In accordance with the work plan circulated by you, I have asked for the floor to address the issue of nuclear risk reduction measures. As noted by you, this topic was also discussed in Subsidiary Body 2 on the “prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters”.
The SSOD I in 1978 declared by consensus that “all States, in particular nuclear-weapon States, should consider as soon as possible various proposals designed to secure the avoidance of the use of nuclear weapons, the prevention of nuclear war and related objectives, where possible through international agreement, and thereby ensure that the survival of mankind is not endangered.”
Although the relevance of this issue seemed to have receded in the post-Cold War period, it is again starting to gain prominence in the contemporary strategic setting. With the deteriorating international and regional security environment, a renewed focus on the prevention of nuclear war in general, and on nuclear risk reduction measures in particular, would contribute to building confidence between states and enhancing regional and global strategic stability.
The prevention of nuclear war and nuclear risk reduction measures need to be considered in a broad perspective, in terms of how to prevent war in general, also taking into account the threats emanating from conventional armed forces and doctrines, as well as from new types of destabilizing weapons systems.
A simple prohibition on the use or on the first-use of nuclear weapons, like the unilateral political statements to this effect, would be purely declaratory, unverifiable and unenforceable and would, therefore, not achieve the desired effect, especially in regions where conventional capabilities are not balanced.
Pakistan views nuclear weapons strictly in the context of deterring all forms of aggression, in order to ensure its security. We have consistently signaled the willingness to consider further measures for confidence building, risk reduction and the avoidance of an arms race in the region. Pakistan remains open towards any bilateral or multilateral initiative on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament that is equitable and results in equal and undiminished security for all the concerned states.
In terms of issues that could be discussed by the CD under the rubric of risk reduction measures, first and foremost, we should consider the establishment of a dedicated Working Group of the CD to deliberate on all issues relevant to the prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters, to identify measures that can be agreed by consensus leading to the launch of negotiations on legally-binding instruments. This proposed, standalone Working Group should be exclusively focused on agenda item no. 2 of the CD, and be distinct from nuclear disarmament that should continue to be addressed in a dedicated manner under agenda item no. 1, to address, inter alia, the following issues: one, reducing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons; two, addressing the link between nuclear deterrence and conventional forces, weapons and doctrines, including Anti-Ballistic Missiles and other types of destabilizing weapon systems; and three, the role of extended nuclear deterrence and the risks associated with it including through the stationing of nuclear weapons in the territory of non-nuclear weapon states.
I thank you, Mr. Coordinator.