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Nuclear, missile developments in S. Asia worry US, Pakistan

Updated May 18, 2016 08:08am


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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States expressed on Tuesday concerns over the ‘nuclear and missile developments’ in South Asia and called for resolution of outstanding disputes between India and Pakistan for lasting peace in the region.

“Both sides recognised their interest in strategic stability and discussed their respective concerns over nuclear and missile developments in South Asia,” a joint statement issued at the end of the eighth round of the Pakistan-US Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonpro­liferation Working Group said.

The meeting of the Working Group, which is a component of bilateral Strategic Dialogue, was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller.

Induction of four regiments of BrahMos cruise missiles, and testing of nuclear-capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles and supersonic interceptor missile by India had led to concerns that strategic balance in the region would be disturbed and could set off an arms race. Indian moves to upgrade its military hardware and procure newer systems are further believed to be disturbing the conventional balance.

Pakistan has been expressing concern over the Indo-US nuclear deal that has freed its indigenous fissile material stocks for its weapons programme as manifested by its expanding programme.

The statement noted that Pakistan, in this regard, “expressed concerns on the growing conventional imbalance and reiterated its longstanding proposal for Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR) in South Asia and its readiness to pursue measures in the region aimed at building confidence and avoidance of arms race”.

The Pakistani proposal for Strategic Restraint Regime has been on the table since Oct 1998, but the Indians, who are deeply opposed to a regional mechanism, have always avoided discussions on it.

Experts believe that regional stability, in the absence of such overarching strategic stability architecture, has been tenuous.

In this context, the two sides stressed on peaceful resolution of disputes between India and Pakistan through a meaningful dialogue.

“Both sides emphasised the importance of meaningful dialogue and progress in this area and expressed the hope for lasting peace in South Asia and the resolution of outstanding disputes through peaceful means,” the statement said.

This was implied as US endorsement for Pakistani position that India would have to resolve Kashmir dispute through negotiations.

The US, at the talks, asked Pakistan to lift its hold on Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), but there was no breakthrough, with the Pakistani delegation firmly sticking to its position on the matter.

Pakistan fears that concluding FMCT in the current form would freeze its existing asymmetries with India and has instead been calling for a more comprehensive Fissile Material Treaty.

“The United States underscored the need to commence negotiations on a treaty dealing with fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons. Pakistan underlined its preference for a broader Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) that addresses the asymmetries in existing stocks and highlighted that its position will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia,” the statement said.

Pakistan at the same time assured that it would not be the first to resume nuclear testing and would support the objectives of CTBT, but stayed short of commitment to sign it.

The Pakistani side stressed that it had enough credentials, because of the steps it had taken in the realm of export controls, to gain membership of cartels including the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2016


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Comments (50) Closed

Shakiel Ahmed May 18, 2016 08:34am

Where as such a joint statement is a good brownie point, does it help achieve anything on the real ground. USA says one thing in its joint statement with Indian delegation and another in with Pakistan. In the end, USA is only serving its own interest. By issuing such shallow statements USA just wants to pressurize Pakistan to sign certain treaties. Pakistan would be foolish to fall for this trap.

DVK May 18, 2016 08:34am

Balance? India is 6 times bigger.

vijay May 18, 2016 09:30am

Why just south asia? why not whole world?

Careless Whispers May 18, 2016 09:35am

@DVK so was today's Russia Only

Narendra May 18, 2016 10:13am

@DVK it would have been good if they compete with us in education, economy, health and all but they choose to compete with us in Arms which they know that no way they can reach us....

brr May 18, 2016 10:16am

Pakistan, a midget, wants to be equated to a giant next door. Otherwise it throws a tantrum regularly. The world is tired of such tantrums, and its use of non-state actors.

Sajjad Hussain Gopang May 18, 2016 10:18am

There is no doubt, India and Pakistan are in race to overtake. While the United States has more concerns regarding nuclear weapons to maintain its hegemony.

ISRA May 18, 2016 10:30am

@DVK : Therefore it means it needs to stay within six times and not within fifteen times.

Anand May 18, 2016 10:31am

Pakistani friends please give importance to Education and Economy then the whole world will automatically listen to you. India has already realized it and i don't know how long it will take for Pakistan to realize it.

Rav May 18, 2016 10:31am

@DVK 6 times the size maybe, but exponentially bigger in terms of economy and technology

joe May 18, 2016 10:36am

What balance are we talking about.Indian armed forces are nearly three times that of pakistan. Most of war related equipment is again 3 times.Size and population is 7 times . If Pakistan is so worried then like India declared no first use of nuclear weapons.

rikash May 18, 2016 10:40am

in nuclear , 6 times or 100 times bigger doesnt matters. nukes actualy treat bigger or lesser with same shot

Sunil May 18, 2016 10:41am

India's nuclear is a deterrent from China with its massive built up army, constantly making incursions, intrusions along side of the Indian border.

XoF May 18, 2016 10:40am

@Rav Exponentially? Really.

Jamshed May 18, 2016 10:41am

@DVK Arabs are 60 times bigger than tiny Israel, but has nuclear weapons with tacit US support, excuses and all the justification. Is balance relevant? And Iran cannot have nuclear weapons for the some strange reasons?

Zak May 18, 2016 10:43am

@Rav ...india 3 times bigger in land size, excluding IOK but 10 times bigger in debt and in annual trade deficit.

GAK Wazir May 18, 2016 10:46am

US is wholly responsible for for the strategic imbalance in South Asia. It has opened all channels of nuclear proliferation for India which has intensified nuclear race in the region.

Zak May 18, 2016 10:45am

“Both sides emphasised the importance of meaningful dialogue and progress in this area and expressed the hope for lasting peace in South Asia and the resolution of outstanding disputes through peaceful means,” the statement said. This was implied as US endorsement for Pakistani position that India would have to resolve Kashmir dispute through negotiations.

Now US is realizing the key is resolution of Kashmir. It's coming in their focus.

satyam May 18, 2016 10:49am

@XoF yes resounding where are you in space industry.we have our own GPS known as navic, we have send Mars orbiter mission known as mangalyaan. We are hub of IT services ranging from Infosys,HCl, Tata, cognizant, airtel, birla. tata owned land rover's and Jaguar etc.

Ritesh May 18, 2016 10:49am

So Pakistan raises issue with US saying arms race will increase in S. Asia. But US wants to provide more weapons to india to counter all weather friend. Perfect irony!

dubai se May 18, 2016 10:49am

India is far ahead to Pakistan in terms of size, economy, technology and thus need to be much more. Secondly it has China with whom India fraught war. Pakistan should stop comparing. If Pakistan wants to compare, compare with pace of development, education , medical facilities , sports.

Apoo May 18, 2016 10:53am

And what is going to happen?

Karma Dorji May 18, 2016 10:54am

There is a world beyond nuclear weapons and security concerns. Pakistan builds all its relationships through the prism of its obsession with nukes and weapons which in the long run will not bear any fruits. Expand the horizons of relations through trade and co-operation, why will anyone need to use these weapons against friends and partners?

Apoo May 18, 2016 10:54am

@XoF yes sir doubt

bharat May 18, 2016 10:54am


Indian black market economy is significantly more than the real economy. So,if our GDP is $ 3 Trillion, our real GDP is close to US $ 6 Trillion

kaviraj May 18, 2016 11:21am

this is the right way.

RAJA CHILL May 18, 2016 11:21am

When US is cooperating with India , the meaning of such statements should be known to wiser ones.

azz May 18, 2016 11:31am

US is actually India friend and only with Pakistan for its own motives and not sincere. Who was Raymond Davis and what was he doing in Pakistan. Is'nt that proof enough

Raja May 18, 2016 11:36am

I am not able to understand about what imbalance he is talking..

Mohit May 18, 2016 11:37am

I think pakistan is also maintaining the stockpile of missiles. So what is the issue ?

Crimemastergogo May 18, 2016 11:55am

That maybe only a concern in Pakistan as US has bigger worries than missiles in South Asia. They might be having Trump as a President. That's scary.

MNEED May 18, 2016 11:59am

Everybody knows which country has bigger nuclear & missile technology. No one in doubt against Pakistan. Pakistan is a Nuclear country. Entire world has recognize our nuclear & missile technology. so, keep in calm.

Ahmed bin Babar May 18, 2016 12:11pm

The strategy is to create crises and concerns around China to block its economic expansion in the region...

Sachin Srivastava May 18, 2016 12:25pm

Why doesnt Pakistan understand that India's buildup is aimed at China. For , Pakistan it maybe only India , but for India it is the China

Faisal May 18, 2016 12:26pm

Pakistan's strategy has so far been reactive in nature. That must abandoned now. Pakistan needs to chalk out a pro-active strategy. While we are not going to match missile by missile, Pakistan must strive for technologies meant to defeat Indian missiles, missile shields, and aircraft carriers.

Faisal May 18, 2016 12:32pm

@DVK The sovereignty is same for every nation big or small. Being bigger in size doesn't mean you can introduce devastating technologies in the region. But Indian did that and still continue doing that. And that forced Pakistan to follow the suit. Thanks for providing a solid justification for our strives in advanced technologies. Hope you'll keep going the same way. That will result in the only one Muslim nation, Pakistan, to have a solid scientific basis.

Kamal Pasha. May 18, 2016 12:48pm

The nuclear race started by BJP govetnment of Vajpai and excelerated by BJP government of Modi. It is India of BJP who is creating tension and instabilities in the region.

Asif Mir May 18, 2016 12:48pm

How does a BMD take away the edge of tactical nuclear weapons which Pakistan has been talking about for last few years? Yes, the threat of second strike in Pakistan has definitely increased. So, if there is no first strike there is no chance of second strike.

Truth Sayer May 18, 2016 01:24pm

It's time Pak step up again n make its own Iron Dome along with MRVs.

The balance will automatically be set.

Taimoor khan May 18, 2016 03:09pm

Its quite astonishing to hear the Americans when they, themselves are responsible in providing India all the critical technology specially in its space and missile program. The recent anti ballistic missile test by India is basically an American technology repainted in Indian colours. Pakistan need to find reliable partners who will not put Pakistan's national security on risk by providing India lethal technology which will eventually will be used against Pakistan.

sri May 18, 2016 07:54pm

@Truth Sayer then start doing that why all this fuss..

Truthful May 18, 2016 08:45pm

an Pakistani application for NSG membership should, objectively speaking, face much less resistance than what INDIA had faced. Such an option is certainly worth an attempt instead of waiting indefinitely for the NSG PGs to arrive at a consensus on inviting Pakistan

byju May 18, 2016 09:32pm


india has every right to protect itself, like any other country. if you feel threatened, then develop a counter, instead of whining and crying.

it is like a poor person not able to digest the high spending of his better off neighbour.

INDIAN LOVE May 18, 2016 09:59pm

Can anybody tell me , what type of balance exist before these incidents and test. There is always asymmetrical balance between India and rest of South Asia since decades and now it is growing broader year by year or right to say month by month.

Ahmed Raza May 18, 2016 10:10pm

Pakistan has established itself as a responsible nuclear state by declaring a voluntary moratorium on further underground nuclear tests. Pakistan has effectively acted in sense and spirit of NPT/CTBT provisions. Pakistan’s nuclear posture is unique. It is non-offensive, non-proliferative and only for deterrence unlike that of many Western powers.

M.r Jamali May 18, 2016 10:14pm

@DVK one missile can break the competition ....

superpower India May 18, 2016 10:19pm

Pakistan GDP 200 billion debt 147 billion .Indian GDP 2.5 trillion debt 474 billion .Indian growth rate 7.5 Pakistan 4.5 so Zak r u here

jamshed May 19, 2016 02:56am

@satyam Same old same old... you conveniently forget the largest number of poorest of the poor live in India run over 600 hundred million. And there are 12 million young adults entering job market every year and so many other social issues. BTW India's Mar's mission was actively helped by NASA with key telemetry data, equipments and consultations. PleaseTell us what is purely indigenous produced by India and then compare India with similar population/economy like China !!!

jamshed May 19, 2016 03:05am

@bharat India's gdp is not $3.00T, it is just tad below $2.00T !!

SWAT May 19, 2016 04:26am

Who cares about South Asia. China is creating imbalance in Asia which needs to be countered.