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ISLAMABAD: An adviser to Strategic Plans Division on Friday said the region was lot more dangerous and unstable than before because of Indian leadership’s reckless attitude.

Khalid Banuri, while speaking at a webinar on ‘Pakistan’s nuclear capability: guarantor of peace in South Asia options’ hosted by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) said India not only brought nuclear weapons to the region but was now also exponentially expanding its arsenal.

The event was held in connection with the 23rd anniversary of 1998 nuclear tests.

Pakistan, Mr Banuri added, was a reluctant entrant to the nuclear weapons club and it did so for the sake of restoring regional strategic stability. India, he said, did not subsequently show a responsible behavior making the hard earned equilibrium tenuous.

Referring to recent developments in India, he said the Modi government through its reckless anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan rhetoric had limited its own options if it were at any stage to think of peace. Indian government would have to face a cost within its domestic political arena if it now tries to change its course, he added.

Says New Delhi not only brought nuclear weapons to region but has also expanded its arsenal

Former permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament and the United Nations Zamir Akram said India had vastly expanded its conventional and strategic capabilities through American support in the name of countering China. However, the new capabilities can also be used against Pakistan which therefore needs to qualitatively upgrade its strategic deterrence – one that could potentially deny India the first strike option.

Defence analyst and educationist Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal was of the opinion that acquisition of nuclear capability by Pakistan restored the balance of power in the region. However, he contended that India did not accept this reality and persistently tried to disturb the equilibrium through provocative and aggressive actions against Pakistan.

SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema, while chairing the session, said nuclear deterrence is undoubtedly the most important strategic factor for preservation of Pakistan’s national security. He said nuclear weapons capability readjusted the regional balance of power.

Pakistanis by observing Yaum-i-Takbeer, or the anniversary of the tests, honored the efforts of our scientists in making Pakistan a more secure place, he maintained.

Pakistan committed to peace: FO

The Foreign Office in a statement on Yaum-i-Takbeer said Pakistan was committed to continuing working towards the promotion of an environment of peace and stability at the regional and global levels.

Pakistan, it said, had been actively contributing to international efforts for strengthening global norms on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament and follows latest international standards on export controls, nuclear safety and security at the national level.

“This year has been marked by the inauguration of 1,100 MWe K-2 Nuclear Power Plant in Karachi which adds much valuable, cleaner, reliable and affordable electricity to the national energy mix.”

This, it noted, underscores the role of nuclear science and technology in the socio-economic development of the country and the welfare of its people.

Besides nuclear power generation, Pakistan has harnessed nuclear technology for public service in diverse areas, including cancer diagnosis and treatment, public health, agriculture, environment protection and industry.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2021

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