Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to his country's defence after US President Joe Biden questioned the precarious state of its nuclear program.
"Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state that is perfectly capable of safeguarding its national interest whilst respecting international law and practices. Our nuclear program is in no way a threat to any country. Like all independent states," Nawaz Sharif tweeted.
"...Pakistan reserves the right to protect its autonomy, sovereign statehood and territorial integrity," he added.
Earlier, Biden described Pakistan as "one of the most dangerous nations" in the world which holds "nuclear weapons without any cohesion." The US President made these remarks at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Reception in Los Angeles (California).
The remarks on Pakistan were made while Biden was talking about US foreign policy with regard to China and Vladimir Putin's Russia. Biden concluded by saying he considered Pakistan to be the most dangerous country in the world.
"This is a guy (Xi Jinping) who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what's going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion," said Biden, as quoted in a White House press release of his remarks at the Democratic party event.
Biden's remarks could be seen as a setback to the Shehbaz Sharif government's bid to improve ties with the US.
These comments come two days after the release of the US National Security Strategy. The 48-page document makes no reference to Pakistan.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration released the Congress-mandated key policy document, underlining the threat posed to the US by both China and Russia.
The National Security Strategy said both countries are increasingly aligned with each other but the challenges they pose are distinct.