Russia is not opposed to Pakistan's candidature to join the elite club of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and it encourages criteria-based approach for inclusion of non-NPT states in the group, said a Russian diplomat. Speaking at a seminar on 'Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Strategic Stability,' organized by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), an Islamabad based think tank specializing in strategic issues, First Secretary at Russian Embassy Pavel Didkovsky emphasized the possibility of a criteria-based approach for inclusion of non-NPT states in NSG.
"Russia is not opposed to Pakistan's NSG candidature and has no intension to block it," Didkovsky said, adding Russia along with China and other members states are working for a formula that could be acceptable to all. He praised the steps taken by Pakistan for strengthening its national export control programme that complied with the spirit of international regimes and conventions. He also acknowledged the efforts undertaken by Pakistan for stability in the region including unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and its support for Russian position on prevention of arms race in outer space.
Pakistan's former permanent representative to Conference on Disarmament and United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador (retd) Zamir Akram while speaking said that Pakistan desires to maintain strategic stability in South Asia by having credible deterrence.
He emphasized that stability and deterrence are shifting in the region because of India's acquisition of triad of delivery systems, the region's political dynamics, uncertain situation in Afghanistan and Indian hostilities at the Line of Control (LoC) and its sub-conventional war against Pakistan through Afghanistan-based proxies and support to terrorist groups.
He pointed out that Pakistan's response strategy has been to develop low yield weapons, sea-based deterrent, and long range ballistic missile, achieve Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) capability and an effective counterterrorism undertaking.
He stated that Pakistan is still ready for dialogue and more confidence building measures to stabilize the situation in the region. Former Secretary Ministry of Defence Production, Lieutenant General (retd) Syed Mohammad Owais was of the opinion that regional stability is being disturbed by India, adding that Washington is encouraging New Delhi in its weapons build-up. He said that erratic and incendiary policies of Modi's government are destabilizing the world at large.
Dr Zafar Jaspal, professor at Quaid-e-Azam University, stated that arms race is underway in the region with no prospects of arms control. He said the arms race is being sustained through west's patronage of India, which has accepted it in multilateral export control regimes like Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and more recently Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.
He pointed out that India enjoys a waiver at the NSG, which is also helping the country acquire massive weapons. President SVI, Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema in his remarks said that the arms race in the region is being led by India, which has great power aspirations. He said that India acquired nuclear submarines, anti-ballistic missile shield, cruise missile and other destabilizing weapon systems, compelling Pakistan to come up with responses out of its security imperatives.
He pointed towards Indian unwillingness to enter into a regional or bilateral arrangement with Pakistan to curb the arms race. Dr Tughral Yamin, associate dean at NUST's Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, said that besides weapon systems, leadership of the countries has also an important bearing on strategic stability.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017