No compromise on nukes: Pakistan

June 18th, 2009 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 18 (IANS) Pakistan’s nuclear weapons formed the cornerstone of its deterrence doctrine and would be retained at all costs, a top military commander said Thursday.
“No amount of coercion, direct or indirect, can force us to compromise on this core interest,” Online news agency quoted General Tariq Majid, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, as saying while addressing the convocation of the National Defence Course, Armed Forces War Course and Allied Officers War Course at the National Defence University here.

Deprecating the “vicious campaign unleashed to malign and discredit” Pakistan by “deliberately spreading disinformation” about the security of its nuclear assets in the uncertain political scenario in the country, Majid said: “Based on the pillars of restraint and responsibility, we have developed and operationalised a very effective nuclear weapons security regime which is multilayered, has stringent access controls and incorporates modern technical solutions and rigorous personnel reliability programmes.”

“As the system conforms to international best practices and has the capacity to meet all challenges, there should be absolutely no doubt about the viability of custodial controls and fail safe security arrangements put in place,” Majid maintained.

He also made it clear that Pakistan’s solutions for guarding its nuclear assets were home-grown and did not allow “intrusiveness” by any state.

“No foreign individual, entity or state has been provided or shall ever be provided access to our sensitive information. Insinuations to the contrary are plain mischievous and need to be contemptuously dismissed,” Majid said.

“Let it be known that Pakistan is confident but not complacent. Our security apparatus prepares and practices contingencies to meet all such eventualities, and would not be deterred from taking any action whatsoever in ensuring that our strategic assets are jealously safeguarded. Any attempt to undermine our core capability will be strongly resisted and defeated,” he contended.

The US and other western nations have often voiced concern over the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons given the resurgence of the Taliban and other terrorist groups in the country. The Pakistani military is currently engaged in a major anti-Taliban offensive in three districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) that entered its 53rd day Thursday.

The military says close to 1,500 Taliban have killed in the operations so far.

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