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Arrow Nuclear Program of Pakistan, its Safety and Security; International Concerns

Global Concerns
Pakistan’s Nuclear Safety and Security System
Domestic Concerns
FMCT and Pakistan
Way Forward

It is a fact that consequent to the overt nuclearization of India, Pakistan had no choice but to follow to redress the strategic balance on which peace and security in South Asia depends. It is also an indisputable fact that Pakistan’s nuclear capability, assisted by the conventional capability, has been the main factor for limiting crises with India from spiraling to unwanted levels. A key example was that the Indian coercive arms buildup on Pak-India borders in 2000-2001 neither achieved its aims, nor led to an outbreak of all-out war.
At the same time, the very possession of nuclear weapons carries with it an overriding national and international responsibility that these weapons, assets, materials, and technologies on which they are based, are under strong and failsafe custodial and operational control, that their purpose is meant to deter and that they would only be used in an ‘in extremis’ necessity. In essence, every nuclear state has to credibly demonstrate and project that it is ‘a responsible nuclear state.’
On this particular premise, Pakistan’s nuclear program has been the focus of discussion in national and international media, think tanks, and officials of global powers. More often than not, foreign state and non-state organizations and agencies raise certain questions and concerns, in one way or another, over the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, fissile material, and technological knowledge, as well as Pakistan’s role in the international fora, such as Conference on Disarmament (CD). Similarly, Pakistani media, analysts and officials also raise their voices over the differential treatment of some powerful capitals vis-à-vis India.
In this context, it is important to track down the global and domestic concerns, analyze those concerns in the backdrop of Pakistan’s institutional and legislative structure of forfeiting its nuclear assets, and examine Pakistan’s concerns over the conduct of international community towards its nuclear program vis-à-vis India, and evaluate Pakistan’s position and role in the CD in comparison with the role and position of other powers over the years. This analytical exposé would be helpful in understanding whether the concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program hold substantial grounds, whether the international community really needs to pay heed to the ominous scenarios coming out in international media every now and then, or whether Pakistan is genuinely a victim of global politics and world powers as Pakistani analysts and officials believe.
Global Concerns
An important global concern about nuclear weapons and nuclear capabilities in general revolves around the potential threat of nuclear terrorism. The extent of such a threat, its use to enforce controls—both national and plurilateral—and also as a pressure point may be debated. However, the concern is real and has to be appreciated and met.
The IAEA in the context of potential nuclear terrorism has highlighted four key areas:
• Theft of a nuclear weapon
• Theft of material to make an improvised nuclear explosive device
• Theft of other radioactive material for an RDD
• Sabotage of a facility or transport
In the context of Pakistan, there have been concerns regarding the nuclear security of Pakistan in general, based on a number of assumptions. The perceived threats to Pakistan’s nuclear assets, which have been highlighted by the western media and academics, revolve around four main scenarios.
1. Extremist government in Power
2. Radicals’ take over
3. Terrorist attacks on nuclear installations
4. The insider dimension
The scenarios of an extremist government gaining power in Pakistan, or of a takeover by radical elements, were mainly projected as the gravest threat to global security in international media before the elections of 2008 in Pakistan. Furthermore, terrorist attacks and incidents within Pakistan, coupled with extremist movements and tendencies, have continuously been used as grounds for portraying the vulnerability of nuclear assets in Pakistan’s hands.
Besides the issue of security and safety of nuclear assets, concerns have also been shown regarding the proliferation of nuclear material, technology and knowledge of nuclear weapons development. The country was particularly slandered in the aftermath of the discovery of an underground nuclear proliferation network, which was, in fact, incorrectly labeled after the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Pakistan has also been projected as the only country that is halting the progress on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) in the Conference on Disarmament (CD), which, whether true or not, is deemed essential for ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
On the face of it, all these concerns and projections could seem genuine if one accepts the questionable presumption that Pakistan, being a developing country and beset by incessant incidents of terrorism and extremism, might not have the capability to put up a credible command and control system, or the aptitude to understand the importance of nuclear free world, or the resources to build credible deterrence against a fast growing adversary. Considering these global concerns, it is extremely important to delve deeper into the matter and bring the realities of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, its structure, and command and control system into the limelight.
Pakistan’s Nuclear Safety and Security System
An examination of the evolution of nuclear safety and security system in Pakistan shows that the country is not standing still on what it has achieved in the field of safeguarding its assets and capabilities. There is a constant process of reviewing all aspects of controls with a view of improving them continually.
Institutional Framework: Pakistan has put in place a comprehensive institutional framework with the National Command Authority (NCA) at the apex for policy formulation, employment and development of strategic systems. The Prime Minister is the Chairman while the Strategic Plans Directorate (SPD) is the Secretariat to the NCA. This structure makes it clear that the final authority on the use of nuclear weapons rests with the civilian chief executive and that any such decision would require detailed consideration in the NCA set up for this purpose.
The Security Division of SPD has also been significantly expanded since its inception, to maintain a close watch on all aspects and organizations of the nuclear program, with a special security emphasis on sites, activities, material management, material inventory, personnel reliability and counter intelligence. It also controls a significant armed security force—a specialized armed force—which has only recently been further augmented for physical security. There is also a training academy to impart specialized training and skills.
Then there are the Services Strategic Forces of all the three Armed Forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force. While technical, training & administrative control rests with the respective services, operational control is vested in the NCA.
There are two Committees: the Employment Control Committee and the Development Control Committee. The former, with the Foreign Minister as its Deputy Chairman, includes Minister for Defense, Minister for Interior, Minister for Finance, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (JCSC), Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and Chief of Air Staff (CAS) as its members. Others, if required, can attend by invitation. Its Secretary is the Director General of the SPD. Chairman JCSC is also the Deputy Chairman of the latter, and the COAS, the CNS, the CAS, and the Scientists who head the Strategic Organizations are its members. DG SPD is the Secretary of this Committee as well.
Legislative Framework: There is also now the NCA Act which replaces the former NCA Ordinance, thereby continuing to give legislative cover to the administrative and executive order which set up the NCA in 2000, which in turn formalized at that time the structure put in place in 1998. The purpose of this legislation is to give cover to the NCA for complete command and control over research, development, production and use of nuclear and space technologies and other related applications in various fields, and to provide for the safety and security of all personnel, facilities, information, installations or organizations and other activities or matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto.
In effect, the Act entrusting upon the NCA with three major areas of responsibility; (i) effective command and control of the strategic programs (ii) safety and security of strategic programs and (iii) maintenance of a system of personnel reliability. The Act has a very wide scope extending to the whole of Pakistan and applies to any person who commits an offence under the Ordinance. The application of the Ordinance is, therefore, not limited to the employees of the strategic organization only. It empowers the NCA to bring charges against any citizen of Pakistan as well as foreign nationals.
Initiatives for WMD Non-Proliferation: In the process of improving and institutionalizing the export control system, which was built on a number of longstanding ordinances, rules and practices, there have been frequent interaction with friendly countries to learn and to benefit from best practices elsewhere in export controls against WMD proliferation.
Under UN Security Council Resolution 1540, national export controls against WMD proliferation are enjoined and reports have to be submitted. These were being studied for implementation much before the 1540 process in which Pakistan actively participated being a member of the Security Council when the resolution was negotiated and adopted. The second required national report from Pakistan had an extensive matrix requiring detailed information. Pakistan’s response to this matrix, in its second report, may be said to be a model in this respect.
The Government of Pakistan, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Missions abroad, in interactions within the UN, in the IAEA, bilaterally, in academic conferences, and with the media, has constantly projected a strong national commitment against proliferation of WMD, through command, control and custodial systems, export controls, and the institutional basis on which they rest. The SPD has also given briefings in this regard.
There are a variety of legislations which deal with the safety, security and export control in the strategic field, and these have been legislatively brought under the overarching centralized control of the NCA.
Pakistan claims its export controls being amongst the best in the world. The export controls legal framework is governed by the following legal and administrative instruments:
I. The Import and Exports (Control) Act, 1950 Act No. XXXIX of 1950: This Act authorizes the Federal Government to prohibit, restrict or control the import or export of goods and regulate all practices and procedures connected therewith. Section 5(1) of the Act provides for penalty of an individual, without prejudice to any confiscation to which he may be liable under the provisions of the Customs Act 1969-(IV 0f 1969), as applied by sub-section (3) of this Act, as punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or both.
II. Pakistan Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (PNSRP) Ordinance of 1984 and Regulation of 1990 which contains provisions for control of import/export of nuclear substances and radioactive materials, extending to the whole of Pakistan, has been further strengthened with Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2001.
III. Pakistan’s Trade Policy 2004-05: This encompasses Import Policy Order and Export Policy Order to regulate trade on all items. These orders take into account all previous Statutory Regulation Orders (SROs) and Ordinances issued by the Government of Pakistan from time to time and regulate import and export of sensitive materials.
IV. Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Ordinance 2000, Ordinance No. LIV of 2000: This law enables the full implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and fulfills Pakistan’s obligations under Article VII of the Convention mandating national implementing measures. This legislative framework regulates and controls the import and export of chemicals in accordance with the CWC and provides for criminal penalties in case of violations. Para 12 of the EPO 2000 pertains to export control of chemicals as required under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The National Authority established in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the focal point for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Ordinance. These measures constitute fulfillment of the requirements of UNSC Resolution 1540 in the context of CWC.
V. Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority Ordinance (PNRA), 2001, Ordinance No. III of 2001: Under this Ordinance, PNRA issues the required ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) for all imports and exports of any radioactive materials or radiation sources. The PNRA is responsible for controlling, regulating and supervising all matters related to nuclear safety and radiation protection measures in Pakistan. Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of sections 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 of the Ordinance shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, or with a fine which may extend to one million rupees, or both. Notification SRO III (1) 2004 as amended on 16 February 2004; Nuclear Substances, Radioactive Materials and any other substance or item covered by PNRA Ordinance, 2001 (III 0f 2001); and Equipment used for production, use, or application of nuclear energy or activity, including generation of electricity and spares, are subject to NOC from PNRA as per procedure notified by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA).
In September 2004, new legislation namely, Act No. V of 2004, was enacted to provide export control on goods, technologies, material and equipment related to nuclear and biological weapons and their delivery systems. The Act entered into force on September23, 2004.
Salient elements of the new Export Control Act include:
- Controls over export, re-export, transshipment and transit of goods, technologies, material and equipment covered. Prohibition of diversion of controlled goods and technologies.
- Wide jurisdiction (also includes Pakistanis visiting or working abroad).
- Provides for an authority to administer rules and regulations framed under this legislation. Also provides for the establishment of an Oversight Board to monitor the implementation of this legislation.
- Comprehensive control lists and catch all provisions.
- Licensing and record keeping provisions.
- Penal provisions: Up to 14 years imprisonment and Rs.5 million fine or both, and on conviction, offender’s property and assets, wherever they may be, shall be forfeited by the Federal Government. Right of appeal provided for.
• For the purposes of the Export Control Act, the authority rests with the Federal Government and the Federal Government, as and when necessary, may -
a) make such rules and regulations as are necessary for implementation of this Act;
b) delegate authority to administer all activities under this Act to such Ministries, Division, Departments and Agencies as it may deem appropriate;
c) establish a government Authority to administer export controls established under this Act;
d) designate the agency or agencies authorized to enforce this Act;
e) establish an Oversight Board to monitor the implementation of this Act; and
f) require licenses for exports from Pakistan of goods and technology, and the re-export of goods and technology that originated in Pakistan.
• Moreover, officials of the designated agency or agencies are authorized to inspect consignments declared for export and review, acquire or confiscate records or withholding an export license under this Act. The Federal Government may vest any investigatory powers and powers of arrest authorized by law in officials of the customs administration or other appropriate agencies.
It should also be noted that the Act provides for catch-all controls, and covers intangible transfers. Section 5(3): An exporter is under legal obligation to notify to the competent authority if the exporter is aware or suspects that the goods or technology are intended, in their entirety or in part, for use in connection with nuclear or biological weapons or missiles capable of delivering such weapons.
Under the Act, the definition of ‘technology’ includes: on-the-job training, expert advice and services attached therewith. The definition of ‘services’ includes: ‘training and technical assistance including intangible transfer such as disclosure of technical data relating to the purposes of the Act’.
Under this Act in October 2005, under a Statutory Notification, the GoP notified comprehensive control lists of goods, technologies, material and equipment. These fully cover the control lists of the NSG, MTCR and the Australia Group, which are the world class gold standard in this respect.
Under the Act in 2007, the Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV) was set up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the authority to implement the 2004 Act. SECDIV is staffed by officials from various departments and Ministries dealing with all aspects of this important task. SECDIV includes officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Strategic Plans Division, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Ministry of Commerce, and Pakistan Customs and Customs Intelligence.
An Oversight Board to monitor the implementation of the Export Control on Goods, Technologies, Materials and Equipment related to Nuclear and Biological Weapons and their Delivery Systems Act No. V of 2004, and also the setting up and functioning of SECDIV, has also been set up in 2007. It has 11 members, 10 of whom are government officials in their ex-officio capacity. It is headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Director General SECDIV is a member and acts as the Secretary to the Oversight Board. The other Members of the Board are the Additional Secretary (UN&EC) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Additional Secretary (CS&M), Cabinet Division, Additional Secretary (III), Ministry of Defense, Additional Secretary (I), Ministry of Interior, Member Exports, Central Board of Revenue, Director General Security Division, National Command Authority(NCA), Director Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs, Strategic Plans Division (SPD), Executive Member, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority(PNRA), and a Pakistani Expert, with experience in export controls, serving in an honorary capacity.
Terrorist or Terrorism Threat: The holding of free and fair elections, in which the previous government was voted out of power, and replaced by major political parties at the federal and provincial level should take care of the apprehension that Pakistan’s nuclear assets may fall into the hands of radical elements.
The analysis of the command and control, custodial and export control systems shows that it is, indeed, second to none in the world. It is also not fully appreciated that unlike some of the other nuclear states, apart from technical controls and safeguards, despite being a developing country and perhaps for that reason, Pakistan can and does afford maximizing specialized personnel and troops dedicated for safeguarding its assets against internal and external threats.
Therefore, the threat of any terrorist attack on nuclear facilities to try to seize any of the assets or fissile material, in reality, does not exist. Multiple physical and personnel reliability systems, as well as inventory controls and checks, rule out any insider-outsider threats.
Pakistan has also interacted with other countries, including Japan, UK, US and the EU. While it is true that Pakistan does not need a security clearance from any quarter, it is prudent to meet international concerns, and this is the policy of every nuclear state. It is for this reason that when media hype was at its high water mark, those foreign officials and academics who were best informed, including for that matter the official spokesman of the U.S government, expressed full confidence on the safety and security of our nuclear assets.
As political stability increases, and terrorism and extremism are brought under control, such apprehensions and projections will abate. At the same time, Pakistan also needs to recognize that strengthening the democratic process and the attainment of long-term political stability are vital elements for its credibility as a responsible nuclear state.
Why this Focus on Pakistan’s Nuclear Program? The above discussion would make it easier to challenge the assumptions behind which international concern is being focused on Pakistan. The question can be asked why there is focus only on Pakistan, despite the fact that political uncertainty is largely over after the elections, and the strong safety, security and export systems are in place. Those quarters which raise concern about Pakistan in the nuclear field, do not make comparisons with the security of nuclear weapons, fissile material and nuclear facilities in other nuclear weapons states, including Russia and India, while incidents have also taken place in the United States of America.
In Russia, the threat has been much greater. It necessitated the American, Nunn-Lugar legislation for assistance for safeguarding Russian facilities and fissile material after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russian nuclear and other WMD production facilities deteriorated and some Russian scientists went abroad. There has been some leakage of fissile material. One of Russia’s leading military commanders stated that some of Russia’s suitcase nuclear bombs, designed for their Special Forces operations, had gone missing. While this was refuted by the Russian government, there are causes of concern across the spectrum. However, international attention is muted on it.
In the context of India, fissile material and nuclear weapons are arguably in greater danger. Unlike as in Pakistan, many Indian facilities are under the supervision of civilian security. There are seventeen ongoing insurgencies, which are potential terrorist threats. India has also displayed an unwillingness to engage with other countries on security practices.
Furthermore, most of the Indian power reactors were outside IAEA safeguards. Even after the US-India nuclear deal, eight of the existing reactors remain outside safeguards, with India having the discretion of placing future reactors within or without IAEA safeguards. Since the majority of the Indian reactors have been outside safeguards, it is difficult for the international community to assess the status of past and present safety of the spent fuel generated by these reactors. India’s ambitious thirteen breeder reactors program also remains outside safeguards.
Indian scientists working in Iran have been sanctioned by the US. There have been some media reports of trans-border leakage of some fissile material, and some reports of problems in Indian reactors during their operation cycles. Information is limited due to fact that the reactors are not under IAEA safeguards, and because India ratified the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) only relatively recently.
In the field of countering WMD proliferation, Pakistan took firm steps to deal with an instance, which came to light by quickly reacting to completely shut down the entire network as it pertained to Pakistan. This was only part of a much wider network or networks, which in fact have existed in one way or another since the dawn of the nuclear age. However, the same firm and decisive action has not been taken by other countries. Many key individuals belonging to such networks have have not been sanctioned by the countries to which they belong or in which they operate.
In December 2002, the then Iraqi government presented to the Security Council the full disclosure of its WMD program, in an effort to avoid serious consequences with which it had been threatened. This some over 12,600-page documentation contained details and names of the foreign suppliers and companies, which had significantly contributed to Iraq’s nuclear weapons, missiles, chemical and biological weapons programs. However, the western members of the UN Security Council directed that all names and identifications of the individuals and companies which had supplied materials, weapons and technologies for Iraq’s WMD program should be blacked out. This extensive list of about 283 individuals and companies has never been made public. The IAEA and the UN inspection teams have yet to publish the voluminous material available to them, which includes details of the contracts entered into by Iraq with foreign companies and individuals of various networks.
A few years ago an Iraqi scientist, responsible for Iraq’s centrifuge program, has published a book which details how Iraq obtained the schematics and plans for advanced URENCO centrifuges from representatives of the MAN Company of Germany. While only a few of this Company’s representatives were responsible for such proliferation, the company itself has gone on to thrive and according to media reports, some years ago, it was purchased by the SCANIA Company’s transport Division for around $5 billion.
From the above discussion, it would be fair to conclude that either the global concerns are due to unrealistic fears of what can happen in Pakistan, or due to a deliberate campaign. Whatever the rationale, these concerns have generated suspicion that such a campaign is part of a plan to try to destabilize Pakistan and to try to neutralize Pakistan’s strategic assets and nuclear deterrent capability.
Domestic Concerns
At the national level, following important concerns come up from time to time:
• Internal public concerns on the prioritization of scarce resources to the defense sector at a time of rising food and energy prices, inadequate delivery of Government services in education, health and civic services, as well as inflation.
• A more specialized critique that the country’s nuclear capability should lead to less spending on conventional forces and defense.
• A minority view that the nuclear capability is not required to deter India, and the alternative view that it is inadequate to deter India and will remain inadequate.
• Some critics, probably inspired by western and Indian strategists, postulate that India’s nuclear weapons capabilities and stockpiles will grow to outmatch Pakistan’s, thereby offsetting country’s deterrence. They also try to make the point that due to the lack of territorial depth, Pakistan would lack an effective second strike capability in any hypothetical nuclear exchange. This, they hold, would make the country vulnerable to limited strikes, particularly in AJK and Southern Pakistan, as well as to proxy irregular low intensity conflict. The Indian ‘Cold Start’ or “Proactive” doctrine is viewed by some as Indian credible ability to inflict territorial and political damage to Pakistan while remaining under the nuclear threshold.
• Other critics have maintained that the nuclear strategy, posture and doctrine are less transparent and need public articulation.
While it is true that the civil society in Pakistan is extremely patriotic, it is also a fact that systemic problems, which have accentuated over time, particularly weak economic planning and implementation, emerging food and energy crises, which due to rising global prices for food crops and energy supplies continue to strain the already fragile economy, requirements for improving public education, observance of the rule of law, infrastructure, internal security and the delivery service of the government, making it harder for the people in general and civil society in particular to keep track of the strategic compulsions, developments in the region, changing threat perception and analysis, and pressures of global powers and international politics. The following discussion is an effort to underscore these compulsions, constraints, and needs under which Pakistan’s nuclear program is working, and to help develop a balanced opinion on the issue at hand.
Issue of Resources and their Allocation: Regarding the debate of nuclear program and national resources, following points need to be kept in focus. Firstly, the nuclear program is not the cause of scarce or depleting resources. It rather lies in the lack of proper economic planning, issues of governance and poor allocation of resources. In fact, the nuclear program itself falls victim to these issues and at times faces inadequate resources for its plans and activities. It is only by fixing the real fundamental causes, the issue of resources can be addressed.
Secondly, a strong civil nuclear power infrastructure is increasingly becoming inevitable for the economic growth and energy security due to the limited fossil fuel reserves and increasing energy prices worldwide. There is no doubt that if Pakistan had funds to outright purchase civil nuclear power stations, the attitude of major suppliers would change over time. Therefore, it is imperative for the government to devise strategies for a fast-paced economic growth.
Thirdly, the allocation of resources is a continuing process requiring constant readjustments, by assessing all potential threats on the eastern and now western borders. No Pakistani can forget India’s policy and actions, which resulted in the 1971 dismemberment of Pakistan, and in comparison, the effectiveness of the deterrent value of Pakistan’s strategic capability that Pakistan exhibited in the wake of the 2000-2001 standoff with India. This shows that the country has acquired sufficient strategic and conventional capabilities at this time to deter India, and demonstrated the will and ability to enhance capabilities to meet future requirements. However, given limited resources, the continuing challenge for the country is to put in place an appropriate mix of conventional and nuclear forces for any threat that may arise.
Fourthly, it is generally held that the gearing ratio for defense purposes is usually 1:3 against any offensive force in terms of conventional capabilities, whereas India is approximately 6 times larger than Pakistan in terms of population and economic resources. Therefore, for defensive objectives and to match India’s defense expenditure Pakistan needs to spend at least twice as much per capita. This leads to the simple conclusion that the economy must grow and expand at least as much as that of India in percentage terms to comfortably maintain a defensive capability, lest the country will have to sacrifice more than just an economic backlash.
Fifthly, the importance of state of the art conventional forces for defense, even in the presence of nuclear weapons, can hardly be overemphasized. A better tooth to tail ratio always remains a prime objective. For that matter, Pakistan relies a great deal on high tech arms imports, which require good relations with the major powers and subject to various conditionalities that hamper the country’s freedom of action in all fields including foreign relations. Examples of the drawbacks of such dependence in Pakistan’s history have continuously been witnessed, even at this point in time. Therefore, the challenge for Pakistan in this regard is two-fold: 1) improving indigenous conventional production—there is still room for innovative or modified approaches in this area, such as selective conscription, as in the case of many other countries including Turkey, which may become necessary and provide a partial answer for a smaller standing establishment; 2) since conventional defense also needs constant revisiting to address threats, the economy must grow in pace to the needs of ever-changing and expanding defense needs.
Last, but by no means the least, the current pressure on the resources has been accentuated by the ongoing war in Afghanistan and its spillover effect. During the last ten years, the country has paid much more economic, political and social costs than it has gained in any respect. Therefore, while the government is helping the international community and Afghan government in their endeavors of reaching a plausible solution to the Afghan imbroglio, it needs to review its policies vis-à-vis its role and participation in the Afghanistan related US War on Terror and to devise policies to put its own house in order.
Doctrinal Aspect: So far, Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine has been based on certain high level declaratory statements. The main elements of what has been declared are: Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state; that Pakistan believes in a policy of restraint; that it would like to avoid any arms race; and that Pakistan’s policy is to maintain a credible minimum deterrence for defensive purposes and to maintain this capability to meet all emerging eventualities.
It is also probable that if Pakistan is faced with the ultimate scenario of unbridled aggression, its targeting strategy will undoubtedly consist of a pragmatic mix of counter force and counter value targets, as is the case with targeting planners in other nuclear powers. It would also be unwise to think that theater nuclear weapons could be ruled out for Pakistan.
Furthermore, Pakistan does not subscribe to any ‘no first use’ doctrine. In respect of this strategic ambiguity, the policy is the same as that of the USA, the NATO alliance, Russia, the U.K and France. India which has a declared ‘no first use’ policy, has qualified it somewhat by declaring that it will not apply this policy if it is subject to any biological or chemical weapons attacks anywhere. Any declaration of ‘no first use’ by Pakistan could provide India encouragement and comfort for a conventional attack doctrine, given its larger conventional forces. India’s ‘Pro-active’ or ‘Cold Start’ doctrine is based on the hypothesis of being able to seize Pakistani territory in rapid military strikes while remaining under the nuclear threshold.
Pakistan has always countered suggestions by India implying the need for mutual policies of ‘no first use’ with a response that an agreement or treaty should be negotiated on ‘no first use of force’ policy and commitment by both sides. Pakistan should also try to revive negotiations held earlier on a ‘no war pact’ which would go much further than any ‘no first use’ declaration and make such an eventuality redundant by either side.
Having said that, Pakistan still needs to articulate its nuclear doctrine publicly and more clearly. Apart from the already declared elements of responsibility, restraint, against an arms race, and for a credible minimum deterrence, Pakistan should reiterate that it will never use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear weapons state, and that these weapons will only be used if the existence of Pakistan and its people are at stake. This would also cover a response to any attack on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities and assets. While the country’s capabilities have been geared to deter threats from India, the policy should also make it clear that it is also to deter threats from any other quarter that fields nuclear weapons.
Indian as a Factor: The Indian ‘Pro-active’ or ‘Cold Start’ doctrine, while representing a continuing aggressive approach and in part motivated to try to mount psychological pressure, cannot be discounted by Pakistani military planners. It may also represent a mechanism for gaining increased funding and inter service claims from the Indian Armed Services. Nevertheless, the assertion of this doctrine which is being implemented with force deployments and armor augmentation in the formations near Pakistan’s border as well as by faster mobilization plans for India’s pivot or strike forces has to be taken into account even though in bilateral discussions Indian officials continue to state that there is no such doctrine or plan.
India has also developed, as part of its long publicized policy objective a nuclear triad, a nuclear submarine based second strike capability. It intends to lease Russian nuclear Akula class submarines capable of carrying nuclear tipped cruise missiles, whose nuclear reactors also remain outside safeguards, in violation of Russia’s NPT obligations. Pakistan has no option but to develop a submarine based second strike capability of its own. This will be needed not only because of Pakistan’s lack of depth, but also because such a capability is relied upon by all the nuclear powers as the only secure long term second strike capability for deterrence.
Nevertheless, it is also a fact that when faced with the possibility of initiating any chain of events which may lead to a nuclear exchange, the political leadership of any country would not be guided by estimated calculations of the strike capability of the other side and projection of the ability to discount its impact. In other words, it is unlikely that any Indian Prime Minister would be comfortable with the hypothetical assertion of any of India’s military planners that a conventional attack against Pakistan would remain below the nuclear threshold.
Unlike India, Pakistan has been slow to develop space launch vehicle (SLV) capability, even though it has held its own in ballistic missiles technology. SLV capability gives any country not only immense peaceful uses options for development and communications, but also the ability to launch and maintain observation satellites.

CBMs with India: The nuclear and conventional Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) process has a useful linkage in the bilateral and international context. There has been some progress on both these fronts, which stand out as substantial achievements in relation to what has been achieved in the entire peace dialogue process. Two nuclear CBMs have been concluded and put in place. In the first Nuclear CBM meeting in June 2004, both sides agreed that the nuclear capabilities of India and Pakistan, which are based on their national security imperatives, constitute a factor for stability. The nuclear flashpoint perception is now over for both countries. At the same time, however, India has not been willing to discuss the longstanding proposal by Pakistan for a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR), which would incorporate strategic restraint, conventional balance and dispute settlement.
There has been some modest progress on conventional CBMs. The new hotline, put in place between the two foreign secretaries during the nuclear CBM talks, serves for a direct channel of communication for relations in general. The upgradation of the existing hotline between the Directors Generals of Military Operations of both sides also provides a faster and more reliable means of communication in case of need. Some other conventional CBMs are near finalization. These include an agreement to avoid incidents at sea between Naval vessels, and measures along the line of control.
However, now the Peace Process or Composite Dialogue with India has been resumed after it was frozen consequent to the Mumbai incident, slow progress is to be expected. The conventional CBMs proposed by Pakistan, which are either Kashmir related or for across the international border, have not been accepted by India. Apart from some positive meeting of minds on a draft Agreement to Avoid Incidents at Sea, the latest rounds of nuclear and conventional CBMs talks with India in December 2011 were disappointing.
While India projects in these talks, as it does in its national statements, that it has no aggressive or coercive designs against Pakistan despite its continuing military buildup, which is 95 percent directed against Pakistan; its military doctrine continues to be dominated by aggressive concepts, such as ‘Cold Start’ doctrine and the attendant military exercises along Pakistan’s borders. Much will depend on India deciding that better relations with Pakistan are in its long term interests and that of its image and place in the region and the world.
Post Indo-US Nuclear Agreement Scenario: As mentioned earlier, maintaining the strategic stability is essential not only for South Asia, but for international stability as well. However, as the National Command Authority inter alia noted on 2 August 2007, “the US-India Nuclear Agreement would have implications on strategic stability as it would enable India to produce significant quantities of fissile material and nuclear weapons from un-safeguarded nuclear reactors. The objective of strategic stability in South Asia and the global non-proliferation regime would have been better served if the United States had considered a package approach for Pakistan and India, the two non-NPT Nuclear Weapons States, with a view to preventing a nuclear arms race in the region and promoting restraints while ensuring that the legitimate needs of both countries for civil nuclear power generation are met.”
Indeed, India’s growing nuclear potential would be a continuous challenge for Pakistan. The US-India Agreement would free India’s limited uranium reserves for fissile production. Under this agreement eight Indian CANDU reactors of 2350 MWe, which will be kept out of safeguards. If run for weapons grade plutonium production at 60 percent capacity, they could produce 1200 kg of weapon grade plutonium sufficient for 240 nuclear weapons annually. If run for electricity generation, coupled with some fissile material production due to the online fueling system of the heavy water CANDU design, these eight reactors could produce up to 500 kg of weapons grade Pu annually, sufficient for 100 nuclear weapons. The online fueling capacity of these natural uranium heavy water reactors makes them most suitable for fissile material production, whether run as dedicated facilities for this purpose or combined with power generation. Nowhere else in the world are power reactors kept outside safeguards. (See annex on page 64 for a brief analysis of the fissile production capability of 8 Indian reactors)
The ambitious Indian breeder reactor program, aiming for 13 breeder reactors will also remain outside safeguards. Indian government scientists have emphasized in their statements that keeping the breeder reactor program is essential for national security. All other breeder reactor programs in other countries have been based on Pu generated by civil power reactors utilizing Pu from fully burnt up fuel, which is not suitable for efficient nuclear weapons design. The penalty of higher natural uranium usage for weapons grade production is the main factor behind such a practice, where the objective has been to extent fuel availability and usage for greater utilization for civil power programs to surmount probable declining world uranium reserves, both proven and potential. Therefore, there is no rational justification to keep breeder programs, their reactors and the fissile material produced outside safeguards, except that India wants to keep the option of enhancing potential weapons grade fissile stocks.

In the light of US-India deal and the NSG exemptions, Pakistan has no option but to maintain a fissile production capability for the foreseeable future to meet the challenge. This strategic compulsion also explains Pakistan’s position on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), which is dealt in detail in the following discussion, chiefly for two reasons: 1) to analyze whether Pakistan is the only country that is responsible for staling negotiations on FMCT, and 2) to understand the rationale behind Pakistan’s opposition to the Treaty in its current form.
FMCT and Pakistan

In the specific context of FMCT, Pakistan’s preference is for a Fissile Material Treaty or FMT. The history of this endeavor should be kept in mind as well as the dual objectives of disarmament and non-proliferation. A fissile material cutoff was initially discussed in 1946 in the Acheson-Lilienthal Report on the international control of atomic energy and the Baruch Plan, which proposed to obtain and maintain complete and accurate information on world supply of uranium and thorium and to bring it under the UN Atomic Energy Commission. American President Dwight Eisenhower stated in 1953 that the US would seek “more than the mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials for military purposes.”
President Eisenhower officially proposed a cutoff in 1956, a suggestion the Soviets opposed. From 1978, General Assembly resolutions started calling for a ban on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. The final declaration of the First Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD-I) incorporated the international near consensus to ban the production of weapon-usable fissile material as part of the measures for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Only in January 1989 did President Gorbachev first support this idea. However, at that time, President George H W Bush rejected the proposal for fear of undermining the US nuclear deterrence. The UK, France, Russia and India also rejected it and linked it to nuclear disarmament.
It was only in the post-Cold War period that hopes rose for general nuclear disarmament including for the negotiation of a fissile material treaty. President Clinton in his speech to the UN General Assembly in 1993 said: “Growing global stockpiles of plutonium and highly enriched uranium are raising the danger of nuclear terrorism for all nations. We will press for an international agreement that would ban production of these materials for weapons forever.”
Following on the suggestions of President Bill Clinton, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution (48/75L) in 1993, which called for a “non-discriminatory, multi-lateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” This resolution touched on ‘verification’ but was silent on the question of existing stocks.
Ambassador Gerald Shannon was made a Special Coordinator in 1994 to consult the member states of UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) on a fissile material treaty. He soon realized that one of the critical questions would be the past production as well as the future production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. His recommendation was that the mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee, to be established to negotiate a treaty, did not preclude any delegation from raising for consideration, inter alia, the past production of fissile materials.
In 1995, the CD established a committee to discuss the FMCT. However, despite the presentation of the Shannon mandate in 1995, the CD did not commence work on this issue. The pressure to begin negotiations increased after the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in 1998. Pakistan, after due consideration, agreed to participate in these negotiations at that time. At the end of its 1998 session, the CD did establish an Ad Hoc Committee to start negotiations on an FMT but it remained in existence for only three weeks, and held only three meetings.
Following the NATO intervention in Kosovo, the US/NATO bombing of Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, and the US decision to deploy Anti Ballistic Missile Systems, which are also supposed to have space based weapons, China and Russia hardened their positions in the CD. China specifically insisted that there should be simultaneous negotiations on the Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), which would cover Anti Ballistic Missile Systems.
Furthermore, Pakistan and India, which had joined the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on FMCT in August 1998, also demanded that FMCT talks be accompanied by negotiations on nuclear disarmament and outer space. This was in retaliation to the General Assembly resolution, tabled by the Western countries in October 1998, condemning both India and Pakistan for their nuclear tests. The United States inter alia also suggested to both the countries to sign a CTBT and to begin FMCT negotiations. Before either country could make up its mind on the CTBT, the treaty was rejected by the US Senate at the end of 1999. This development inevitably had an impact on the pace of discussions on any FMCT/FMT in the CD. Subsequently, there was also a change in US position, as it withdrew its support for any negotiations on FMCT which sought to include international verification in the Treaty.
The 2000 NPT Review Conference as part of the thirteen practical steps urged the CD to agree on a program of work which would include the immediate commencement of the negotiations on the basis of the Shannon mandate taking into the consideration both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation objectives.
In July 2004, the US stated that while it still supported such a treaty, it believed that effective verification was not achievable. The same year, US, UK, Israel and Palau expressed reservations on a General Assembly resolution, presented by Canada, which called for negotiations on FMCT in accordance with the Shannon mandate.
In January 2006, the non-governmental International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) was founded to address the technical challenges of securing and reducing stockpiles of fissile material. The IPFM is composed of non-proliferation experts from both nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapons states, who are there in their personal capacity.
In May 2006, the George W. Bush administration submitted a draft FMCT at the CD that would not contain any verification provisions; would ban new production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons for 15 years; and would enter into force with the ratification of the five established nuclear weapons states. As this draft treaty did not include verification and permitted, by default, the continued production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for non-weapons purposes, it was not found acceptable by the majority of non-western countries including by the NAM.
There was no progress on the FMCT negotiations in the CD till 2007. In March 2007, the six CD Presidents for 2007 (South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and Syria) presented Presidential Draft Decision (PDD) (document CD/2007/L.1) in a ‘take it or leave it’ manner. It was not opened for consultations/amendments despite some delegations, including Pakistan, having called for open-ended consultations on this document in order to make it acceptable to all CD Member States.
In May 2009, the CD adopted a consensus program of work temporarily breaking the long impasse in the CD. The program of work envisaged the establishment of ‘Working Groups’ on four core issues including; Nuclear Disarmament, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) and Negative Security Assurances (NSA). Since the document (CD/1863 later re-designated as CD/1864) apparently addressed the major issue of verification and suggested negotiations on the basis of the Shannon Mandate, it was supported by Pakistan at that point of time along with other states.
Pakistan, nevertheless, made it clear that CD/1863 was not a perfect document, which needed to be equitably worked out in the formal document of the work program elaboration. Formal amendments were tabled in the CD by Pakistan asking that negotiations should begin on all four core issues on the agenda of the CD on an equal negotiating basis with all having the same objectives to arrive at a treaty, and under the overarching principle of SSOD-I of equal security for all. These constructive amendments on the draft CD document elaborating the work program were rejected by the western countries.
Pakistan has maintained its position and due to the consensus rule of the CD the position remains the same and no negotiations on any FMCT have commenced. From time to time, some western countries have said that the FMCT may be taken outside the CD if this deadlock continues but in fact they are apprehensive that if this is done, other issues of great importance, particularly Negative Security Guarantees, and Nuclear Disarmament including Nuclear Weapons Convention to prohibit the possession, development, stockpiling, transfer and use of nuclear weapons, leading to their ultimate destruction, would also be taken outside the CD. The Nuclear Weapons Convention, which would be a true disarmament measure, goes far beyond the status quo objectives of the P-4 and India. The NAM and the G-21 in the CD, including Pakistan, are in favor of this Convention. However, Pakistan has made it clear that the CD is the only body in which disarmament instruments should be negotiated, and if the FMCT is taken out of the CD, Pakistan will not participate.
While the G-21 have declared their support for all the four core issues on the CD agenda to be given equal treatment for negotiation, many states have put forth their reservations on FMCT. Israel opposes the Treaty, while Iran feels that it would be used as a pressure point against its safeguarded nuclear program and as another element for regime change. China also assesses that its reportedly smaller nuclear stockpile may be insufficient, given the additional capacity being provided to India.
India, in a formal statement when the consensus program of work was adopted in May 2009, specified that it would not accept an FMCT which had any adverse implication for its dedicated military program or its civil nuclear program. The head of India’s nuclear program made it clear in the public debate in India, leading up to the Indo-US nuclear deal, that without imports of uranium, India would never be able to power its ambitious civil nuclear power production program, given the small size of its proven and probable uranium reserves. However, as supplier countries are increasingly ready to provide not only nuclear technology but uranium fuel to India, it will be able to use its reserves of uranium for weapons production in its unsafeguarded power reactors, apart from its dedicated weapon grade Pu making reactors and enrichment plants.
Hence, it would be naïve to think that Pakistan is the only country that opposes the opening of negotiations on the FMCT in the CD. Many countries find it convenient to remain behind Pakistan, letting it to do the heavy lifting and attracting the flak. Yet, it is not an option for Pakistan to step back and hope that other countries will continue to block the FMCT. This was made clear in 2009 when for a short time it joined the consensus.
Pakistan’s Fundamental Considerations: Firstly, a treaty on fissile material is tied to the objectives of non-proliferation i.e. prevention of vertical or horizontal spread of nuclear weapons technology, and nuclear disarmament—cuts into the existing stocks of weapons and materials. A treaty that aims at only cutoff of the future production of fissile materials will be a non-proliferation measure whereas inclusion of the past production and existing stockpiles within the remit of the treaty will be a step towards disarmament.
Secondly, the treaty must address the question of existing stocks. The asymmetry in the stockpiles at the global and regional levels will constitute a factor of strategic instability. A cut-off in the manufacturing of fissile material must be accompanied by a mandatory program for the elimination of asymmetries in the possession of fissile material stockpiles by various states. Such transfer of fissile material to safeguards should be made first by states with large stockpiles, both in the global and regional context.
Apart from the significant weapon grade stockpile from India’s dedicated weapons making reactors, which have been operational for decades, at least 6.8 tons of unsafeguarded plutonium, as estimated by the IPFM in 2010, constitutes another overhang. Even if this overhang was of reactor grade plutonium, the IPFM estimates that it is sufficient for 850 nuclear weapons. However, a significant portion of this unsafeguarded plutonium stockpile is likely to be weapon grade plutonium as the indigenous Indian reactors of the natural uranium—heavy water type¬—are ideal for weapon grade plutonium production, given their online refueling capability with low burn-up.
To maintain strategic deterrence in South Asia, Pakistan has to take into account existing fissile stocks. Furthermore, the existing stockpiles, unless accounted for and monitored, could be used for the development of additional nuclear weapons.
Thirdly, a treaty without an effective verification mechanism will have no teeth. It would be a soft international law at best. In September 1999, the EU declared its support for an effective verification system but subsequently dropped its reference to verification in line with the US position.
International treaties on non-proliferation and disarmament cannot be implemented properly unless they contain inbuilt and supportive provisions for verification. The IAEA safeguards regime is designed to support not only the NPT but nuclear power reactors for countries remaining outside the NPT as well. To strengthen the IAEA safeguards regime, an Additional Protocol was brought into being. There are detail verification procedures in the CWC and CTBT. The same logic would apply to any future FMT.
Fourthly, such a treaty must be non-discriminatory. A treaty that addresses stockpiles will assist in making it non-discriminatory. Otherwise, such a flawed instrument would end up freezing asymmetries and make such a treaty inherently discriminatory and thereby lead to instability rather than the desired objective.
Fifthly, the CD must negotiate all the four core issues on its agenda at the same time in a parallel process, giving equal priority and with the same objective of reaching international treaties for all four items.
This analysis makes it clear that there is no credible threat to Pakistan’s nuclear assets and that potential threats are under control. There are similar or higher levels of threat elsewhere. This issue should not be used by any quarter in an attempt to try to destabilize Pakistan, with the expectation that this would neutralize or erode its strategic capability.
It can also be said that international concerns from the west are closely linked to a lack of comfort at Pakistan—a Muslim state—having nuclear capability. While the so called ‘war on terror’ with its attendant occupations of Iraq and of Afghanistan have led to many adverse consequences and transactional costs for the Muslim world, which consequently and unfortunately have generated perceptions of mistrust both in the Western and Muslim societies. These dynamics have accentuated pre-existing misgivings and impacted on the nuclear issue as well. The effect on Pakistan in terms of intensified extremist and terrorist movements, particularly from the continuing turmoil in Afghanistan, has been immense, compounding the task for Pakistan to counter terrorist and extremist tendencies and to evolve a multidimensional strategy .
The US, NATO and ISAF would do a great service to both Afghanistan and Pakistan if they support the government of Afghanistan in implementing an effective strategy for a political settlement and a developmental package which accords with the traditional structures of the Afghan state and society, while avoiding collateral damage in its military efforts. The objective for the foreign forces should be to withdraw from Afghanistan in a manner contributing to a sustainable political settlement and without leaving Afghanistan subject to cycles of instability, fighting and chaos. Apart from Afghanistan and its long-suffering people, no other country or people have such a great stake in the stability of Afghanistan than Pakistan.
On the nuclear concerns issue, a new approach is required. Two-way confidence should be the overall objective of the international community. It should be recognized that Pakistani authorities are not complacent and are continually upgrading their systems and vigilance. Unreasonable suspicions and allegations would be counterproductive.
Presently, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not on alert status. However, if the campaign of unjustly criticizing Pakistan’s nuclear safety and security continues, there will be voices within Pakistan calling for keeping its nuclear weapons on high alert. This is not what Pakistan wants with its declared policy of restraint and credible minimum deterrence. Nor would any such change be in the interest of overall regional security and international peace and security, to which Pakistan fully subscribes.
Regarding criticism and suspicion of Pakistan’s nuclear safety and security, a number of other important and continuing objectives need to be kept in focus. First of all, addressing global concerns is a constant process to demonstrate that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear power. Maintaining political stability and countering extremism are important factors in this regard, because irrespective of very strong command and control systems, and export controls, it is the optics of these factors which fuel global concerns, motivated or otherwise. At the same time, Pakistan needs to continue to strengthen its nuclear safety and security measures including command and control, export controls, border controls and nuclear regulation, while interacting with others to learn from their evolving best practices. This is in fact the policy of the Government of Pakistan and the policy it is pursing and implementing.
Secondly, the NCA has to constantly upgrade protection of nuclear assets from any internal and external threats. The NCA and the SPD may find it useful, as is done in other countries on important issues, to have a ‘B Team’ to assess challenges and responses to counter check what already is being done.
Thirdly, Pakistan has to project all dimensions of this issue so that any concerns, be they from international sources or from within Pakistan, and however limited a circle they may come from, are responded to through dialogue and by projecting Pakistan’s efforts and achievements.
Fourthly, it needs to be recognized that the base of national security rests on socio-economic, educational and technological development.
Fifthly, Pakistan is, no doubt, a nuclear power, and it does not need recognition or legitimization from any quarter in this regard. As a nuclear power, it should display the self-confidence that goes with this status.
Way Forward
In conclusion, taking into account the brief overview above I recommend that to safeguard and to strengthen Pakistan’s strategic and energy security the following elements should be projected and implemented as a matter of public policy.
1. Pakistan’s nuclear program is a vital element of Pakistan’s national security.
2. Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state with a command, control and security system second to none, along with strong strategic export controls, all subject to internal monitoring, review and improvement if required. The safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear program and assets, from any internal or external threat, are beyond doubt.
3. Pakistan’s participates in many UN, IAEA activities and international initiatives concerned with nuclear safety and security as well as non-proliferation which further demonstrates its commitment and ability.
Some critical international perceptions are motivated, while others due to misperceptions. Through engagement, it should be attempted to correct misperceptions.
4. The civil power generation nuclear program, in which all the civil power reactors are under IAEA safeguards, is essential to Pakistan’s energy security as a fossil fuel deficit country dependent on energy imports for its socio-economic de
5. The power generation component of the program must be advanced to meet Pakistan’s growing energy requirements. As this civil nuclear power generation program is based on IAEA safeguarded reactors, it should not be subject to any external discriminatory technology denial policies.
6. In view of Pakistan’s experience and expertise in the safe operation of nuclear reactors and facilities, establishment of the requisite infrastructure and regulatory regimes, component manufacturing, nuclear safety as well as export controls, Pakistan is well placed for international partnerships in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In this regard Pakistan should explore avenues of cooperation with other countries planning their safeguarded civil nuclear programs.
7. Under the PAEC Pakistan has long standing academic and training programs as well as medical and agricultural nuclear research and treatment centers and facilities.
8. Peaceful uses cooperation with other countries for their civil nuclear programs and for agricultural and medical, research and treatment can also be explored under IAEA and OIC auspices.
9. Pakistan’s strategic nuclear program based on credible minimum nuclear deterrence is essential to maintain peace and security in this region. It is not aimed at any country and is purely defensive and to deter any aggression or adventurism. Minimum deterrence is not static, and without entering into an arms race, has to evolve to meet and to counter emerging threats to Pakistan’s security.
10. It is unfortunate that rather than discussing and partnering Pakistan’s long standing offer of a Strategic Restraint Regime (SSR) in South Asia based on nuclear restraint, conventional balance and dispute resolution, India has moved in the other direction in terms of its strategic capabilities, conventional build up and aggressive doctrines.
11. It is also unfortunate that many members of the international community rather than supporting strategic restraint in South Asia, have bolstered India’s strategic and conventional capabilities and assets. The US-India nuclear deal and the exemption by the NSG without placing all of India’s power reactors, ambitious breeder reactors program and sizeable fissile material stocks from these power reactors under safeguards, is a clear violation of these countries NPT obligations.
12. The provision by Russian of nuclear submarines to India in the past, without any safeguards on their reactors, and now nuclear attack submarines capable of carrying nuclear armed cruise missiles, constitute violations of Russia’s NPT obligations. Russian cooperation in the production of the Brahmos cruise missile is also a violation of Russia’s MTCR obligations.
13. Under the Indo-US nuclear deal, 8 Indian heavy water, natural uranium reactors, which are ideal for weapons grade Pu production have been left outside safeguards. Their joint capacity of 2,000 MW, running at 60 percent capacity, is adequate to produce 1,200 kg of weapons grade Pu which can produce 240 nuclear weapons annually. There is no precedent of keeping power reactors outside IAEA safeguards.
14. India’s ambitious breeder reactor program significantly and exponentially adds to its weapons grade Pu capability. As the objective of breeder reactors is to extend the use of fissile material for power production there is no justification for keeping this program outside of IAEA safeguards.
15. The Indian Prime Minister has stated in Parliament that no facet of India’s nuclear program which has a strategic significance would be placed under safeguards. This statement makes it clear that important aspects of India’s nuclear program kept out of safeguards have strategic objectives and therefore implications for the region and beyond.
16. The International Panel on Fissile Materials has stated inter alia in its 2010 publication, “Reducing and Eliminating Nuclear Weapons: Country Perspectives on the Challenges to Nuclear Disarmament”, that, “India’s current stockpile of weapon grade plutonium is estimated as 700 kg by the IPFM, sufficient for about 140 fission weapons, and 6.8 tons of reactor-grade plutonium, sufficient for about 850 fission weapons”.
17. While not widely known, reactor grade Pu can be used for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, a significant proportion of this unsafeguarded stockpile is likely to be weapons grade Pu, as predicted by an official American assessment made before 1974 when it stated that from the 2 reactors under construction India would be able to produce some 50-60 nuclear weapons.
18. The United States of America and the NSG should have made it a condition for any exemption for India that all its power and breeder reactors and its fissile material stockpile from its power reactors should be put under safeguards before the provision of any technology, additional nuclear power plants and uranium supplies. Equal treatment should have been given for Pakistan. An opportunity to introduce strategic restraint into South Asia was missed. Rather than professed non-proliferation objectives and NPT obligations, the motivation has been to build up India’s strategic capabilities and also commercial considerations of profit.
19. Pakistan is therefore faced with: a grave asymmetry of fissile material stocks; an aggressive Indian “Pro-active” or “Cold Start” doctrine aimed at seizing Pakistani territory; development of an Indian nuclear Triad through the introduction of ballistic missile carrying submarines; the continued induction of other new lethal weapon systems; introduction of ABMs with cooperation from the USA, Russia and Israel; and a growing differential in terms of conventional armaments and capabilities facilitated by countries who call for better relations between Pakistan and India but whose actions on the ground are not in synch.
20. These developments have significant implications for Pakistan’s security.
21. The Seminar expresses full support for Pakistan’s position at multilateral disarmament fora, and for its principled position in the Conference on Disarmament which must be maintained.
22. In the CD Pakistan must continue to insist that:
- Only a Fissile Material Treaty (FMT), which addresses existing fissile material stocks and asymmetries to assure equal security for all, should be negotiated. That would be a true disarmament objective and achievement, not an FMCT aimed at the expense of only Pakistan the last entrant which was forced by the Indian nuclear tests and subsequent threats, to go nuclear to preserve the strategic balance essential for peace and security in South Asia.
- That this should be in the context of parallel negotiations of equal status with the same objective to reach legal instruments on the other three core issues before the CD, Nuclear Disarmament, Negative Security Guarantee and the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.
- The Group of 21 in its statement of 11th August 2011 at the CD Plenary, which demonstrates that Pakistan is not isolated in the CD, inter alia called for; consensus on a comprehensive and balanced program of work taking into account the security concerns of all states; the early commencement of negotiations, within the CD, on a phased program for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specific period of time including a Nuclear Weapons Convention to prohibit the possession, development, stockpiling, transfer and use of nuclear weapons, leading to their ultimate destruction.
- Such a Convention goes far beyond any status quo FMCT proposal and the NPT nuclear powers to fulfill their NPT vertical deproliferation obligations should agree to demonstrate their sincerity.
23. Pakistan’s negotiating strategy be in the CD while continuing to press for the commencement of negotiations towards legal instruments on the three other core issues in the CD, it should lay out the following conditions for fissile material negotiations. First of all normalization of Pakistan’s relations with the NPT on a de facto basis as done for India, NSG exception and membership, and nuclear parity with India to allow access to safeguarded nuclear technology and to remove existing barriers. Secondly, an FMT which must address existing stockpiles as asymmetries at the regional and global level will be a factor for strategic instability. Thirdly India’s unsafe-guarded power reactors, breeder program and the plutonium overhang from its power reactors be placed under safeguards. Until then Pakistan has no alternative but to keep its powder dry.
24. Pakistan, a confident and responsible nuclear State, supports the global objectives of non-proliferation and of nuclear safety and security and will continue to contribute the evolution of nuclear safety and security based on national measures and to the strengthening and further development of the international non-proliferation regime based on the principles of, non-discrimination, equal and undiminished security for all states, and equal access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

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