13 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Zamir Akram’s book about nuclear deterrence, diplomacy launched

Former diplomat Zamir Akram highlights biased and unfair treatment towards Pakistan in nuclear realm | ‘Pakistan should be vigilant and continuously evolve its conventional and nuclear capabilities to avoid nuclear blackmail’

ISLAMABAD: The Arms Control and Disarmament Centre (ACDC) hosted the launch of a book – The Security Imperative – Pakistan’s Nuclear Deterrence and Diplomacy – authored by former ambassador Zamir Akram.

Addressing the gathering at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Zamir Akram highlighted the biased and unfair treatment towards Pakistan in the nuclear realm, stressing that Pakistan had repeatedly made clear that the development of its nuclear program was a ‘security imperative’ and India-specific.

He said that the 1998 testing was the finest hour in Pakistan’s history as these tests brought about a paradigm shift in the historic correlation of power between Pakistan and India and replaced it with a new security calculus between the two South Asian neighbors. He said that credible deterrence did not remain static because of changes in technology and policy.

Therefore, he said that Pakistan should be vigilant and continuously evolve its conventional and nuclear capabilities to avoid nuclear ‘blackmail’ from India. Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad Director General Sohail Mahmood lauded Zamir Akram for his valuable contributions to the field of nuclear diplomacy throughout a diplomatic career spanning over 38 years.

While highlighting importance of the theme, he said that building nuclear deterrence was Pakistan’s indispensable response to the existential threat posed by India’s nuclearization. He said that Pakistan’s nuclear diplomacy has remained sharp and tenacious. He said that it had illustrated to the world the country’s India-specific rationale for the development of nuclear deterrent.

‘India is the biggest nuclear ‘black hole’ in world that introduced nuclear weapons in South Asia and Indian Ocean’

He said that it reinforced efforts to maintain strategic stability in South Asia, opposed unfair and discriminatory approaches; and continuously countered the smear against Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. He also underlined that the book illustrated contributions of Pakistan’s diplomats and offered a distinctively Pakistani perspective on this important subject.

In his keynote address, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman General Zubair Mahmood Hayat said that for Pakistan, the security threat was both real and existential, which was further intensified by the Indian quest for war, domination and hegemony as so-called ‘net security provider’ in the region.

He pointed out that India was the biggest nuclear ‘black hole’ in the world that introduced nuclear weapons in South Asia and the Indian Ocean. He said that the Nuclear Supplier Group waiver by the US, the Indian acquisition of ballistic missile defence, and ASAT capabilities are the most destabilizing factors in South Asia.

Furthermore, he said narrative building was a core component of every aspect of the nuclear deterrence spectrum and Zamir Akram had put forward Pakistan’s narrative in an effective manner. In his introductory remarks, ACDC-ISSI Director Malik Qasim Mustafa said the author explained how the inherited legacy of disputes and hostility between Pakistan and India and geography were the main security imperatives.

He argued that the country achieved deterrence exclusively for deterrence against a nuclear-armed India and to prevent war, as a full-scale war ceased to be an option for either country. There was a large attendance of academics, former and serving Pakistani diplomats, experts from think tanks and members of the foreign diplomatic corps in Pakistan at the event.

In his comments, Quaid-i-Azam University’s School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) Director Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said that the author sounded nuclear optimist while describing Pakistan’s reasons for developing a nuclear program. He said that Zamir Akram had meticulously narrated Pakistan’s nuclear history, separating facts from fiction.

As a first-hand diplomatic account of Pakistan’s nuclear program set in the broader geopolitical context, he said that this book was a distinctive addition to the existing literature in the field. Strategic Plans Division Adviser Major General Ausaf Ali said that this book elucidated almost all facets of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

It highlighted technical, financial and security challenges faced by Pakistani engineers and scientists. Above all, this book was a narration of how their skilled diplomats quietly but successfully contested, protected and determined Pakistan’s nuclear future at key capitals and various multilateral forums in an unfriendly environment.

Zamir Akram’s book about nuclear deterrence, diplomacy launched
Zamir Akram’s book about nuclear deterrence, diplomacy launched

In his concluding remarks, ISSI Chairman Khalid Mahmood said that this book launch was significant because Pakistan’s narrative on nuclear deterrence was coming from an experienced diplomat. Zamir Akram is the former permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations office in Geneva. Prior to his appointment, he served as additional secretary for foreign affairs in the prime minister’s office and additional secretary for disarmament and arms control.

He was Pakistan’s ambassador to Nepal from 2002 to 2005. A career diplomat, Zamir Akram’s foreign postings include Washington, New Delhi, Geneva and Moscow. His posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad include director general for South Asia, director for Afghanistan, and selection officer for the Soviet Union. He joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1978.