At a time when the world is rattled by the nuclear weapons programme of North Korea, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi showed-off his country’s “robust” nuclear arsenal in the US on Wednesday. Not only this, he lied to world by denying the presence of terror safe haven in Pakistan and made demands like – no political or military role for India in Afghanistan, implementation of UN resolution in Kashmir etc.
During an interaction at the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank, Abbasi said Islamabad has developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter the so-called ‘cold start doctrine’ adopted by the Indian Army. “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,” PTI quoted him as saying to the top American think-tank.
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are controlled by the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA), which is responsible for for command, control and operational decisions regarding India’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 said further.
When the moderator David Sanger said Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, Abbasi said, “There’s no nuclear arsenal in the world that is growing faster. And there’s no nuclear arsenal in the world, other than North Korea’s, that tends to worry American more, because they worry about the safety of the arsenal. They worry about the command and control of the arsenal,” Sanger said.
Abbasi sought to assure that terror groups in Pakistan cannot take control of its nuclear arsenal. “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,” he said.
He claimed, “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.”
On doubts over Pakistan’s ability to control its nuclear arsenal, Abbasi asserted, “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.
No role for India in Afghanistan
In New York, Abbasi said Pakistan sees “zero” political or military role for India in Afghanistan. This statement comes weeks after US President Donald Trump sought more help from New Delhi to bring peace and stability in the war-torn country.
Trump had also criticised Pakistan for harbouring terrorists and called on India to help the US more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. However, Abbasi said, “We don’t foresee any political or military role for India in Afghanistan. I think it will just complicate the situation and it will not resolve anything. So if they want to do economic assistance, that’s their prerogative, but we don’t accept or see any role politically or militarily for India in Afghanistan,” Abbasi said.
No terror safe heaven
“This perception that there are (terrorist) sanctuaries is absolutely not correct. We have defeated the enemy on our own territory. We have destroyed the sanctuaries,” he said.
Implement UNSC resolution on Kashmir
On conflict with India, Abbasi said, “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,”