Roundtable discussion on Pakistan’s role in NSS

ISLAMABAD: The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) Friday organized a roundtable discussion on Pakistan’s role in nuclear security summit (NSS) process.

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Khalid Kidwai, Advisor Development, National Command Authority (NCA) and former Director General, Strategic Plan Division (SPD) was the chief guest.

Gen Kidwai, in his remarks commended Pakistan’s role in the NSS process. Pakistan has attached highest importance to nuclear security. He highlighted that over the past 15 years, Pakistan has developed a rigorous nuclear security regime at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.

This has made Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence as well as its nuclear security a full spectrum capability. Today, Pakistan’s NCA, supported by the SPD as its Secretariat, and the Tri Services Strategic Force Command, exercise full control over policy, procurement, employment, and nuclear security.

The SPD has incorporated the most stringent physical and technical solutions, runs a strict personnel reliability programme, and has developed security and intelligence capabilities to deal with all issues impinging on national security, including proliferation, insider and outsider threats, accidents, precluding any possibility of WMD terrorism.

Gen. Kidwai also highlighted that Pakistan has created a comprehensive nuclear regulatory regime, developed Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), created a comprehensive export control regime in harmony with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Australia Group and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), established its National Detection Architecture, established a Centre for Excellence for Nuclear Security, implemented a Nuclear Security Action Plan (NSAP), ratified the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and have been working with the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).

Pakistan is country with 42 year of proven record of safe and secure civil nuclear operation, and a discriminatory approach towards it should be discarded and it should be fully integrated in the international nuclear mainstream.

Pakistan will continue to respond to the threats to its national security without indulging in nuclear arms race, and it will participate in the 2016 NSS because it believes in the objectives of NSS process and will abide by its obligations as a responsible nuclear weapons states.

Other speakers included Dr. Ansar Parvez, former Chairman PAEC, Zafar Ali, Director General, SECDIV, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brig. Zahir Kazmi, Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs (ACDA), SPD, Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director, Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS), Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, President and Executive Director, Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Dr. Adil Sultan, Director, PDS, SPD; Dr. Rabia Akhtar, Director, Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR), University of Lahore and Dr. Rizwana Abbasi, Assistant Professor, NDU.

Ambassador Masood Khan, Director General ISSI, appreciating Gen. Kidwai’s strong presentation stated that he has highlighted the NSS preparatory process; steps taken by Pakistan at the NSS process; and Pakistan nuclear policy and programme in a very authoritative manner.

His remarks have increased confidence in Pakistan as a nuclear weapons state. He has firmly depicted Pakistan as a strong and responsible nuclear weapons state. Ambassador Khan added that Gen. Kidwai has been a competent steward, custodian and leader of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme and history must record the singular contribution made by him.

Dr Ansar Pervaiz briefly spoke about the NSS process, how it was initiated and what it has achieved so far. Pakistan actively participated in the NSS process and assured the international community about that safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets.

Zafar Ali talked about Pakistan’s role in strengthening its border control and strategic export controls. He emphasised that it is Pakistan’s national responsibility to maintain the safety and security of its nuclear assets.

Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi in his remarks said that Pakistan actively participated in the NSS process and showcased its positive contribution in the field of nuclear safety and security to the international community.

He emphasised that the NSS process will provide a platform to engage in positive discussion related to nuclear safety and security. Dr. Naeem Salik said that there is need to change our outlook as the international trends are visible regarding safety and security of nuclear materials. In this regard, the IAEA need to carry forward its role to ensure safety and security of nuclear materials. Pakistan should continue to promote safety and security of its nuclear assets.

Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema in his remarks countered the international propaganda regarding Pakistan’s fastest growing nuclear weapons programme. He said the assumption that Pakistan has the capacity to produce more nuclear weapons is a negative and false judgment against Pakistan. The international community has overlooked India’s production of five nuclear weapons a year.

Dr. Adil Sultan talked about Pakistan’s role in the NSS process and highlighted that to ensure nuclear safety and security Pakistan has made tremendous achievements, whereas India is still lagging behind in terms of its commitments made under the NSS process.

Dr. Rabia Akhtar in her remarks raised several questions regarding propaganda by India and the international community, long-term vision of nuclear safety and security in Pakistan and the effectiveness of Pakistani nuclear diplomacy on the international front.

Dr. Rizwana Abassi in her remarks pointed out that nuclear security is a national responsibility and Pakistan has made considerable progress in this realm. Pakistan is moving in the right direction and can enhance its international collaboration to enhance education, training, countering terrorism and upgrading nuclear safety and security measures.

At the end Ambassador Masood Khan, Director General, ISSI thanked all the participants for their valuable contribution. APP