Islamabad: The retention of an essential nuclear capability is a "compulsion" for Pakistan because of the growing imbalance created by India`s massive military build-up and "assertive posturing", a top Pakistani military commander has said.
General Tariq Majid, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, made the remarks while addressing a convocation ceremony at the National Defence University last night.
Though Majid did not name India in his speech, it was obvious he was referring to the neighbouring country as he referred to Indian military doctrines and the India-US nuclear
Pakistan has to be mindful of the "blatant pursuit of military preponderance in our neighbourhood" and the build-up of conventional and nuclear forces, Majid said.
"Growing power imbalance due to continuing build-up of massive military machine, including both hi-tech conventional and nuclear forces, adoption of dangerous Cold Start doctrine and proactive strategy, more assertive posturing especially after the very exceptional civil nuclear deal and notions of two front war are all destabilising trends, carrying implications for Pakistan’s security," he said.
"Therefore, retention of essential nuclear capability to maintain credible minimum deterrence against any possible aggression is our compulsion and not a matter of choice,"
His comments come barely a week before the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan are to meet to find ways to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries.
Majid said Pakistan rejects "discriminatory policies"
and demands its "rightful place as a nuclear weapon state."
As a "responsible nuclear weapon state and despite
being a non-NPT country, Pakistan has always supported
non-proliferation efforts, and our position on disarmament
issues has remained consistent and pragmatic," he contended.
Referring to Fissile Material Treaty discussions, he
said the move is "only Pakistan-specific" and unacceptable to
the country. "Countries of the world need to be sensitive to
our security concerns rather than attempting in vain
to browbeat us or riding roughshod over our concerns," he
On recurring concerns expressed by the West over the
safety and security of Pakistan`s nuclear weapons and
materials, the General said that "nuclear security within a
state is a national responsibility that we are shouldering
with utmost vigilance and assurance."
Pakistan has put in place a "very robust regime that
includes multilayered mechanisms and processes to secure our
strategic assets, and have provided maximum transparency on
our practices," he contended.
Islamabad has "reassured the international community
on this issue over and over again and our track record since
the time our nuclear programme was made overt has been
unblemished," he claimed.
"We therefore, consider security to be a non issue,
and strongly suggest that it is time to move beyond this
issue. The world must accept our nuclear reality, and stop
unwarranted insinuations to create alarms and deny us the
related benefits," he added.
At the same time, the world community "must realise
the daunting internal and external challenge that Pakistan
faces," Majid said.
These challenges are "largely intertwined and Pakistan
is in a vortex not by choice, but because of regional and
international circumstances which in many ways are beyond its
control," he claimed.
Referring to efforts to eradicate terrorism and
violent extremism, Majid warned that these could trigger
"increased reactive violence" and this factor will have to be
included in strategies.
He said: "Our future counter-insurgency actions have
to keep in perspective the larger strategic picture,
especially the unfolding of events in Afghanistan and
sustainability of domestic support for our counter-insurgency
strategy in an environment of possibly increased reactive
violence and a fragile economy."
Majid noted that the standing of a country in today`s
world is measured by its political and economic strengths, the
state of development of its human resource and the management
skills of the senior leadership.
"The need of the moment is to promote a culture of
tolerance, stabilise the democratic dispensation with an
effective governance system, and develop a viable economic
order by making optimum utilisation of all our national
resources," he said.