Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during a roundtable discussion with journalists at a hotel in Washington, DC ahead of the upcoming Nuclear Summit. -AFP Photo

WASHINGTON Pakistan Monday urged non-discriminatory access to civil nuclear technology to meet the countrys exponentially growing energy needs as it reaffirmed its firm commitment to nuclear security at a major summit of world leaders.

Spelling out its nuclear policy in a national statement at the Nuclear Security Summit, Pakistan welcomed US President Obamas call for security of nuclear material and hoped the summit would be a catalyst for fostering a nuclear security culture around the world.

“Pakistan has more than 35 years of experience in running nuclear power plants. With trained professional manpower and a strong nuclear safety and security culture, Pakistan fully qualifies for participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level,” Islamabad said in a statement.

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani is heading the Pakistani delegation at the two-day summit.

“We urge all relevant forums to give Pakistan access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses, in a non-discriminatory manner, to meet its growing demand for energy,” the country informed the summit, being attended by top leaders of some 47 countries.

The statement expressed Pakistans support for the renewed international interest in nuclear power generation to meet the challenge of climate change.

“As a country with advanced fuel cycle capability, Pakistan is in a position to provide nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards, and to participate in any non-discriminatory nuclear fuel cycle assurance mechanism.”

On nuclear security, Islamabad said it “would continue to refine and modernize its technical and human resources and mechanisms on safety and security of nuclear weapons, nuclear materials, facilities, and assets.”

“Pakistan would cooperate with the global community in accordance with its national policies and requirements as well as international obligations.”

Islamabad informed the world leaders that its nuclear programme is security-driven with a policy of minimum credible deterrent but said it is against an open-ended arms race in South Asia.

It highlights the vital need for Pakistan and India to engage in a substantive sustained dialogue on all issues including nuclear CBMs.