Gen Tariq Majid stressed that Pakistan had to be mindful of a blatant pursuit of military preponderance in its eastern neighbourhood. -Photo by Reuters
ISLAMABAD The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Gen Tariq Majid, said on Thursday that retention of nuclear capability as a credible deterrent against a possible aggression was a compulsion, and not a choice for Pakistan.

Addressing a convocation ceremony of National Defence Course, Armed Forces War Course and Allied Officers' War Course at the National Defence University here, he stressed that Pakistan had to be mindful of a blatant pursuit of military preponderance in its eastern neighbourhood.

“Growing power imbalance due to continuing build-up of massive military machine, including both hi-tech conventional and nuclear forces, adoption of dangerous cold start doctrine and proactive strategy, more assertive posturing especially after very exceptional civil nuclear deal and notions of a two-front war are all destabilising trends, carrying implications for Pakistan's security,” he said.

Gen Majid, commenting on concerns about Pakistan's nuclear weapons, said “We are shouldering our responsibility with utmost vigilance and confidence. We have put in place a very robust regime that includes multilayered mechanisms and processes to secure our strategic assets, and have provided maximum transparency on our practices. We have reassured the international community on this issue over and over again and our track record since the time our nuclear programme was made overt has been unblemished.

“We, therefore, consider security to be a non-issue, and strongly suggest that it is time to move beyond this issue. The world must accept our nuclear reality, and stop unwarranted insinuations to create alarms and deny us the related benefits.”

The CJCSC said that as a responsible nuclear weapon state and despite not being a signatory to NPT, Pakistan had always supported non-proliferation efforts and its position on disarmament had remained consistent and pragmatic. “We, however, demand our rightful place as a nuclear weapon state and reject discriminatory policies,” he said.

Speaking about discussions on Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), he said that FMCT was unacceptable as it was Pakistan-specific.

“Countries of the world need to be sensitive to our security concerns rather than attempting in vain to browbeat us or riding roughshod over our concerns.”

He said that the world must realise that daunting internal and external challenges that Pakistan faced were largely intertwined and that Pakistan was in a vortex not by choice, but because of regional and international circumstances beyond its control.

About the eradication of terrorism and extremism, the joint chief said that future counter-insurgency actions had to keep in perspective the larger strategic picture, especially the unfolding events in Afghanistan and sustainability of domestic support for the country's counter-insurgency strategy in an environment of possibly increased reactive violence and a fragile economy.

Addressing the graduates, Gen Majid said that as future leaders and policymakers they had an obligation to carry with them lessons learnt at the National Defence University and act in the supreme national interest without fear or favour.

He also said that in today's world the standing of a country was measured by its political and economic strength, the state of development of its human resources and management skills of its senior leadership.

He called for promoting a culture of tolerance, stabilising the democratic dispensation with effective governance and developing a viable economic order by utilising all national resources.