ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry asked global powers on Thursday not to pressurise Pakistan on its nuclear programme.
“Rather than making unrealistic demands on Pakistan to compromise on its core security interests, major powers must consider implications of their actions and policies,” Mr Chaudhry said at a seminar on ‘Defence, Deterrence and Stability in South Asia’, which was jointly organised by Islamabad-based think-tank Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) and The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) of London.
He did not name the world powers he was referring to.
The foreign secretary’s comments, however, come against the backdrop of media reports that the US had offered to mainstream Pakistan in return for certain restrictions on its nuclear programme. The secretary categorically rejected a perception that “any deal” was being negotiated.
He said Pakistan was confronted with a credible threat from India, which was pursuing “dangerous, provocative and irresponsible doctrines like Cold Start Doctrine and Proactive Strategy and whose conventional military build-up was Pakistan specific”.
He described Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal as weapons of deterrence.
Mr Chaudhry said that despite all the provocation from India and the widening conventional asymmetry, Pakistan’s policy was characterised by restraint and responsibility.
He said that the discriminatory nuclear cooperation agreements being signed by NSG member countries with India and the waivers being granted to it were undermining strategic stability in South Asia.
“The international community must appreciate our legitimate and serious security concerns and adopt a comprehensive non-discriminatory and fair approach towards the region,” he emphasised.
“This myopic policy of dual standards towards South Asia, based on narrow strategic, political and commercial considerations, bodes ill for the region’s long-term peace and stability,” he said. Responding to concerns expressed by the West about Pakistan’s Full Spectrum Deterrence doctrine, he said, it did not represent “a quantitative change” in level of deterrence; rather it was “a qualitative response” to the entire threat spectrum.
“Our conduct continues to be guided strictly by the principle of credible minimum deterrence,” he noted.
He also rejected reports about Pakistan’s nuclear programme to be the fastest growing in the world as a baseless hype.
“Such reports are aimed at diverting attention from the exponential increase in India’s fissile material stockpiles as a result of nuclear deals with a growing number of NSG countries and its destabilising consequences for the region,” he maintained.
He said that if the world was genuinely interested in peace in the region it should work towards resolving the longstanding disputes and promoting nuclear restraint.
Mr Zahir Kazmi, Director at Strategic Plans Division, urged India to restart dialogue for resolving the outstanding issues, which were behind the regional tensions.
“If India were genuinely interested in peace it should have no qualms in restarting the stalled dialogue process and resolve root causes of animus rather than indulging in cosmetics of crises management and limited wars under the shadow of nuclear weapons,” he said.
At a time when Pakistan was willing to make peace, he said India should rise beyond history, hostility and domestic politics.
Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2015