Pakistan on Thursday accused nuclear-armed India of risky behaviour for toying with dangerous military concepts, but assured the world that it (Pakistan) would continue to act with restraint and responsibility.
“The flawed notion of establishment of a ‘new normal’ and fantasies of ‘punishing Pakistan’ while remaining below the threshold of a nuclear conflict demonstrate irresponsible and dangerous behaviour by India,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at a webinar, while referring to the Feb 2019 post-Pulwama stand-off.
The webinar was organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) to commemorate the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan on this day in 1998.
Mr Qureshi’s remarks came in the backdrop of high running tensions between the two arch rival neighbours. Ceasefire violations and allegations of cross-LoC infiltration by India have escalated the situation.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD
The foreign minister said India’s illegal annexation of Occupied Kashmir last August added to volatility in the region. “The irresponsible statements made by senior members of the BJP government, including on nuclear issues and threats of dismemberment, leave little doubt about the reckless mind-set at work,” he added.
The security situation resulting from “hegemonic ambitions of a larger neighbor under the rule of an ultra-nationalist and revisionist regime”, he said, does not allow Pakistan to lower its guard.
He emphasised Islamabad’s desire for peace saying Yaum-i-Takbeer observance reminds us about Pakistani quest for peace and its resolve to defend its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.
Mr Qureshi said that ‘credible minimum deterrence’ would remain the guiding principle of Pakistan’s nuclear posture and reiterated Islamabad’s pledge to stay away from regional arms race.
“Pakistan has demonstrated its commitment to peace and stability by putting forward the proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR). Yet our desire for peace should not leave anyone in doubt regarding our capability and will to defend ourselves effectively against any form of aggression,” he maintained.
The foreign minister recalled Pakistan’s growing technological prowess and offered cooperation with other countries in civilian nuclear application. He said Pakistan wanted to expand its high technology exports.
He said Pakistan vast experience and expertise, which could be used for attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.
Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020