pakistan may not be able to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. If the NSG needs to sustain and strengthen its norms and non-proliferation values, it should not allow India in the first place to become part of the NSG as a nuclear weapon state, not party to the NPT. If it does show flexibility in terms of allowing a member in possession of nuclear weapon and not party to the NPT, then the NSG will need to allow Pakistan too to help prevent the strategic consequences for South Asia.
As the NSG members unanimously consider India’s NSG’s membership with the aim to strengthen the norms and values, it is equally imperative for NSG to consider Pakistan’s membership as well. This scenario brings the NSG into a complex decision making dilemma. Perhaps, the NSG would buy more time to consider both India and Pakistan’s membership. However, unless otherwise the NPT accepts both India and Pakistan as recognized nuclear weapons states, it would be a difficult decision for both India and Pakistan to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states in order to secure a membership in the NSG. Since the NSG’s guidelines create a bar for both India and Pakistan to become members of the NSG without being party to the NPT. There are a couple of options for both the NPT and the NSG:
One, the NPT would recognize both India and Pakistan as nuclear weapons states before they think of joining the NPT. Presumably, as India and Pakistan get maturity in their nuclear weapons program, the NPT and NSG could eventually recognize these nuclear weapons states with the ultimate motive to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
Two, the NSG may create flexibility in its guidelines by allowing these two nuclear weapons states as nuclear weapons states, not party to the NPT, but of course agreeing to international treaties and safety conventions. Currently, it may not be acceptable for both India and Pakistan to join the NSG as non-nuclear weapons states, party to the NPT. In the international politics in general and nuclear politics in particular, states would always go for effective cost and benefit analysis as to how much they are winning and losing before becoming part of the treaty. In the realist paradigm, states would prefer to have maximum gain out of something.
Three, one of the fundamental critical issues for the NSG in general and the non-proliferation regime in particular, is the NSG’s principle of non-proliferation, disarmament and the use of peaceful nuclear technology. The issue of disarmament still remains at large. Fissile Material Treaty becomes a proposed treaty. The CTBT is yet to be enforced. The Prevention on Arms Race in the Outer Space (PAROS) is still an outstanding issue for the non-proliferation regime. All nuclear weapons states party to the NPT and the NSG have not kept their promises that these nuclear weapons states would one-day disarm. These nuclear weapons states not only retain their deterrent forces, but also modernize both of their conventional and nuclear force posture impacting other nuclear weapons states’ strategies. These in turn reflect the relevance of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century nuclear politics.
He stressed that despite the gradual increase in the membership, the non-proliferation regime particularly the NPT and the NSG have got loopholes. Despite the big membership, they failed to convince both China and France to ratify the NPT in the early years of its creation with the given nuclear weapons status. Both France and China joined the NPT in 1992. They failed to stop France from carrying out more nuclear weapons tests in 2005 when France broke its nuclear moratorium modernizing its deterrent forces. This could happen to the NSG as well when India would carry out more nuclear weapons tests undermining the credibility of the NSG and other non-proliferation regimes India would become part of. They failed to stop India from carrying out nuclear tests first in 1974 and later in 1998. They failed to follow their own normative posture and values by giving India the NSG’s exemptions against whom the regime was created in the first place. They will fail their normative posture by allowing India a membership when India has not yet joined the NPT and the CTBT and it still lags behind from following the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards. Moreover, they have failed to prevent North Korea quitting the NPT and testing its nuclear weapons capability for many times. The non-proliferation regime failed to restructure itself crafting a mechanism for punishment once they find a state either quitting the nonproliferation regime or be suspicious of diverting the nuclear technology into building a nuclear weapons program.
He expressed that currently, both the NSG, as a cartel group, and the existence of the NPT have become extremely imperative for peace and security of international community. However, at the same time, they confront critical issues to actualizing the imperatives of non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear technology to all states without any discrimination. The non-proliferation regime will need to promote the ideals of strategic restrain regime, conventional balances and avoidance of nuclear war. It is because of these normative postures, that the non-proliferation regimes including that of the NSG will have the chances of survival.
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal expressed his views on “Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement: Critical Analysis of IAEA Safeguards and Trade with NSG”. He started his presentation with two statement and one general assumption, first he shared that on October 10, 2008 the Indo-US agreement entered into force regarding which the Former United States Secretary of State gave a statement “What is most valuable about this agreement is how it unlocks a new and far broader world of potential for our strategic partnership in the 21st century, not just on nuclear cooperation but on every area of national endeavor.” The second statement was given by Manmohan Singh, “It marks the end of India’s decade’s long isolation from the nuclear mainstream and of the technology denial regime. It is the recognition of India’s impeccable non-proliferation credentials and its status as a state with advanced nuclear technology. It will give an impetus to India’s pursuit of environmentally sustainable economic growth.” He suggested that the Indo-US agreement must be understood in the context of India’s nuclear weapon state and its geostrategic importance.
He shared that the deal started to work in 2006,and was called the Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006. The major outcomes of this Act were that it amended the non-proliferation act of 1978 and the energy act of 1994. These amendments completely transformed the nature of the agreement. As a result of these amendments, India was given a waiver for IAEA full scope safeguards and an exemption was granted to India by relaxing NSG rules for nuclear legal trade with NSG members’ states. It is evident that if the US could completely transform its nuclear nonproliferation policies then there sure were other vested objectives. The deal was not for economic purposes but it was more than that. Of course after the aforementioned agreement India had to put its 13 civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. However India now can access the international fuel market including reliable and uninterrupted fuel supplies in companies of several nations. India developed its strategic reserves of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supplies over lifetime of India’s reactors. All nuclear suppliers facilitated India in building significant reserves. India also has taken corrected measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors. Historically, India has violated IAEA safeguarded reactor of Canada-India-reactor-United States (CIRUS) in 1974. Even today India is using the reversal of its nuclear material for military purposes.
He said that India already has enough fissile material both uranium and plutonium to make nuclear bombs as also was mentioned in a study conducted recently by ISSI but systematically it goes higher than ten thousand warheads. For the purpose of physical protection and system of accounting for and control of all items, Paragraph 99, and 100 of the India-IAEA safeguards agreement mainly relies on measures taken by India itself by taking into account the recommendations set out in INFCIRC/225/Rev.4, and provisions which would be set out in subsidiary arrangements. This can be a possible loophole for nuclear theft and smuggling and diversion of peaceful nuclear technology for military purpose. India is allowed to buy and sell the nuclear fuel and material with the rest of the world without joining the NPT.
Dr. Jaspal said that the NSG states are also concerned about the nuclear trade because there is liability issue, which questions who will pay if there is nuclear accident. This worries American companies more because in 2010 the Indian parliament passed civil liability of nuclear damage Act. It alarmed the Americans because they had a bad experience of Bhopal incident in 1984. Generally the suppliers want any liability to be paid by the plant’s operator, which is not accepted to India. However the issue was addressed by Obama in 2015 and the solution was found to create bank insurance that will cover suppliers’ liability to US $ 2200. In this India has also promised to add US $300 million. The other issue was related to tracking because Americans said that all the material will be tracked by the US and not by the IAEA.
Dr. Jaspal concluded by saying that India has managed to get several interesting benefits. India avoided limitations to its nuclear weapons program while signing this agreement. It avoided the possibility of sanctions and their supply of nuclear fuel will not be disrupted in any scenario as happened after 1998 test. After eight years of Indo-US nuclear deal it can be concluded that India has achieved its unstated objectives. Moreover, the US-India trade cooperation volume has increased to US $ 32 billion in 2006 to US $ 67 billion in 2014. After recent agreement they will also be sharing their military bases. In any case, India balanced to maintain its non-alignment stature. Conversely, for NSG membership, PM Modi announced India’s Pacific strategy, in which Russia, France, UK, South Korea, Japan all signed an agreement with India including Canada. The Japanese nuclear policies do not encourage any state which is having a nuclear weapon program or have intentions to make nuclear weapons. But things are changing and major shifts are taking place in the nuclear commercial lobbies.
He stated that Indo-US agreement undermines the credibility of its non-proliferation policy and IAEA. It also undermines the credibility of NSG.
Mr. Waseem Qutab spoke on “NSG and Pakistan’s Nuclear Credentials”. He said that regardless of India’s membership application, Pakistan considers in its own right that it qualifies for the NSG membership. There are a number of areas in which Pakistan’s credentials are even stronger than India. Unlike India, Pakistan has independent regulatory body PNRA. India till date does not have such an organization. Unlike India, Pakistan’s all civilian facilities are under IAEA safeguards, whereas India has kept several so called peaceful reactors outside the safeguards. India has sufficient material and the technical capacity to produce between 356 to 492 nuclear bombs. Unlike India, Pakistan has impeccable track record of safeguard implementation. Pakistan supports negotiating a broader Fissile Material Treaty in the Conference of Disarmament, which should not only cut off future production but also take into account existing stocks of fissile material. Pakistan has also voted in favor of CTBT and it has maintained a consistent position that it will not be the first to resume nuclear testing in South Asia, In fact, Pakistan has proposed to India to convert unilateral moratorium into a bilateral commitment.
Talking about the factors to be considered for NSG membership, Mr. Qutab said that Pakistan is one of the few states that operate a complete nuclear fuel cycle. Pakistan has the capability to manufacture and produce nuclear materials, non-nuclear materials, nuclear and non-nuclear equipment and components that are widely used in nuclear industry. Pakistan makes full use of nuclear technology in power generation, agriculture, environment, industry and health. Recently Pakistan has also become an associate member of the largest particle physics lab in the world, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Pakistan has established a comprehensive and effective export control regime that takes into account NSG standards. When Pakistan submitted its application, it also declared its formal adherence to NSG guidelines. Pakistan is one of the founding members of the IAEA. Since 1969, Pakistan has actively contributed to the CD in negotiating multilateral arms control and disarmament instruments on the principle of equal and undiminished security for all.
He maintained that NSG’s participating governments would therefore stand to gain by offering membership to Pakistan because it is a state with complete programme for harnessing peaceful uses of nuclear energy and offer requisite expertise, manpower and infrastructure. He concluded by saying that criteria based membership remains the way forward. NSG stands at crossroads, whatever decision it would take will have long term implications.
The session was followed by interactive question answer session; Ms. Rubina Waseem, PhD Scholar, NDU asked, if there is any possibility of forming alliance with India to get into NSG? Although there is a long history of mistrust but keeping in mind the objective to get the membership of NSG, can it not be considered simultaneously? Mr. Waseem Qutab replied that both countries have some CBMs which continue to get disrupted. There were few bilateral agreements like pre-notification of missile tests and hotlines but this process to sign bilateral agreement did not continue. Hence if country is dismissive of bilateral dialogue process then it cannot be continued. Pakistan has offered number of proposals and showed willingness to start the diplomatic process but India sees itself in different prism.
Ms. Maria Sultan President SAASI asked about the prospects of criteria based approach especially when comprehensive safeguard agreement is also a conditionality to become a member of the NSG. She further asked how the same would be seen by the NSG members. Dr. Cheema also supported the argument and said that in international politics decisions cannot be made on the basis of merit so why doesn’t Pakistan consider the political dimension. Mr. Waseem replied that Pakistan does not enjoy that kind of strategic alignment with the US. However there are other states that support Pakistan’s point of view. He supported Ms. Maria’s argument and said that comprehensive safeguard agreement is the only reason why India got declined by states to grant NSG membership. Because the comprehensive safeguard agreements are for the non-nuclear weapon states of NPT so these agreements are not applicable to India or Pakistan. Ms. Maria Sultan further asked what is Pakistan’s stance when we talk about NSG? Where is our nuclear bargain? Because the reason is that there has to be a political dimension to the nuclear issues. Mr. Waseem explained that Pakistan has expressed concerns on number of issues regarding the strategic stability of South Asia. The concerns have been expressed in case India becomes the member if Pakistan is left out of the group. Pakistan has effectively made its credentials known to the world and has highlighted the principles although no criterion has been spelled out. However it should be a non-discriminatory and equally applicable to all non-NPT states. Dr. Jaspal added to the debate and suggested that once the negotiations start on the criteria the bargain can also be done.
Ms. Rubab, student QAU asked why has North Korea been able to leave the NPT and conducting nuclear missiles tests one after and why the US and IAEA have not been able to restrain its nuclear program? Dr. Zafar Khan said that there have been several sanction on North Korea to curb their nuclear program which however is not a good idea because the issue should instead be resolved through the diplomatic channels.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema asked to comment on the tracking concerns related to the recent development where India and Pakistan ratified the 25th Amendment of Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). Dr. Japsal said that tracking will be done by the organization but Indian fissile material will be tracked by the US.
The last question was directed to Dr. Zafar Jaspal emphasizing on the presence of enough nuclear weapons in South Asia which could easily ensure mutual destruction. Hence this may affect other powers in the region such as China, so why Pakistan should be more worried about the regional developments owing to India’s ambitious posture? Dr. Jaspal explained that Pakistan has this clear understanding that most of the policies and developments are aimed at Pakistan. Many a times Pakistan is subjected to the criticism as to why it doesn’t sign FMCT when it has sufficient fissile material. In fact treaties should be accommodative as per the strategic environment. New kind of weapons in region like BMD which when gets deployed will disturb the deterrence equilibrium. Technologically Pakistan is far behind and continuously has to match India numerically. This is the reason why the number of weapons is going high.
In the end, Mr. Ross Masood Husain, Chairperson SVI, congratulated the SVI for organizing a successful conference. He appreciated the Chief Guest, Mr. Akram Zaki, for his impressive and thought provoking inaugural address. He also applauded all the speakers in all the sessions of the conference. He said that all speakers left a positive perception. He elaborated that perceptions are important because they are instrumental in setting goals. All the papers presented in the conference outlined options for Pakistan in the changing security dynamics. He announced that proceedings of the conference will be published in the form of a book. Further he said that the US has managed to erode its image of impartiality after signing a discriminatory nuclear deal with India in 2008 and the current US efforts to make India permanent member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is further proving the same. Such lack of impartial attitude from the US may lead Pakistan to reshuffle its priorities. He went on to say that the current world is chaotic, and Pakistan’s policy makers will have to make decisions that are in the highest national interest. Pakistan should never have to compromise on its nuclear program which guarantees Pakistan’s national security.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, President/Executive Director SVI, extended his thanks to all the speakers, and audience for coming and participating in the conference.
Media covered the proceeding of the in-house seminar: