FMT: Pakistan’s Legitimate Concerns


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.

Rida Zeenat

Rida Zeenat is working as a Research Fellow at the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI). She holds M.Sc. degree in Defence and Diplomatic Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Pakistan. Her M.Sc. dissertation was based on “Pakistan’s Nuclear Doctrine of Credible Minimum Deterrence”. She has also participated at various current affairs television programs.

5 thoughts on “FMT: Pakistan’s Legitimate Concerns

  • March 6, 2011 at 7:45 am

    A nice analysis, was just wondering that so far the proxy war that pakistan is conducting if stopped willn’t the region stabilize?
    Is itn’t true that all the terrorist attacks in Indian soil have been done by pakistani nationals?
    If by chance a terrorist attack happens on India by some pakistani national similar to mumbai attack, India attacks the terrorist bases, but if pakistan retaliates by nuclear attacks, willn’t India attack back, so who is responsible & aggressor in this case, is it India whose duty it is to protect its citizens or is it Pakistan, who for some handful of terrorists is ready to go for a all out attack killing most of its citizens for a hand ful of terrorists?

    • March 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      What about the indian proxy war against Pakistan,conducting from Afghanistan?The trouble with you indians is that you havn’t accepted the creation of Pakistan was the ligimate right of the Muslims of majority areas to form their own country away from the hindu samraj.The peace will come in the region,the day indians stop thinking about akhand baharat(domination of hindu samraj from ras kumari to kabul)and accept Pakistan’s right to exist in the region and also granting freedom to J & K,instead of killing innocent people by the accupying terrorist army of india.

      • March 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

        There is no Indian “proxy war” against Pakistan going on in Afghan soil. It is a fabrication of your own imagination. Your media even made up stories that Wikileaks revealed 9 training camps run by India in Western Pakistan/Afghanistan. Your media was highly embarrassed when the Guardian and NYT refuted those claims. Wikileaks never made any such disclosure.

        Your country is teetering on the border of an extremist take-over. Stop using “Domination of Hindu Samraj”. The far right Hindu extremists who indulge in such wishful thinking are completely sidelined in the Indian polity. On the other hand, the Lashkar and other militant outfits in Pakistan, who enjoy local support, government patronage, and ISI collusion, do nurture the dream of re-establishing Mughal rule in India.

        It is not J&K but only the vale of Kashmir (~10% of the land area) that may want to cede. But then, there is secessionist tendancies in Balochistan. Your very master’s the Chinese illegitimately occupy Tibet and Xinjiang and routinely suppress protests. They are flooding those provinces with ethnic Han Chinese, tipping the local demographics. In India, non-Kashmiris can’t even settle or buy property in J&K. Then, the Kashmiri Hindus have emigrated out of Kashmir due to systematic discrimination by the Muslim majority. What about them? An independent Kashmir would certainly become Islamic fundamentalist.

  • March 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Your analysis is entirely based on two false premises: (i) that Pakistan needs to have parity with India, and (ii) Pakistan and India should be treated alike. Both are utterly ill-founded.

    First, India’s arsenal is directed NOT at Pakistan but at China. Just extend your logic to an India-China scenario. Is India building up its arsenal as rapidly as Pakistan to catch up with China? NO, of course not! India’s nuclear posture is entirely in line with its principle of MINIMUM deterrence. Pakistan’s is not.

    Secondly, you forget that Pakistan has a shabby record on proliferation. It obtained nuclear know-how through espionage and through Chinese proliferation. In turn it has proliferated to Libya, N. Korea, and Iran. Pakistan’s economy is on life-support, and it is a highly unstable country that poses a security risk to others.

    Oh, India has a policy of no-first-use. Why does not Pakistan adopt such a posture?

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