UNITED NATIONS     -   The United Nations General Assembly’s main committee has adopted, by an overwhelming majority, a Pakistan-sponsored resolution under which the 193-member Assembly would reaffirm the urgent need to reach an early agreement on effective international arrangements to assure non-‘nuclear‘-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The resolution, entitled: “Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-‘nuclear‘-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was voted in the Assembly’s First Committee, which deals with disarmament and international security matters.

It received 118 in favour to none against, with 63 abstentions.

A majority of states belonging to the Non-aligned Movement as well as China and Japan voted in favour of the text, while the US and European States as well as India abstained.

By its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the urgent need to reach an early agreement on effective international arrangements to assure non-‘nuclear‘-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Noting with satisfaction that there is no objection in principle in the Conference on Disarmament to the idea of an international convention on the topic, the resolution would appeal to all states, especially nuclear-‘weapon’-states, to work actively towards early agreement on a common approach leading to a legally binding international instrument.

It would come up for formal endorsement of the General Assembly next month.

During the proceedings, Pakistan abstained on two India-sponsored resolutions on disarmament-related matters that it had previously supported, saying there was a yawning gap between the practices and declaratory policies of the sponsor.

Explaining his vote on India’s resolution, entitled: “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons”, Jehanzeb Khan, First Secretary in the Pakistan Mission to the UN, said while it claims to promote the norms of non-use of nuclear weapons, the sponsoring country recently issued increasingly frequent threats of nuclear use against his country.

India had also pursued continuous expansion and modernization of conventional and nuclear arsenals, increasing the readiness of its nuclear forces by taking steps such as canisterization of missiles, induction of destabilizing weapon systems as well as force postures and security doctrines which have an offensive rather than defensive intent.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 115 in favour to 50 against, with 15 abstentions. The US, UK and other western states were among the 50 negative votes. Among the fifteen abstentions were Pakistan, Japan, Russia and Thailand.

On its part, Jehanzeb Khan said Pakistan continues to support international arms control and disarmament initiatives which are equitable and non-discriminatory in character. “We have consistently supported all initiatives, which draw attention to the risk of escalation of a conventional conflict to the nuclear level.”

Conflict between nuclear-armed States must be avoided at all cost, he said.

In his explanation of vote on the other India’s Resolution, entitled ‘Reducing Nuclear Danger’, Husham Ahmed, a Director in Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, said that its sponsor, in an elusive pursuit of ‘new normal’, has continuously sought to create space for a limited war under the nuclear overhang.

Pakistan, he said, witnessed a demonstration of such reckless behaviour in February this year. “This narrative: that limited conventional conflict is possible under the nuclear threshold without any risk of escalation must be challenged by the international community.”

The resolution received 117 votes to 49 against, with 14 abstentions. Among the 49 negative votes were those from the US and other western countries. 14 abstaining countries included Pakistan, China and Russia.

Husham Ahmed said the sponsor of this resolution has also nuclearized the Indian Ocean, while claiming to conduct `deterrence patrols’. India had, in fact, which has taken steps that will increase the nuclear danger in South Asia.

“No proposal designed to create `good optics’ can provide a cover for the destabilizing and dangerous developments in South Asia unleashed by the sponsor of this resolution,” the Pakistani delegate said.