WASHINGTON: The United States Wednesday reaffirmed its confidence in security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, saying Islamabad is well aware of its responsibilities in this regard.
“The United States is confident that Pakistan is well aware of its responsibilities with respect to nuclear security and has secured its nuclear arsenal accordingly,” the State Department said.
Earlier today, commenting on the recent The New York Times story, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam expressed regret at a “cliched theme, conjuring up baseless scenarios.”
She said the timing of this story, purportedly based on briefings by anonymous US officials, is rather intriguing, coming as it did on the eve of the ministerial level review of the strategic dialogue between Pakistan and the United States in Washington.
Tasnim Aslam said that Pakistan follows the best practices and standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to safeguard its nuclear assets as the country has an impeccable record of safely operating nuclear power plants for over 40 years.
A statement by the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation noted: “We have stated this clearly, including in a Department of State press statement issued September 4, 2013 and in the October 23, 2013 US-Pakistan Joint Statement issued as part of the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Washington.”
Most recently, the Joint Statement issued on January 27 following the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue Ministerial stated that “Secretary (of State John) Kerry expressed confidence in Pakistan’s commitment and dedication to nuclear security and appreciation for Pakistan’s efforts to improve its strategic trade controls,” the statement added.
Kerry also recognised that Pakistan is fully engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues.
According to the 2014 Nuclear Threat Initiative Nuclear Materials Security Index, Pakistan has shown the most improvement recently among nine nuclear-armed states through a series of steps to update nuclear security regulations and to implement best practices.
The recent NTI study predicted further improvement in Pakistan’s regulations for protection and threat prevention.