PR No.165
Islamabad: October 19, 2021

Mr. Chairman, Technology has emerged as a critical enabler in the arena of arms. It continues to serve as a force multiplier for a range of old and new weapons, says a press release received here today from New York. New technologies are inducting new levels of sophistication to the existing weapons and their means of delivery. There is growing pace of integration between and among conventional and non-conventional arms. The existing norms, rules and regulations continue to be outpaced by the induction of new and emerging technologies to various types of weapons on earth, outer space and cyber domain. The increasing salience of technology to the realm of arms has also posed several challenges to the resilience of international law and the machinery designed to control their spread, deployment, development and use. Mr. Chairman, New technologies afford new means of war and therefore heightened risks and threats to regional and international security. New types of weapons would arguably reduce or eliminate the danger of human casualties for the user states. These troubling developments would also increase the propensity of their use and enhance the prospects of symmetric and asymmetric responses. The net result would be lowering of the threshold for resort to armed conflict. Progress towards arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation would inevitably be further impeded. Within the arms control landscape, absence of normative progress on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) and cyber weapons represents substantial risks. Faced with the possibility of being overwhelmed by LAWS, states possessing WMD capabilities would be reluctant to give them up. On the other hand, other states would feel obliged to acquire them. The growing range of harms that cyber weapons can inflict, coupled with the challenges of anonymity and attribution, underscore the urgency of progress on commensurate legal and normative international arms control framework. The consequences arising from the development, deployment and use of these new categories of weapons, together with their integration into existing arms and means of delivery, are evidently dangerous for regional and global peace, security and stability. Even as the pace of new weapons technologies remains inevitable, it is both urgent and essential to develop commensurate norms, rules and laws to control and regulate them in all their dimensions. The risks and dangers are too grave to be ignored. Mr. Chairman, In crafting global arms control responses to these new challenges, it is vital to anchor them in the foundational and already agreed principles and norms. The General Assembly, at its First Special Session on Disarmament in 1978 has set forth an internationally agreed carinal principle to control and regulate arms. The Final Document of SSOD-I clearly stipulates, and I quote, “The adoption of disarmament measures should take place in such an equitable and balanced manner as to ensure the right of each State to security and to ensure that no individual State or group of States may obtain advantages over others at any stage.” Unquote. The international community has long recognized that international peace and security is co-dependent on stability at the regional and sub-regional levels. The UN Charter, Final Document of SSOD-I, the UNDC, and this Committee’s resolutions have repeatedly reaffirmed the need for the simultaneous pursuit of regional and global approaches. I would like to draw attention to additional principles and guidelines in this regard,: (i) preservation of balance in the defence capabilities of States at lowest level of armaments and military forces; (ii) special responsibility of militarily significant States and States with larger military capabilities in promoting agreements for regional security; and (iii) undiminished security for all, Pakistan has continued to advance these principles and proposed bilateral or regional initiatives that build confidence, reduce risks, and conform to the cardinal principle of equal and undiminished security for all. These proposals are enshrined in the resolutions presented by Pakistan in this Committee on: (1) Regional disarmament; (2) Confidence building measures in the regional and sub-regional context; and (3) Conventional arms control at regional and sub-regional levels. We look forward to the continued support of Member States for the adoption of these resolutions this year as well. Mr. Chairman, The multilateral disarmament machinery remains paralyzed for over two decades. This impasse is both a cause and consequence of the competing strategic priorities, perpetuation of military advantages and pursuit of discriminatory policies by some states. Arbitrary preferences and self-serving notions of “ripeness” that disregard the foundational arms control principle of equal security for all have reinforced the machinery’s deadlock. The arms control machinery remains sound in its design, procedures and methods of work. The same machinery has produced landmark treaties in the past when fundamental principles were adhered to. Departure from these long-held principles has eluded consensus on the start of negotiations on any issue on the CD’s agenda. The First Committee and the Disarmament Commission are afflicted with similar polarisation. Solutions to the impasse in the disarmament machinery lay within the respective constituents of the multilateral disarmament machinery. Pakistan has presented a detailed roadmap to develop such a consensus, evolved through strict adherence to long-standing rules and principles of international law, the UN Charter and the Final Document of SSOD-1. I thank you.