Pakistan is likely to remain focused on improving its short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, despite India’s advances in long-range ballistic missiles, experts say.
The attack last August against the Kamra military air base in Pakistan reignited concerns about the threat that terrorists could pose to the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. There is no doubt that recent attacks on military targets in Pakistan have increased in number and boldness. So far, however, the targets of the attacks have not been military installations that contain nuclear weapons or components.
Pakistan’s security is adequate to deal with the recent attacks on its military installations, including a Sept. 5 threat to the Dera Ghazi Khan nuclear complex, according to former Pakistani and U.S. officials.
An Aug. 16 attack on a Pakistani military base by militants has raised concerns about the security of the country’s nuclear weapons, although Pakistani officials denied that nuclear weapons are stored at the base.
Pakistan blocked the consensus needed to establish a program of work for the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) on March 15, continuing the negotiating body’s 16-year stalemate. For the past several years, Islamabad has been the only country blocking agreement to begin negotiations on a treaty banning the production of nuclear materials for weapons. The CD is the sole multilateral negotiating body on disarmament.
Swiss federal prosecutors indicted three members of the Tinner family Dec. 13 for violating that country’s export control laws and aiding Libya’s nuclear weapons program as part of a major nuclear smuggling ring, following a prolonged investigation that has severely divided the Swiss government.
Zamir Akram’s comments in his interview with Arms Control Today (“The South Asian Nuclear Balance: An Interview With Pakistani Ambassador to the CD Zamir Akram,” December 2011) signal a potentially important shift in Pakistan’s position on allowing negotiations leading to a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT).
As the Pakistani permanent representative to the UN Office at Geneva, Zamir Akram serves as Islamabad’s ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament (CD). He has been a member of the Pakistan Foreign Service since 1978. From 2007 to 2008, he was additional foreign secretary for disarmament and arms control in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Fulfilling a commitment made at the United Nations in July, the world’s five recognized nuclear-weapon states met in Geneva on Aug. 30 to discuss ways to break the logjam at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on a proposed treaty to ban the production of fissile materials for weapons. However, the states, known as the P5 because they also are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, did not agree to pursue negotiations outside the CD, where Pakistan remains opposed to treaty talks.
The foreign ministers of nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan met July 27 in New Delhi, resuming their high-level dialogue on security and confidence-building measures for the first time since the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
The five original nuclear-weapon states have agreed to discuss ways to begin negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons, which is currently being blocked by Pakistan at the UN Conference on Disarmament.