Another nuclear explosion by India will trigger same response from Pakistan : Abdul Sattar

ISLAMABAD (Pakistan), Nov 26 (APP): Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar on Nov. 25 said if India conducted another nuclear explosion it would trigger the same response from Pakistan. He was speaking at a seminar on," Pakistan's response to the Indian doctrine," organized by the Islamabad Council for World Affairs and the Institute of Strategic Studies here. Sattar categorically said, "if India conducts another nuclear explosion before the CTBT enters into force, nothing in or outside the treaty can foreclose Pakistan's right to do the same, whether it has signed the treaty or not." Of course, after CTBT's entry into force, all parties including Pakistan and India will obligate to refrain from conducting a nuclear explosion, he added. "A violation of that explicit prohibition will explode the treaty itself," said the Foreign Minister. Pakistan, he said, did not harbour an ambition to achieve great power status or regional domination but will maintain the minimum deterrence, which cannot be quantified. "The Indian build-up will necessitate review and reassessment. In order to ensure the survivability and credibility of the deterrent Pakistan," it will have to "maintain, preserve and upgrade its capability. But we shall not engage in any nuclear competition or arms race, said Sattar.

The Foreign Minister said minimum nuclear deterrence will remain the guiding principle of our nuclear strategy. He said reasonableness and moderation will remain the hallmark of Pakistan's stance on outstanding issues of weapons of mass destruction. Consistently over forty years, Pakistan has been a vocal supporter of proposals for limitation, progressive reduction and eventual elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan is party to Biological Weapons Convention, the Inhumane Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf declared on October 17 that his government will pursue a policy of restraint and responsibility. He has reiterated and reinforced Pakistan's pledge to the world community that we shall continue our efforts for reducing nuclear dangers in South Asia. Explaining the rationale behind Pakistan's nuclear programme , he said, in 1971 India exploited power disparity for aggression and military intervention to the detriment of Pakistan's integrity. "Neither alliances proved reliable nor the Security Council acted to fulfil the pledge in the UN Charter of collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace," he said. Sattar said, Pakistan was compelled too undertake," a painful reappraisal of the earlier policy of nuclear abstinence". The conclusion was unavoidable. Pakistan had to develop the capacity to deter another adventure against it, he added. " In the absence of alternatives, acquisition of the nuclear option was conceived as a means of deterrence of aggression and prevention of war. Safeguarding the peace and security of our country was the sole objective, he said.

Sattar said Pakistan readily became a party to the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 which prohibits nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water. Pakistan also favoured the CTBT, took an active part in negotiating the text and after our concerns were satisfied," we had no hesitation in voting for the treaty in 1996." CTBT prohibits "any nuclear weapons explosion or any other nuclear explosion" (Article I). It applies to all 44 states that possess nuclear weapons or have nuclear plants. These designated states include five nuclear powers as well as India, Israel and Pakistan. Each and all of them have to sign and ratify CTBT before it can enter into force. Thus non-discrimination, which has been our key demand in respect of rights and obligations in the context of our region, is built into Article XIV. The system of verification of compliance with the CTBT was also resolved to the satisfaction of all negotiating parties. It will be uniform and non-intrusive in its application. "On-the-spot verification will be permissible only in respect of a suspected explosion site. It will require authorization by the Executive Council with an affirmative vote of at least 30 of its 51 members," he said. Pakistan did not sign CTBT only because India's opposition to the treaty raised suspicions about its intention. Our apprehension proved to be correct in May last year when India conducted multiple nuclear explosions. Immediately war-mongers in New Delhi hurled threats against our country. It became necessary to demonstrate that Pakistan, too, possessed nuclear capability. However, having made the point, Pakistan declared a moratorium on further testing. So far our of the 44 designated states only 26 have ratified it; three- India, Pakistan North Korea-have not even signed the treaty. "The prospects of the treaty entering into force have dimmed because the United States Senate has rejected ratification. The world must hope that the Senate will reverse itself. But never before has it done so after having rejected a treaty," said the Foreign Minister.

The Clinton Administration has declared the US will continue to observe the CTBT . The world has welcomed that pledge. We hope further that the United States and all the other holdout states will eventually ratify the treaty so that CTBT can enter into force, and that in the meantime they will refrain from conducting any further nuclear explosion. He said still the question arises as to what is the status of CTBT in the meantime. Will CTBT remain dormant for an indefinite period? What are the obligations-legal or moral-of  the states that have ratified the treaty, of those that signed it but have not ratified it, and -let us not forget-those which voted in favour of the treaty but have not signed it? The answer to the last part is clear so far as Pakistan is concerned. Sattar said," the vote in favour of the CTBT did not in any way affect our inherent right to conduct tests. That leaves the question whether signing the treaty would have compromised that right?"