ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has expressed concern over international security environment and asked the Conference on Disarmament, the multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament, to come out of its “stagnation”.
Director General Arms Control and Disarmament Division of the Foreign Affairs Kamran Akhtar, while speaking on NPT and Promise of Disarmament, said: “We are having an international security environment that has seen erosion of exiting treaty framework.” The webinar was hosted by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI). The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970, is considered the cornerstone of international non-proliferation regime. However, the extremely slow disarmament progress has caused disappointment about it and its future. The next NPT Review Conference is scheduled for August in New York this year. It has twice been delayed because of COVID-19.
The director general said nuclear weapon states are modernizing their arsenal and adopting newer and emerging technologies that are undermining strategic stability and increasing reliance of states, which had been left behind in technology, on nuclear weapons. “There are nuclear doctrines of nuclear weapon states, which talk about possible nuclear responses to cyber-attacks,” he noted, adding that all of this was adding to an uncertain international security mix.
He believed that the environment at the international level is not conducive for disarmament because of aversion of countries possessing technology to regulation for fear of losing the advantage they currently enjoy. Kamran Akhtar asked the Conference on Disarmament to “come out of its stagnation” and take a “comprehensive view of international security environment. He suggested that CD could do this by taking up space capabilities of nuclear weapon states, considering regulation of emerging technologies and conventional arms control in the debate on disarmament.
Former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official Tariq Rauf said the NPT is backing the CEND (Creating the Environment for Nuclear Disarmament) initiative, but the collapsing architecture of nuclear arms control between the US and Russia has instead increased the dangers of the use of nuclear weapons as compared to the cold war.
Prof (Dr) Zafar Nawaz Jaspal of the Quaid-i-Azam University was not optimistic about the prospects of disarmament. Disarmament, he maintained, looks impossible since the anarchic international system has reversed the order of nuclear proliferation. Despite the ongoing COVID pandemic, there is considerable focus on military buildup at the regional and global levels, he said.
Former diplomat Tariq Osman Hyder said factors like re-emergence of great power rivalry and modernization of nuclear arsenal; offensive doctrines; emerging technologies like artificial intelligence; and integration of cyber technology and autonomous weapons systems have stressed the global arms control and disarmament efforts.
President SVI Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema was, meanwhile, of the opinion that the bargain made by non-nuclear weapon states with the nuclear-weapon states in the form of NPT has turned to be a bad one in the sense that until today, the nuclear-weapon states have not only given up nuclear weapons but some more nuclear weapons states have surfaced.
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