Pak says would maintain minimum nuclear deterrence

Pakistan will continue to maintain a policy of credible minimum nuclear deterrence though it does not wish to enter into a nuclear arms race, Pakistan Air Force chief Rao Qamar Suleman said on Monday.

Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 00:02 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan will continue to
maintain a policy of credible minimum nuclear deterrence
though it does not wish to enter into a nuclear arms race,
Pakistan Air Force chief Rao Qamar Suleman said on Monday.

Suleman made the remarks while addressing a conference
on the theme "Fissile material treaty: Possibility and
prospects".

He said: "Pakistan is reluctant to enter into the
nuclear business. It decided to embark on a nuclear programme
not as a matter of choice, but out of compulsion".

Pakistan wants to follow a policy of peaceful
coexistence in the region but at the same time it cannot
remain oblivious to developments in South Asia, he said.

As a nuclear weapon state, Pakistan is fully cognizant
of its responsibilities and has established "effective and
robust" command and control structures along with
comprehensive export control and regulatory regimes, he said.

"These are fully compatible with international
practices and global regimes and are acknowledged
internationally," he said.

"Pakistan considers the Conference on Disarmament as
the sole forum entrusted to negotiate disarmament agreements
with an all-encompassing view to achieve complete and general
disarmament and has always remained constructively involved in
its proceedings," he added.

Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament objectives
in South Asia are linked to regional security dynamics and
there is a need to address "existing asymmetries" and resolve
of outstanding disputes, he contended.

"Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wants to live
in the region with honour and dignity.

"It has been and would always remain supportive of
international non-proliferation and disarmament related
initiatives which are based on the principals of universality
and non-discrimination, but shall not compromise on its
national security," he said.

PTI