ISLAMABAD: Pakistan declared on Thursday that it would continue to pursue the policy of maintaining “credible minimum deterrence” as a responsible nuclear-weapon state and cautioned the world that any nuclear policy based on partiality and preconception could disturb strategic balance in South Asia.
A meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA) presided over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reviewed and approved futuristic and self-sustaining Nuclear Power Programme-2050 and Pakistan Space Programme-2040.
According to a handout issued after the meeting, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Services Chiefs, NCA Secretary, Strategic Plans Division’s Director General and senior officials of the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) attended the meeting.
It said: “After in-depth consideration and evaluation, the NCA has decided that Pakistan will continue to pursue its policy of credible minimum deterrence.”
Without naming any country, the NCA expressed concern “over the continued pursuit of policies that detract from the globally shared norms and rules of equality, inclusiveness and objectivity”.
“The NCA cautioned that such policies represent regression in the non-proliferation regime and tend to erode the strategic balance in South Asia. Pakistan would continue to take appropriate counter measures to ensure its security and to maintain regional stability,” the handout said.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Prime Minister Gilani said recent incidents in Abbottabad and Mehran naval base, coupled with international propaganda, had raised completely uncalled for concerns about the safety and security of country’s strategic assets.
“Such baseless, and certainly motivated, campaign against Pakistan will neither deter us from proceeding ahead sure-footed with our strategic programme nor succeed in undermining our national will. Our detractors are working over time to malign Pakistan as well as our nuclear and strategic assets. We must remain firm in our resolve to tide over these challenges,” he said.
The NCA expressed satisfaction at the security and safety of Pakistan’s strategic programmes and facilities, and operational readiness of weapons.
The authority reiterated country’s desire to constructively contribute to the realisation of a world free of nuclear weapons and to the goals of non-proliferation on the basis of equality and partnership with the international community.
Accordingly, it said Pakistan was keen on joining the four export control arrangements. The handout said nothing about the nature of these arrangements.
The NCA reaffirmed the importance of nuclear safety and noted with satisfaction the safety review of all the existing and planned civil nuclear facilities by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority. It directed the PNRA and PAEC to continue to ensure that programmes conformed to the highest levels of safety and international best practices.
The meeting was also briefed on the nuclear security review undertaken recently. It expressed confidence in the institutionalised command and control system and comprehensive measures put in place to ensure reliability and security of strategic assets.
The NCA said the government and people stood solidly behind the country’s nuclear and missile programmes, which would be pursued to maintain effective, reliable and credible deterrence capability, and all attempts to undermine this capability would be thwarted with full force.
The NCA also reviewed and approved Nuclear Power Programme-2050 to meet the existing energy shortfalls and to respond to the future requirements of a growing population and economy. It emphasised the need to focus on socio-economic development of the people as a foremost priority.
The meeting approved Pakistan’s Space Programme-2040 in order to bring the benefits of the full spectrum of space technology to the people of Pakistan.