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WASHINGTON: Pakistan has stressed the need for substantive, structural and sustained dialogue with India on all issues including confidence-building measures (CBMs), saying the need for it now is ‘more than ever’.
The announcement has come in a national statement issued on the start of nuclear security summit here Monday. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani who is leading Pakistan’s delegation presented the statement in the summit in which Pakistan has proposed the setting up of a strategic restraint regime in South Asia, which would promote nuclear and missile restraint, a balance in conventional forces, and conflict resolution. “We have concluded with India risk reduction and confidence-building measures which include a hot line, prior notification of ballistic missile tests, and an agreement on reducing the risk of accidents relating to nuclear weapons”.
The statement said: “Today a robust command and control system is in place, which protects our strategic assets against theft, diversion, and accidental or unauthorised use. The NCA, the apex decision-making body, chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan, makes all major decisions regarding nuclear policy, planning, use and security. Within this overall framework, the SPD develops technical solutions, personnel and human reliability programmes, and intelligence capabilities to deal with nuclear security, non-proliferation, accidents and WMD terrorism.”
It says Pakistan’s nuclear programme has been security conscious right from the beginning. “Since its inception, we had imposed tight measures for nuclear security. After the nuclear tests of 1998, these measures were further institutionalised into an elaborate and effective nuclear security regime.”
Pakistan believes that all nations, including those in South Asia, should work closely for security, development and prosperity. All nations should pursue this goal on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual trust,
and mutual respect.
“Pakistan’s nuclear programme is security-driven. It was an existential choice we made to deter aggression, prevent war and to defend ourselves. Our objective has been development of a minimum credible nuclear deterrent. We are against an open-ended arms race in South Asia. We have always tried to maintain peace and security in South Asia at the lowest levels of armaments.”
The national statement states: “Pakistan’s nuclear security regime has four pillars: One, a well defined command and control system comprising the National Command Authority, the Strategic Plans Division, and the Strategic Forces Command, exercises strict control over all aspects of policy, procurement, operations and, most importantly, nuclear security. Two, strict regulatory regimes covering all matters related to nuclear safety and security, including physical protection of materials and facilities, material control and accounting, transport security, prevention of illicit trafficking and border controls, as well as plans to deal with possible radiological emergencies; three, an extensive export control regime and four, international cooperation, consistent with our national policies and interests as well as international obligations”.
“Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), an autonomous oversight body, regulates the safety and security of civilian nuclear materials and facilities. It works closely with IAEA on safety and security issues and benefits from its recommendations and guidance”, the statement said.
It announced that “the National Nuclear Security Action Plan (NSAP), being implemented by the PNRA in collaboration with IAEA, encompasses several aspects of nuclear security including physical protection, prevention of illicit trafficking, management and security of radioactive sources and response to unauthorised acts involving nuclear and radioactive material. It has trained more than 1000 personnel from relevant national organisations in various aspects of nuclear security. It also collaborates with Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences to run a Master’s programme in nuclear engineering with specialisation in nuclear security. Under the plan, Pakistan has established national nuclear security emergency coordinating centre and a network of six emergency-response mobile labs. We have equipped strategic entry and exit points with radiation detection equipment for prevention and detection of illicit trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials”, the statement added.
“Our export control laws are at par with the standards followed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and the Australia Group (AG), as well as European Union Guidelines. The jurisdiction of the 2004 Export Control Act, which has a ‘catch all’ clause, extends to the entire territory of Pakistan and all citizens whether at home or abroad. Severe punishments under the law include up to 14 years’ imprisonment, heavy fines and confiscation of assets. It also covers offences falling in the category of illicit transfer of intangible technology such as services, training, and advice. To ensure consistent implementation of the law, an interagency Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV) and an oversight board have been established in the ministry of foreign affairs,” the statement said.
The statement reminded that Pakistan’s nuclear programme has been security conscious right from the beginning. “Since its inception, we had imposed tight measures for nuclear security. After the nuclear tests of 1998, these measures were further institutionalised into an elaborate and effective nuclear security regime. Pakistan believes that all nations, including those in South Asia, should work closely for security, development and prosperity. All nations should pursue this goal on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual trust, and mutual respect”.
The statement claimed that Pakistan has maintained the highest standards for non-proliferation. “When problems surfaced we addressed them definitively and kept the international community informed. Pakistan has been working with, and reporting to, the UNSCR 1540 Committee. Pakistan is a party to the Nuclear Safety Convention, Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency. We subscribe to the IAEA code of conduct on safety and security of radioactive sources and participate in the IAEA illicit trafficking database. This relationship has been highly productive for Pakistan and IAEA”.
The statement said: “Pakistan joined the Container Security Initiative in 2006 and has been observing the exercises of Proliferation Security Initiative. Pakistan’s participation in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) underlines our commitment to become a partner in the international efforts against contemporary global challenges.”
The well-worded and well-meaning statement that was skilfully laid down said, “Pakistan has more than thirty-five years of experience in running nuclear power plants. With trained professional manpower and a strong nuclear safety and security culture, Pakistan fully qualifies for participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level. We urge all relevant forums to give Pakistan access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses, in a non-discriminatory manner, to meet its growing demand for energy”. “We welcome the renewed international interest in nuclear power generation to meet the challenge of climate change. As a country with advanced fuel cycle capability, Pakistan is in a position to provide nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards, and to participate in any non-discriminatory nuclear fuel cycle assurance mechanism,” the statement said.
It assured the world that Pakistan is strongly committed to nuclear security. It would continue to refine and modernise its technical and human resources and mechanisms on safety and security of nuclear weapons, nuclear materials, facilities and assets. Pakistan would cooperate with the global community in accordance with its national policies and requirements as well as international obligations.
Paying tribute to the initiative the statement said that Pakistan welcomes the initiative taken by President Barack Obama to convene a Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). The initiative is timely and raises awareness about nuclear security, which is a common global concern. It gives primacy to an issue that requires attention at the highest level. Pakistan believes that this summit will act as a catalyst for fostering a nuclear security culture. Pakistan has keenly promoted this culture. Pakistan welcomes President Obama’s call for security of nuclear material, it further added.
“At this summit, we reaffirm our commitment to the objective of strengthening nuclear security and to stop terrorists from gaining access to nuclear or radiological materials for terror. Nuclear security within a state is a national responsibility. Within this framework, the international community must continue to explore space for cooperation in nuclear security which subsumes measures to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism,” they statement added.
It said that currently the international regime dealing with nuclear security is quite extensive ranging from the measures taken by the IAEA and the United Nations to several initiatives that have been taken in the recent past. We do not need new or parallel mechanisms for cooperation on nuclear security or to address the threat of terrorism. But we do need better coordination amongst different initiatives. Moreover, faithful application of the widely agreed standards and provision of matching assistance, where necessary and acceptable, can equip international community with more effective tools to strengthen nuclear security and prevent nuclear terrorism.
The statement said that the summit enables us to look at the bigger picture and synergise the work of international forums and partnerships to strengthen the security of nuclear materials and prevent possible acts of terrorism. Our main objective is to share, on a voluntary basis, expertise and experiences in nuclear security, to learn from best practices, to share information and intelligence, in a non-binding, non-prescriptive manner to enhance capabilities to fight nuclear terrorism, and to enhance capacities to respond to nuclear security incidents.
The summit has kept a sharp focus on nuclear security and has avoided going into the areas of non-proliferation and disarmament, which are being discussed at other relevant forums. It also recognises that nuclear security measures should not infringe on the nations’ right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including the production, transfer, use and exchange of nuclear materials for peaceful purposes,” the statement concluded.