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Indian fissile material build-up decried

Updated October 29, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday voiced its concern over the build-up of unprotected weapons usable fissile material in India.

“This build-up has been facilitated by the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver granted to India, which not only dented the credibility of the non-proliferation regime and undermined its efficacy, but also negatively affected the strategic balance in South Asia,” said Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakriya at a weekly press briefing.

He said it was unfortunate that the NSG did not require India to make any worthwhile non-proliferation commitments at the time.

He was asked to comment on the new groundbreaking research carried out by nuclear experts disclosing that India could produce a maximum of 356 to 492 nuclear weapons — far greater than most current western assessments.


Probe after Kulbhushan’s arrest under way and dossier being compiled: FO


Pakistan has long maintained that India’s rapidly expanding military nuclear programme poses a grave threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond. These concerns have been fully validated by publicly available reports on significant upcoming fissile material facilities and build-up of weapon usable fissile material in India.

The FO spokesman warned that another country-specific exemption by the NSG on the membership question would further exacerbate the ill effects of the 2008 exemption.

“It remains our hope that the NSG member states would make a well-considered decision this time keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in our region,” he said.

Responding to a question on Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s remarks that India might be pushed to a war with Pakistan if the latter continued to support terrorism, Mr Zakriya pointed out that Indian politicians had cast aspersions on Pakistan in the past too and used this as a tool in domestic politics of India.

“We see the current political debate about Pakistan in India, in the same backdrop as also its desperation to deflect the world attention from its atrocities in India-held Kashmir. The timing and pattern of heating up of the Line of Control and Working Boundary by India are suggestive. Pakistan condemns such crass attempts to malign it,” he added.

Answering another question, he said the Indian involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan was well proven beyond doubt; and irrefutable evidence of that was available.

He said the investigations after the arrest of Kulbushan Jhadav were under way and the dossier was being compiled. “As soon as the time is propitious, we will submit the dossier to those concerned, particularly the UN Secretary General,” the spokesman said.

He said India had been seen taking a number of desperate steps primarily to deflect the attention of the international community from its atrocities in held Kashmir.

Mr Zakriya said: “We need to see India’s actions in this backdrop. India has had a track record of creating situations on its own soil to deflect attention and to achieve certain objectives. India is trying to portray that the uprising in held Kashmir is not an indigenous movement of self-determination but an act of terrorism, which of course the world has already rejected.”

He rejected the contention of the US top commander in Afghanistan, John Nicholson, that the Haqqani network has a free run in Pakistan. “We have repeatedly stressed in our meetings with the US and the Afghan government as well as on the media that Pakistan has taken and will

continue to take decisive action against all terrorists and militant groups,” said the spokesman.

“We are fully committed to the principle that our soil would not be allowed to be used against other countries. Our National Action Plan is being successfully implemented. It is important to emphasise here that we are being threatened by the foreign sponsored terrorism like the recent terrorist incident in Quetta against police cadets,” he added.

He referred to some media reports from June and August this year on the killing of a senior leader and four senior commanders of the Haqqani network in Afghanistan by the US forces — claiming that these “clearly indicate where the Haqqanis were”.

Heart of Asia conference

Mr Zakriya explained that the Heart of Asia conference was aimed at bringing development in Afghanistan with the collaboration of other regional countries.

“It is line with Pakistan’s commitment of supporting all efforts towards peace and stability in Afghanistan that we will be attending the conference,” he said.

“Pakistan has always supported efforts to ensure peace and prosperity in the region and will continue to do so. We will play our role and will not let this regional forum fall prey to the myopic political agenda of any country. However, the decision on the level and manner of participation in the Heart of Asia conference is yet to be taken,” he added.

When asked to share more details on the activities of Surjeet Singh, an Indian High Commission official asked to leave Pakistan by Saturday, the spokesman said he was involved in activities that were directly against Pakistan’s national security interests.

Published in Dawn October 29th, 2016