"Indian Nuclear Doctrine", Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram in the Conference on Disarmament, August 19, 1999

Mr. President,

The draft of "India's Nuclear Doctrine", recommended by its National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), indicates that India is about to embark on a further and even more dangerous escalation in the nuclear and conventional arms build-up. The recommendations are regarded as the articulation of the concept of a credible minimum nuclear deterrence put forward by the distinguished Prime Minister of India after the Indian nuclear tests. The recommended "doctrine" confirms India's craving to be recognized as a global power - not by acting as a "responsible" member of the international community, but through nuclear and conventional militarization and aggressive actions.

2. India has declared that it will establish "sufficient, survivable and operationally prepared nuclear forces". Thus, despite the best endeavours made by Pakistan for strategic restraint India is likely to go ahead with the deployment and operationalization of its nuclear weapons and delivery systems. The Indian "doctrine" would negate several measures for mutual restraint which were identified in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Pakistan and India at the Lahore Summit. It would frustrate the central purpose of the "Strategic Restraint Regime" proposed by Pakistan to India at the last round of talks (under the item on "Peace and Security").

3. Moreover, the declaration of the proposed "doctrine" by the BJP "caretaker" government, calls into question the alleged achievements of the 8 Rounds of the Jaswant Singh-Talbot talks and the assurances given to Pakistan, and the international community, that India will accept some form of restraints, particularly with regard to the deployment and operationalization of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. It is now evident that such assurances were the result of false promises by India or were falsely propagated to persuade Pakistan to accept one-sided commitments. Pakistan will closely follow the reactions of the major powers to this latest intended escalation. The only hope which one major power has expressed yesterday is that India will sign the CTBT. Important as the CTBT is, its signature is hardly relevant to the scope and the magnitude of the instability and danger which India will provoke by the operational deployment of an inordinately large nuclear arsenal which it envisages. India has said that it has the capability to develop the neutron bomb; that its research and development will continue and this also involves the further development nuclear weapons through sub-critical testing; it is also developing other forms of military technologies and militarisation programmes.

4. Neither Pakistan nor the international community, can be taken in by India's so-called "no-first-use" policy. No-first-use has never been accepted as the basis for determining the deterrent postures of any of the Nuclear Weapon States. Indeed, India itself places no credibility in `no-first-use'. If it did, it should have accepted China's assurance of `no-first-use' and of non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States. This would have obviated the need for India's nuclear weapons acquisition and made unnecessary the operational deployment of nuclear weapons. Non-deployment, in turn, would make `no-first-use' declarations unnecessary.

5. India's `no-first-use' declaration is, in fact, designed to secure for itself "recognition" as a nuclear weapon State which would flow from the "acceptance" of its no-first-use and non-use "assurances". It is for this purpose that India has offered to ratify the non-use assurance Protocol to the Treaty establishing the South-East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. Secondly, India will seek to justify the acquisition of a large nuclear arsenal by arguing that its nuclear forces should be large enough to sustain and retaliate against a nuclear first-strike. The doctrine issue yesterday states that India's nuclear forces "shall be designed and deployed to ensure survival against a first strike and to endure repetitive attrition attempts with adequate retaliatory capabilities". It envisages a triad of nuclear forces including "aircraft, mobile, land-based missiles and sea-based assets". This would require a huge arsenal. According to a study published in the United States, India possesses over 1600 kg of fissile material which can be used to produce over 400 nuclear warheads. This will have to be taken into account by all countries which are threatened by India's nuclear weapon arsenal.

6. The proposed Indian "doctrine" also makes it clear that India's nuclear escalation will be accompanied by the further build-up of India's conventional warfare capabilities. Since the vast majority of India's conventional "assets" are deployed against Pakistan, it will be obliged to respond to the Indian build-up. Moreover, the growing imbalance in conventional military capabilities will intensify Pakistan's reliance on its nuclear capabilities to deter the use or threat of aggression or domination by India. Augmenting conventional forces is sought to be justified on the basis that this will increase the nuclear threshold. As a matter of fact, further conventional imbalance in South Asia will lead to a lowering of the threshold.

7. We are convinced that, following last year's nuclearization, the best option for Pakistan and India is to promote a Strategic Restraint Regime envisaging mutual and reciprocal moderation in the nuclear, missile and conventional fields, and a serious endeavour to resolve underlying disputes, specially Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has made specific proposals for a strategic restraint regime for South Asia. We have asked for a dialogue; India has refused setting several preconditions. Pakistan calls on international community to persuade India to desist from further escalation and to assist in the resolution of outstanding disputes in South Asia including Kashmir without which peace and security in the region would remain elusive.