On his maiden visit to the US as Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Abbasi also said that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is safe and secure.
New Delhi/New York: Pakistan has developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter the “Cold Start” doctrine of the Indian Army, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Thursday.
On his maiden visit to the US as Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Abbasi also said that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is safe and secure. On the assertion that Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, Mr Abbasi said: “As far as tactical nuclear weapons (are concerned), we do not have any field 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,” Mr Abbasi was quoted by news agency PTI as saying in response to a question at the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank.
The “Cold Start doctrine”, developed by the Indian Army for a possible war with Pakistan, involves various branches of the Army conducting offensive operations in a very short time span as part of unified battle groups. “We have a very robust and secure command-and-control system over our strategic nuclear assets. Time has proven that it’s a process that is very secure. It’s a process that has complete civilian oversight through the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA),” Mr Abbasi said. The NCA of Pakistan is responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding the country’s nuclear arsenals.
Mr Abbasi said that the command-and-control systems Pakistan has in place are as secure as anybody else’s in the world. “The last 20 years are testament to that,” Mr 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,” he was quoted as saying.
“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,” Mr Abbasi said.
The Pakistan premier sought to dispel the notion surrounding the country’s 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 programme in the early ‘60s, one of the first countries in Asia to have a nuclear programme. So if we’ve managed it for over 50-odd years, I think we can continue to manage it,” he said.