Institutional support

THE strength of institutional decisions on major policies was reflected in the strong position taken by Pakistan, on its own, at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, which effectively blocked the adoption of the 2010 agenda of the CD. The major issue is the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT), which would create permanent imbalance in the nuclear field - especially between Pakistan and India. Earlier, Pakistan was unable to take the sort of stand that was required because of the prevailing ambivalence at the decision-making level in some quarters. That is why the NCA decision has given the necessary support to our diplomats to take tough positions and stand by them, knowing that back home they will get the necessary political backing. The institutional decision-making also makes it difficult for external players to use effective pressure. The fact is that the earlier agreements in the CD have become outdated, having not moved beyond rhetoric for twelve years. Meanwhile realities on the ground have altered, especially for Pakistan in its region. It now faces an India getting nuclear support from the US, France and Russia, as well as an India moving towards nuclear war fighting rather than deterrence by developing missile defence. On the conventional weapon front also India is acquiring massive offensive systems and evolving military doctrines to rationalise limited war within a nuclear environment. All these factors have altered the strategic dynamics for Pakistan and it is absolutely correct for Ambassador Akram to demand that the CD also consider conventional arms control at the regional and sub-regional levels. After all, the CD has dealt with many regional-level arms control measures earlier also including the regional nuclear weapon free zones' treaties. Again, it is in keeping with the new realities that the CD also widens the scope of its nuclear-related discourse to include a global regime on all aspects of missiles. It makes little sense to try and rehash outmoded treaty drafts that belong to bygone realities. One should learn from the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Article IX, which defines a nuclear weapon state as one that tested before 1 January 1967. The result of this dated approach is that it leaves little room for Pakistan and India to be accommodated as nuclear weapon states within the NPT regime's ambit and accept their obligations as such. It is time for the CD to move in tune with prevailing realities and make realistically meaningful treaty drafts. As for Pakistan, it now has the national institutional support that should ensure that it stand its ground in the CD.

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