Issue Brief on “Emerging Technologies and Debate at the Conference on Disarmament (CD): A View from Pakistan”

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In addition to the modernisation of nuclear weapon systems and doctrinal shifts, Pakistan considers the militarisation and weaponisation of emerging technologies as a major risk, which if not addressed on time by the Conference on Disarmament (CD), can pose serious threats to regional and global peace and stability. “The age we live in now, with increasing weaponisation, integration and operationalisation of space and cyber technologies and hypersonic delivery systems, this lethality and the ensuing risks have multiplied manifold, as have implications for strategic entanglement.” This was said by Ambassador Khalil Hashmi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, at the recent Plenary Meeting of the CD.[1] 

Mr Sohail Mahmood, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, was also vocal about these threats in his statement at the High-Level Segment of the CD. “By affording more intrusion, speed, precision and lethality, these can threaten the core security interests of states thus introducing non-linear pathways of escalation to the strategic level,” he said.[2] Mr Mehmood also draws attention to the risks that come with the integration of emerging technologies with outer space. Pakistan holds a view that convergence of militarisation and weaponisation of emerging technologies with outer space will not only result in a renewed focus on outer space as the next domain of great power competition but also endangers “deterrence stability on earth.” The integration of anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) with outer-space assets and anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities has already threatened the security, safety and sustainability of outer space. Furthermore, he also stressed that the development of new weapons and integration of emerging technologies with existing conventional weapons will also disturb the conventional equation at international, regional and sub-regional levels. Such developments could undermine strategic stability as conventional asymmetries and reliance on nuclear weapons are directly proportional to each other.[3]

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