By Rida Zeenat
The 2011 session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is in process, which is the international community’s only multilateral negotiating forum for arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation agreements. Four core issues i.e. Prevention of An Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), Negative Security Assurance (NSA), Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) and Nuclear Disarmament (ND) are being discussed in it which are interlinked in one way or the other.
All the states have equal power in this forum as this forum is based on consensus rule. But at present, Pakistan is facing a grand isolation in Conference on Disarmament (CD) because it is not agreeing to the current status of Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) which bans the future production of fissile material but does not include the already present fissile stocks that the states have. Whereas Pakistan wants a universal, non discriminatory, multilateral and verifiable treaty which not only bans the future production of fissile material but also calls for decommission of the existing stockpiles of fissile materials which would ultimately lead to a nuclear free world.
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) remains a vital institution for Pakistan because Pakistan can easily inform the international community of its security concerns that is the reason for not showing consent to Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
It is said that Pakistan is abusing the rule of consensus by not showing consent and is blocking the negotiations. But on the other side, Pakistan’s security and territorial integrity would be jeopardized if it agrees on the current Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
The point to ponder here is that Pakistan’s rival nuclear neighbor is being accommodated in order to make it ‘Rising India’ by adopting some highly discriminatory approaches towards Pakistan. The international key players have ignored the Indian aggressive policies towards Pakistan, the point of reference here is the Indian Military’s Cold Start Doctrine which is a limited war doctrine aimed against Pakistan. This doctrine envisages that if any terrorist attacks occur inside India; Indian Army would conduct multiple assaults at a time with quick swift military operations comprised of network centric warfare capabilities while automatically anticipating Pakistan responsible for plotting the attacks. This will be done through integrated battle groups (IBGs) from eight sectors allocated alongside the Pakistani border.
The weakness of this doctrine is that the Indian military officials think that this doctrine would not cross Pakistan’s nuclear threshold. Whereas Pakistan considers its nuclear weapons an integral part of its defence system in order to overcome Indian conventional superiority. India is linking conventional warfare to sub-conventional whereas Pakistan may link conventional warfare to nuclear warfare if its survival is at stake.
Secondly, Indian pursuit of Ballistic missile defence (BMD) system with the technological assistance of Israel and United States is threatening for the peace and strategic stability of South Asia. It would trigger an arms race in the region. Pakistan as a response to it needs to improve its nuclear arsenals and delivery systems qualitatively and quantitatively. This will not only compel Pakistan but also China. China also feels insecure with the Indian acquisition of the ballistic missile defence systems.
Thirdly, India has acquired a submarine named INS Arihant which is a nuclear reactor submarine and would be part of the Indian Navy by 2012. This will enhance its military capabilities in sea and would ensure its second strike capabilities. Whereas Pakistan is also struggling to acquire the technology but its economy does not support it. Pakistan has limited response options and therefore it relies on its nuclear weapons.
Fourthly, Indo-U.S civil nuclear cooperation has further jeopardized the strategic stability of South Asia. The advantage that India gets out of this deal is that India would be applying IAEA Safeguard to 14 of its nuclear facilities out of 22 till 2014, and from remaining 8 reactors it can produce enough fissile material which may be used for weapon purposes. This treaty in itself is a huge violation of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which prohibits the transference of nuclear technology to non-NPT states.
All the above mentioned factors are compelling Pakistan not to sign FMCT rather go for FMT which includes the total elimination of fissile stock in order to have nuclear free world. Pakistan’s position at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is security driven and serious concerns lie at the base of it. Therefore, the international community must realize Pakistan’s legitimate reliance on its nuclear weapons which are the integral part of its defence systems, and calls for a non discriminatory and effectively verifiable treaty i.e. Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) which would once again equate the deterrence equation in South Asia.