By Arul Louis
United Nations, Oct 5 | India has called on the UN committee dealing with disarmament to condemn Pakistan for its “nefarious and vicious” attempts to disrupt its work.
“This Committee should not only categorically reject Pakistan’s nefarious and vicious designs but collectively condemn Pakistan for its repeated efforts to politicise its work and hijack its mandate,” an Indian delegate said on Monday at the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) First Committee, which deals with disarmament.
He was replying to Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Munir Akram’s attack on India that went outside the committee’s framework by raising the Kashmir issue.
The Indian delegate said: “As the epicentre of global terrorism, Pakistan is the biggest destabilising force in the world and has repeatedly indulged in cross-border terrorism. They have no regard for UN principles.”
“While Pakistan’s Permanent Representative speaks about peace and security here, his Prime Minister (Imran Khan) glorifies global terrorists like Osama Bin Ladin as ‘martyrs’. What more could be a better proof of the utter duplicity that this country is infamous for.”
Earlier, India’s Geneva-based Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, Pankaj Sharma, warned the committee about the dangers of “terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction” and called on UN members to “work together to address this grave danger”.
“Through its annual consensus resolution at the UNGA, titled ‘Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction,’ India has been drawing the attention of the world towards these threats and the need to strengthen international cooperation to address them,” Sharma said.
He also drew attention to the havoc caused by terrorists getting small arms and light weapons (SALW).
“Weapons in the hands of terrorists are the most threatening form of illicit SALWs. Therefore, India values the full and effective implementation of the UN PoA (Programme of Action) as a means to combat terrorism and transnational crime.”
Sharma reiterated India’s commitment to “universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament”.
This would require all countries, including the five permanent members of the Security Council which take cover behind the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treay (NPT), to give up their nuclear weapons.
Laying out India’s nuclear doctrine that has been stated at the UN in previous years, Sharma said that “as a responsible nuclear weapon State and is committed as per its nuclear doctrine, to maintain credible minimum deterrence with the posture of no-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states”.
He did not elaborate on it, but a close reading of the statement, unchanged from previous years, leaves open the option of preemptive action against a nuclear-armed state.
But Sharma said that it was important “to commence negotiations to reach agreement on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, respectively”.
This has been highlighted in the annual resolutions introduced by India at the Assembly, Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons and Reducing Nuclear Danger, he said.
Akram held out an implied nuclear threat to India saying, “Pakistan will do whatever it takes to preserve full spectrum deterrence to prevent and defeat any potential Indian aggression.”
In keeping up with Pakistan’s policy of raising Kashmir and what it calls “Hindutva” in all UN forums regardless of their area of work or the topic of discussion, Akram representing the non-secular, officially Islamic state that works with Islamist extremists, alleged that the threat to South Asia came from “Hindutva”.
He went on to rekindle Islamabad’s criticism of India over Kashmir.
Akram also brought up the Indo-Pacific and Islamabad’s patron China, which he called “the rising Asian great power.”
He asserted that “70 per cent of India’s weaponry and forces are deployed against Pakistan, not to serve its promised role as a counter to the rising Asian great power in the so-called ‘Indo-Pacific’ region”.
Exercising the right of reply, the Indian delegate said: “In contrast to India’s constructive approach on disarmament matters, Pakistan has only been disruptive. It is 25 years now, that the world is paying the price of Pakistan’s obstructionist tactics” in the Conference on Disarmament preventing it from adopting a programme of work.
The Indian delegate said that Islamabad “has the dubious distinction of having single-handedly blocked the negotiations” on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty that would prohibit the production of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium that used in nuclear weapons.
“The First Committee has a vast agenda dealing with global issues relating to disarmament and international security. This is not the forum to address bilateral or regional issues. We wish to reiterate that regional security issues have no place in the First Committee’s considerations.”
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @arulouis)