ISLAMABAD: Pakistan warned on Thursday that India’s decision to change its nuclear doctrine would not help the cause of promoting strategic restraint and stability in the region, terming the move ‘highly irresponsible and dangerous.’
Recent reports suggested that India may be considering revisiting its no-first use policy and may allow its nuclear establishment to carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan in the event of a war.
The New York Times recently reported that this would not formally change India’s nuclear doctrine, which bars it from launching a first strike, but would loosen its interpretation to deem pre-emptive strikes as defensive.
In first formal reaction to the development, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakria said Pakistan had long maintained that India’s ambiguous no-first use declaration was not verifiable and hence nothing more than an empty political statement.
“It cannot substitute for verifiable arms control and restraint measures,” Zakaria told a weekly news briefing when asked to comment on the possible change in India’s nuclear doctrine.
The spokesperson said in taking appropriate security measures, Pakistan had to consider capabilities and not intentions which could change anytime.
“It goes without saying that the talk about pre-emption in a nuclearised South Asia is highly irresponsible and dangerous and will not help the cause of promoting strategic restraint and stability in the region,” Zakria warned.
The reports of India’s reinterpretation of nuclear doctrine came at a time when tensions between the two neighbours have been simmering for months primarily due to the unrest in India occupied Kashmir.
The worsening ties coupled with talk of change in India’s no-first use policy also prompted the Trump administration to offer a mediation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours before the situation could further deteriorate.
US Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley recently voiced concerns over the Indo-Pak tensions and said Washington wanted to play a role in de-escalation.
The move, however, was promptly rejected by India, which has long argued that Kashmir is a bilateral dispute and hence it will not accept any third party mediation.
Pakistan’s position is different though. The foreign office spokesperson said Pakistan always welcomed the offer of mediation, which had been made by various countries, to resolve the outstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India.
“The world’s concerns have been developed in the backdrop of the deteriorating human rights situation in IoK,” he added.
“We welcome the statement of Ambassador Nikki Haley, Permanent representative of the US to the UN expressing concerns over the rising tensions between Pakistan and India and the offer of mediation,” Zakria maintained.
The spokesperson regretted that India as usual reacted negatively to the US offer.
“India wants to speak of terrorism! We also insist on speaking of terrorism, which forms one of the elements of the comprehensive dialogue process. We need to address the Indian sponsored terrorism in Pakistan. Kulbhushan Jadhav and many other examples are irrefutable proof of Indian involvement in Pakistan,” he argued.
He further said India tried to hide the atrocities in IOK and afraid of being exposed on account of crimes against humanity committed by the Indian Occupation Forces in IOK.
“India will eventually realise that the only solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is the realisation of the right to self-determination of Kashmiris through a fair and free plebiscite under the auspices of the UN in line with the relevant UNSC resolutions.”
Syria chemical attack
Reacting to the reports of chemical attack in Syria that left scores of people dead including women and children, the spokesperson said, as party to Chemical Weapons Convention, Pakistan was against the use of such weapons under any circumstances.
“Definitely, use of chemical weapons on civilians is condemnable,” Zakria said.
However, the spokesperson avoided blaming the Syrian government or Russia, which had been accused of using the chemical weapons.
“With regard to the incident you quoted in Syria, I understand that Syrian Government condemned the incident,” he said.