May 202010

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

Safety of nuclear arsenals has become the foremost duty of each and every government in the world. Rising regional geo-political uncertainties, complicated international geo-strategic sensitivities and above all unfinished war against terrorism has already been made inroads in the foreign policies, defence strategies and national priorities of the countries around the globe. Right from the first day, United Arab Emirates has clear concept about the peaceful use of nuclear energy for matching its rapidly advancing socio-economic development. UAE is taking all possible measures to make its peaceful nuclear program transparent, role model and open.

Peaceful Nuclear Program

In this regard, H.H. Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of UAE in the latest held NPT conference 2010 once again reaffirmed the UAE’s support for the right of countries to the peaceful uses of nuclear power as granted in the nuclear NPT. Furthermore, he stressed the need to work constructively on taking urgent and practical steps to implement 1995 NPT review conference resolution on the establishment of “Nuclear Free Zone” and to the establishment of a special committee from the conference to discuss the process and the associated timeline.

He appreciated all the diversified but integrated measures, originated by regional and global regulatory bodies supported by workable diplomacy and the last not the least endorsed by collective political wisdom and commitment to convince some countries in the world to freeze/ abandon their nuclear weapons programs and capabilities while others have given up their nuclear weapons and joined the NPT. He also especially mentioned some paramount challenges to the implementation of the NPT. He categorized that absence of effective and comprehensive steps to disarmament; the existence of many crucial countries outside the NPT; lack of concrete, serious issues of non-compliance, and the last not the least serious threats of nuclear proliferation are remained to be the major challenges the NPT regime.

He urged that the credibility and effectiveness of the IAEA Safeguards could provide ideal platform to the responsible and rationale expansion and usage of nuclear energy in the world. Notwithstanding, the adoption of the additional protocol to the comprehensive safeguards agreement is must to strengthen this mechanism. He suggested that export of nuclear technology should give a priority for countries which has the additional protocol in force. He spoke highly about the peaceful use of nuclear energy for its achieving socio-economic goals. He urged that the international cooperation framework is must for assisting states embarking on nuclear energy programs under the treaty. He further elaborated that the provision of fuel can be addressed under such a framework: multilateral fuel assurance mechanisms should be further developed to support expansion in the use of nuclear energy without putting the non-proliferation regime at risk. He assures the UAE’s support for the development of such mechanisms under the auspices of the IAEA and has accordingly pledged $10 million to support the establishment of an IAEA nuclear fuel bank.

He also shared his valuable in-depth, logical and enlightened point of view about the issue of nuclear disarmament and said that the UAE considers that the only way to ensure the non-use or threat to use nuclear weapons is the total elimination of those weapons throughout the world. He reiterates that UAE calls for states that are not party to the treaty to join the treaty immediately. In this prospective, he called on Israel to join the NPT and subject all its nuclear facilities to the IAEA Compressive Safeguards Agreement as called by UN resolutions and past NPT review conferences.

Drive towards Modernization of Armed Forces

Right from ancient times, it is the lesson of whole human civilization encircled by power politics that strong defence keeps enemies at distance. It guarantees smooth sailing of governance, sovereignty and national pride too. It leads the way of glory, peace, and socio-economic development and UAE is the prime example of to-day world. Right from the beginning, UAE under the visionary leadership focused to institutionalize strong armed forces, gradually increase its military capabilities and moreover modernize its weaponry.

The UAE’s defence strategy is threat deterrence: building up a credible defence to thwart any potential attack. According to Blenheim Capital (March, 2010), over the next five years the UAE is expected to spend US$35 billion (Dh128.55bn) on new fighter jets, land vehicles and naval ships. It also reflects the strong political commitment and urge of armed forces of UAE to be tough, modern, and strong. The government of UAE is also working on the purchase of missile defence systems and airborne early warning aircraft. It is recommended that the purchase the Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence system may be good option for the armed forces of the UAE in the near future. It carries no warhead but relies on the kinetic energy of the impact to take out targets as high as 150km above the Earth. The UAE is the only country the US has allowed to buy the system.

UAE government is making meaningful contracts with renowned military manufacturers and a THAAD deal could be worth up to $7bn for Lockheed Martin and its partners, while Northrop Grumman could also win a contract worth more than $1bn for its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning system a small turboprop plane loaded with powerful radar and other sensing and communications equipment. Like THAAD, the E-2D is still under development and only available to the US and the UAE.

To make its Air Forces and Air Defence strong, reliable and modern UAE is searching for top-flight weaponry. It is providing lots of finances ($25bn is expected from the country’s Air Force and Air Defence) for the further development of its armed forces. In this regard, UAE wants to purchase, such as its “Block 60” versions of the F-16 fighters, which are more advanced than the version in use by the US Army, and its proposed purchase of the Dassault Rafale omni-role jet fighter, for which a higher thrust engine and more advanced radar may be developed in the near future.

Future expected contracts

Concluding Remarks

Deterrence is the best policy and strong armed forces and modern weaponry and capabilities is must to cope with all the regional and international security threats. Political wisdom, commitment and above all visionary leadership has played remarkable role in building UAE Armed Forces capabilities which has already made it strong, sustainable and swift. UAE is a independent and sovereign country which has its own each and every possible modern Defence System to protect its national pride. Thanks to successive rulers and visionary leadership of UAE.

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