Pakistan has admitted to possessing an arsenal of low-yield nuclear weapons to counter India’s conventional weapons, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told journalists on Tuesday in Washington DC.
The Dawn newspaper reported today that this is a rare explanation of Pakistan’s decision to make tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the possible threat of an Indian ‘aggression.’
Briefing the Pakistani media on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington, Mr Chaudhry also said that Pakistan would not sign any nuclear deal with the United States during the visit starting October 22.
The Obama administration is reportedly trying to persuade Pakistan to sign a nuclear deal, which will enable Pakistan to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group if it agrees to accept certain restrictions on its nuclear programme including capping its nuclear weapons.
The US media had last month raised the issue of Pakistani nuclear weapons claiming that it possessed one of the world’s biggest arsenal of such weapons including small nukes which can be mounted on medium range ballistic missiles or launched from fighter-bomber aircraft.
“Our nuclear programme is one dimensional: stopping Indian aggression before it happens. It is not for starting a war. It is for deterrence,” the foreign secretary was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
Explaining that the Pakistani tactical nukes were a response to India’s cold-start doctrine, Mr Chaudhry reportedly 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,” Mr Chaudhry said. He explained that Pakistan’s “low-yield, tactical nuclear weapons” would make it difficult for India to launch a war against Pakistan.
“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,” Dawn quoted him as saying.