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Statements by Pakistan

South Asia Nuclear Crisis - Special Feature

Statement to the CD, 14 May

Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram in the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, Thursday 14 May 1998

"This Spring session of the Conference on Disarmament opens at a defining moment for the post-Cold War world security order. It is also a moment of destiny for the 140 million people of Pakistan.

2. Since its independence, our nation has confronted the endemic hostility of our neighbour, India. We have thrice been subjected to aggression by this country, which dismembered our State in 1971, and is even now engaged in an eight-year brutal war to suppress the right of self-determination of the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir. This country has deployed almost the whole of its million-and-a-half-man Army, its Air Force and its Navy on our frontiers. This third large[st] conventional force in the world is being further augmented through the acquisition of advanced arms worth billions of dollars.

3. Before assuming office, the present Hindu fundamentalist leadership of this country had declared that it would conduct nuclear tests and 'induct' nuclear weapons. It had also threatened to conduct attacks on Pakistan across the Line of Control in Kashmir. It has carried out the first of these threats. Nuclear weapons proliferation is now a fact of life in South Asia.

4. In evaluating the grave environment created by India's three plus two nuclear weapons tests, and in evolving an equitable and effective response, it is essential to bear in mind the history and context of nuclear proliferation in South Asia. It is essential to be aware of the ambitions of India, and the compulsions of Pakistan. It is essential to recall the inertia and the responsibility of certain major powers for this development which has grave portents for regional and international peace and security.

5. India's ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, though often disguised by chronic deceit and hypocrisy, has been no secret. Prime Minister Nehru, while inaugurating the Indian Atomic Energy Commission in 1948, declared that 'every country would have to develop and use the latest scientific device for its protection.'

6. India has proceeded systematically to acquire and develop nuclear weapons. It acquired a research reactor and other nuclear facilities outside safeguards in the 1960s. It refused to sign the NPT in 1968. It insisted on the legitimacy of 'peaceful nuclear explosions'. Then, India meanwhile diverted nuclear fuel from its 'civilian' programme to explode a so-called 'peaceful' nuclear device in May 1974. Since then, the scope of its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and fissile material stocks have expanded exponentially.

7. Nuclear weapons development has been accompanied by the development of nuclear delivery systems, specially ballistic missiles. This was done initially under the cover of a civilian space programme, pursued with the cooperation of several advanced countries. The short-range Privthi missile was tested 20 times. Four to five of these missiles are being serially produced every month. The Privthi's declared targets are Pakistan's strategic facilities and assets and almost all our cities. The intermediate-range Agni has been tested four times. It is likely to be developed soon for deployment, against China and Pakistan.

8. India has developed its nuclear and missile programmes with the active assistance and cooperation of several industrialised countries. This must be mentioned, not in anger but for the record. Canada supplied India's unsafeguarded CIRRUS research reactor, a heavy water plant, a nuclear fuel complex and two power reactors. The United States provided unsafeguarded heavy water, assistance in the construction of reprocessing facilities and in training dozens of experts in reprocessing. France offered exchange of personnel and special training in plutonium extraction from spent fuel.

9. Similarly, India's missile development is not indigenous. India's missile chief visited various US missile bases and research facilities in 1962 and, on the way back, concluded an agreement with Switzerland for Project Indigo, an IRBM [Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile] programme. In 1963 and 1964, the doyen of the Indian missile programme participated in the development and launch of the US Scout missile, which has provided the technological basis for the Agni missile. Several Western countries collaborated in the launching [of] 350 rockets in India's space programme and the Space Launch Vehicle (SLV 3), whose first stage provided the motor for the Agni. Equipment and technologies - the Viking rocket engine, liquid-fuel technology, guidance and navigation systems, high-altitude rocket simulation, electronics - were acquired from these Western countries. The Privthi is based on the Viking and SA-2 technologies. Finally, despite the MTCR [Missile Technology Control Regime], India obtained at least one cyrogenic engine from Russia, with 80% of the design and technical information already in its hands.

10. Pakistan's actions in the nuclear and missile fields were taken, at each stage, in response to the escalatory steps taken by India. Pakistan was able to develop the capability for nuclear enrichment and in missile research and development, not withstanding discriminatory embargoes and restrictions. We have the technological and other capabilities now to develop the various aspects of our programmes to respond to India's past, present or future escalatory steps.

11. However, Pakistan has never resorted to adventurist or irresponsible actions. Our policies have been marked by restraint. After India's 1974 nuclear test, we did not reciprocate. We did not feel the need to do so if India's nuclear weapons development did not go any further. Similarly, Pakistan exercised unilateral restraint in the production of highly-enriched uranium despite our concerns regarding India's larger plutonium stockpile. Pakistan has held back so far from deploying its missiles. In response to India's 24 missile tests, Pakistan has conducted only one missile flight test so far.

12. Despite the fact that every escalatory step on the nuclear proliferation ladder was initiated by India, it is Pakistan which has been consistently subjected to a series of discriminatory penalties, sanctions and restraints designed to prevent us from acquiring the capability to respond to the Indian escalation.

13. After India's 1974 nuclear explosion, the same country which had provided India an unsafeguarded research reactor, reneged on its contracts to provide Pakistan safeguarded fuel for our Karachi power reactor, halted shipment of a fuel fabrication plant and terminated all civilian and safeguarded nuclear cooperation with Pakistan. In 1976, the US Congress passed the so-called Symington Amendment which penalized acquisition of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities but only after 1976, thus effectively exempting India but not Pakistan. In 1979, US economic assistance to Pakistan was terminated for contracting to purchase a reprocessing plant from France. Soon, that country was also obliged to renege on its contract to supply this safeguarded reprocessing plant to Pakistan. But it was not halted from providing India a vital shearing machine for its unsafeguarded reprocessing facility. In 1980, the US decided to ship 38 tons of enriched uranium to India. In 1985, France took up the supply of enriched uranium to India. Discrimination against Pakistan was further compounded by the specific legislation aimed against Pakistan, specially the so-called Pressler Amendment which required the US President to annually certify that Pakistan - but not India - did not possess a nuclear device.

14. Such discrimination against Pakistan was all the more unjustified because our preference, at every step of India's push towards proliferation, was to press for political solutions and mutual restraint.

15. The initiatives taken by Pakistan to arrest nuclear proliferation in South Asia are a matter of historical record. Even after India's 1974 nuclear explosion, Pakistan proposed:

  1. a joint Indo-Pakistan declaration renouncing the acquisition or manufacture of nuclear weapons, in 1978;
  2. mutual inspections by India and Pakistan of each other's nuclear facilities, in 1979;
  3. simultaneous adherence to the NPT by India and Pakistan, in 1979;
  4. simultaneous acceptance of full-scope IAEA safeguards, in 1979;
  5. a bilateral or regional nuclear test ban treaty, in 1987;
  6. a South Asia Zero-Missile Zone in 1994.

16. Pakistan also suggested various modalities to advance the goal of non-proliferation in South Asia: bilateral talks, five-nation talks, a multilateral conference. We fully supported initiatives by the US, first for five-nation talks and later for nine-nation consultations regarding non-proliferation and security in South Asia. While India predictably opposed all these initiatives, what was most disappointing for Pakistan is the alacrity with [which] these initiatives were jettisoned by their author in the face of India's obdurate and bellicose rejection. Such supine responses are at least consistent. They are all too evident even today. After all, India's 1974 test was accepted as [a] 'peaceful' nuclear explosion by some. And, when India threatened to veto the CTBT in this Conference, it was told in high-level letters that it need not adhere to the Treaty so long as it did not block the Treaty's transmission to the General Assembly. The Ambassador of a great power in New Delhi went further and assured that even an Indian veto of the CTBT would have no impact on bilateral relations. He was proved right by events.

17. This track record does not inspire any confidence that the new endeavours which are now urged are more sincere or will be more effective.

18. The events of the past few months have vividly confirmed our conviction that it is Pakistan and not India which is the real target of the non-proliferation crusade. The missile tests conducted by India over the past months evoked no concern or comment, even [as] sanctions were loudly threatened against Pakistan and China. When the BJP-led government declared its aim of inducting nuclear weapons and conducting nuclear tests, no official concern was expressed, despite the warning conveyed in the letters sent by Prime minister Nawaz Sharif to the leaders of the major powers. Similarly, the concern expressed by Pakistan's Foreign Minister in this Conference on 19 March this year evoked no response. Instead, the high visiting envoys of the sole super power sang paeans of praise - even in Islamabad - for the 'restraint and responsibility' of the new Indian government. We are now witness to this 'restraint and responsibility'!

19. Such apparent gullibility did not greatly impress the Pakistani leadership. We were hardly amused when, soon after these visits, MTCR sanctions were instituted against a Pakistan-government entity. Meanwhile, no sanctions were considered for India's development of submarine-based missiles.

20. We also saw other curious and disturbing signals. The Indian Defence minister, notwithstanding the well-known improvement in Sino-Indian relations, suddenly declared that China rather than Pakistan was the 'number one threat' to India's security. He falsely asserted that China has deployed missiles in Tibet aimed at India.

21. Evidently, in the Indian view, it was felt that its nuclear tests were more palatable if they were seen as serving the goal of 'containing' China. Reported moves at the recently concluded NPT PrepCom meeting to accommodate India's concerns on the FMCT, full-scope safeguards, etc., have added fuel to speculation about new deals and alignments.

22. Conspiracy theories have gained further credence due to the alleged absence of advance warning about the Indian nuclear tests. We have repeatedly been told of the awesome capabilities of the National Technical Means of one power. Indeed, sanctions have been (wrongly) imposed on Pakistan (and China) on the basis of 'evidence' said to be acquired through such NTMs. In December 1995, these NTMs detected Indian preparations for a test, enabling the international community to take measures to pre-empt these tests. Why was it different now? Was this really an intelligence failure?

23. A report circulated in Washington by an anti-Indian 'political action group' dated 7 May - i.e. 4 days before the 11 May tests - stated that 'in the meantime preparations for an Indian nuclear test have been further confirmed by our sources in India, (who so far have never been wrong, having millions of pairs of eyes and ears fixed on the ground) who report all kinds of feverish night time activities, in the vicinity of Pokharan in Rajasthan State sixty miles from the Pakistan border. The question is, will the United States allow the fundamentalist Hindu fascists in Delhi to circumvent US non-proliferation laws? Only time will tell.'

24. Well, the Hindu fundamentalists have acted. Now, unequal restraint is again urged on Pakistan.

25. The press statement issued by India on 11 May that 'it would be prepared to consider being an adherent to some of the undertakings in the CTBT' dependent on 'a number of reciprocal activities' and that 'it would be happy to participate in FMCT negotiations,' indicates a game plan to ease the cost of the nuclear tests. In India's eyes the CTBT seems to have shed its inequity overnight. Forgetting its 'not now, not later' declaration, India appears to have given up its call for 'nuclear disarmament within a time-bound framework'. It was, after all, only a ploy. All of us suspected as much.

26. Interestingly, the demands being made now by some of the major powers appear to match the Indian 'offers'. Is this coincidence?

27. India has, however, asked for a price - undefined 'reciprocal activities' - for its acceptance of the CTBT. Is this a reference to India's desire for technology to carry out sub-critical nuclear tests? Or is this a reference to its demand for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council? Or even more ambitiously, is this a demand by India to be formally acknowledged as a nuclear-weapon State? Regrettably, at least two nuclear powers have expressed an interest in eliciting what price India may be asking for adherence to the CTBT. Is it merely a coincidence that the same two powers have recently expressed an interest in exploring deals for civil nuclear cooperation with India?

28. For Pakistan, the series of nuclear weapon tests conducted by India on 11 and 13 May have significantly altered the strategic and security equation in our region. As the Indian press statement itself has stated: 'These tests have established that India has a proven capability for a weaponised nuclear programme. They also provide a valuable database which is useful in the design of nuclear weapons of different yields for different applications and for different delivery systems. Further they are expected to carry Indian scientists towards a sound computer simulation capability which may be supported by sub-critical experiments if considered necessary.'

29. Furthermore, as Mr. Joshi, the Indian Minister for Science and Technology, is quoted as saying on 12 May:

'Indian scientists will put a nuclear warhead on missiles as soon as the situation requires. India has not closed its option to conduct more tests if and when necessary. In the meantime work on the Agni Phase-II has started in earnest.'

30. What Pakistan confronts today is not merely a nuclear-capable State. We face a nuclear-weaponized power. It is strange that senior officials of a major nuclear power continue to argue, unconvincingly, that India has not 'weaponized' yet. We wonder if they would be convinced of this if India actually delivers a nuclear weapon against one of its neighbours?

31. In the new strategic environment, it is extremely disingenuous for anyone to call on Pakistan to exercise restraint, or to sign the CTBT or agree to FMCT negotiations. These calls are, of course, consistent with the discrimination to which Pakistan has been historically subjected.

32. The Government of Pakistan has adopted an important principle that 'we will accept obligations and commitments in the field of nuclear non-proliferation only if these are equitable and non-discriminatory'. We will not accept unilateral obligations or commitments. We will not accept commitments which would permanently jeopardise the ability of Pakistan to deter the nuclear and conventional threats which India poses to our security.

33. Pakistan has consistently acted as a responsible member of the international community. We have not resorted to Adventurism and provocation. But Pakistan will not allow itself to be subjected to any international conspiracy to compromise its security. We will not endorse any scheme which fosters or accepts India's nuclear or political hegemony in the region. The Indian tests are a direct and most serious challenge to Pakistan's security. It is Pakistan alone which [will] decide on and take the measures required to guarantee our security. The people of Pakistan, after decades of discrimination, have a right to insist that their nation's security and independence be fully respected by all the members of the international community.

34. In his statement before the Pakistan Senate yesterday, my Foreign Minister has stated:

'The news of the carrying out of two further nuclear tests today by India, corroborates our assessment and provides further confirmation, if any were needed, about India's consistent pattern of irresponsible behaviour.

The blind pursuit of intrinsic and inherent hegemonic impulses, reflected too often in Indian behaviour and ignored largely by the international community, despite Pakistan's repeated efforts to draw attention to them, has definitely encouraged and emboldened India to throw all caution to the winds.

The invoking of mandatory sanctions under US laws against India hardly constitutes an effective response to Indian provocative actions or compensates for errors of judgement, which have seriously disrupted the regional strategic balance.

India is now admittedly testing the whole range of nuclear weaponry, including battlefield/tactical nuclear weapons which are Pakistan specific.

India's actions, which pose an immediate and grave threat to Pakistan's security, will not go unanswered.

Pakistan once again reiterates that responsibility for consequences that will inevitably ensue would lie squarely with India and those who have colluded and acquiesced in the weaponization of India's nuclear programme."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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