The Myth of Fastest Growing Nuclear Arsenal

By Syed Sadam Hussain

For anyone who has read ‘A Normal Nuclear Pakistan’ by Michael Krepon and Toby Delton this story will be familiar. Michael Krepon and Toby Delton predominantly talk about the inability of Pakistan to improve its credentials for non-proliferation. In their view Pakistan should reduce or stop its fissile material production. 

 

The myth of fastest growing nuclear arsenal is stereo typed. Ensuing to the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) assertion, the United States and Russia are keeping up marginally under 1,600 operational, 3720 deployed and 8990 stockpiled atomic warheads each.

 

The United Kingdom has its arms stockpile at around 225 warheads and plans further cuts, while the quantity of Chinese and French weapons is steady at 250 and 300 weapons individually. The Israeli atomic weapons program remains covered in secret—appraisals of the measure of its atomic arms stockpile range from 80 to 200 warheads.

 

Similarly, in the year 2014, the United States alone had the world largest defence allocation of $610 billion, India at $50 billion, Russia at $84 billion, Britain and France at $60 to 62 billion defence spending each. On the other hand Pakistan’s defence allocation was the lowest ($5.7 billion approximately).

 

Hence, the above mentioned detail brings to light the proliferation record and defence spending of powerful states. The study above stipulates that Pakistan defence allocation is the lowest, therefore it cannot afford to join costly arms race. So the myth of fastest growing nuclear arsenal is not commensurate with reality.

 

The conclusion of the essay is that international norms are driven by politics rather than morals; powerful states enjoy the lures of proliferation under legal emblem by virtue of powerful allies, while small states are bound by their commitments to non-proliferation.

 

Despite, Pakistan having a good record of restricting proliferation and high credentials for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership, a series of allegations made by an Indian news agency, state that Pakistani authority have continued to supply nuclear-related material to North Korea, in violation of sanctions.

 

Similarly Indian News Agency, Asia News International (ANI) made several allegations related to supplies of Nuclear-related dual use goods from Pakistan to DPRK. The Newspaper claimed that, The China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) has recently received a complaint that Pakistani authorities had diverted goods supplied by a Chinese company; Beijing Sun tech Technology Company Limited manufactures these furnaces.

 

These allegations are rejected by a study conducted by Dr Stephen Blankce at project Alpha Centre for Science and Security Studies, he stated that it is unclear whether Beijing Sun tech is actually able to supply these furnaces, but they are unlikely to manufacture them, contrary to the Indian allegations.

 

Pakistan’s Credentials:

• The country supported the resolution on disarmament commission in 1951 and served as its member from 1952 to 1965.

• It supported the 1953 “Atom for peace” Initiative.

• It supported the establishment of International Atomic Energy Commission in 1957.

• It supported 1958 Irish proposal on nuclear non proliferation.

• From 1952 to 1963 it served in International Atomic Energy Agency as chairman board of governors.

• It signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963.

• It proposed to de-nuclearise South Asia in 1974.

• In 1978 proposed a Joint Indo-Pak declaration abandoning the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

• In 1984 to 1986 despite the imposed sanctions, Pakistan supported 10 United Nations General Assembly resolutions on nuclear test ban agreement.

• From 1986 to 1987 Pakistan for the second time served as the chairman board of governors IAEA.

• In 1987 proposed a bilateral agreement with India ensuring the safety of their nuclear installations.

• In 2002, it ratified the convention on CPPNM (Convention on the Physical Protection of the Nuclear Material).

• In 2004, it proposed a ‘no war pact’ with India urged to stop nuclear arms race.

• In 1996, it voted in favour of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty CTBT.

 

Making a Case:

 

Pakistan can make a good case for an enhanced status in the NSG and for expanded use of nuclear energy for a number of reasons. The country allows all its reactors to be certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has good record of restricting the proliferation of nuclear material. Also, Pakistan is facing acute shortages of electricity, something that wider use of nuclear power could help alleviate. NSG membership would be an essential part of this as it will help it meet its energy requirements at the cheapest cost. The continuous shortfall of electricity is causing joblessness, economic downfall, frustration and terrorism which may have the domino effect in the region.

 

Pakistan can negotiate with India in order to settle the criteria for NSG membership for both states. It should continue trade relations with neighbouring states, especially China which can help it meet its energy requirements. It should actively lobby for the membership in Nuclear Supplier Group through diplomatic engagements with different countries. In emerging world order, where the focus of great power is on Asia-Pivot Policy, Pakistan should not rely solely on China or United States. The binary way of leading its foreign relations may not be in the superlative interest of Pakistan.

 

In case if India is given the NSG membership first, it would halt Pakistan’s entry into the group. Keeping this in mind, Pakistan should continue lobbying against the Indian membership of the NSG. In addition, last but the most important option for Pakistan in my view is to submit proposed criteria for its membership in the NSG as soon as possible.

 

Outlook:

 

Pakistan is in need of the redundant energy sources to meet its energy requirement. The continuous shortfall is causing Joblessness, economic downfall, frustration and increase in terrorism. The admission of Pakistan and India in nuclear supplier group depends upon the great power politics. If India is allowed to join the NSG, it will be discriminatory and it will create strategic imbalance in South Asia. In addition, Pakistan has joined endeavors to reinforce and strengthen international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

 

 

The Politicon

 

 

30.01.2017

 

 

 

 

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