‘Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence at risk from selectivity’

Published: March 21, 2011
Expert seeks to justify government stance against FMCT negotiations.

Expert seeks to justify government stance against FMCT negotiations.


Pakistan’s credible nuclear deterrence will be eroded if world powers continue to assist India with the development of advanced nuclear technology, according to Dr Maria Sultan, a security analyst and the head of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI).

Sultan suggests that the civilian nuclear assistance being provided to India – which she suggests is being provided not just by the United States but also by Britain, France, Japan, Russia, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – may very well result in greater nuclear proliferation.

“The new trend of selectivity for access to nuclear technology based on commercial interests have increased the possibility of proliferation,” said Sultan in an interview with The Express Tribune. “It has resulted in the creation of a new category of ‘nuclear weapon states,’ a contradiction of the founding principles of the non-proliferation regime and a challenge to international security.”

SASSI is conducting a three-day seminar on nuclear security issues in South Asia, with a focus on the Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), which Sultan considers an inadequate safeguard against nuclear proliferation.

“The limited scope of the treaty offers India the opportunity to build strategic reserves of [nuclear weapons] stockpiles, and widen the disparity with Pakistan,” said Sultan.

Under the proposed FMCT, states around the world would be prohibited from expanding their existing stockpiles of nuclear materials. However, this treaty is limited to weapons-grade uranium and plutonium exempts nuclear material being used for research and for power generation.

The 65-member Conference on Disarmament has agreed to begin work on the FMCT, to negotiate a final treaty that is acceptable to all countries. Pakistan, however, is the only country in the 65-member body to oppose even beginning negotiations and has repeatedly blocked any efforts to make progress on the FMCT.

According to Sultan, the treaty would alter the strategic nuclear balance in South Asia in India’s favour. She seemed to be supportive of the government’s stance to block even the start of negotiations, but was unable to offer an explanation as to why discussing the treaty on an international forum was a bad idea.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • maynotmatter
    Mar 21, 2011 - 9:49AM

    I fail to understand. India never had proliferation history. It has no first use policy (unlike Pakistan), their nuclear establishment has no threat from local radicals or militants. World is not worried about India’s nuclear weapon falling in hands of a “terrorist”. India does not increase it’s nuclear stockpile which Pakistan almost double the number quite recently according to all international media and watchdog. With all this complexity you want the world to “respect” Pakistan’s nuclear program ? You have to prove yourself as safe “terrorist” free country and stand up against you establishment who have fostered so much lies about your neighbors and kept you busy with hatred. Stand up against the terrorist organizations in your country and world will treat you as safe place to provide you what you want. just getting a title of “security analyst” does not give you right to put bull crap in your report. Are you Hamid Zaid ex classmates ?Recommend

  • John
    Mar 21, 2011 - 10:29AM

    India already has her stock pile as PAK has.

    India’s civil nuclear technology transfer can no more enhance her capabilities than what both PAK and IND have on weaponization.

    Illogical arguments, hence no credibility,hence no one is listening.

    PAK can not have every thing what India has as much as India can not have every thing what US has.

    The India centric view is hurting PAK more than one think.

    With nuclear tech transfer to N. Korea and Libya, and at the current political climate of PAK and Libya, there is unlikely any chance for PAK for discussing the matter in the world stage. Recommend

  • Shazada Zahid Malik Loan
    Mar 21, 2011 - 9:27PM

    The Non-prolifration treaty or treaties, initiated by the Americans – not even looking at Israeli stockpiles – and the West Europeans, has no chance of taking shape or effect as long as it is used as a tool to deny others the luxoury of nuclear defence. The non-prolifration treaty is a cover for America-European-Zionist-Israeli-Hindu India to dominate the rest of the world. Pakistan is right in blocking all attempts at hodwinking her. Recommend

  • Raj
    Mar 22, 2011 - 1:34AM

    Pakistan has proven track record, in the area prolifration and thefts of other nations technology, so really this is a non starter, and sad one for a country with multiple problems which were self created and continues to do so.Recommend

  • homer
    Mar 22, 2011 - 2:37PM

    One word Pakistanis never like to mention is the Chinese or their capabilities. May be suffering from convenient, ammonias or caterache!Recommend

  • Vicram Singh
    Mar 24, 2011 - 3:44AM

    It is a VERY basic trust issue that EVERYBODY seems to be having with Pakistan. Recommend

  • Cautious
    Mar 24, 2011 - 4:49PM

    A better article might delve into the question of whether Pakistan has ever had a credible nuclear deterrence. The concept of nuclear deterrence was initially based on mutually assured destruction between the East/West which had enormous stockpiles of weapons capable of hitting any target in the World. India and Pakistan would be better off had they used the enormous resources wasted on nuclear weapons on something more productive – having expensive nukes when the majority of your citizens don’t have adequate sewers/toilets/clean drinking water is stupid.Recommend

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