GENEVA: Pakistan has rejected as “dubious” India’s claims about its “impeccable” disarmament record, saying New Delhi was solely responsible for pioneering nuclear proliferation in South Asia that had escalated tensions in the region and beyond.
“It is India which dealt a death blow to non-proliferation norms by conducting its first nuclear test in 1974, followed by additional nuclear tests in 1998,” Pakistani delegate Muhammad Omar told the Conference on Disarmament (CD), now in session in Geneva. Moreover, he said, India conducted the test by diverting nuclear material from the Canada-supplied CIRUS reactor in clear violation of its safeguards commitments to the suppliers.
Omar was responding to Indian Ambassador Pankaj Sharma’s statement Wednesday in which he criticized his Pakistani counterpart, Khalil Hashmi, for raising “bilateral and regional security issues,” Jammu and Kashmir among them, during his speech to the CD on Tuesday.
The Indian envoy claimed that India’s disarmament contributions and credentials were commendable and that Jammu and Kashmir were an integral part of his country while accusing Pakistan of involvement in terrorism.
Exercising his right of reply, Omar, who is the First Secretary at the Pakistan Mission to the UN in Geneva, pointed out that India had always opposed the formalization of a moratorium on nuclear tests in South Asia.
Despite its ritualistic support to the so-called FMCT (Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty), India has neither declared a moratorium on fissile material production nor ceased it, he said.
“In fact,” he said, “it (India) continues to exponentially expand production by building new fast breeder reactors, while also amassing tonnes of fissile material stocks in the so-called strategic reserves”.