ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that Pakistan would continue to maintain minimum nuclear deterrence for security purposes, but that these weapons are 'not against any one".
The prime minister was briefed on the strategic and nuclear assets of the country during a meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA) in the capital.
The meeting was held to discuss matters pertaining to national security and defence, Radio Pakistan reported.
Premier Nawaz chaired the meeting which was held at Joint Staff Headquarters (JSHQ) in Chaklala. He expressed satisfaction over the security and safety of nuclear weapons and observed that an efficient nuclear control and command system is in place.
The premier was given a comprehensive briefing by the Director General Strategic Plans Division (SPD) Lt-Gen Mazhar Jamil, who said that a security force of 30,000 is protecting the nuclear arsenal.
The NCA meeting was attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Advisor to the PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood and three services chiefs.
The NCA stated that Pakistan as a responsible nuclear state will remain actively engaged with the international community on nuclear stability and security issues, and expressed satisfaction on Pakistan’s enhanced outreach with the multilateral export control regimes.
Pakistan shares the goals of non-proliferation and is committed to play its due role as a mainstream partner in the global non-proliferation regimes, reiterated the NCA.
The NCA meeting held today also renewed Pakistan’s interest in the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as the country possesses the requisite credentials for full access to civil nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, particularly to meet its energy shortages.
DG Inter-Services Public Relations Major Asim Bajwa said that the sacrifices made during Operation Zarb-i-Azb and the success of the operation were also acknowledged during the NCA meeting,
He said the NCA reiterated national resolve to maintain full-spectrum deterrence capability in line with the dictates of 'credible minimum deterrence' in order to dissuade all forms of aggression and adhere to a policy of avoiding an arms race.
He said Pakistan sought peace and strategic stability in South Asia as a cornerstone of its policy, and considered conflict resolution a means to achieve this goal.
According to reports published by two American think tanks, Pakistan could become the third largest nuclear stock pile within the next five to ten years ─ with at least 350 nuclear weapons ─ behind only the United States and Russia.
Pakistan currently possesses around 120 nuclear warheads as compared to India's 100, a report said.