Press Release by Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman
Foreign Secretary's Press Briefing on India's Nuclear Doctrine, 19 August 1999
India through its actions, deeds and words has once again established itself as a renegade member of the United Nations with a long record of actions, contrary to International Law and principles of humanity. Some people thought that New Delhi was indulging in electioneering gimmicks but the announcement of a nuclear 'Doctrine' by India should leave no doubt in any body's mind that what India is saying or doing is not merely an electioneering campaign. it is a calculated and deliberate policy seeking to promote its hagemonic and aggressive designs.
Today I shall focus on basically this aspect i.e., Indian Nuclear Doctrine. It will also deal with the question of India-Pakistan relations in the aftermath of the Kargil crisis and then briefly touch upon Afghanistan because there have been some developments.
The Indian assertion of capability of manufacturing the Neutron Bomb and "India's Nuclear Doctrine" recommended by its National Security Board indicates that India is about to embark on a further and even more dangerous escalation in the nuclear and conventional arms build-up. The recommended "Doctrine" confirms India's craving to be recognized as a global power through nuclear and conventional militarization and aggressive actions.
This comes in the wake of India's massive military operation against the Kashmiri freedom fighters and India's naked military aggression in shooting down the unarmed Pakistan Navy plane and the cold-blooded murder of 16 Pakistan Navy trainee personnel. Obviously we are seriously concerned at these developments, which if anything, pose an intensified threat to the peace and stability of the region. No doubt we will take into account all these factors to ensure our own defence.
India has declared that it will establish "sufficient, survivable and operationally prepared nuclear forces". Thus, despite the best endeavors made by Pakistan for strategic restraint India is poised to go ahead with the deployment and operationalization of its nuclear weapons and delivery systems. It would inevitably frustrate the central purpose of the "strategic Restraint Regime" proposed by Pakistan to India at the last round of talks under the items, "Peace and Security". And we believe that it also calls into question the validity of satisfaction that was expressed by India's interlocutors during disarmament dialogue i.e., those famous eight rounds of talks, held since May last year.
The Indian declaration of the proposed Doctrine, in fact, negates the acceptance of any kind of restraints by India indicated during the Jaswant Singh-Talbot talks, particularly with regard to the deployment and operationalization of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Now, what is the reality of those eight rounds of dialogue that India had with the US. What was the positive outcome that was claimed by both sides and is nowhere seen in the Indian "Doctrine". These are the questions that need to be answered.
The proposed Indian "Doctrine" also makes it clear that India's nuclear escalation will be accompanied by further build-up of India's conventional warfare capabilities. This is a matter of deep concern to Pakistan, because the vast majority of India's conventional "assets" are deployed against Pakistan. The growing imbalance in conventional military capabilities will intensify Pakistan's reliance on its nuclear capabilities to deter the use or threat of aggression by India.
We do not want a nuclear arms race in South Asia. This has been our policy. In fact, for decades we tried to promote the goals of non-proliferation in South Asia. We took several concrete initiatives which were rejected by India and conveniently ignored by the international community, particularly the champions of non-proliferation. So our diplomatic initiatives, spreading over a quarter century before May last year's tests are on record and an evidence of our policy. After the tests, we offered to India a Strategic Restraint Regime to prevent nuclear arms race and maintain nuclear deterrence at the minimum levels. However, Pakistan cannot afford to ignore the Security implications of India's new doctrine and its ambitious and its grandiose plan of nuclear weapons' development, deployment and operationalization including its Thermonuclear and Neutron bombs claims. The development of our nuclear programme, let me make it clear, will be determined solely by the requirements of our nuclear deterrence capability which is now an indispensable part of our security doctrine.
We are convinced that, following last year's nuclearization, the best option for Pakistan and India was to promote a genuine and comprehensive Strategic Restraint Regime envisaging mutual and reciprocal moderation in the nuclear, missile and conventional fields, and a serious endeavour to resolve underlying disputes, particularly of the Jammu and Kashmir, which is at the heart of all problems in our region.
India's No First Use Policy
India has been, as you are aware, lately trumpeting its so-called no-frist-use policy. Obviously no body has been impressed by this propaganda, because it is a farce. No-first-use has never been accepted as the basis for determining the deterrent postures of any of the Nuclear Weapons States. This has been the case over the past 50 years or after the Second World War. Indeed, India itself places no credibility in 'no-first-use'. If it did, it should have accepted China's assurance of 'no-first-use' and of non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States. What was the need for India then to develop its own nuclear arsenal? So there lies the hypocrisy of India's claim to pursue no-first-use policy. As I said, if India had accepted China's no-first-use offer, that would have obviated the need for India's nuclear weapons acquisition, much less for operational deployment of nuclear weapons.
Finally, if India operationlizes its nuclear weapons, Pakistan will be obliged to follow suit and South Asian operationalization of nuclear weapons could have a domino effect on other regions. So what would be the consequences? I think it is time now that the world community and major powers take notice of the scope and magnitude of the threat and dangers that are posed not only to the regional peace but also to global peace and stability by Indian nuclear arsenals.
India's 'no-first-use' declaration is, in fact, designed to secure for itself "recognition" as a nuclear weapon State which would flow from the "acceptance" of its no-first-use and non-use "assurances". It is for this purpose that India has offered to ratify the non-use assurance Protocol to the Treaty establishing the South-East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, although this Protocol specifically identifies and invites the US, Russia, China, UK, and France only. Secondly, India will seek to justify the acquisition of a large nuclear arsenal by arguing that its nuclear forces should be large enough to sustain and retaliate against a nuclear first-strike.
The Human Rights Watch report released last month has publicized graphic evidence of massive human rights violations by the Indian forces in IHK. It says that " the Indian security forces engage in brutal forms of torture which have the sanction of senior officials". Clearly this represents a severe indictment of Indian State terrorism perpetrated against the innocent and the helpless Kashmiris suffering under the yoke of Indian military occupation.
To cover up its State terrorism publicly castigated by the Human Rights Watch report the Indians are labeling the indigenous Kashmiri struggle for their right of self determination as "terrorism". Besides, to frustrate the international community's desire that dialogue between Pakistan and India should resume, India is now posing a precondition for an end to the Kashmiri liberation struggle labelled, as I have said above, as terrorism. This amply betrays India's continued intention to deny the Kashmiris their fundamental rights and her determination to bludgeon them into submission. History shows that such designs of subjugation of people never succeed. Kashmiri people have suffered these brutalities and subjugation for fifty years. They would not hesitate to suffer for another 50 years, but they would never compromise on their struggle which would continue and eventually succeed. This has been the lesson of history. People's struggles can never be suppressed.
Pakistan believes that our region, with all its tortured history of tensions and conflicts, deserves peace with justice, dignity and honour. For this purpose the Prime Minister took a bold and difficult decision which averted a wider conflict. We remain firmly committed to peaceful resolution of all disputes including the core dispute of Kashmir. We will not shun the path of dialogue. But for dialogue to commence we need assurances of its serious and substantive nature and its result oriented direction. To revert to a meaningless dialogue is not desirable nor are we going to run after such dialogue, I must make it clear. We are not begging for dialogue, a dialogue that is meaningless and produces no results, and a dialogue that we have experienced over the last 50 years. Now, a new phase has begun. This time the dialogue will have to be meaningful and result oriented. That is the type of dialogue that Pakistan would like to have. We would not like to have any meaningless and futile dialogue. Such an exercise will be counterproductive and a betrayal of the international community's well-motivated and sincere desire for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which today poses the greatest danger to international peace. Kargil has already demonstrated this stark reality.
I must also mention to you that after playing politics with two bodies of the Kargil martyrs, India is now playing politics with 8 Pakistani detainees. Having made the offer to return them to Pakistan India is now procrastinating. On our request that they should be handed over to the ICRC, India is now posing obstacles clearly with a view to taking some kind of propaganda advantage out of the issue. This is reprehensible................
The following issues were discussed during the question-answer session.
lAsked as to what would be Pakistan's response to "India's Nuclear Doctrine", the Foreign Secretary stated:
"Today we are talking only about India's doctrine. As far as our nuclear doctrine is concerned, we have always made it clear that our nuclear capability is only for our security and deterrent purposes. So we have not made any announcement about the operationalization of our nuclear weapons, because we have been sincerely pursuing the concept of a Restraint Regime since last year, as it was one of the subjects that were discussed in our dialogue with India. So obviously the direction of our nuclear weapons programme will be determined by India's actions. As I have mentioned in the Opening Statement, India's latest move can lead to a situation where Pakistan may have to follow suit. In that case there will be a domino effect not only in South Asia but in other regions, as well. So, still there is time for the world community to put a stop to that domino effect and to bring about a situation where the concept of a restraint regime is made acceptable to all."
lAsked if Pakistan was planning to take that point of view to the Conference on disarmament and other international fora, the Foreign Secretary stated:
"We have already raised this matter in the Conference of Disarmament today (19 August) in Geneva and we intend making demarche to other world powers, as well. This is a very serious development with far-reaching implications, not only for Pakistan's security but also for the peace and stability of the world at large. It is a challenge; it is an affront to the entire international community. So if the major powers are interested in peace and stability at regional and global level they must take cognizance of this very ominous development."
lAsked what kind of restraint Pakistan would observe if India deployed nuclear arsenal along its border and what would be Islamabad's likely response in that case, the Foreign Secretary observed:
"We will never compromise on our vital interests, and all possible measure will be taken in this regard. This has been the policy of the government from day one. You may recall that even last year after India's tests we gave the world a chance to demonstrate its sincerity in terms of preventing India from pursuing its nuclear ambitions, but nothing happened and we were forced to respond. So let me assure you that as for as Pakistan's security interests are concerned they will be kept fully in mind in every decision-making. But we do the deployment and operationalization of nuclear weapons. Because as I said earlier, it will have a very serious effect not only on this region but on the world at large."
l To a question on delinkage, Pakistan's signing of CTBT and safeguards for vulnerable states, the Foreign Secretary said:
"First of all the question of delinkng with India; you can not delink your security form India's aggressive postures. We never said that we are going to delink our security interest from India's aggressive designs. So if India continues to build up and operationalizes its nuclear arsenal, how can we remain unmindful of that ominous reality? We are delinking the question of signing of CTBT, which is totally a different matter and has nothing to do with the situation which has arisen as a result of India's announcement of its nuclear doctrine.
About vulnerability, I think it is for the world community to decide- whether they will act against vulnerable states or weather they will act on the basis of principles of ethics? So it is not the question of vulnerability, it is the question of principles. If India's nuclear programme poses threats to the region and to the world peace, the world powers must take some action to prevent it. It has to be kept in mind that delinkage was applicable only in the context of non-proliferation regimes. Absolutely there is no question of delinkage. We will have to remain linked to the ratio, proportion and magnitude of the threat that India's actions in this field pose to Pakistan's security.
lAsked if it was possible for Pakistan in the given situation to sign CTBT before 30th September, 1999, the Foreign Secretary said:
"On CTBT our position was enunciated by the Prime Minister in his address to the UN General Assembly last year. Since then we have been monitoring the situation because we had undertaken to sing CTBT in an atmosphere free of coercion and pressure. Now, it has to be seen whether there has been any qualitative progress towards removal of that coercive atmosphere. Obviously there has been no improvement on this front; on the contrary, there has been aggravation of the situation. India's Nuclear Doctrine is in itself a development serious enough to make it absolutely unavoidable for us to keep the question of signing CTBT open until we can be fully assured that there will be no threat to Pakistan's security. When there is any progress towards the removal of coercive atmosphere, certainly we would like to honour the commitment that we had made in the words of the Prime Minister."
lAsked if it meant that Pakistan was not going to sign the CTBT by the end of September 1999, the Foreign Secretary stated:
"I don't think that there is any such obligation. We will, of course, take a final decision keeping in view what is happening in our neighbourhood. As already stated, there was a requirement of the removal of coercive atmosphere. One has to see whether there has been any progress in that direction. So far there has been none. The the overall atmosphere also has deteriorated. The Kargil situation, India's war-mongering and recent shooting down of our Navy aircraft have no doubt contributed negatively. The atmosphere is certainly not propitious for us to take a decision at this stage with regard to CTBT. Now, India's Nuclear Doctrine has further aggravated the situation. We will have to evaluate the implication of all these developments before we reach a final decision with regard to CTBT. So I would like to say that the question of signing CTBT remains open."
lTo a question about the prospects of talks with India in the given situation, the Foreign Secretary stated:
"First of all, I don't think there can be any talks with India before their elections. Secondly, the way they are talking and making statements, even if they are meant for their own people as part of election campaign, that hardly contribute to the amelioration of the atmosphere. So, as I said earlier we are not running away from dialogue but we are also not begging for dialogue. Then there are India's pre-conditions. India should be very clear that if she seeks to impose conditions than we can also do that. India will have to cease its state terrorism in Kashmir before we accept to talk to her. I am just trying to suggest that imposing conditions does not serve any purpose.
A dialogue is meant to resolve problems and your cannot add to those problems before you start a dialogue. So we hope that India will realize that our region has already suffered bloodshed, violence, wars, conflict, tensions for the last fifty years because of India's intransigence, its state terrorism, its brutalities perpetrated against the kashmiris. So it has to put an end to all that. Let us hope that sanity would prevail in India with coming to an end of the election campaign. Because we know that last year how keen the Vajpayee government was for resumption of dialogue. Although we know that the intention many not have been very sincere but after all there was an agreement in New York between the two Prime Ministers, that there was a need for both countries to resolve their problems through peaceful means, and that peace and security was the supreme interest of the two countries. So let us hope that after the elections, once the dust settles down there, things would improve".
lTo a question about President Clinton's likely involvement in resolving the Kashmir issue, the Foreign Secretary said:
"We have always been of the view and it has been our experience that bilateral track with India remains barren, sterile and has never led us to any conclusion. Yet the world powers keep suggesting to both India and Pakistan to resolve their problems through bilateral talks. As stated earlier, we do not run away from dialogue. So the involvement of a third party would certainly be useful. It is not the question of mediation or arbitration; third party involvement in any manner can facilitate the process of bilateral dialogue."
lTo another question with regard to President Clinton's recent letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Foreign Secretary said:
"President Clinton sent a letter to our Prime Minister on 14th August, 1999 and has also addressed a similar letter to the Prime Minister of India. In his letter to our Prime Minister, the US President has expressed sorrow and grief at the loss of innocent Pakistan Navy personnel. It was in fact a message of sympathy on this cowardly act of aggression by India. In the letter President Clinton has appealed for resumption of negotiations between Pakistan and India.