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Biden’s diplomatic nuclear faux pas regarding Pakistan

US President brought up Pakistan’s nuclear programme with shockingly undiplomatic language

Express Tribune Ozer Khalid October 21, 2022

At a Congressional Campaign Committee reception in Los Angeles on October 14, US President Joe Biden brought up Pakistan’s nuclear programme with shockingly undiplomatic language. He mentioned Pakistan twice at the public form first vis-à-vis China, then stating that Pakistan is “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” which has “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”.

Tragically, these were not off-the-cuff remarks and ramblings, as an official White House transcript indicated President Biden meant what he said, leading to strong rebuttals from PM Shehbaz Sharif and FM Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and a demarche by the Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Biden’s remarks lacked explanation, context and coherence. Ely Ratner, US Assistant Secretary of Defense, last month reminded that “US interests associated with defense partnership with Pakistan were primarily focused on counterterrorism and nuclear security”.

Given Washington’s mounting rivalry vis-à-vis Russia and China, it could be that Biden’s comment was a veiled threat at isolating Pakistan if it continued to pursue rapprochement with Moscow and Beijing. If so, it would be déjà vu of the ‘either you are with us or against us’ ultimatum issued by George W Bush post-9/11. Whatever his intentions, it was irresponsible of Biden to leverage regional-bloc politics to make unsubstantiated remarks about Pakistan’s secure nukes…………………..

Pakistan ill-deserves such unwarranted remarks given its impeccable nuclear stewardship with the Strategic Plans Division and diligent adherence to international IAEA best practices.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) report ranked Pakistan as the most “improved country” on Safety and Security of Nuclear Assets, ahead of India. Pakistan demonstrated exemplary restraint and sangfroid in response to India’s “accidental” firing of a BrahMos cruise missile that landed across the border in March, 2022. The BrahMos incident was a clear violation of global nuclear safeguards for which India faced no accountability.

In March 2022, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission confirmed that Pakistan’s updated nuclear safety regulations by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority strengthened its nuclear and radiation safety. This includes the modernisation of Pakistan’s National Radiation Emergency Coordination Centre (NRECC) which strengthens Pakistan’s ability to respond to a nuclear or radiological emergency.

At the request of the Government of Pakistan, the IAEA’s Integrated Regulatory Review Service confirmed the country’s strengthening arrangements for regulatory inspections, authorisations, emergency preparedness and response, occupational radiation protection and environmental radiation monitoring.

The IAEA confirmed safety of Pakistan’s five civilian operating nuclear power reactors and that the country successfully implemented all 13 recommendations adequately addressing 29 out of 31 suggestions.

For President Biden to single out a responsible nuclear steward like Pakistan, with resilient nuclear safeguards, commands and controls in place with no reported incidents, while remaining conspicuously silent on serious incidents from India raises consternation……………………………………………………………… more


October 21, 2022 - Posted by | politics international, USA

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