ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the National Command Authority at the headquarters of Strategic Plans Division on Wednesday.—INP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the National Command Authority at the headquarters of Strategic Plans Division on Wednesday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: The Natio­nal Command Authority (NCA) on Wednesday hinted at further development of strategic capabilities to counteract destabilising conflict dynamics in the neighbourhood.

Full Spectrum Deter­rence would be maintained “in line with the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence,” the NCA, which is the top decision-making body on the country’s nuclear programme, said in a statement issued after its meeting, which was the second under the current government.

It expressed “satisfaction on the development of strategic capabilities”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting at the Strategic Plans Division’s headquarters, which was attended by ministers for foreign affairs, defence, finance and interior, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman, services chiefs and director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence.

“A detailed briefing was given to NCA on evolving conflict dynamics in the region. NCA noted with concern the destabilising massive arms build-up in the conventional and strategic domains,” the statement said.

“NCA viewed these developments as detrimental to peace and security and asserted that Pakistan will take all measures to ensure the strategic stability in the region without entering into an arms race,” it added.

The NCA’s latest meeting took place against the backdrop of destabilising developments between India and Pakistan. India’s consideration of carrying out pre-emptive strikes in a reversal of its long held ‘No First Use’ posture has complicated the operational environment. Technological developments being pursued by India and its force posture clearly suggest that it is exploring pre-emptive nuclear doctrine with a focus on counter-force targeting.

Meanwhile, the expanding conventional imbalance remains a major source of concern for Pakistan, as India has now become the second largest arms importer globally. Nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean is also fraught with new risks.

These developments have strained the deterrence equilibrium and undermined strategic stability.

The NCA praised “high standards of training and operational readiness of the strategic forces”. Contributions of scientists and engineers were also acknowledged. Their contributions, it said, enabled Pakistan to successfully pursue “the desired objectives”.

The NCA expressed “full confidence” in the command and control systems as well as the measures taken to ensure “comprehensive security of strategic assets”.

Reiterating its commitment to nuclear security and non-proliferation, the participants of the NCA meeting said that being “a responsible nuclear state”, Pakistan would continue to contribute meaningfully towards the global efforts to improve nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation measures.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2021

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