The Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) hosted a two-day International Conference titled “The Global Non-proliferation Regime: Challenges and Responses”. The conference brought together scholars from Pakistan and other countries including Iran, Russia, UK, France, China, Egypt and US to deliberate upon contemporary nuclear non proliferation issues and to highlight the proactive role Pakistan can play in order to generate new ideas on the subject.On its first day on October 15, 2018, the conference focused on the future of the non proliferation regime and also discussed the contemporary scenario in the aftermath of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi was the chief guest at the occasion. During his keynote address at the inaugural session, President Alvi said that, “The unresolved Kashmir dispute poses great threat to regional stability.”He stressed that the United Nations must play its role to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. President Alvi further noted that strategic stability in South Asia was being threatened by the offensive posture and induction of lethal weapons by India.The President pointed out that discriminatory exemptions by certain countries for the supply of nuclear technology and supply of advanced military hardware to our eastern neighbour has further complicated regional security and undermined the credibility of the non-proliferation regime. He warned that the introduction of the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system and provocative war fighting strategies like Cold Start Doctrine are affecting strategic stability in SouthAsia.

While chairing the first session on the future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime, SSII’s Founder and Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari said “Pakistan would not join the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons or the Ban Treaty as long as India does not join it.” She said that India’s BMD system, development of sea-launched capabilities, and US support for India’s NSG membership continue to undermine strategic stability in South Asia.

Rabia Akhter, Head of Department School of Integrated Social Sciences, University of Lahore (UoL) talked about the evolving US Nuclear Posture during the conference. She said thatthe US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is as aggressive as President Trump himself.

Reiterating the need for collective approach towards non-proliferation regime, Paul Ingram Executive Director, BASIC UK said that the Treaty on Prohibitions of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) can be transformed from a source of disagreement to cooperation if the Nuclear Weapons States view the treaty as an opportunity.  While indicating challenges towards the non-proliferation regime, he called technological advancements the biggest enemy of thenon proliferation regime.

During the second session of the conference, participants gave an assessment of current trends including discussions on the criteria based approach and possible Indian and Pakistani membership to the supplier cartels such as the NSG. Participants including Ambassador Ayesha Riyaz and Ambassador Zamir Akram highlighted that the rationale for the formation of the NSG was to prevent diversion of fissile material from peaceful use to military purposes. Dr. Shen Dingli provided a Chinese perspective on the NSG issue. He said that China’s stance on the NSG membership remains unchanged and it supports criteria based approach towards the issue.

Session Chair Ambassador Riyaz said that. “Impatience and arm-twisting would not give the right outcome, rather consensus among the members would be the right way to move forward on the issue.”

DG SSII, Amina Afzal stressed that Pakistan had come a long way since 2004 when it began addressing weaknesses in its export control legislations in the aftermath of UNSC resolution 1540 and evolved a system that would enable it to ensure its non proliferation commitments and at the same time help it access dual-use technologies for its legitimate socio-economic development needs.


 

Day 2

October 16, 2018

On the second day of the Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad’s (SSII) two-day International Conference titled “The Global Non-proliferation Regime: Challenges and Responses” participants discussed the impact of the failure of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on regional and global security, global and regional developments and strategic stability in South Asia.

In the first session titled “Impact of Failure of JCPOA on Regional and Global Security”, Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Former Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN and IAEA talked about the aftermath of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) & US withdrawal from the JCPOA. Ambassador Soltanieh said that the Trump Administration unilaterally withdrew from JCPOA. He said this act is undoubtedly in full contravention of the JCPOA, UNSC Resolution 2231, and also disregards multilateralism. He also talked about short and long-term consequences of the violation of JCPOA & UNSC Resolution 2231 by US.

Bruno Tertrais, Deputy Director of the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) presented the French perspective on JCPOA. He said that France was trying to maintain EU unity on the JCPOA issue and vis a vis the US. He said that following US withdrawal from JCPOA, France has tried to continue dialogue with the US.

Mr Tariq Rauf, consultant on nuclear governance matters based in Vienna, said that reduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is the need of hour. He said that Ban Treaty is facing problems and that cyber vulnerabilities are emerging in nuclear facilities. Ambassador Dr. Sameh Aboul-Enein, Egypt’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs talked about the Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. He said that regional parties should enter directly into a phase of substantive and procedural preparation for the Middle East Weapon for Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) conference as soon as possible. Conference coordinators should invite Israel and Iran, along with the League of Arab States, to engage in the process of agreeing on a conference agenda. There must be a commitment by all relevant states to attend.

During the last session of the conference focusing on Strategic Stability in South Asia, Subrata Ghoshroy, Research Affiliate with the Programme in Science, Technology and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discussed US Nuclear Posture, misconception about calling South Asia a dangerous place and geo-strategic significance of the S-400 system. Regarding India’s decision to purchase the Russian S-400 Air defence system, he said it was Delhi’s strategic decision and “a message for the US that India isn’t totally in its pocket.” He also said that PM Narendra Modi should rise above narrow electoral calculations and respond positively to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s gesture for dialogue. He stressed that peoples of Pakistan and India want peace and friendly relations between them. He said that “we cannot allow Kashmir and the Kashmiris to bleed for ever like the Palestinians.”

SSII’s Founder and Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen M Mazari also spoke during the last session of the conference. She lamented India’s continued ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. She said that Kashmir defines the parameters of Pak-India relations. Dr Mazari stressed that the Kashmir issue must be resolved in accordance with UNSC resolutions which calls for a UN supervised plebiscite. She also pointed out that Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government would shortly put forth conflict resolution model for Kashmir dispute. Talking about strategic stability, she said the concept needs to be understood with respect to the prevailing security environment in South Asia. She indicated that there are four major threats to the strategic stability in South Asia including growing conventional asymmetry with India owing to its massive military modernisation, operationalisation of India’s second-strike capabilities, introduction of BMD systems and purchase of S 400 system and changes in Indian nuclear doctrine.

Media Coverage

The purpose behind the creation of the SSII was to establish a dedicated academic and research institution for conducting research and trainings on important issues related to Pakistan’s security. SSII aim to put knowledge to practice by providing an alternate narrative in critical areas of Strategic Studies, especially Arms Control and Disarmament.

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