ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Friday rejected a report by two American think tanks calling it ‘utterly baseless’ that Pakistan was accelerating its nuclear weapons development programme and may have the third biggest arsenal in a decade.
“Such reports have the effect of diverting attention from the exponential increase in India’s fissile material stockpiles as a result of nuclear deals with a growing number of NSG countries and its destabilising consequences for the region,” Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said in a statement on Friday.
Khalilluah further said that as a nuclear state, Pakistan’s policy was characterised by the utmost restraint and responsibility.
“We strictly abide by the concept of credible minimum deterrence and our nuclear programme is only aimed at maintaining peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan has no desire to engage in nuclear arms race,” Qazi emphasized.
He said Pakistan had put forward several initiatives to promote conventional and strategic stability in South Asia, including the proposed Strategic Restraint Regime, but regrettably India has failed to respond positively.
“Pakistan remains committed to the global objectives of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation,” he added.
Earlier, a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center claimed that Pakistan could expand its stockpile of nuclear weapons to at least 350 warheads over the next five to 10 years, making it the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal.
The report said Pakistan was rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities owing to a fear of India.