Pakistan, India priorities: UN panel questions nuclear expenses

Published: April 18, 2012

Disarmament body criticises spending on arsenal over development.

UNITED NATIONS: 

Nuclear powers, including Pakistan and India, are now facing mounting international scrutiny for spending hefty amounts of national resources on nuclear weapons rather than education and health.

“The world’s de facto nuclear powers are likely to spend $1 billion on nuclear weapons in the coming decade,” said a Swedish diplomat at the UN meeting on nuclear disarmament that concluded here earlier this week.

These “de facto” nuclear weapon states include Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea.

However, the exact amount of money that Pakistan is spending to keep its nuclear arsenal intact remains classified.

“I don’t know,” said a Pakistani official who attended the disarmament talks.

“It’s a matter of national security,” said the official requesting anonymity.

The US-based Reaching Critical Will, a non-profit body that stands for nuclear disarmament and peace and works closely with the UN, claims that Pakistan spends around $2.5 billion on nuclear weapons. While some countries continue to spend significant national resources on their nuclear programmes, diplomats of other countries that do not possess nuclear bombs wonder why hundreds of millions of dollars must be spent on weapons of mass destruction and not on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — a criticism mounting on Pakistan and India alike.

The MDGs envisions a 50% reduction in extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; reduction of child mortality by two-thirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; promotion of gender equality; and reversal of the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other deadly diseases — all by 2015.

At the UN meeting, Swedish envoy Niclas Kvarnstrom described the hefty spending by de facto nuclear states as “mind-boggling” and urged all member states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The CTBT seeks to ban all nuclear explosions on the Earth’s surface, atmosphere, outer space, underwater and underground. So far, as many as 182 countries from all over the world have signed this treaty, of which 157 have also ratified it.

However, Pakistan and India – which happen to be in possession of these nuclear weapons – have not signed the treaty.

Currently, the nuclear weapon states are estimated to possess around 19,500 nuclear weapons, according to a new study released by the Reaching Critical Will, which works closely with the UN.

The study claims that nuclear weapon possessors continue to modernise arsenals despite commitment to nuclear disarmament.  Currently, as many as eight nuclear-armed states including China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States are engaged in activities to modernise their nuclear weapons programmes, the study claims.

The report contains in-depth details of nuclear weapon modernisation programmes as well as analysis of the cost of nuclear weapons in the context of the global economic crisis, austerity measures, and rising challenges in meeting humanitarian and environmental needs.

“These states commit billions of dollars to their nuclear weapon arsenals and most of them are simultaneously making significant cuts in their social welfare systems, such as health care, education, and childcare,” contends Reaching Critical Will Project Director Ray Acheson.

For his part, the Pakistani diplomat defends Islamabad’s policy of secrecy about funding the nukes.

“They are all doing this,” he said.  “Why don’t you talk to US diplomats or other nuclear weapon states? Are they telling their people how much money they are spending on nuclear weapons?”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.

Reader Comments (24)

  • Mirza
    Apr 18, 2012 - 8:29AM

    The news says “The MDGs envisions a 50% reduction in extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; reduction of child mortality by two-thirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; promotion of gender equality; and reversal of the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other deadly diseases — all by 2015.”
    Well we only spend $2.5 billion on just nuclear weapons and it does not include other military expenses and luxuries. Let us increase it further, who cares about the people as long as the army is strong and sitting pretty. No wonder they manufacture cases against elected govt, mutilate the constitution, commit acts of high treason and get away with it all.

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  • Apr 18, 2012 - 8:49AM

    This report claims to quote diplomats who say Pakistan AND India have not achieved Millennium Development Goals. Well, that is very very untrue. At least half of it.

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/indias-poverty-will-fall-from-51-to-22-by-2015-un-report/articleshow/9152967.cms

    I quote from the UN report itself:”In Southern Asia, however, only India, where the poverty rate is projected to fall from 51% in 1990 to about 22% in 2015, is on track to cut poverty in half by the 2015 target date”

    Do note the word “only” in the above sentence.

    India is already an accepted as an honourable member of NSG by getting a waiver and IAEA has also given its approval.

    You cannot compare a Country which houses 1/6th of the Humanity and which is doing extremely well with Pakistan!

    Thats absurd!

    If you want nuke cuts, do it yourself. India is progressing in all accounts, Pakistan only on the nuclear front.Recommend

  • shazada zahid mahmoud malik loan
    Apr 18, 2012 - 8:52AM

    All these think tanks, based in the West, are cover for CIA infiltration and American and European as well as Israeli attempts to seize Pakistani nuclear assets. As always there is no mention of the Indian or Israeli nuclear arsenal and the emphasis is always on the Pakistanis. The Pakistani diplomats if they are intelligent enough should always steer the discussions to Israel and the other nuclear powers. The question here is how much does the Zionist Israel spends on its nuclear weapons (and drones) and where does the money comes from? You have guessed it the United States and Britain, including Marks and Spencer stores. In the same breath there will be other nuclear powers soon, in particular Iran supported by Israel and the “occupiers of the land of the Sioux Indians” (the so called United States) as well as Saudi Arabia.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Apr 18, 2012 - 9:31AM

    “They are all doing this,” he said.
    “Why don’t you talk to US diplomats or
    other nuclear weapon states? Are they
    telling their people how much money
    they are spending on nuclear weapons?”

    Because, unlike Pak they spend their own hard earned money

    Recommend

  • Falcon
    Apr 18, 2012 - 9:55AM

    As a whole, good initiative but the issue should be raised across the board for all countries. Isn’t it a shame for humanity that one end people are dying of hunger and disease and on the other end, nation states are busy stacking up weapons of mass destruction?

    Recommend

  • MarkH
    Apr 18, 2012 - 10:10AM

    “Why don’t you talk to US diplomats or other nuclear weapon states? Are they telling their people how much money they are spending on nuclear weapons?”
    For the most part, yes, US nuclear spending is unclassified. Now go hang your head in shame with Chaudhry Nisar who asked “would any country allow foreign bases in their territory?”

    Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Apr 18, 2012 - 10:59AM

    @BruteForce:

    If you want nuke cuts, do it yourself.
    India is progressing in all accounts,
    Pakistan only on the nuclear front

    Pak is doing much better than India on the nuclear weapon front. Not sure if it’s a happy or sad news for Pak.

    Recommend

  • Shah
    Apr 18, 2012 - 11:05AM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:

    not a good answer ….America has right now crisis of all sort..there people are as unhappy as ours…

    Recommend

  • ashok
    Apr 18, 2012 - 11:06AM

    Is this $2.5 billion (Rupee 225 billion) is part of total so-called $5.00 billion budget of the Pakistan military for 2012?

    Who can believe? This is the money siphoned from the public development funds such as electric generating stations, railways locomotives, steel mills, dams and making education and health for poor Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • pankaj
    Apr 18, 2012 - 11:07AM

    this is a war of attrition…lets wait and watch for another 5 years.

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  • Vigilant
    Apr 18, 2012 - 11:39AM

    Power is key to peace not weakness………

    Recommend

  • Nasir
    Apr 18, 2012 - 11:48AM

    All those asking Pakistan to reduce her WMDs, should do at home first.

    Recommend

  • ashok
    Apr 18, 2012 - 12:29PM

    @Nasir:

    I want Pakistan to spend ten times more on nuclear weapons and defense budget to surpass India. I really do.

    Recommend

  • Apr 18, 2012 - 1:10PM

    @Shah:
    Dont worry about Americans. They are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. The people will be unhappy because your govt has taken away their money in the form of aid.

    Recommend

  • Hit-Man
    Apr 18, 2012 - 2:51PM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    No electricity, gas and economy in dodrums. Sir, please keep piling up the nuclear toys and the day is not far when majority will be eating grass, a prophecy made long time back which is going to be true.

    Recommend

  • dude
    Apr 18, 2012 - 3:25PM

    this is the beginning of indirect attempt from from US to pressurize pak to cut down nukes.strong text**

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  • Ohoo
    Apr 18, 2012 - 3:28PM

    No worries for India.We want Pakistan to spend as much as they can on Nukes.This will definitely serve our purpose. We have the nuke deal, reactors which are not under IAEA can be used to for fissile materials. Most of our nukes are Plutonium based which is way more powerful than Pakistan’s Uranium nukes.

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Apr 18, 2012 - 7:59PM

    3rd World countries spending Billions on weapons that will never be used — useless waste of precious resources. What makes it really pathetic is that both countries receive aid – something the rest of the World should consider withholding.

    Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 18, 2012 - 8:52PM

    @Bruite Forse
    Indias poverty cut to 22% in 2015 u gotta be kidding me like congress party report to indian
    high court was few months ago that any one who makes 900 rupees is out of poverty hahaha
    hahaha can live on this much money in india may be not?
    @cautious
    who is the provider of all these weapons of mass flowers the civilized west???? can u stop
    them.

    Recommend

  • Apr 18, 2012 - 9:10PM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    I am not quoting the Congress, I am quoting the UN, genius.

    Recommend

  • ram iyer
    Apr 18, 2012 - 9:55PM

    A US agency says that India and Pakistan should show their expenses. US has huge debt with China. They should show their 686 billion dollar expenses to other on how much being spent various activities..

    Asian newspapers should start writing their own stories from their agencies then US appointed agency.

    Recommend

  • Ali Hasan
    Apr 18, 2012 - 11:36PM

    Excellent. “ask the US”. Following our time-tested policy of not refuting/answering questions against our wrongdoing, but rather deflecting attention towards others.Recommend

  • Balochi liberal
    Apr 19, 2012 - 3:02AM

    @Shah: hahaahhaa….”……….unhappy as ours”…..now isn’t this statement a very very wishful thinking? even a homeless in USA is far better off then a middle class in Pakistan. At least he is not worried abot getting blown away by local radicals or killed by stray bullet. It is just shameless and egoistic to even compare our situation with that of American people.

    Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Apr 20, 2012 - 10:51AM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    who is the provider of all these
    weapons of mass flowers the civilized
    west???? can u stop them.

    What are, weapons of mass flowers anyway?

    Recommend

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