UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi told the UN that some nuclear weapons states are intent upon upgrading and modernising their inventories while preaching non-proliferation to others.
Speaking at the annual session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission, Ambassador Lodhi pointed to this “nuclear doublespeak” and said that peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving underlying disputes, agreeing on measures for nuclear and missile restraint, and instituting conventional forces balance.
“Our conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and avoidance of an arms race (in South Asia),” Lodhi said in her speech.
The Pakistani envoy said the Commission, a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, was meeting against a turbulent global security backdrop.
The negative trends in the disarmament and non-proliferation landscape were due largely to the lack of progress on the part of nuclear-weapon states in fulfilling their legal nuclear disarmament obligations, and could be further impeded by recent vows by some such states to “greatly strengthen and expand nuclear capabilities”, the Ambassador noted.
Another key challenge was the granting of discriminatory waivers to some, and making exceptions for power or profit reasons, all of which constituted nuclear double standards and opened up the risk of diversion of materials intended for peaceful uses to military purposes, Ambassador Lodhi said.
She further noted that many states, “in particular in South Asia” continued to pursue those policies, with military expenditures rising and conventional weapons inventories expanding.
“Disruption of strategic stability in South Asia by induction of nuclear weapons in our neighbourhood fundamentally challenged [Pakistan’s] security,” she said in an obvious reference to the 1974 Indian nuclear test.
“We were left with no option but to follow suit in order to restore strategic stability in the region and deter all forms of aggression.
“Indeed, Pakistan had made a number of proposals to keep South Asia free of such weapons but none had elicited a positive response,” she noted.