UNITED NATIONS: Pointing fingers towards India, Pakistan on Friday voiced concerns over the growing accumulation of conventional armaments in unpredictable regions like South Asia, suggesting it would fuel insecurity and jeopardise in the fine regional balance.
“South Asia is a sensitive region where one state’s military spending grossly and vastly out-shadows all others,” Tehmina Janjua, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva told the General Assembly’s Disarmament and International Security Committee on Thursday.
“We remain concerned over the growing transfers of conventional armaments especially in volatile regions that are inconsistent with the imperatives of maintaining peace, security and stability,” Ambassador Janjua said during a debate on conventional weapons.
“The policy of dual standards towards South Asia, based on narrow strategic, political and commercial considerations, must be eschewed,” the Pakistani envoy said.
Pakistan, Ambassador Janjua added, was committed to creating strategic stability in South Asia. “It (Pakistan) neither wants nor is it engaged in an arms race in the region.
She said efforts to get rid of nuclear weapons must not give way to an unfeasible imbalance of conventional like those who triggered two world wars.
Janjua informed the committee that expenditure on such arms had crossed a staggering amount of $1.7 trillion, adding the entire financial plan of the UN was around three per cent of world’s military expenditures and that 33 times extra money was being spent on fuelling and exacerbating conflicts than on preventing them.
Results would be few and far between if the matter of conventional weapons was not addressed, she said.
“The utility of a partial approach that separates motivations for arms production from the controls of their trade and transfers will be limited at best. As a result, these weapons will continue to fuel conflicts, destabilise states and societies, inflicting enormous pain and suffering to humanity.”
Ambassador Janjua emphasised, “We [Pakistan] are taking additional measures to strengthen the enforcement regime, which covers imports and licensing.”
She clarified that Pakistan has always considered the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) as a primary step towards regulating trade and transfer of conventional weapons.
“Even as we continue our national review of the treaty, we believe that ATT’s success, effectiveness and universality will be assessed on its non-discriminatory implementation, in particular, its criteria and strict adherence by its State Parties to the treaty principles.”
According to Janjua the success of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) lied in the balance it requires to maintain by reducing human suffering and that too without sacrificing the legitimate security interests of states.
She added Pakistan shares the concerns regarding the acquisition and use by non-state actors and terrorists of small arms and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).