Statement by the Foreign Secretary at the High Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament 28 February 2022
Let me start by congratulating Colombia on assuming the Presidency of this Conference.
We commend China for its skillful and successful leadership.
Thanks to China's able stewardship and flexibility demonstrated by all members, the CD has finally succeeded in breaking its long-standing impasse.
Pakistan attaches high importance to the Conference on Disarmament as a vital organ of the multilateral security architecture. With the adoption of a decision last week, the CD members have an important responsibility to realize the raison d'être of this body i.e. nuclear disarmament.
The effectiveness of the CD is a function of the global and regional security environments shaping the threat perceptions and policies of its members. Therefore, the CD's measure of progress to negotiate any arms control instrument is dependent on its responsiveness to these external conditions and fundamental national security concerns of all States.
The rules and methods of work of this Conference remain sound. This body has to its credit several landmark arms control and disarmament treaties with the same rules and methods. The successful conclusion of these treaties owed primarily to the conduciveness of the global security environment and security interests of states.
The drivers of CD's deadlock lay in the external strategic environment, its regional and sub-regional impacts and the effects of partisan policies on the fundamental national security concerns of states.
Today, we are witnessing a fragile international security environment, marked by growing political and military tensions in various regions. New geo-political alignments are being shaped.
Adherence to long-standing arms control agreements has eroded. There is steady uptick in arms races across various domains in several regions. Military expenditures have exceeded that of the Cold War era.
Many states continue to pursue policies of waivers and exemptions in violation of established global norms. Discriminatory application of rules is gaining ascendency.
We are also witnessing a race to develop and deploy new technologies and weapon systems, militarizing the outer and cyber spaces. Military applications of Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing are leading to more lethal methods and tools of modern warfare.
Lack of seriousness on the part of leading technology holders to control and regulate military use of the new technologies will likely enhance reliance on nuclear deterrence.
The CD cannot and should not remain oblivious to these drivers of instability at the global and regional levels. This body must deal with both the existing and emerging risks.
Strategic stability in South Asia remains under serious strain. Discriminatory application of non-proliferation standards continues to vitiate the regional security environment and accentuate military asymmetries.
The generous supply of advanced military technologies, weapons and delivery systems to the biggest state in the region has heightened risks to regional peace. These supplies have also infused a sense of impunity in the recipient state and frozen pathways to conflict resolution through peaceful means.
The over 1.5 billion people of South Asia deserve investments in sustainable peace and development.
On its part, Pakistan has offered a vision of peaceful neighbourhood. This vision envisages pacific settlement of disputes; no threat or use of force; restraint and responsibility. This vision also envisages forging partnerships for trade, investment, energy and digital connectivity.
Pakistan is determined to pursue peace, development and strategic stability in the region and beyond. Yet, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the evolving security dynamics in its immediate neighbourhood. Pakistan will do whatever it takes to deter aggression and defend itself.
Let me share Pakistan's perspective on how the CD can and should discharge its responsibilities. I have four points to make:
First, in carrying out its work, the CD must contribute to and promote security at international and regional levels. In discharging this duty, this body should also remain mindful of the drivers that I have outlined before.
Second, the Conference must play its role in creating conditions that are conducive and responsive to the cardinal principle i.e. the inalienable right to equal security by all States.
Third, this body must adhere to another fundamental principle of arms control i.e. disarmament measures should be pursued in such an equitable and balanced manner as to ensure that no individual State or group of States obtain advantages over others at any stage.
Fourth, the CD members must demonstrate adherence to international rule of law by refraining from grant of special exemptions and fulfilling their longstanding disarmament obligations.
All States especially those with the largest military arsenals have a special responsibility to demonstrate political will to enable this Conference to deliver on its mandate.
The world today faces a range of security, economic, social and environmental challenges.
These challenges can only be overcome by cooperative multilateralism with the United Nations at its core. In the arena of arms control, Pakistan proposes a new paradigm away from arms race and towards restraint at the global and regional levels.
This paradigm requires confidence enhancing measures, both inside and outside this Conference. And these measures should have transformational potential.
An international instrument on negative security assurances can and should serve as a transformational measure and a gateway to nuclear disarmament.
We look forward to the CD members investing efforts in building trust and confidence. We hope the CD members adhere faithfully to the key principles of international law and arms control as they engage in substantive work. In this endeavour, you will find Pakistan as a constructive and reliable partner.
I thank you.