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India tried to disturb the South Asian stability on May 11, 1998, and conducted nuclear tests in Pokhran range of Rajasthan state, which borders Pakistan’s southern Sindh province. The Indian nuclear tests came as a shock to the world, but not to Pakistan, which always showed concerns over India’s growing nuclear potential. India, however, celebrated the tests and even started threatening Pakistan. The India home minister LK Advani while making aggressive remarks about Pakistan said that “Islamabad should realize the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world (and) roll back its anti-India policy” adding that “it will prove costly”. Moreover, he also stated that India’s decisive step to become s nuclear state “has brought about a qualitatively new stage in Indo-Pakistan relations”.

In such a scenario, when the nuclear weapons were in the hands of revisionist regime with hegemonisitic ambitions, along with the statements that came after Indian nuclear tests, persuaded the Defence Committee of the Pakistan Cabinet to approve the nuclear test.

Pakistan always carries the onus of stabilizing the region, and conducted the nuclear test to restore balance of power in the region. Pakistan conducted five nuclear tests at Ras Koh, Chagai, codenamed Chagai-I. Two days later, Pakistan conducted another test, this time in Kharan, codenamed Chagai-II. With six tests done on May 28 and May 30, 1998, Pakistan completed its hot-test validation of devices of different designs. Since then, Pakistan has not hot-tested any other nuclear device, though it has steadily improved its missile capability, and has the most reliable carriers for nuclear warheads.

Every year, May 28 serves as a solemn reminder of Pakistan’s desire for peace as well as the nation’s unswerving resolve to defend its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. It is the day when Allah Almighty blessed the Pakistani Nation in making its defence impregnable. Pakistan established Credible Minimum Deterrence and restored balance of power in the region. Pakistan lacks strategic depth, hence the reliance on nuclear weapons ensures its national defence. The nuclear deterrence has stabilized the region, which earlier was in favor of India due to conventional asymmetry. In the post-nuclearization scenario, despite the huge conventional asymmetries between Pakistan and India, nuclear deterrent capability of both states refrain them from using war as an instrument of national policy.

Pakistan places high importance on developing, managing and securing the nuclear weapons, and has focused on the robust comprehensive operationalized capability. On February 2, 2000 the National Security Council approved the creation of National Command Authority (NCA). The NCA is responsible for nuclear strategic policy formulation and exercises control over the employment and development of all strategic nuclear forces and strategic organizations. Pakistan has Full Spectrum Deterrence posture, under the auspices of Credible Minimum Deterrence. Adoption of full-spectrum deterrence was aimed at putting additional layers of defence against the variety of challenges posed at different threat spectrums.

Moreover, Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear program is a great success story, encompassing decades of dedication, commitment, and integrated efforts of Pakistan’s polity. Pakistan has realized the true potential of the appliance of peaceful aspects of nuclear energy in numerous domains, including health, medicine, agriculture, the environment, and electricity generation. Pakistan has a long experience of utilizing the potential of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and is complementing the energy mix of the country. The clean history of the utilization of nuclear energy is an indication of Pakistan’s commitment towards the utilization of nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

Pakistan has proved itself to be a responsible nuclear state and has an impeccable record of maintaining the safety and security of its nuclear infrastructure. Pakistan is a distinguished member of the IAEA and has served in the board of governors twenty-one times and chaired it twice, which shows the recognition of credentials of Pakistan as a responsible nuclear state. Pakistan gives utmost importance to the security of its nuclear infrastructure, and not a single affair of theft of nuclear material has ever taken place.

Moreover, Pakistan has no intention of indulging into an arms race with its adversary, and the weapons are purely for the security purposes. In order to give a pivotal response to enemy, a country should be equipped with latest technology. The successful nuclear weapon test of Pakistan has successfully balanced the conventional parity in the region, and the Pakistani nation celebrates this success with dignity and pride.

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Amber Afeen Abid

Research Officer, SVI

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