De­viant be­hav­iours in non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS - Maimuna Ashraf

nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion un­der Ar­ti­cle VI of the treaty, which calls upon P-5 NWS to ‘pur­sue ne­go­ti­a­tions’ for ‘ef­fec­tive mea­sures’ within the frame­work of the NPT, lingers on with no con­sen­sus in sight. Sim­i­larly dif­fer­ences con­tinue to per­sist in the in­ter­pre­ta­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion of ar­ti­cle IV of the NPT on peace­ful uses of nu­clear tech­nol­ogy.

The in­sti­tu­tional struc­ture and process of the non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime has by it­self not been fairly adopted and there­fore could not be suc­cess­ful in tack­ling is­sues like trans­fer of nu­clear tech­nol­ogy and fis­sile ma­te­rial from NWS to NNWS. Though Con­ven­tion on Phys­i­cal Pro­tec­tion of Nu­clear Ma­te­rial (CPPNM), Global Ini­tia­tive to Com­bat Nu­clear Ter­ror­ism (GICNT) and Nu­clear Safety and Se­cu­rity ad­dressed through the Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mits have suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing in­sti­tu­tional frame­works to ad­dress prob­lems but have yet to fully achieve their ob­jec­tives.

The dis­crim­i­na­tion ex­er­cised in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the non-pro­lif­er­a­tion stan­dards and em­ploy­ment of the Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion Regime (NPR) as an in­stru­ment of great­power’s for­eign and strate­gic poli­cies’ ob­jec­tives has raised ques­tions about the sin­cer­ity be­hind its cre­ation and sub­se­quent ap­pli­ca­tion. The orig­i­nal and re­vived ad­vance­ment of Indo-US Nu­clear Deal un­der­mines the non­pro­lif­er­a­tion ef­forts as it vi­o­lates Ar­ti­cles I and II of the NPT and defy its pri­mary ob­jec­tive to pre­vent nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion. More­over, In­dia’s po­ten­tial in­clu­sion in Nu­clear Sup­ply Group (NSG), af­ter the In­dia-spe­cific ex­emp­tion to NSG guide­lines, is dis­turb­ing re­gional nu­clear equi­lib­rium and trig­ger­ing Pak­istan to in­dulge in a nu­clear arm race to en­sure cred­i­ble de­ter­rence which is pos­ing se­ri­ous chal­lenges to non­pro­lif­er­a­tion regime. Like­wise, the coun­try-spe­cific safe­guards dis­play a dis­crim­i­na­tory in­sti­tu­tional mech­a­nism of the non­pro­lif­er­a­tion regime and un­der­mine the non­pro­lif­er­a­tion en­deav­ors.

More­over, In­dia and the US last year re­newed an en­hanced De­fense Frame­work Agree­ment for the next ten years and iden­ti­fied four key “pathfinder projects” for joint devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion in­clud­ing the next gen­er­a­tion Raven mini UAVs and spe­cial­ized kits for C-130 mil­i­tary trans­port air­craft. Both coun­tries also agreed on a Work­ing Group to ex­plore air­craft car­rier tech­nol­ogy be­sides de­sign­ing and devel­op­ment of jet en­gine tech­nol­ogy. Th­ese de­vel­op­ments not only raises ques­tion about dis­crim­i­na­tory na­ture of Nu­clear Pro­lif­er­a­tion Regime, In­dia’s speedy nu­clear pro­gram but may in­sti­gate the NPT NNWS sig­na­tory states to opt out of the Treaty or vi­o­late Treaty obli­ga­tions and pur­sue ac­qui­si­tion of nu­clear weapons. The with­drawal clause, Ar­ti­cle X of NPT, al­ready ac­cepts the rights of mem­ber states to with­draw from the treaty. In­dia’s ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ura­nium through deals with Aus­tralia, Canada and other coun­tries based on NSG ex­emp­tion is gen­er­at­ing im­mense pres­sure on Pak­istan to main­tain strate­gic/de­ter­rence equi­lib­rium against In­dia.

The two important el­e­ments of the non­pro­lif­er­a­tion regime, CTBT and FMCT, have never come into ef­fect which ques­tions the sta­tus of non­pro­lif­er­a­tion ef­forts. More­over, the Preven­tion of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) is an­other crit­i­cal side­lined is­sue on the UN dis­ar­ma­ment and arms con­trol agenda. The weaponiza­tion and mil­i­ta­riza­tion of space un­der­mines the se­cu­rity of NNWS.In this vein, among sev­eral other fac­tors, a de­crease in nu­clear weapons in­ven­to­ries of NWS is a crit­i­cal step in main­tain­ing Global Nu­clear Or­der. How­ever, the am­bi­gu­ity and se­crecy about defin­ing ex­act num­ber of nu­clear weapons by a state, cre­ates gen­eral un­cer­tainty, mis­trust and mis­un­der­stand­ing. In ad­di­tion, all the na­tions with the nu­clear weapons con­tinue to mod­ern­ize or up­grade their nu­clear weapons.

Re­cently, North Korea claimed to det­o­nate hy­dro­gen bomb or ther­monu­clear weapon, which is far more pow­er­ful than the first three North Korea tested in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Py­ongyang’s lat­est nu­clear test is taken in­ter­na­tion­ally as an­other re­minder of the seem­ingly in­tractable prob­lem of North Korea.

No doubt, the to­tal num­ber of nu­clear war­heads in the world is on per­pet­ual de­crease; how­ever, the con­stant upgra­da­tion and mod­ern­iza­tion of nu­clear ar­se­nals by nu­clear weapon states show a dis­or­der in Global Nu­clear Or­der gen­er­ally and NPR par­tic­u­larly. De­spite years of arms con­trol, dis­ar­ma­ment and non-pro­lif­er­a­tion strug­gles, nu­clear weapons re­main in­te­gral to the con­cep­tion of na­tional se­cu­rity of nu­clear weapon states. It could be in­ferred that global nu­clear in­ven­to­ries would keep on in­creas­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing un­less ro­bust, ra­tio­nal and un­bi­ased non-pro­lif­er­a­tion ef­forts are stream­lined by ma­jor nu­clear power states. Oth­er­wise states would con­tinue spend­ing a ma­jor junk of their bud­gets on nu­clear weapon pro­gram in self-de­fence. — The writer is mem­ber Strate­gic Vi­sion In­sti­tute, a think tank based in Islamabad.

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