Pakistan has rejected recent western media reports, indicating it has steadily expanded the nuclear arsenal and is on the path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power, as “unnecessary alarmist”.
A statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesman, however, did not comment on the analysis by the non-governmental US think-tank which claims Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal now totals more than 100.
The New York Times reported that the new assessment poses a direct challenge to US President Barack Obama’s policy of reducing nuclear stockpiles around the world.
“Unnecessary alarmist reporting about Pakistan’s nuclear programme continues to surface occasionally,” said Abdul Basit.
He said in the nuclearised environment of South Asia, Pakistan continues to follow a responsible policy of maintaining credible minimum deterrence. “Pakistan is mindful of the need to avoid an arms race with India but would never compromise on its national security,” he remarked.
Basit said Pakistan attaches importance to ensuring peace, security and stability in South Asia and is mindful of the adverse implications of “selectivity” and “exceptionalism” in evidence on issues of nuclear non-proliferation.
Pakistan has consistently advocated to India the need to resume the stalled Pakistan-India dialogue, including on issues of peace and security, the spokesman maintained.
“In this context, Pakistan’s proposal for strategic restraint regime in South Asia, including nuclear and conventional forces as well as resolution of all issues and dispute, is of extreme importance,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2011.