Washington: Justifying its growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, Pakistan today said it has developed them to “deter” a possible attack from India after it built infrastructure near border areas to help launch quick response in case of war. “Our nuclear programme is one dimensional: stopping Indian aggression before it happens. It is not for starting a war. It is for deterrence,” Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told a news briefing here ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s US trip to hold talks with President Barack Obama.
He explained that Pakistan’s “low-yield, tactical nuclear weapons” would make it difficult for India to launch a war against Pakistan while remaining under the nuclear threshold. Chaudhry said that India had created a gap in the capabilities of the two countries through its cold-start doctrine – developed for use in a possible war with Pakistan that involves various branches of India’s military conducting offensive operations.
It was the first concrete explanation from a senior Pakistani official on how Islamabad plans to deal with New Delhi’s so-called cold-start doctrine, now renamed the proactive strategy, The Dawn reported. “It also is a rare explanation of Pakistan’s decision to make tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the possible threat of an Indian aggression,” it said.
There were reports that America is pressing for a deal to restrict Pakistan’s nuclear programme but Chaudhry rejected the impression and said that Pakistan would not sign any nuclear deal with the US during the visit. Explaining India’s cold-start doctrine, Chaudhry said that under this strategy India had already moved its cantonments close to the Pakistani border. This allowed India also to move its conventional weapons close to Pakistan along with other vehicles and fuel supplies.
By drastically reducing the time required to launch an aggression against Pakistan, India had “created a space for war”, Chaudhry said. “Our argument is, when you are a nuclear power, you do not create spaces for war. War is no more an option,” the foreign secretary said. “We have plugged the gap India had created. We have the right to do so.”
In August, two major American think-tanks said that Pakistan is on course of possessing nearly 350 nuclear weapons in about a decade, the world’s third-largest stockpile after the US and Russia and twice that of India. Asked under what conditions Pakistan could sign a nuclear deal with the United States, Chaudhry said: “We are not signing a nuclear deal. No deal, not of any kind.”
In reply to a question about Pakistan joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the foreign secretary said the US policy of getting India included in this group was “discriminatory”. “We encourage the US to have a non-discriminatory approach, a balanced approach,” he added.