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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 48, July 2000

Pakistan Repeats Call for Strategic Regime

In the period under review, Pakistan made a number of renewed appeals to India to discuss the elaboration of a strategic security regime between the two nuclear rivals. On June 23, Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, argued: "[W]e only want to maintain a minimum credible deterrence to deter any aggression against our homeland. … We would not enter into a nuclear arms race with India and would never subject our people to economic deprivation. We fully support [the] creation of a strategic self-restraint regime in the subcontinent and expect a positive response from our neighbour." Musharraf was speaking at a seminar on national science policy in Islamabad, during which he candidly remarked: "It seems that [while] we were successfully ascending the arduous path toward nuclear capability, we had somehow also set ourselves on a course of scientific and educational disarmament."

Three days later, addressing the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs in Karachi, Musharraf repeated his plea for restraint: "[W]e must avoid war because no sane person can think of war in this modern age. … We must avoid war through potent deterrence and diplomacy… We have to engage India on the issue of Kashmir and the issue of bringing permanent peace to the region with our sovereignty, honour and dignity guaranteed." On July 2, the importance of a bilateral strategic regime was again stressed by Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, speaking during a seminar on India-Pakistan relations in Calcutta: "We need to know each other's nuclear philosophy and command-and-control systems… We are ready to hold talks with India as and when India is ready."

On June 30, India's Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, told reporters that efforts to secure support for his country signing the CTBT were continuing: "we are preparing a national consensus in this matter and efforts will be continued in the coming months in this direction…" There has been media speculation that the Government would like the 'consensus-seeking' period to conclude before the end of the year, although no deadline has been set. Pakistan is also seeking consensus backing for any decision to sign the Treaty.

On July 5, India successfully conducted a test-flight of the Akash short-range (25 kilometres, 15.5 miles) nuclear-capable missile.

Reports: Pakistan ruler says war with India must be avoided, Reuters, June 23; Pakistan won't embark on arms race, Associated Press, June 26; Pakistan urges India to agree to strategic control, Reuters, June 26; India test ban consensus expected, Associated Press, June 30; Govt to initiate discussion on CTBT - Jaswant, Indian Express, July 4; India tests nuclear-capable guided missile, Agence France Presse, July 5.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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