Ready to discuss arms control measures with India: Pakistan

  • PTI, Islamabad
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2016 19:40 IST
Pakistan is on course of having about 350 nuclear weapons in about a decade, the world's third-largest stockpile after the US and Russia and twice that of India.

Pakistan said on Thursday it is ready to discuss arms control and restraint measures with India to avoid unnecessary arms race in the region.

“We have taken note of President Obama’s call on both Pakistan and India to work together with a view to ensuring that military doctrines do not move in the wrong direction,” Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said.

Zakaria said “our proposal of strategic restraint regime” can provide basis for mutually agreed restraint measures and avoidance of unnecessary arms race in the region. Pakistan is opposed to nuclear and conventional arms race and strongly believes in peace and stability in the region, he said. “We are committed to minimum deterrence,” Zakaria said, adding that Pakistan’s nuclear capability was solely for self-defence.

Obama had on Friday identified South Asia, in particular India and Pakistan, as one area where there is a need to make progress in nuclear security and reduction of nuclear arsenal.

Zakaria claimed that there is increased understanding at the international level of Pakistan’s genuine concerns regarding rapidly growing Indian conventional and nuclear capabilities and their offensive military designs such as cold start doctrine. Zakaria said Pakistan has strong credentials to become a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as a non-NPT state. The NSG is still deliberating upon the issue of membership for non-NPT states, he said.

“We have been running a safe, secure and safeguarded civil nuclear programme for more than 42 years. We have the expertise, manpower and infrastructure to produce civil nuclear energy,” he said. Zakaria said that 4th Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, which concluded last weekend, was a significant event from Pakistan’s perspective.

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