Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that his country has developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter the ‘cold start doctrine’ adopted by the Indian Army.
Abbasi was also assertive of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals being safe and secure.
“We have a very robust and secure command-and-control system over our strategic nuclear assets. Time has proved that it’s a process that is very secure. It’s a process that has complete civilian oversight through the NCA,” Abbasi said in response to a question at the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank.
The Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) of Pakistan is the authority responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding the country’s nuclear arsenals.
“As far as tactical nuclear weapons (are concerned), we do not have any fielded tactical nuclear weapons. We have developed short-range nuclear weapons as a counter to the Cold Start doctrine that India has developed. Again, those are in the same command-and-control authority that controls the other strategic weapons,” he added.
“The last 20 years are testament to that,” Abbasi said in response to another question.
“So let there be no doubt that any extremist element or somebody like that can gain control of fissile material or a nuclear weapon. There is just no possibility of that. And it’s time-tested, and it’s a very secure system that has been put in place…Pakistan is a responsible global citizen, and we’ve shown a responsibility on the ground with this huge war on terror that we’ve been fighting for the last 15 years,” Abbasi reiterated.
The Pakistan premier dismissed the notion surrounding the country’s alleged inability to handle its nuclear programmes properly.
“We do have nuclear capability. There’s no doubt about that. And we know how to handle nuclear waste. We had a nuclear program in the early ’60s, one of the first countries in Asia to have a nuclear program. So if we’ve managed it for over 50-odd years, I think we can continue to manage it,” he said.
At the same event the Pakistan PM also demanded the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir, asserting that his country will continue supporting the right to self- determination in Jammu and Kashmir.
Identifying Kashmir as the core issue with its eastern neighbour, Abbasi exuded confidence that the resolution will help address the contentious issue.
“I think the basic issue is Kashmir. The implementation of the Security Council resolution will be a great starting point that will help address each other’s concerns and provide peace to the region and between Pakistan and India. That’s the core issue between the two countries,” Abbasi said.
“There is Indian aggression along the Line of Control (LoC), mostly to draw attention away from the genuine struggle of the Kashmiri people, who have today risen against the Indian occupation there…The Indian occupation forces there have committed atrocities which are really beyond belief, and we expect the world community to take notice of those atrocities. These are very serious crimes against humanity in that region,” Abbasi alleged.
Abbasi that the two neighbours need to engage on core issues and that he wants “normal relation” with India.
(With inputs from agencies)