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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 29, August - September 1998

Statements to the CD

Editor's note: China's position of the importance of the prevention of an arms race in outer space, set out in its 13 August CD statement, also features in its Defence White Paper, extracts from which are reproduced below. Documents and Sources also includes material from the Clinton-Yeltsin Summit, mentioned in the 8 September statements by the US and Russia. The UK statement of 30 July, reporting on the British Strategic Defence Review, is available on our web-site: see last issue for a special feature on the Review.

Statement by Pakistan, 30 July

Statement by Munir Akram in the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, 30 July 1998


"The nuclear tests conducted by India, and Pakistan's response, have attracted considerable international attention, including in the Conference on Disarmament. Since the special meeting of the CD held on 29 May 1998, the South Asian situation has been discussed by the P-5, the G-8 and the Security Council and other forums. Pakistan has, naturally, noted the Communiqués and decisions reached with great care and some concern.

We would wish to assert a fundamental point with regard to our nuclear tests. The tests conducted by Pakistan should be evaluated on the basis of the legal and political criteria which the international community has adopted in the CTBT itself.

The Treaty recognizes in Article IX, the sovereign right of any State Party to the Treaty to withdraw from it in case of 'extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardised its supreme interests'. Such withdrawal from the CTBT obviously implies that the concerned State would have the right to conduct further nuclear tests. During the negotiations of the CTBT, one State declared, at the highest level, that it would withdraw from the Treaty and resume testing, if its agencies determined that any one type of its nuclear weapons was no longer reliable and required further testing. Surely, nuclear explosions conducted by our adversary were much more 'extraordinary', and would have justified withdrawal and testing by Pakistan even if it was a party to the CTBT and if the Treaty was in force. Further, if such a response could be upheld after the CTBT had entered into force, it could certainly be justified in case of the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan before it had even signed the CTBT.

During the CTBT negotiations, my delegation had stated specifically that this was an 'all or nothing' Treaty; that if one State continued to test, others could not be expected to refrain from doing so. Article XIV of the Treaty requiring compulsory adherence by 44 States was based on the fundamental presumption of collective and reciprocal restraint by all concerned. Thus, in conducting its nuclear tests in response to India's tests, Pakistan acted in accordance with the norms set out in the CTBT itself.

Indeed, when voting in favour of the CTBT in the General Assembly, Pakistan stated quite categorically that, if a nuclear test was conducted by another State - we obviously had India in mind - we would be obliged to withdraw from the Treaty and, by implication, to conduct such nuclear tests if so required.

Moreover, the nuclear tests conducted by the Indian government were followed by statements asserting that the strategic relationship had been altered, that India would deploy nuclear weapons, that this had implications for the settlement of Kashmir, that India could launch 'hot pursuit' attacks across the Line of Control.

We could not ignore these belligerent declarations. Our failure to respond to India's nuclear tests could have eroded the delicate psychological judgements which are the essence of deterrence. Any Indian miscalculation regarding Pakistan's capabilities - such as an adventure across the Line of Control or the international border - could have led to disastrous consequences.

We firmly believe that, whereas India's nuclear tests destabilised the 'existential deterrence' which has operated between India and Pakistan for almost 20 years, Pakistan's tests served to re-establish balance and stability.

Our friends should understand that Pakistan was compelled to respond to India's tests. We did not conduct our tests to undermine global non-proliferation; nor do have the ambition to seek the formal status of a nuclear-weapon State; much less do we wish to set a 'bad example' for others. Our national security, and the maintenance of mutual deterrence, was at stake. We had no choice but to respond.

We are sad that so many of our friends have not fully appreciated these compulsions and have equated Pakistan with India in their denunciations and punitive actions. This 'equal' treatment of India and Pakistan has had an unequal impact - it has hurt Pakistan much more than India.

We deeply appreciate China's endeavour to seek a differentiation in the treatment of the 'culprit' and the 'victim'. We warmly welcome the wise resistance by France and some others to the use of sanctions. We also welcome the efforts made by those who were obliged by their laws to apply restraints, to ameliorate their impact, and thus avoid unintended and counterproductive results.

Such understanding and gestures have encouraged Pakistan to open a dialogue with all these countries to address the security situation in South Asia. We have held high-level talks with China, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in the past few weeks. ...

Our ability to engage in such a substantive dialogue has improved in the wake of the strategic review we conducted of our security posture recently in Islamabad. We have examined the positions taken by various friendly countries in the light of these national security considerations. We do not believe there is a fundamental difference in the approach of the international community and Pakistan to the crisis in South Asia. Pakistan in not interested in a conventional war or nuclear arms race with India. We wish to avoid a war; prevent nuclear escalation; promote conventional stability; lower tensions; and resolve the Kashmir dispute - the root cause of Indo-Pakistan problems. Moreover, Pakistan does not wish to contribute, in any way, to the further spread of nuclear weapons or sensitive technologies.

We have concluded that a situation of mutual deterrence now exists between India and Pakistan. Pakistan will seek to maintain this situation of deterrence in future. The level at which this is maintained will be determined in accordance with any escalatory steps taken by India.

Pakistan is not interested in further escalation up the nuclear ladder with India. Our interest is to maintain the nuclear deterrence which has been established at the lowest possible level. To maintain deterrence, Pakistan needs to ensure that it is not in a position of strategic vulnerability in certain areas - such as fissile materials and ballistic missiles.

A most immediate requirement for the preservation of the situation of nuclear deterrence is to convince India not to proceed with its threat to operationalise its nuclear weapons in the form of weaponised deployment of ballistic missiles and other delivery systems. We note that this is also a priority objective of the P-5 and G-8 countries.

Pakistan agrees that a halt in further tests is essential. It will serve to hold back the nuclear arms race in South Asia. Pakistan has declared a unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests. We are prepared to formalize a bilateral test ban agreement with India.

As regards the CTBT, it should be recalled that Pakistan supported the CTBT's general endorsement in the CD and voted for the Treaty in the UN General Assembly. With a proven capability to establish deterrence, Pakistan's position on the CTBT is no longer linked to our neighbours. Our decision on adherence to the CTBT will depend on the evolution of our dialogue with friends and of a domestic consensus as well as assurance against the possibility of further nuclear testing by India. ...

Pakistan has consistently believed that a ban on the production of fissile materials should be promoted through a universal and non-discriminatory Treaty negotiated in the CD, and not through unilateral measures.

During discussions in Islamabad last week, Pakistan and the United States agreed to support the immediate commencement of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, universal and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. To this end, Pakistan will join the United States and other CD members in promoting a decision for the establishment, at this session, of an Ad hoc Committee of the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate such a Treaty on the basis of the report and mandate contained document CD/1299, dated 24 March 1995…

In the course of the negotiations...Pakistan will, as envisaged in the Shannon Report, raise its concerns about and seek a solution to the problem of unequal stockpiles.

We believe that a wide disparity in fissile material stockpiles of India and Pakistan could erode the stability of nuclear deterrence. The impact of such asymmetry could be further exacerbated once India acquires the S-300 ABM Systems and additional anti-aircraft systems from the Russian Federation.The stability of mutual deterrence in South Asia may also be adversely affected by asymmetry in conventional weapons capabilities between India and Pakistan. This asymmetry is growing steadily due to Pakistan's economic difficulties, the embargoes still maintained against us by some major powers and the massive arms acquisitions which India is making, particularly from Russia. We hope that concerted action will be adopted by the international community to redress this conventional inequality which will inevitably intensify Pakistan's reliance on its nuclear capabilities.

Pakistan continues to adhere to its policy of not exporting sensitive nuclear technology or equipment. We are prepared to discuss the administrative and regulatory measures to implement this policy. This process should promote non-discrimination and reciprocal benefits. We cannot be simultaneously considered a partner and a target of non-proliferation regimes.

Kashmir holds the key to resolve the current security crisis in South Asia and is the fundamental issue influencing nuclear decision making by both Pakistan and India. India's rhetoric about the 'China threat' (later even a US threat!) is designed to deflect attention from the real designs. Before assuming charge of Kashmir Affairs, Home Minister Advani was honest enough to echo India's real objectives when he asked Pakistan to realise the change in the geo-strategic situation as a result of India's bold and decisive steps to become a nuclear power. He claimed that India was thus in a position to find a solution to the Kashmir problem by dealing with Pakistan firmly and strongly.

Kashmir has been recognized by the P-5 and others as the fundamental issue, integral to a resolution of the crisis in South Asia and with implications for international peace and security. This is welcome, though overdue. It will not be enough merely to 'lower tensions' over Kashmir. This would be of transient value. There must be genuine progress towards the resolution of the dispute.

For its part, Pakistan wishes to resume the bilateral Foreign Secretaries level talks as proposed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his Indian counterpart at the Colombo summit. The international community must urge India to agree to the setting up of the 8 working groups in accordance with the Islamabad Agreement. ..."

Statement by India, 6 August

Statement by Ambassador Savitri Kunadi in the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, 6 August 1998


"Mr. President, on 11 June, 1998 Ambassador Norberg of Sweden had presented in the CD Plenary, on behalf of the delegations of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden, the Joint Declaration 'Towards a Nuclear-weapon-free World : The Need or a New Agenda' issued on 9 June, 1998. India noted that the declaration contains a number of valuable suggestions which deserve consideration by the international community. The Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Mrs Vasundhara Raje, on 16 June, 1998, wrote separate letters to the Foreign Ministers of these eight countries expressing India's readiness to co-operate with them in collective efforts for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free world.

The Joint Declaration is a timely reminder that in spite of nearly 100 resolutions of the UN General Assembly reflecting the will of the international community, decisive steps for creating a nuclear-weapon-free world have still not been taken. In her letter the Minister of State for External Affairs underlined that partial measures for non-proliferation will not work. The road map is clear - we have dealt with other categories of weapons by negotiating multilateral treaties that are comprehensive, universal and non-discriminatory. We need to adopt a similar approach to deal with nuclear weapons.

Mr. President, India's response to the Joint declaration underscores the fact that as a nuclear-weapon State, our commitment to pursuing global nuclear disarmament in order to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world remains undiluted.

Mr. President, I would now wish to set out our views on agenda item 4 entitled 'Effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use of nuclear weapons'.

India has consistently maintained that the only credible guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons lies in their total elimination. Until this objective is reached, as an interim measure, there exists an obligation on part of the nuclear-weapon States to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, as also that these weapons will not be used as instruments of pressure, intimidation and blackmail. This obligation should be of an internationally legally binding character, clear, credible, universal and without discrimination. We welcome the resumption of work in the CD after a pause of three years, on the basis of its decision contained in CD 1501. ...

At the outset, it bears recalling that NSAs have been a longstanding agenda item of the Conference on Disarmament. Although much useful work was done during the previous Ad Hoc Committees, this fact also bears testimony to the inability of the Conference on Disarmament to successfully conclude its work on this item. We do not need to delve here on the reasons for the inability of the CD over the years to bring to a successful conclusion its consideration of NSAs. Suffice to mention that NSAs, a long standing demand of the non-nuclear-weapon States, was not accorded the same priority as other items on the nuclear non-proliferation agenda and in fact remained its poor cousin.

The consideration of security assurances have been plagued from the beginning with linkages not with the objectives of nuclear disarmament but with that of non-proliferation. Seen in the latter perspective, security assurances remained confined to what the nuclear-weapon States thought fit to provide at their discretion. There remained an unfulfilled need for these assurances to be multilaterally negotiated, legally binding and comprehensive. Security assurances remained interim measures without an objective, save that of finding a place in a framework that enabled the nuclear-weapon States to retain in perpetuity their privileged possession of nuclear weapons.

Partial and conditional pledges of non use of nuclear weapons, whether undertaken unilaterally or in separate undertakings cannot be the basis for credible guarantees for non-nuclear-weapon States. In 1965, along with a group of non-aligned countries, India put forward the proposal for an international non-proliferation agreement under which the nuclear weapon States would agree to give up their arsenals, provided other countries refrained from developing or acquiring such weapons. This balance of rights and obligations was not accepted.

In the 1960s when there was a deepening of our security situation, we sought security guarantees but the countries we turned to were unable to extend to us the expected assurances. India expressed its strong reservations with the approach employed in the UN Security Council resolution 255, which was repeated in Security Council Resolution 984, adopted on the eve of the indefinite extension of the NPT. We believe that a continuation of the same approach will not yield fruitful results.

India supported UNGA resolution 1653 of 24th November 1961 which called on the Secretary General to ascertain the views of the member States on the possibility of Convening a Special Conference for concluding a Convention on the Prohibition of Use of Nuclear Weapons. In 1978, India proposed negotiations for an international convention that would prohibit the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The UN Charter does not discriminate between those that might adhere to a particular treaty or those that might not and the responsibility of the UN Security Council is to all member States of the UN without discrimination. The NPT as it stands today cannot reflect the ground realities and would be an inadequate framework for consideration of security assurances. Thus we do not recognise any linkage between the objectives of this ad hoc committee and the NPT.

Consideration of Security Assurances in the narrow straightjacket of Nuclear-weapon-free Zones cannot do justice to the wide variety of concerns that emanate from the global nature of the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Besides, we do not consider the CD as the appropriate forum for the consideration of regional issues. We, however, respect the sovereign choice exercised by non-nuclear-weapon States in establishing NWFZs on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned. At the recently concluded fifth session of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, India stated that we fully respect the status of the Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in South East Asia and are ready to convert this commitment into a legal obligation. India will remain responsive to the expressed need for commitments to other nuclear-weapon-free zones as well.

The delegation of Canada had posed the question in its working paper - CD 1502, 'who gives what to whom and how?' The Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee had sought views of delegations on two questions: the scope of our deliberations and what is to be protected? May we suggest a third perspective, which is not exclusive from the other two. Our approach would be to seek answers to: What is the objective; and what is the combination of means that could provide a feasible internationally legally binding instrument providing security assurances in terms of current realities.


Negative security assurances are interim measures pending the elimination of nuclear weapons, which is the main objective. As interim measures, negative security assurances cannot be a substitute for genuine disarmament measures nor should they hinder the process of nuclear disarmament. However, in a world of nuclear proliferation, negative security assurances can facilitate confidence building.


We believe that a Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons could form the bedrock of security assurances - comprehensive, legally binding and irreversible. India has proposed for consideration a draft Convention on the Prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons as an annex to UNGA resolution 52/39C. We believe that such a Convention could contribute to the lowering of the nuclear threat and to the climate for negotiations leading to the nuclear disarmament, as was achieved with the other two weapons of mass destruction. This Ad Hoc Committee could also consider various proposals for the global de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons, with necessary verification mechanisms. We are also willing to discuss ways of strengthening in the context of current realities, and to give expression in a multilateral framework, the provisions contained in the 1973 Agreement between the USA and the USSR on the Prevention of Nuclear War.

As a responsible nuclear-weapon State, India has stated that it does not intend to use nuclear weapons to commit aggression or for mounting threats against any country. The Prime Minister of India stated the following in the Lower House of the Indian Parliament on 4 August, 1998;

'India's nuclear tests were not intended for offence but for self-defence. In order to ensure that our independence and integrity are never jeopardised in future, we will have a policy of a minimum deterrent. We have stated that we will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. We are also willing to strengthen this by entering into bilateral agreements on no-first use or a multilateral negotiations on a global no-first use. Having stated that we shall not be the first to use nuclear weapons, there remains no basis for their use against countries which do not have nuclear weapons.'

The extension of the negative security assurances must be seen as part and parcel of the commitment to achieve complete nuclear disarmament. There can be no effective guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons if the nuclear-weapon States cling to the notion that such weapons should be their exclusive and perpetual property, to the detriment of the security of other countries. ..."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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