Pakistan To Maintain Minimum Nuclear Deterrence: Aziz

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Islamabad: Pakistan would maintain minimum nuclear deterrence for balancing the strategic stability in South Asia, Prime Minister’s advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday, amid mounting international pressure on the country to slow down its atomic programme.

Addressing a seminar titled ‘Pakistan’s Non-proliferation Efforts and Strategic Export Controls’ hosted by the Institute of Strategic Studies, he said South Asia’s strategic stability has been negatively impacted by the policies that override the long established principles and norms and are guided by individual state’s strategic and commercial considerations.

“A case in point is the Indo—US civil nuclear deal and the subsequent discriminatory waiver granted to India by the NSG. Eight years down the road one wonders what benefit the non-proliferation regime has secured from the deal?” he asked.

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He said recent reports by Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) and assessment by other experts corroborate that the NSG waiver has allowed India to exponentially increase its fissile material stocks with grave implications for the strategic stability of the region.

Mr. Aziz said introduction of nuclear submarines, development of anti-ballistic missile system and massive acquisition of conventional weapons, prompt offensive inclinations manifested in doctrines such as the “Cold Start” and “Proactive Operations” pose a serious threat to regional stability.

“As we seek to ensure our security, credible minimum deterrence remains our guiding principle and our conduct will continue to be defined by restraint and responsibility,” he said.

“Pakistan is a peace loving country but it was compelled to get nuclear deterrence in the face of growing threat to its security and integrity after Indian nuclear tests,” he said.

He also said Pakistan has strong credentials to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and other multilateral export control regimes, on non-discriminatory basis.

He said the policy of nuclear mainstreaming of any state should be based on uniform criteria rather than a country specific approach.

The Obama administration has repeatedly expressed concern over Pakistan’s continuing deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons and said this increases nuclear risks.

“We have been very concerned about Pakistan’s deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons,” Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller had told Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing in March.