We appreciate the manner in which you have chaired the meetings of Subsidiary Body 2 on the “prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters”. My delegation has participated actively and contributed substantively during the deliberations.
The discussions held so far revealed once again the wide divergence of views on almost all issues related to a ban of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Above all, the aspects that are the most fundamental for any treaty, that is, its objectives and scope, remain unresolved. These glaring differences cannot, and should not be glossed over. We must clearly identify the critical areas that need to be addressed in order to develop a unified approach on these highly contentious issues. We will work with you, Mr. Coordinator, and with all other delegations in a constructive spirit to prepare a factual and balanced report that can be agreed by consensus. It must accurately reflect all the viewpoints, including the discussion to be held in the meeting today.
Coming over to the topic under discussion today. 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.”
Following SSOD I, several UN General Assembly resolutions requested that the CD commence negotiations on the prevention of nuclear war, and the question was put on the agenda of the Conference in 1983. Since 1984, the issue of the “prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters” has featured as a standalone item on the CD’s agenda – currently reflected as agenda item no. 2. Over the years, the distinction between this agenda item and agenda item no. 1 on nuclear disarmament has remained somewhat unclear with the result that similar issues have been discussed under both, as reflected in the annual reports of the CD.
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 would contribute to building confidence and enhancing strategic stability.
The prevention of nuclear war needs 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 new types of destabilizing weapons systems. A simple prohibition on the use or on the first-use of nuclear weapons would be purely declaratory, unverifiable and unenforceable and would, therefore, not achieve the desired effect.
Pakistan views nuclear weapons strictly in the context of deterring all forms of aggression, in order to ensure its security. The introduction of nuclear weapons in our region in 1974, unfortunately put an end to the prospect for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons – an objective which Pakistan had actively pursued for decades.
Pakistan has demonstrated utmost restraint and responsibility in the stewardship of its nuclear capability. It is committed to the principle of Credible Minimum Deterrence and has persistently sought deterrence stability in the region. Pakistan has consistently signaled its willingness to consider further measures for risk reduction and avoidance of arms race in the region.
Cognizant of its responsibility as a state with nuclear capability, Pakistan has over the years developed robust command and control systems led by the National Command Authority, as well as effective nuclear safety and security regimes and export controls which are at par with the contemporary international standards.
Pakistan remains open towards any bilateral or multilateral initiative on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament that is equitable and results in undiminished security for all the concerned states. Peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving the underlying disputes; agreeing on reciprocal measures for nuclear and missile restraint; and instituting a balance between conventional forces. We have offered a proposal for a strategic restraint regime in South Asia which is based on these three inter-locking elements.
In terms of issues that could be discussed by the CD under this agenda item, 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 Working Group should be exclusively focused on agenda item no. 2 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, role of extended nuclear deterrence including the stationing of nuclear weapons in the territory of non-nuclear weapon states.
We can elaborate on these proposals during the discussions.
I thank you, Mr. Coordinator.