“Strengthened Export Controls: Pakistan’s Experience,
Current and Future Challenges and Options”
South Asian Strategic Stability Institute
16-17 November 2006 (Brussels)
Welcoming Remarks by Maria Sultan, Director
Ladies and Gentlemen
General Ehsan Ul Haq, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you for the Annual Conference of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, London (SASSIL).
This is the first international conference that our Institute has organised since we moved from Bradford to London in October of this year.
We are greatly honoured by your presence and would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend our annual conference.
The theme of our Annual Conference is “Strengthened Export Controls: Pakistan’s Experience, Current and Future Challenges and Options”. It is appropriate that the conference should be held here at Brussels, the seat of the European Parliament and a city where many of the non-proliferation initiatives have originated in this part of the world.
The Conference aims to intensify and promote dialogue between members of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) and states outside the NSG, with the objective of enhancing global security through building a common interest and stake in international export control regimes. A strengthened system of national export controls, both in the states party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and those outside the Treaty, would help to ensure international efforts to control the illicit trafficking of nuclear material as well as promoting efforts to tighten loopholes in international export control mechanisms to promote safe commerce and to prevent illegal international trade in sensitive nuclear technologies.
Consequent to their nuclear tests of May 1998, Pakistan and India have become de facto nuclear powers outside the NPT regime. However, both these countries present themselves as a unique case of states which appear willing, to voluntarily observe all the restraints imposed by the regime, and to subject their civilian nuclear facilities to full scope safeguards, ensure strict controls to stop the transfer of technologies and materials . However , given the fact that they are new entrants to the nuclear weapons club albeit de facto they pose also a significant challenge to the international efforts against the proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies if their respective systems are not in tune to the rest of the efforts made by the international non proliferation regime. The importance of the efforts made by each state therefore towards strengthening national export controls measures aimed to stop the illicit transfers of nuclear materials and technologies is of crucial importance to the viability of the non proliferation regime over along period of time. Both these states in addition to Israel, as states outside the NPT present both opportunities and challenges to the norms in the international non proliferation regime.
It is therefore important for the overall strength of the system that the gap between reality and legality be reduced where positive efforts by these states can contribute to international peace and security, in this case the national export measures of the respective states is a case in point.
In recent years, Pakistan’s measures on export controls of sensitive technologies and equipment have undergone a transformation. Pakistan has undertaken several measures in a systematic inter-agency process spread over several years to meet the new challenges. However, despite outreach through diplomatic and other official channels, the level of understanding about Pakistan’s export control experience in the international community is minimal. Similarly, there exists a need to reduce the gap between practices and perceptions that exist between the nuclear weapon states outside the NPT and those that assist or spearhead the efforts of the regime.
Against this backdrop, this conference would seek to identify various initiatives taken by Pakistan to solidify its export controls, while learning from international experience to consolidate its implementation and enforcement measures. Similarly, there are steps, such as the NPT in particular, which the international community believes are not well represented by Pakistan’s export control experience and there may be ways in which experiences can be shared to create a strengthened system of export controls. There appears to be a gulf in developing an understanding, as NPT members deal with the issue of proliferation of WMD technology, promoting safe commerce and developing effective international export control mechanisms. It is necessary, however, that a balance should be struck between good commerce and unnecessary barriers, which are likely to promote black marketing and weakened export controls. It is in this context that this conference aims to promote understanding and a way to bridge the gap which may exist between the various players/state actors in the international system, dedicated to promoting non-proliferation of WMD.
The main foci of this Conference are:
This conference, we believe, will promote peace and security and reduce the risk of international trafficking in the field of WMD, as positions and points of convergence would be sought and debated by Pakistani experts and their counterparts in Europe, China, the Russian Federation, South Korea, the United States, and other members of the international non-proliferation community, who have similar experiences and face similar problems. The conference seeks to provide an unofficial forum to the policy makers in Pakistan and to the members of international non-proliferation regimes to discuss the issue of export controls and to suggest the way forward.
We are fortunate to have very senior and experienced, speakers and panellists I am sure they will together present a rich and varied fare. We hope to publish the proceedings of this conference by early next year and we will be happy to send all of you a copy.
I would be failing in my duty if I did not acknowledge the contribution of our sponsors to making this conference a success. The Institute is grateful for the official and unofficial support offered by governments of various countries, such as Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, Russian Federation, USA and Pakistan. The Institute also welcomes the participation and support by the European Union, NUPI, ISIS Europe and SIPRI.
And, now, it is my privilege to welcome General Ehsan-Ul-Haq, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Pakistan, to deliver the keynote address. The Joint Chiefs of Staff committee consists of the heads of three armed forces of Pakistan- Air Force, Army and Navy. Gen Ehsan is also the deputy chairman of Development Control Committee of the National Command Authority.
The title of his address is: Pakistan’s Approach towards Non-proliferation, Export Controls and the Ensuing Issues that Affect Pakistan and the Rest of the World.