Home > Geopolitics, Pakistan's nuclear posture > Pakistan's call to ban nuclear weapons – An Analysis

Pakistan's call to ban nuclear weapons – An Analysis

One would need to take a very cautiously optimistic approach while welcoming Pakistan’s call to ban nuclear weapons! Cautiously optimistic approach because, it remains to be discerned whether its nuclear arsenal is well within the control of the elected government! Besides, the statement that it “subscribes to the goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and has always played an active and constructive role in the conference” should be seen as one among the many last ditch face saving attempts by a desperate nation embroiled in a state of terror which was created, financed and proliferated by its own agencies, who now are, in part, working to control the menace.

Probably intended to convey to the world of a reviewed intention in the arena of nuclear politics, Pakistan has, with this statement too, been ineffective to assure the international community in convincing them of its intentions which largely remain unclear and uncharacteristic to the extent that they are unbelievable! British envoy to the Conference on Disarmament, John Duncan said, “Pakistan’s stand was disappointing as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council; the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain as well as Iran, North Korea and Israel, back the consensus.” Sweden, which is another member nation, currently in position of holding the European Union’s revolving presidency has termed Pakistan’s stand as a procedural maneuver, aimed at stalling any significant agreement on reducing weaponry, which in essence is a treaty to halt production of fissile material. One wonders if Pakistan is merely responding to a veiled comment by the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi asking the forum to expedite talks on a treaty to halt production of fissile material used to make nuclear weapons, which has been seen as partly aimed at it?

Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions began largely as a measure to counter a perceived Indian threat and it continues to remain a non signatory of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It is easy to see why Pakistan is playing ball in a forum, whose significance, rather insignificance so far has been non-achievement of consensus to chart a treaty to reduce production of fissile material. Pakistan is neither a nuclear power nor is it a signatory of the NPT, as mentioned before. However, given the current situation and flux that is has come to witness, it is important for it to take a stand on terrorism and associated concerns, nuclear weapons in particular. By calling for a ban on nuclear weapons, Pakistan has schemed a two fold objective, the first being a sound byte to the International Community on how its policies are focused on committing to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons and secondly a pressure on the Conference of Disarmament to further play footsie on the fissile treaty, opinions on which could now be divided, even though realistically speaking, the envisioning of a world free of nuclear weapons is largely Utopian, and cannot attain practical application! By echoing such a stand, Pakistan is doing nothing to change its current posture or policy, which unlike India’s does not hinge on a no-first strike! To make matters worse, the nuclear arsenal is controlled and commanded by the Pakistan army and not by the civilian government, which is unlike India, where such a system is overseen by the Nuclear Command Authority which comprises the Prime Minister and other key functionaries of the government, apart from echelons of the Armed Forces.

It is interesting to note Pakistan’s demands, at the Conference of Disarmament, which include general nuclear disarmament, guarantees from nuclear powers that they would not attack non-nuclear states, banning nuclear weapons from outer space, and the fissile cut-off pact. Given the stance that Pakistan has almost suddenly taken, one wonders, pondering over several questions that have arisen as a result. Is Pakistan firstly capable of weapons grade nuclear delivery? If so, is the nuclear arsenal in safe hands? Is there any threat to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the coming future?

As for the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament, which is a UN body, I would not attribute much to its actions until a concrete agreement has been hammered out, speaking of which I’d like to remind the readers of a series of timeless haggling over the past 12 years that have largely stalled its activities and agenda! Now, as I write this post, word is that ‘the way forward has been finally achieved,’ a path to begin negotiations that have been frozen for a long time now!

So much for hard bargained progress!

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  1. August 14, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    well said

  2. August 19, 2009 at 10:22 am

    First of all i love to read your articles since the topics u cover are of my interest and the way you write is as interesting and thought provoking as your domain.
    well Pakistan has always been run by Military and they will always have strong hold(I sometimes justify a one man rule rather than these chaotic rule by the so called worlds biggest democracy). From my point i think Pakistan has taken this step so that it eases its pressure of being called a terrorist state and can now boldly say that we are the suffers and not creators of terrorism. If you have read “Shopping for Bombs” then you would know how Pakistan and Pakistan army went on creating nuclear weapons.
    One more thing even if for a minute suppose Iran/N-Korea/Pakistan tell that we are destroying our nuclear weapons, what is the proof ? , who will check the truth some US diplomats/ex-CIA agents ??
    Given the present scenario every country now wants to have a N-Weapon 🙂
    Do let me know your thoughts since you have a greater understanding on the relevant topic than mine.
    Keep Rocking,
    PN

  3. August 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Nice site you have here. And good analysis of the topics that you have taken. You could have introduced this site in your blog so that some of us could have known about this earlier. Good effort, I will keep reading to get some Geo Political insights 🙂

    Destination Infinity

  4. August 31, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Anton – Many thanks for visiting! Glad you found this interesting!

  5. August 31, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Prashant – Am very happy to note that you find my articles interesting and insightful! Indeed, Pakistan has taken this step as a measure of desperation and nothing more. The Army in Pakistan is a different animal and hence cannot be controlled or called to be accountable, as has seen in numerous instances in the past!
    Therefore, to expect any sort of credible measures from such an establishment is foolishness of sorts!

    Now countries are increasingly pursuing their nuclear ambitions, without any restrictions and the relevance of a forum calling for destruction of n-weapons seems baseless, primarily since it remains a mere vision and not even an objective! Such a desire, although welcomed, cannot really happen! So to think of it as an avenue for future actions that it endorses is a akin to expecting miracles.

    Thanks for your thoughts and please accept my apologies for a late response!

    Rakesh

  6. August 31, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    DI – Many thanks for your comments! I’m glad you find these articles interesting! I did introduce this space on my personal blog, which perhaps you missed! Anyhow, now that you know, do please keep writing me your thoughts!

    Rakesh

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