ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Friday rejected as ‘utterly baseless’ a report by two American think tanks that Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world.
“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 [Nuclear Suppliers Group] countries and its destabilising consequences for the region,” FO spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said in a statement.
“As a nuclear state, Pakistan’s policy is characterised by the utmost restraint and responsibility,” he said in response to a question regarding the recently released report on Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
“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,” Qazi said, emphasising that Pakistan has no desire to engage in nuclear arms race.
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,” the spokesman added.
The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Centre claimed that Pakistan could have at least 350 nuclear weapons within the next five to 10 years, making it the world’s third-largest nuclear stockpile. It said that Pakistan was rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities due to a fear of India.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2015.