Pak admits to expanding its nuclear programme

May 22nd, 2009 - 1:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad, May 22 (ANI): Pakistan has for the first time admitted that it is expanding its nuclear programme.

Islamabad, however, said that it was expanding its nuclear capability only to maintain a credible nuclear deterrence in view of the changing security scenario of the region.

Addressing a regular press briefing here, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said it was important for Pakistan to adopt certain measures to fortify the security of its nuclear weapons because of the prevalent turbulent situation of South Asia.

“Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to increasing conventional asymmetries, unrelenting arms acquisitions as well as preferential treatment being accorded to certain countries in the region. Such developments disturb the strategic balance and Pakistan is constrained to adopt necessary safeguards as it deems fit,” The Dawn quoted Basit, as saying.

He said India has been acquiring sophisticated armaments, so it was necessary for Pakistan to balance the unevenness in regard to nuclear capabilities between of two neighbouring countries.

“It is important that asymmetry between Pakistan and India in the context of conventional arms should not be widened too much. We have noticed that there are acquisitions of sophisticated weaponry by our neighbour which will disturb the conventional balance between our two countries and hence, lower the nuclear threshold,” said Basit.

Referring to the Indo-US nuclear cooperation pact, without naming the United States, Basit said discriminatory policies undermining the regional strategic balance should be avoided.

Commenting on the reports about Pakistan rapidly adding to its nuclear stockpile, and apprehensions about the misuse of the US aid, he criticized the media reports for presenting a wrong picture of the state in front of the international community.

“This malicious campaign against Pakistan is being launched at a time when Pakistan is actively engaged in major operations against militants. It is counter-productive to the collective objective of defeating the militants and also raises serious doubts in the minds of the people of Pakistan about the objectives of those engaging in negative propaganda,” Basit added.

Basit also turned down an offer by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to protect Pakistan’s nuclear assets, saying: “We do not need this assistance.” (ANI)

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