Pakistan’s strategic challenges due to its chronic unsettled disputes with India and its limited resources to address the conventional asymmetry oblige it to not agree to work on an FMCT based on the Shannon mandate. It is because the Shannon mandate only encourages nations to negotiate an arms control treaty, which is not in the strategic interest of Pakistan.
Importantly, the Pakistani armed forces will only be capable of deterring and defeating aggression launched by our eastern adversary, if they are armed effectively. Therefore, Pakistanis need to be cautious about the military needs of the country, and also avoid any international trap, which may cap country’s indigenous nuclear weapon program.
The credible deterrence results from both the capabilities to deny an aggressor the prospect of achieving his objectives and from the complementary capability to impose unacceptable costs on the aggressor. Thus, for credible capability to deny aggression and if deterrence fails to inflict unacceptable damage on the adversary, Pakistan needs to invest in both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.
The strategic and tactical nuclear weapons require nuclear fissile material. The demand for the fissile material increases with the shift at the technical level of the adversary’s strategy coupled with its persistent denial of bilateral nuclear restrain regime proposal or a comprehensive arms control treaty. The absence of an arms control treaty between India and Pakistan limits latter’s options, and, thereby, it is not possible for it to unilaterally abandon its military modernization, especially nuclear arsenal upgradation, qualitatively and quantitatively.
To conclude, the strategic challenges should be addressed with realistic strategic calculations rather than idealist or pacifist notions of nuclear abolitionists or non-proliferationists. Pakistan’s stance on the FMCT and other items of the CD agenda should only take into account or serve the strategic interest of the country rather than intended to please any Great Power or expose any other state at the conference on Disarmament.