Pak. will use nuclear weapons 'if attacked'

BERLIN, JULY 20. Pakistan would consider using nuclear weapons first if attacked by conventional forces, its Deputy Foreign Minister said today. ``There is no way Pakistan can hold out any assurance that it will not use any nuclear weapons if its existence is threatened,'' Mr. Inam ul Haque, the highest-ranking Pakistani official to visit Germany since nuclear tests in 1998, said. ``There is no such assurance on the part of India either,'' he said during a briefing for journalists. The official noted that NATO maintained a first-use threat to deter a Soviet attack during the Cold War.

India dismisses remark

In New Delhi today, India shrugged off the Pakistani Minister's remarks, and said ``there is nothing new in it''.

New Delhi's dismissive note was indicated by a Ministry of External Affairs spokesman when reporters sought the Government's reaction to the assertion. ``Pakistan does not subscribe to the policy of `no-first use' which India does,'' the spokesman said.

- Reuters, PTI