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Pakistan justifies possessing nuclear weapons, says threat looms from larger military forces

Without naming India but clearly pointing fingers, a Pakistani envoy said his country has several disputes with more powerful states which justify keeping nuclear weapons.

Pakistan justifies possessing nuclear weapons, says threat looms from larger military forces
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At a time when there have been fears about the country's nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorist outfits, Pakistan has said it is threat from larger military forces that compels it to have the weapons in the first place.

Farukh Amil, the country's permanent representative to the United Nations, told a UN General Assembly's First Committee that Pakistan acts with restraint and responsibility but geo-political conditions in South Asia throw several challenges. "We will have to recognize and address the three key motives that drive states like Pakistan to possess nuclear weapons: one, threats from larger military forces – both nuclear and conventional; two, the existence of disputes with more powerful states; and three, discrimination in the application of international law and norms including the failure of the UN collective security system to guarantee the peaceful co-existence of all states," Amil said.

He also hinted at India possessing nuclear weapons only for prestige. "These legitimate motivations are different from those states that retain nuclear weapons as a matter of prestige, either to maintain or to attain the status of a global power," he was further quoted as saying by Pakistani media.

The country, which conducted its first nuclear test in 1998, has repeatedly sought to establish itself as an advocate of a nuclear-free world but also continued to develop its nuclear program. The country could become the fifth largest nuclear weapons state with 140 to 150 nuclear weapons by 2020, according to a US-based team tracking Pakistan's nuclear proliferation. With political instability, role of military and support to terrorist outfits however, there have been concerns about how safe its nuclear weapons are.