The 65th U.N. General Assembly on Multilateral Disarmament Treaty

September 29, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

On September 24, 2010, the United Nations held a “High-level Meeting on Revitalizing Disarmament Conference” attended by 65 nations’ dignitaries in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Conference objectives were to initiate discussions on the –

Biological and Chemical weapons,

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and,

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) including,

START – Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms,

PAROS – Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space and,

Last but not the least – Nuclear States threats against non-nuclear nations.

Although the statements from these organizations’ representatives and U.N. members defined the international community role and the urgency to begin nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament discourse, the session ended in an impasse.

The reason behind the unsuccessful outcome is attributed to the Multifaceted Treaty’s one aspect and that being,

The FMCT – Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty reportedly blocked by Nuclear Pakistan insisting on the Fissile Material Treaty fairness and effectiveness on the whole, an identical position shared with its Nuclear neighbor India.

The fissile material related to the plutonium and uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons capability is crucial in the disarmament dialogue to implement a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

In fact, Pakistan’s position in this regard is absolutely legitimate and worth examining.

Pakistan’s claim that FMT mandate be internationally incorporated and multilaterally verified to accommodate the majority nuclear and non-nuclear states’ national security concerns comparable to “equal security for all,” principles is in direct alignment with India’s request.

India has raised the legitimacy and credibility factor surrounding all treaties i.e.

Non-Proliferation, Nuclear disarmament focused on FMT, PAROS, START and negative security assurances for they are all at present severely lacking in accountability and transparency among the NPT-5,

The U.S and Russia in particular as the pioneers currently in possession of over 95 percent world’s nuclear arsenal.

Poignantly, the very first nuclear disarmament and permanent ban on nuclear testing was set forth by the First Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954 – the nuclear era with conspicuous disdain for nuclear ban proposals that is evidently prevalent until now into the twenty first century.

Subsequently, India remained persistent and called for an international convention in 1978 prohibiting the nuclear weapons use or threats against any nation followed by,

A daring initiative in 1982 submitting to the United Nations – a “Nuclear Freeze,” on fissile material production facilitating nuclear weapons and related delivery systems.

Further, in 1998 India put forward an Action Plan comprising phased elimination for all nuclear weapons and WMD within a specified timeframe setting the cornerstone in the nuclear doctrine.

None of the nuclear weapon states with far more nuclear potential responded to the cause then or for that matter now in the CD conference.

Pakistan and India share the sentiments in the non-cooperation and disingenuous display by the real players the NPT-5 with a burden of responsibility to exemplify their verbal commitments through actions that is being demonstrably evaded as the privileged Security Council members.

All the more reason for the imperativeness to expand the U.N. Security Council permanent membership with broad representation by nations such as Japan, Brazil, India, South Africa, Germany, Norway, Turkey and UAE besides the extensive diversification called for in the recent CD Summit only to be ignored denying global interest.

Had the powerful nuclear weapon states engaged in earnest participation with appropriate and definitive content mutually agreeable to third party verification in the nuclear treaty throughout the twentieth and twenty first century, the world would not be dealing with nuclear proliferation or terrorism.

Even the new START agreement between U.S and Russia signed in 2010 is subjective to ambivalence on both sides based on past experience specifically –

The exchanges with Kremlin during the former President Ronald Reagan START introduction referred to as SALT III at that time and evaluated by the American arms control advocates as;

“A deceptively equal-looking, deliberately nonnegotiable proposal that is part of what some suspect is the hardliners’ secret agenda of sabotaging disarmament so that the U.S. can get on with the business of rearmament.”

Similarly, the then Soviet Union had not disclosed the ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) data accurately in the submission.

Such inconclusiveness in the international security matter since the nuclear age precipitated the nuclear and conventional arms race to an unprecedented and unsustainable level.

The repetitive failed attempt to invigorate meaningful disarmament talks is a cliché in the contentious yet easily resolvable issue.

Moreover, the notion that U.S, Russia, China… are responsible nuclear states while disqualifying others from the league is a misnomer considering the status quo and proved detrimental to the nuclear deterrent policy for it encouraged defiance against compliance.

The unanimous frustration and disappointment among the non-elite nuclear states and the vulnerable non-nuclear NPT nations leads to a concrete decision in enforcing;

The universal CTBT – Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty ‘entry into force’ rule effective immediately beginning at the fissile material ban targeting both supply and production in the present and the future.

Pursuant to NPT article VI, CTBT entry by force would have a profound impact on the NPT obligations binding the NPT and non-NPT nuclear states along with non-nuclear NPT countries.

Forced entry CTBT statute would reveal the observance or the lack there of by the respective nuclear and non-nuclear States.

It would also determine the Treaty viability and the multilateral apparatus adherence to NPT apart from restricting the sophisticated nuclear weapon upgrade or new development by any or all.

A worldwide Monitoring System and a neutral committee dedicated to NPT and WMD elimination would concurrently phase out the nuclear weapon prospects and systematically retrieve the stockpiles from all parties commencing with the major stock holders i.e. United States, Russia, France, U.K. China and others.

The grievances expressed by the scapegoats earlier India and now Pakistan in the CD failure,

Arguably found in the consistent setbacks on all treaties pertaining to conventional, WMD and nuclear weapons suggesting the so-called summits frame work designed to weaken rather than strengthen the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation institutional policies aimed at the regional and international peace and security.

Given the facts on the ground with the relentless and widespread violence through warfare, the agenda do not match the false exhibits in the previous summits.

Therefore, the United Nations General Assembly members consolidated commitment to global peace and security could be made possible by –

Forging the U.N. Security Council permanent membership expansion and,

Implementing the CTBT to accomplish the non-violation and irreversible NPT complemented by strategic and general weapons substantive and complete disarmament.

The U.N. members at the general assembly could essentially review and restructure the umbrella organization policies to conform to the twenty first century in every respect.

Non-nuclear NPT and nuclear states have a unique opportunity to change the dynamics with a paradigm shift by being inclusive not exclusive in the nuclear negotiations eventually resulting in pervasive nuclear disarmament.

The ICBL (the International Campaign to Ban Landmines) treaty is also vital in the disarmament process with certain key powers not having ratified the protocol despite the staggering toll on the children and economically disadvantaged population across the globe.

Again, the collective pledge to safeguard life and the planet is guaranteed to produce the desirable result –

A peaceful, prosperous and unified world.

Good Luck and Best Wishes to the United Nations and nexus organizations for phenomenal success in the humanitarian goals.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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