The National Command Authority (NCA) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reviewed developments at the regional level and reiterated that, as a responsible nuclear weapons state, Pakistan would continue to adhere to the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence, without entering into an arms race with any other country. However, it will not remain oblivious to the evolving security dynamics in South Asia and would maintain a full spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression, according to an official statement.
The meeting on Thursday underscored Pakistan’s commitment to play its due part as a mainstream partner in the global non-proliferation regime, and renewed Pakistan’s keen interest in joining the multilateral export control regimes on non-discriminatory basis, the statement pointed out. Pakistan has the requisite credentials for full access to civil nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to meet its growing energy needs for continued economic growth. The meeting noted the importance of Pakistan’s positive outreach and enhanced engagement with all the multilateral export control regimes including membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The NCA emphasised that Pakistan will continue to participate constructively in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process. As a responsible nuclear weapons state with advanced technology and four-decades long experience in safe and secure operation of nuclear power plants, Pakistan is ready to share its expertise with other interested states by providing fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards and by providing training placements at its Centres of Excellence on nuclear security, the statement said.
The meeting was attended by all members of the NCA, the Federal Ministers of Finance and Interior, the Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Services Chiefs.
The NCA reaffirmed the centrality of Pakistan’s nuclear programme for the defence of the country and reposed full confidence in Pakistan’s “robust” nuclear Command and Control structure and all the security controls related to strategic assets of the country.The NCA also reviewed the developments at the international level and took note of the discriminatory trends and policies that could have serious implications for Pakistan’s national security and the global non-proliferation regime. The NCA reiterated that while maintaining its principled position on various arms control and non-proliferation issues, Pakistan would continue to oppose any arrangement that is detrimental to its security and strategic interests. As for the proposed Fissile Material (Cut-Off) Treaty [FM(C)T], Pakistan’s position will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia, the statement added.
Earlier, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had countered a The Washington Post article which said that a on U.S. intelligence community’s ‘black budget’ by reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to disarmament and non proliferation. “A 178-page summary of the U.S. intelligence community’s “black budget” shows that the United States has ramped up its surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear arms, cites previously undisclosed concerns about biological and chemical sites there, and details efforts to assess the loyalties of counterterrorism sources recruited by the CIA”.
He referred to the U.S. State Department statement which welcomed this position. In a statement, a U.S. State Department spokesperson on Thursday had said the U.S. is confident that the Pakistan government is well aware of its responsibilities and has secured its nuclear arsenal accordingly. While there is room for improvement in the security of any country’s nuclear programmes, Pakistan has a professional and dedicated security force that fully understands the importance of nuclear security. “We recognise that Pakistan is fully engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues , and is working hard to ensure its strategic export controls are in line with international standards.” The statement said that Pakistan is a state party to both the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and is a partner is the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism. Regular discussions are held with Pakistan, it added on a range of issues on importance shared interests, including nuclear security, counter terrorism and fostering a stable Afghanistan.