Pakistan has once again claimed that the nuclear tests by India in May 1998 forced it to take the decision to test its own atomic weapons. Marking the 20th anniversary of the seven nuclear tests conducted in 1998, Pakistan hinted that India's nuclear tests put an end "to the prospect for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons".
"28 May 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan in 1998. Pakistan was forced to take that decision as a response, in self-defence, to the nuclear tests and accompanying hostile posturing by its neighbour. These developments unfortunately put an end to the prospect for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons - an objective which Pakistan had actively pursued. Notwithstanding these facts, Pakistan has remained steadfast in its commitment to non-proliferation and global peace and strategic stability," the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a press release on Sunday.
"Since 1998, Pakistan has demonstrated utmost restraint and responsibility in the stewardship of its nuclear capability. It is committed to the principle of Credible Minimum Deterrence and has persistently sought deterrence stability in the region. This objective has driven Pakistan to offer and conclude several Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the nuclear and conventional domains, including the 2004 Pakistan-India Joint Statement which recognized the respective nuclear capabilities of the two countries as a factor for stability. Pakistan has consistently signaled its willingness to consider further measures for risk reduction and avoidance of arms race in the region," the release added.
Pakistan also claimed that it is confident of "ability to deny space for any misadventure against the backdrop of rapidly expanding nuclear and conventional forces in its neighbourhood, deployment of BMD and pursuit of aggressive security doctrines and developing force postures". "The nuclearization of the Indian Ocean and canesterization of ballistic missiles in our neighbourhood should be a matter of concern for the international community as well, since these developments have extra-regional ramifications."
While India had conducted its first atomic test in 1974 in Pokhran in Rajasthan, the country became overtly nuclear only after conducting five tests on May 11, 2018 and May 13, 2018. While three nuclear bombs were tested on May 11, two were conducted on May 13. Two weeks later Pakistan followed suit with seven tests in the Ras Koh Hills in Chagai district of Pakistan's Balochistan province.