News Analysis |
The President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, has said that India and Pakistan need to agree upon a framework of ‘strategic stability’ in the region. He expressed his views while addressing a conference “The Global Non-Proliferation Regime: Challenges and Responses” at the Strategic Studies Institute in Islamabad.
He also said, “While Pakistan will continue to demonstrate restraint and responsibility, no one should doubt our resolve to deny any space for war to those seeking such an opportunity, despite the existence of nuclear weapons in South Asia.”
“Nobody should doubt Pakistan’s capability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he added further.
A report– by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights– gives evidence of widespread abuse of power, torture, extrajudicial killings and much more.
The term strategic stability came to be defined during the Cold War in terms of deterrence: the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union was stable as long as both sides knew that each could respond in a devastating way to a nuclear attack by the other. Although the international system does not revolve around the competition between the US and the Soviet Union, the term is still used in policy circles, especially in reference to South Asia.
Pakistan and India have tense relations with each other but both are acutely aware of the danger of a full-blown war i.e. complete nuclear annihilation. This concept was known as Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD during the Cold War. The rivalry between Pakistan and India bears some resemblance between the US and the Soviet Union. The conference where the President of Pakistan made the appearance was on the global non-proliferation regime.
Towards the end of the Cold War, there was a realization among civil society and to some extent, within governments throughout the world that as long as nations possess nuclear weapons, it is inevitable they will be used. That could spell disaster for all humanity. Nuclear weapon proliferation by states or non-state actors is now recognized as one of the greatest threat to international security. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), among others, is a step to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Although the international system does not revolve around the competition between the US and the Soviet Union, the term is still used in policy circles, especially in reference to South Asia.
The South Asian region is home to nuclear powers that have fought three wars with each other over their 70-year history. Clashes between troops at the border are a regular phenomenon. Hence, strategic stability is in the interest of both Pakistan and India. The President also asked the international community to take “serious note” of talks of surgical strikes and limited war. He said this kind of rhetoric “just tends to up the postures of both countries.”
In recent weeks, while Pakistan extended the offer of peace talks to resolve all outstanding issues in the region, India did not respond in kind. Instead, New Delhi rejected the offer of talks and accused Pakistan of fostering terrorism in South Asia. The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly also turned out to be a missed opportunity for any progress in this regard. The Indian Army Chief mulled over publicly the prospect of more ‘surgical strikes’ within Pakistani territory.
said that he regretted the fact that Pakistan’s postures for peace have been reciprocated with belligerence. He also said, “The proponents of such reckless fantasies will bear the responsibility for any consequences.” He maintained that “Pakistan has not given up the pursuit of meaningful engagement with India for confidence building, avoidance of arms race and risk reduction.” Pakistan, he said, is committed to objective strategic stability in South Asia.
In 1974, with nuclear tests by India, the region became unstable. An understanding between Pakistan and India no longer existed the way the US and the Soviet Union understood the risk of all-out nuclear war. New Delhi clearly believed it could dictate terms in South Asia thanks to the threat of nuclear weapons. Islamabad, for its part, had been raising awareness about the threat nuclear weapons posed to the security and stability of the region.
Towards the end of the Cold War, there was a realization among civil society and to some extent, within governments throughout the world that as long as nations possess nuclear weapons, it is inevitable they will be used.
Pakistan called upon India to keep South Asia a nuclear-free zone. Ultimately, there was no other option but to develop nuclear weapons of its own in the interests of national security as well as regional stability. The president also said, “prior to 1988, Pakistan had relentlessly pursued a policy to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons but that 1974 detonation in the region, as well nuclear tests conducted by the country’s neighbor in 1998, ended any prospects for a nuclear-free zone in the region.”
“We were forced to respond through our own tests to restore the strategic balance in the region,” he further added. Dr. Alvi also stressed upon the need to resolve the Kashmir issue to ensure strategic stability in the region.
The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution a few years after it came into being. One of the foremost issues of the time was that of Kashmir. A UNSC resolution passed in 1948 invited the representatives of Pakistan and India to participate in the discussion of the “Kashmir Question”. However, despite several approaches that have been tried, the issue still remains unresolved.
Indian Occupied Kashmir remains the world’s largest military bunker, with over 600,000 troops stationed there. A report– by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights– gives evidence of widespread abuse of power, torture, extrajudicial killings and much more. The President of Pakistan urged the United Nations to facilitate both nations in finding a resolution to the long-standing dispute of Kashmir.