Following extending an informal invitation for an ‘exclusive’ dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan on Tuesday reiterated its offer to neighbouring India for a bilateral arrangement on non-testing of nuclear weapons.
“Once again, in the larger interest of peace and stability in the region, as also in the global context, Pakistan has indicated the possibility that the two countries may consider a bilateral arrangement, which is reflective of its policy of promoting restraint and responsibility in South Asia and its consistent support for the objectives of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT),” Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said.
Responding to media queries with reference to Pakistan’s offer to India for a bilateral arrangement on non-testing of nuclear weapons, announced by the Adviser on Foreign Affairs on 12th August 2016, Zakaria recalled that following the nuclear tests in 1998, Pakistan had proposed to India simultaneous adherence to the CTBT. The proposal did not elicit a favourable response from India, he added.
He stated that the bilateral non-testing arrangement, if mutually agreed, could become binding immediately without waiting for the entry into force of the CTBT at the international level.
The spokesperson further explained that while the unilateral moratoriums declared by the two countries were voluntary, legally non-binding and could be withdrawn unilaterally, a bilateral arrangement will be mutually binding and difficult to withdraw from unilaterally.
“Both countries could consider working out the details of the arrangement and mutually agreed confidence-building measures in relation to it,” he explained, adding, it could set the tone for further mutually agreed measures on restraint and avoidance of arms race in South Asia.
He said that a bilateral arrangement on non-testing will also send a positive signal to the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) countries which are discussing the non-proliferation commitments of non-NPT states in relation to the question of membership.
The offer comes a day earlier Pakistan extended a formal invitation to India for the proposed foreign secretary level talks exclusively on Jammu and Kashmir.
Last week Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told a media briefing that Pakistan has consistently supported the CTBT, adding we voted for the treaty when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996.
“We have declared a unilateral moratorium on further testing. Pakistan is prepared to consider translating its unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India,” Aziz added.
Expressing Pakistan’s consistent support to the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world, the Adviser also declared that Pakistan is committed not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states or assist others to acquire nuclear weapons. -Business Recorder