ISLAMABAD: The National Command Authority (NCA) decided on Thursday to further develop the country’s nuclear weapons programme for preserving “full spectrum deterrence” against any possible external aggression.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Command Authority — the principal policy making body on the research, development, production, use and security of the nuclear programme. The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

This was Mr Sharif’s first session on the nuclear policy after returning to the prime minister’s office in June for a third term. The prime minister had in his second tenure rejected all international pressure and conducted nuclear tests in 1998 in response to Indian nuclear tests.

Volatile regional security situation and discriminatory policies within the non-proliferation regime were the determining factors in Pakistan’s decision on further strengthening its nuclear programme even though the country is facing a severe economic crisis and had only a day earlier got a $6.64 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to keep its economy afloat.

“Pakistan would not remain oblivious to evolving security dynamics in South Asia and would maintain a full spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression,” a statement issued after the meeting said. It also described the nuclear programme as central to the defence of the country.

Further development of the nuclear programme implies that the perceived gaps in the programme would be plugged. The country has already been pursuing this track and has developed short-range and low-yield tactical weapons in response to India’s cold start doctrine.

Widening conventional arms disparity with India, which is driven among other factors by country’s fast deteriorating economy, pushed Islamabad to lower its nuclear threshold.

Introduction of new delivery systems — short-range missile NASR and air-launched cruise missile Raad; miniaturisation of war heads; are some of the clear pointers towards Pakistan’s increased focus on developing its nuclear programme.

However, while taking the categorical decision of continuing with the development of the programme, which always raises alarm bells in the West, the NCA reiterated commitment to being a responsible nuclear state, avoiding arms race, remaining engaged with the Nuclear Security Summit process and playing its part in the global non-proliferation regime. Moreover, the offer of sharing its expertise under IAEA safeguards and training personnel on nuclear security were renewed.

Criticising discriminatory trends in non-proliferation regime, particularly the expected entry of India into export control regimes, the NCA said such moves could imperil Pakistan’s national security, besides adversely affecting the global non-proliferation initiatives.

Pakistani strategists fear that India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) through a country-specific exception would lead to it being denied high technology even for peaceful purposes.

The NCA reminded that Pakistan possessed all credentials for qualifying for access to civilian nuclear technology and becoming a member of the multilateral export control regimes including NSG on non-discriminatory basis.

Restating the country’s opposition to Fissile Material (Cut-Off) Treaty, the NCA said Pakistan would remain opposed to any arms control arrangement that is detrimental to its security and strategic interests.

Pakistan has since 2009 opposed start of talks on FMCT at the Conference on Disarmament. Islamabad’s position has been that it would sign Fissile Material Treaty if the countries with fissile material reduce their stocks to a proportional level before setting the cut-off date instead of agreeing on existing stock levels which put the country in a disadvantageous position.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (8)

Agha Ata
September 6, 2013 6:24 am

How many bombs do we need to frighten an enemy that we might use nukes, if it attacked? How many bombs shall we able to use, if there is a war? And above all, would Pakistan really progress and prosper after that?

Bilal Hassan
September 6, 2013 6:57 am

This is really great news once again, especially coming on the heels of $6.64 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Double whammy for Pakistan!! You are talking about strengthening our stagnant economy and, off course, adding more nuclear weapons to our arsenal, which Pakistan can always use. I think Pakistan is poised to rebound as a world power again. All our problems are solved!

irum afshan qureshi
September 6, 2013 8:20 am

while most of our politicians cannot effectively control even the prices of day to day food commodities it is a relief to know that the military strength of our pakistan is in strong hands. politicians come and go but may we never loose our homeland. ameen.

Rauf
September 6, 2013 9:46 am

I don't see a civilian in the NCA, only a "kugoo" sitting wearing a suit. Rest are all faouji jawans? Who holds the national command in Pakistan, the civilian government or the wardi walas?

Dina
September 6, 2013 10:51 am

The Government of Pakistan declared this very openly to the world that its nuclear weapons program is in ‘absolute security’ and entirely immune from any kinds of odds. After this open admission, there is no second opinion to question about the safety and security of Pakistani nukes. This has been repeated once again that Pakistan stands very firm on the lines of ‘credible minimum deterrence.’ It works primarily in the direction of its strengthening national security particularly and also for the maintenance of strategic stability of the region at large. Despite of so much international hue and cry, the nuclear weapons of Pakistan are in the responsible hands. The state very aptly knows how to move with nuclear weapons and maintain international security mechanism to give protection to its nuclear weapons despite of any mandatory obligations.

Raheel Siddiqui
September 6, 2013 10:51 am

A very wise decision, Keep the good work Pak Army

Ahsan Ali
September 6, 2013 1:49 pm

“Pakistan has since 2009 opposed start of talks on FMCT at the Conference on Disarmament.”

Pakistan has the most advanced technology to enrich Uranium and disposal of fissile material. Accordingly Pakistan stance is also viable that other countries with stock piles should are also the reason for not signing the FMCT. Pakistan has very secure locations for nuclear assets and it should not be the concerns of other countries.

Dustuk
September 7, 2013 3:52 am

We joined the Nuclear Weapons Club in 1998. When are we joining the Satellite Launchers Club?

All major military powers of the world: EU (France, Germany, UK...), China, Russia, Japan, US, India, Israel, launch their own military and spy satellites. Satellites are essential for secure communications with a country's envoys/representatives around the world, for keeping an eye on what ones adversaries are cooking in their dens and for directing missiles and similar weapons to target. Pakistan cannot aspire to be a major military power without an ability to manufacture, launch and shoot down satellites.

We definitely have fallen behind on that goal.

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