UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has renewed its proposal to India for a bilateral arrangement on a nuclear test ban, saying it would go a long way in strengthening the global norm against nuclear testing and promote regional stability.

“Peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving the underlying disputes; agreeing on reciprocal measures for nuclear and missile restraint; and instituting a balance between conventional forces,” Ambassador Farukh Amil, who is Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN and other int’l organisations based in Geneva, told the UN General Assembly’s First Committee, which deals with disarmament and international security matters.

“Our proposal for a strategic restraint regime in South Asia, based on these three inter-locking elements, remains on the table,” he said, while reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to promote peace and stability in the region.

Speaking in the committee’s general debate, Ambassador Amil said while many old disputes continue to fester, new conflicts are constantly emerging. He highlighted the steady rise in the quality and quantity of armaments as ever more deadly and sophisticated weapons are being developed.

“These trends are most pronounced in the South Asian region, marked by one country’s quest to establish its hegemony,” the Pakistani envoy said in an obvious reference to India. Security dynamics are further complicated by discriminatory exemptions made by certain states to supply advanced military hardware, he said, adding that such actions sidestep non proliferation considerations.

Pakistan, he said, has been compelled to take necessary measures for ensuring its security, but remains open towards any bilateral or multilateral initiative on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament that is equitable and results in equal and undiminished security for all states.

“Our conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and the avoidance of an arms race,” Ambassador Amil said.

Turning to the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament (CD), he said the attempt by some states to divert attention from the non-fulfilment of their obligations by proposing additional non proliferation measures — ones that are completely cost-free for them, but carry huge implications for the security of others — is no longer working.

Expressing understanding of the initiative for banning nuclear weapons on humanitarian and ethical grounds, Ambassador Amil said such arms cannot be eliminated without addressing the concerns of states that rely on them for their security.

Underscoring that nuclear disarmament could only be achieved as a cooperative and universally agreed undertaking, he said, “We will have to recognize and address the three key motives that drive states like Pakistan to possess nuclear weapons: one, threats from larger military forces – both nuclear and conventional; two, the existence of disputes with more powerful states; and three, discrimination in the application of international law and norms including the failure of the UN collective security system to guarantee the peaceful co-existence of all states.

“These legitimate motivations are different from those states that retain nuclear weapons as a matter of prestige, either to maintain or to attain the status of a global power,” he added.

Ambassador Amil reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world that is achieved in a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory manner.