The rest of the world has too often called Pakistan’s Nuclear Strategy as a dangerous one. However, Pakistan has continued to contest membership for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) with an assertion that their nuclear weapons remain safe. With the Western countries, especially the US, completely ignoring the country’s compulsions to ensure credible deterrence against a rapidly growing Indian conventional and nuclear arsenal, it will be a wonder if our efforts result in something concrete.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry at a seminar at the the Institute of Strategic Studies made it clear that we will not accept such discrimination anymore and will seek criteria-based treatment. Moreover, he was adamant over the fact that Pakistan only goes for credible minimum deterrence, having every right as a state for self-defence. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will lead a delegation to the World Nuclear Summit being hosted by the United States, next month in Washington. The effort being made serves a diplomatic purpose of clearing our name, but will amount to nothing more. It seems that Pakistan’s demand for NSG membership also gained significance following the energy crunch it is facing and wants to use nuclear energy to meet future needs – a logical mandate.
NSG is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials. Pakistan is certainly not getting fair deal from the US, and on its behest, by its nuclear camp followers. In exchange for letting Pakistan in into the NSG, it is trying barter by asking Pakistan to accede to certain international regimes like CTBT that even USA itself has not ratified, and India vehemently opposes it.
The United States expressed concern on Friday over the security of Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons. Given that Islamists not only attacked civilians but targeted military installations and bases as well, some might say that the Taliban and al Qaeda have their eyes on Pakistan’s nuclear warheads. The claim is preposterous and is just a way for the US to keep the Indian panic in check, while they sell us F-16s. Chaudhry has said that the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s “discriminatory waiver” to India and the Indo-US nuclear deal had allowed New Delhi to increase its fissile material and disturb the strategic stability in South Asia. The US must look to Pakistan as a balancing chip if nothing else.