Experts believe that pursuing global disarmament was unrealistic and feared that the beginning of nuclear weapons ban treaty talks at the United Nations could eventually throw up challenges for Pakistan’s position on Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT). This was the gist of a discussion at a roundtable hosted by Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) on developments related to a proposed treaty to ban nuclear weapons. The discussion titled ‘Nuclear Ban Treaty: Debating the missing Link’ was attended by experts, academia, representatives of think tanks and government officials.
The roundtable was held in the context of the recently concluded five day UN conference on establishing a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. The talks on the treaty were attended by 132 countries, but were importantly boycotted by 40 states including those possessing nuclear weapons. Pakistan also stayed away from the talks that were held as a result of a UN resolution adopted last December, which provided for convening a conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument. The meeting in New York that was held from March 27-31 deliberated on the proposed goals, objectives, and preamble of the treaty. A text of the treaty is now being drafted, which would be discussed when the talks resume for June 15.
Speaking at the roundtable Dr Christine Leah, visiting research fellow with CISS and Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer at Yale University, said she was opposed to nuclear disarmament because a substantial cut would bring back issues of conventional strategy. She argued that conventional force balance received little attention in nuclear age, but once the concerns about nuclear weapons were to recede, deterrence would then rely on conventional force imbalance.