The Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) held a round-table talk with Mr. Tariq Rauf, Consultant, CTBTO; former Head of Verification and Security Policy Coordination, IAEA at its office in Islamabad on Friday, 19th October. The topic of the Round Table was 'Overview and current developments in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues.’
During the discussion, Mr. Rauf spoke on issues relating to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. He also gave a short presentation on the North Korean nuclear program.
Mr. Tariq explained various reasons due to which countries in Annex II of the CTBT were not signing and ratifying the CTBT. He said eight out of 331 stations of CTBT’s International Monitoring System were to be built in South Asia, two in Pakistan and four in India. He said Pakistani youth should participate in the youth group under the CTBTO where people could sign up and join the virtual community to exchange ideas and views.
As regards FMCT, he said that Russia, China, India, and other countries also had the same stance on the FMCT as Pakistan. These countries hide behind Pakistan and it takes all the blame for halting talks on the agenda of FMCT.
Speaking on the Pakistani membership of NSG, Mr. Tariq said that it had become a political issue. He said only a few countries were supportive of NSG membership of Pakistan mainly China and Turkey and couple of others. Western countries mostly support Indian membership. He said while Pakistan was focused on NSG, India got membership of Wassenaar Arrangements, Australian Group, and Missile Technology Control Regime. He said that NSG membership requires a lot of resources to get the full benefit from it and Pakistan at the moment faces economic challenges. Due to this nuclear cooperation with China is the most feasible option right now for Pakistan. He said Pakistan had been proposing a criteria-based approach to the NSG membership and China also supported this. The United States and its allies don’t support a criteria-based approach for their concerns that a candidate may meet the criteria, but the United States may still want to deny membership for its broader political considerations. He said India had the worst proliferation record as it copied the CANDU Reactors and India reprocessing of spent fuel was also un-safeguarded. Therefore, it may make separate spent fuel reprocessing facility for the foreign fuel.
On Nuclear Ban Treaty, he said that frustration was mounting up in the non-nuclear weapons states on non-disarmament of nuclear weapons states. He said the NPT Review Conference 2020 was heading for failure due to its five nuclear weapons states not ready to give up nuclear weapons. He said even a city like the New York lacked the facilities to tackle the humanitarian and environmental consequences of a nuclear detonation.
Mr. Rauf’s presentation was followed by a question answer session. Executive Director Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi concluded the Round Table by noting that Mr. Tariq’s views were noteworthy and would help researchers in their research works.