ISLAMABAD: The National Command Authority (NCA) decided on Thursday to further develop the country’s nuclear weapons programme for preserving “full spectrum deterrence” against any possible external aggression.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Command Authority — the principal policy making body on the research, development, production, use and security of the nuclear programme. The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
This was Mr Sharif’s first session on the nuclear policy after returning to the prime minister’s office in June for a third term. The prime minister had in his second tenure rejected all international pressure and conducted nuclear tests in 1998 in response to Indian nuclear tests.
“Pakistan would not remain oblivious to evolving security dynamics in South Asia and would maintain a full spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression,” a statement issued after the meeting said. It also described the nuclear programme as central to the defence of the country.
Introduction of new delivery systems — short-range missile NASR and air-launched cruise missile Raad; miniaturisation of war heads; are some of the clear pointers towards Pakistan’s increased focus on developing its nuclear programme.
However, while taking the categorical decision of continuing with the development of the programme, which always raises alarm bells in the West, the NCA reiterated commitment to being a responsible nuclear state, avoiding arms race, remaining engaged with the Nuclear Security Summit process and playing its part in the global non-proliferation regime. Moreover, the offer of sharing its expertise under IAEA safeguards and training personnel on nuclear security were renewed.
Criticising discriminatory trends in non-proliferation regime, particularly the expected entry of India into export control regimes, the NCA said such moves could imperil Pakistan’s national security, besides adversely affecting the global non-proliferation initiatives.
Pakistani strategists fear that India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) through a country-specific exception would lead to it being denied high technology even for peaceful purposes.
Full article: NCA stresses full-spectrum deterrence (DAWN)