UN debate on non proliferation

Both Pakistan and India opposed a draft UN Security Council resolution on checking the proliferation of WMD, but for different reasons. The draft resolution sought to empower the Security Council both to monitor and use force to ensure countries comply with non-proliferation requirements. Usually such a role is assigned to multi-lateral organisations or treaties which individual countries could join after their parliaments ratified the terms.

Pakistan objected on the grounds that existing treaties and its own safeguards were adequate, and also because it felt that it is inappropriate to put the onus of non-proliferation on states, while the real targets of the resolution are terrorists and other non-state actors.

India agreed that states indeed should be held responsible for ensuring that WMDs dont fall into terrorist hands, and that existing treaties were inadequate. Its objection was more on principles – that the UN Security Council should not assign to itself the role that properly belongs to national parliaments. Its other main objection was that the UN Security Council was not the most appropriate vehicle to police the resolution because there would be no way to ‘monitor the monitor’.

Both multilateral treaties or UN resolutions are pointless if the permanent members of the Security Council continue to selectively implement measures according to their political expediencies. Punishment for Saddam, rewards for Musharraf, clemency for Gaddafi and the continued indulgence of Kim Jong Il are cases in point. The permanent members of the Security Council insist that it is expeditious to use the Security Council as multilateral efforts take time.

What could be more expeditious than exemplary action against Pakistan – a move that would have sent the right signals to potential proliferators?

Related Links: Summary of the UN Security Council debate; and a Daily Times editorial