Pakistan not engaged in arms race in South Asia, envoy tells UN

India set aside $51 billion last year for its defence budget, while Pakistan itself spends $8 billion to $10 billion a year on its military. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan Oct 21, 2016, 11.27 PM (IST)

Even as ceasefire violations continued along the Line of Control, Pakistan on Friday said its establishment is committed to maintaining peace, security and stability in the region. 

During a debate on conventional weapons at the United Nations General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee on Thursday, Pakistan envoy said, "It (Pakistan) neither wants, nor is it engaged in an arms race in the region," according to reports in a Pakistani publication, Dawn.  

Hinting at India, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Tehmina Janjua said Islamabad is concerned over the growing transfer of conventional armaments in volatile regions. “South Asia is a sensitive region where one state's military spending grossly and vastly out shadows all others,” pointing to India's defence spending. India set aside $51 billion last year for its defence budget, while Pakistan itself spends $8 billion to $10 billion a year on its military.  

India has repeatedly urged international action against the threat of terrorism, describing its neighbour Pakistan as the "hotbed of terrorism". The Indian Army had conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which was believed to be in retaliation to the Uri attack on the army carried out by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad. 

Despite the growing tensions along the border, Islamabad said it is focused on the crucial conventional force balance that has the potential of fuelling instability and jeopardising the delicate regional balance.

Janjua said military expenditures have been rapidly growing and more money was being spent on fuelling and exacerbating conflicts than on preventing them, Dawn reported. 

Urging development of legislative, regulatory, enforcement and institutional mechanisms to address the issue, the ambassador said efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons must not give way to an unworkable imbalance of conventional weapons similar to those that had triggered two world wars.

The envoy told that Pakistan is reviewing its arms trade treaty to regulate trade and transfer of conventional weapons and note its entry into force. Janjua said Pakistan shared the concerns about the acquisition and use of small arms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by non-state actors and terrorists.