Pakistan says Kashmir settlement vital for peace in South Asia
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan and India needed to resolve decades-old Kashmir dispute for promoting peace and stability in South Asia, Pakistan’s diplomat Tehmina Janjua told the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s First committee on disarmament and international security matters.
“South Asia’s security environment is blighted by one power’s insistence on hegemonic policies, engaging in a relentless arms build-up, and a myopic refusal to engage in any meaningful dialogue on security issues,” Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva.
India challenged Pakistan’s security in 1974 by testing nuclear weapons. This left Pakistan with no other option but to balance strategic stability in the region, she said.
Pakistan made several proposals to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons and missiles including a simultaneous application of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on all nuclear facilities and bilateral arrangement for their reciprocal inspections.
Accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), regional Test Ban Treaty, Zero Missile Regime in South Asia and the signing of a Non-Aggression Pact were other proposals.
The ambassador said, “None of these proposals met a favourable response.”
Referring to Prime Minister’s September address at the UN in which he showed Pakistan’s willingness to agree on a bilateral arrangement with India on a nuclear test ban, she said, “We are awaiting a response to that proposal.”
“Peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving underlying disputes especially the Kashmir dispute; agreeing on measures for nuclear and missile restraint, and instituting conventional forces balance,” Janjua told delegates.
“Our proposal for a strategic restraint regime, based on these three interlocking elements, remains on the table. We have demonstrated our commitment to peace and stability in the region.”
“Our conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and avoidance of an arms race.”
Discussing disarmament measures at the global level, Ambassador Janjua said while progress on nuclear disarmament remained deadlocked, the pursuit of selective non-proliferation measures persisted.
After failing to develop consensus on an equitable and non-discriminatory fissile material cut-off treaty in the Conference on Disarmament (CD), attempts continued to be made to move the issue outside the Conference.
Pakistan, she said, would not accept recommendations by the ill-advised Group of Governmental Experts on the Treaty, and substantive work on that matter must be undertaken in the Conference.
“Through a series of actions in diverse areas, we have demonstrated our credentials and eligibility to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),” Ambassador Janjua said.
“We expect that a non-discriminatory, criteria-based approach is followed for expanding NSGs membership, which would strengthen the non-proliferation regime in an equitable and credible manner.”
The Pakistan envoy called for addressing regional security issues through dialogue and diplomacy, including establishing a strategic restraint regime in South Asia.