Pak wants to retain balance with India: Gilani

Pakistan will continue to seek access to civil nuclear technology, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said.

Islamabad: Pakistan will continue to seek access to civil nuclear technology as it believes any strategic imbalance with India could lead to instability in the region, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday.

"We had held talks earlier on civil nuclear (technology with the US) and we want to retain the balance in this region between India and Pakistan. If there is no balance, there will be no stability in the region," Gilani said.

"We said this in the past, and in future too we will demand it as we have a requirement," the Premier told state-run media at Chaklala military airbase in Rawalpindi before leaving for Seoul to participate in a Nuclear Security Summit.

"Pakistan wants access to civil nuclear technology, which is our need for development," he said.

A comprehensive command and control system was in place for Pakistan`s nuclear assets and "no one should have any doubt about it", he added.

The Foreign Office has already said that Gilani will make a "strong case for non-discriminatory access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses, including nuclear power generation" at the Summit in Seoul.

Over the past few years, Pakistan has been pushing Western powers, including the US, for a civil nuclear deal similar to the landmark arrangement concluded by India and the US.

The US and other countries have ruled out such a deal, largely due to concerns about the clandestine proliferation ring that was operated by nuclear scientist AQ Khan.

The demand for a civil nuclear deal was among 40 recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security for revamping ties with the US.

The panel claimed the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement had "significantly altered strategic balance in the region" and said in its recommendations: "Therefore, Pakistan should seek from the US and others a similar treatment/facility."

The Foreign Office has said Gilani will "apprise the world leaders on the measures implemented by Pakistan to strengthen the safety and security of nuclear installations and materials".

It contended that Pakistan "fully qualifies to become a member of the Nuclear Supplier`s Group and other export control regimes on non-discriminatory basis".

Asked about the reopening of NATO supply routes which were closed after a cross-border air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, Prime Minister Gilani he would hold consultations with all political parties to forge consensus on the issue.

He said the ruling Pakistan People`s Party would not bulldoze Parliament on any crucial issue.

Gilani said he would discuss the situation in Afghanistan during his meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.

The talks at the summit will mainly focus on how to further protect nuclear weapons, he said. The Premier left for the South Korean capital along with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Gilani is also expected to meet his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the margins of the summit.