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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 24, March 1998

Statements to the CD: Pakistan and India

Statement by Pakistan

Statement by His Excellency Mr. Gohar Ayub Khan, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, to the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, 19 March 1998


"Pakistan's positions on all disarmament issues are, naturally, responsive to our challenging security environment. We are obliged to contend with the great power ambitions and aggressive proclivities of our eastern neighbour, which has thrice thrust war upon Pakistan.

No responsible government in Islamabad can afford to ignore the following realities:

  • due to non-implementation of Security Council resolutions, a brutal eight-year old conflict is underway in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir...;
  • an average of 2,200 ceasefire violations take place each year along the Line of Control in Kashmir...;
  • two large armies face each other eye-ball to eye-ball along the border. This is the world's major flash-point;
  • virtually all of our neighbour's military assets - a 1.2 million man army, over 500 aircraft, a naval flotilla - are deployed against Pakistan;
  • the serial production and deployment of the nuclear-capable Prithvi, aimed specifically at Pakistan, has commenced. It may soon be followed by the medium-range Agni;
  • the on-going acquisition by our neighbour of a large number of advanced aircraft, anti-missile systems and other armaments, despite the absence of any real threat to its security.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has been subjected to unjust embargoes and sanctions, severely eroding our defence capabilities and creating the military possibility of aggression. Pakistan is obliged to redress this asymmetry in order to deter aggression. No one should doubt our ability and determination to deliver a swift and telling response to any aggression or adventurism against Pakistan.

Sadly, the world awakens to the clear and present dangers in South Asia only when Pakistan is obliged to respond to escalatory steps initiated by our neighbour. This is yet another reflection of the discrimination to which Pakistan has been subjected for almost 25 years, since our neighbours nuclear explosion at Pokharan [1974]. Recent public utterances and pronouncements by the BJP President that India will 'go nuclear' should evoke global concern. South Asia may be pushed into a dangerous arms race. The international community should understand that Pakistan does not wish to expend its scarce resources on a conventional or a nuclear arms race. As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said, Pakistan 'strives for peace and stability in the region'. He took the initiative to open a comprehensive dialogue with India. We hope this will be sustained with the new Indian government which, we hope, will be agreeable to serious negotiations to resolve the 'core' issue of Kashmir. Besides Kashmir, the Agenda also includes an item on 'Peace and Security.' Through a dialogue under this item Pakistan is prepared to evolve agreement for mutual and equal restraint with India in the conventional, missile and nuclear fields. But we will not accept one-sided or unilateral constraints on our ability to deter aggression.

The peoples of South Asia cannot be denied their basic social needs... We cannot meet these needs if we continue to spend our precious resources on armaments.

The world community can help us to achieve the goal of peace and security in South Asia. Those who wish to sell arms to our neighbour while denying these to Pakistan should reconsider. Those who sell our neighbour new weapons systems must know that we will be obliged to respond... It is not by adopting double standards - not by pampering a truculent power while penalizing an accommodating friend - that the incentives can be created for equitable arms control or peace in South Asia."

Reply by India

Statement by Ms. Savitri Kunadi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Office in Geneva, to the Conference on Disarmament, 19 March 1998


"[W]e have listened with attention to the statement made by the distinguished Foreign Minister of Pakistan. It was not my intention to request the floor today. However, I am obliged to state the position of my delegation on certain points which have been raised... It is a matter of great regret that he has sought to highlight issues in this forum which, if they are to be seriously addressed, belong to the bilateral discussion table of the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan. When the Foreign Secretary talks began in 1990, the Government of India stated that it was willing to discuss all issues... Some progress in confidence-building has been made by putting into place agreements for non-attack of each other's nuclear facilities; the regular use of [the] hotline between the Director Generals of Military Operations on both sides; for pre-notification of troop movements and military manoeuvres; and for preventing air space violations.

In addition, India has put forward a number of other proposals... From time to time we have seen Pakistan placing preconditions at these talks, walking away from the table and then attempting to drum up support in international fora. This cannot be described as serious intent or a reflection of commitment to sustained and productive dialogue. Confidence-building is not promoted by rhetoric and propaganda of an impending arms race or reiteration of impractical and insincere proposals... India remains committed to such a sustained and constructive dialogue at the Foreign Minister level...

[R]eference has been made to Jammu & Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. It is a source of satisfaction for India and the international community that instigated violence and terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir have been brought under control through the determined efforts of the people and with the restoration of the democratic process. ...

Reference has also been made to India's missile programme. India's missile programme is not a secret or clandestine programme. It is an open programme. Its test flights are routinely announced...as are decisions relating to further development, production and deployment. These decisions are taken in view of India's national security interests. On the other hand, we can hardly expect similar transparency on the part of a country whose programme is based on clandestine acquisitions, and to date, therefore, is neither confirmed nor denied. We can understand Pakistan's compulsions and the fear of further sanctions which prevents [it] from being as transparent in this regard as India. But this cannot contribute to generating confidence. ...

[T]he CD is the sole multilateral negotiating forum for disarmament. I would, therefore, recommend that we focus on how to resolve the current impasse in this form and leave Indo-Pak bilateral issues to the forum for which they are best suited, namely dialogue at the bilateral level which has been resumed last year."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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