Is this because USA wants nuclear disarmament, or because USA wants to sell nuclear materials to the sub continent?
US urges India and Pakistan to sign and ratify nuclear test ban treaty Washington has welcomed Pakistan’s recent proposal to India for a bilateral agreement on nuclear weapons test ban, IBT By Nandini Krishnamoorthy August 24, 2016 The US has asked arch-rivals India and Pakistan to set aside their differences and sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Welcoming Pakistan’s recent proposal to India for a bilateral agreement on nuclear weapons test ban, Washington has urged the two countries to hold talks.
Mark Toner, the State Department deputy spokesperson, said: “We welcome this high-level dialogue between India and Pakistan, encourage both countries to engage in the dialogue and exercise restraint aimed at improving strategic stability.”……..
On Tuesday (23 August), Pakistan announced a fresh move to seek support for its NSGmembership bid. Syed Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the prime minister on foreign affairs, embarked on a visit to Belarus and Kazakhstan to win their backing, The Hindu reported.
While India was kept out, Pakistan’s membership was not discussed during the plenary meeting of the NSG in Seoul in June. Although it has China on its side, it failed to get the backing of the US.http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-urges-india-pakistan-sign-ratify-nuclear-test-ban-treaty-1577733
It would make sense therefore not to invest in projects that are destined to be overtaken by superior alternatives. The funds going into nuclear power stations would be better spent on making use of wind and solar power for which Pakistan has substantial potential.
No one can predict what the energy scene would look like in 2050, when all of the planned nuclear power stations are to become operational. What is clear is that they won’t remain competitive as new technologies come along to elbow out some of the old ones.
A case for reviewing nuclear power plants http://aaj.tv/2016/08/a-case-for-reviewing-nuclear-power-plants/ August 18, 2016 by Farah Jamil Last month, something interesting and unusual happened in Britain that should give a pause to Islamabad as it walks in a certain direction without thinking what lies in store. Continue reading
Pakistan, India exchange information on nuclear facilities http://dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/01-Jan-06/pakistan-india-exchange-information-on-nuclear-facilities ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India on Sunday exchanged lists of their nuclear facilities on Sunday, a requirement every January 1 under an accord in which they promised not to attack each other’s nuclear installations.
“The governments of Pakistan and India today exchanged lists of their respective nuclear installations and facilities in accordance with Article II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India of December 31, 1988,” a Foreign Office statement said.
Zaheer A. Janjua, Director of the India Desk in Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over the list to an officer of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad at the Foreign Office at 11:00am PST, the statement said.
India handed over their list to Muhammad Khalid Jamali, First Secretary of the Pakistan High Commission at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi at 11:30am IST, it added. The statement did not give any details of which installations and facilities are mentioned in the lists. The list usually includes civilian nuclear power plants and gives the exact location of each such installation.
Top foreign ministry officials from Pakistan, led by Foreign Secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan will meet Indian officials on January 17 and 18 in New Delhi for talks on Kashmir and other issues. Railway officials are also slated to meet in New Delhi on January 5 and 6 to discuss reopening a rail link between Munabao and Khokhrapar, which was terminated after a 1965 war between the two countries.
Viewpoint: India’s nuclear lobbying and an increasingly isolated Pakistan, BBC News, By Ahmed RashidLahore 14 June 2016
India’s American-backed bid to join the prestigious Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has once again isolated Pakistan in South Asia.
Pakistan is increasingly finding itself friendless in the region as Iran, Afghanistan and India all find fault with Pakistan’s inability to end terrorism on its soil and in particular to bring the Afghan Taliban to the table for peace talks, as Islamabad promised to do nearly two years ago.
The 48-nation NSG, which sets global rules for international trade in nuclear energy technology, has become the latest diplomatic battleground between India and Pakistan. It is due to hold a crucial meeting this month. The Pakistani military is angry that after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent trip to Washington, the US has been furiously lobbying all member countries to give India a seat at the NSG table.
Pakistan then asked for the same, but its proliferation record is not as good as India’s and it clearly would not succeed. Instead, it has asked China to veto the Indian bid which it is likely to do. However, smaller countries are angry with the US, who they accuse of browbeating them, and complain that neither India nor Pakistan can become members until they sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) which is an essential requirement.
President Obama is going against his own policy of nuclear restraint and disarmament by offering to make India – but not Pakistan – a member of the NSG, when the US has also tied up plans to sell India six nuclear power plants……..http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36518330
Diplomats last year quietly launched a new push to induct India into the NSG – a 48-nation club dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.
“Pakistan expressed confidence in its credentials to become full member of the export control regimes, particularly Nuclear Suppliers Group,” the Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman said in a tweet.
The comment followed talks on Tuesday in Islamabad between Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad declined to comment.
Membership of the NSG would increase India’s international clout and provide a vested interest in curbing the world’s most dangerous regional arms race, but the prospects are fraught.
The campaign for India membership is seen as carrying the risk of antagonising Pakistan as well as its ally China, which could veto any India application.
China could also insist as a condition of India’s membership that Pakistan also be allowed to join, a potential hard sell because of Islamabad’s development of new tactical nuclear weapons.
A further complication is that neither India nor Pakistan has signed the nuclear Non-Profileration Treaty, generally seen as a prerequisite to NSG membership.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to hold its next meeting in June.The NSG was created in response to India’s testing its first nuclear weapon in 1974. (Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Alison Williams)
Pakistan veteran recalls shopping trips to nuclear grey markets, http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-diplomat-jamsheed-marker-recalls-shopping-trips-to-nuclear-grey-markets/article8456193.ece THE HINDU, KALLOL BHATTACHERJEE , 10 Apr 16 Retired diplomat Jamsheed Marker talks about “meeting characters, genuine and shady, in tiny cafes tucked away in obscure villages deep in the beautiful Swiss and German countryside”.
One of Pakistan’s best-known diplomats has given an unprecedented account of how his country clandestinely built its nuclear arsenal using its diplomatic network in Europe.
In Cover Point: Impressions of Leadership in Pakistan, an autobiographical account of Pakistan’s politicians, retired diplomat Jamsheed Marker, 94, says: “This exercise involved a bit of James Bond stuff, and I remember Ikram and myself meeting characters, genuine and shady, in tiny cafes tucked away in obscure villages deep in the beautiful Swiss and German countryside.”
Mr. Marker served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany between 1980 and 1982, when the meetings took place, which led to Pakistan acquiring sensitive technology from European firms for its nuclear weapons programme.
“The Embassy had a Procurement Department [the nomenclature really fooled nobody] headed by a most able officer of Minister rank named Ikram Khan, who was seconded from our nuclear establishment headed by Dr A.Q. Khan. Ikram was a superb officer, knowledgeable, low-key and efficient, and went about his sensitive job with the combination of initiative and discretion that were its primary requirements,” writes Mr. Marker , revealing how Pakistan sourced technology for its nuclear programme from western markets.
Mr. Marker’s disclosure sheds light on a wide array of willing partners from among firms in Europe which were willing to partner Pakistan’s quest for nuclear weapons, for a price. Mr. Marker, who worked directly under the supervision of General Zia-ul-Haq, played a peripheral role as the “Procurement Department” operated under a cloak of secrecy.
Mr. Marker, served for three decades in various important embassies of Pakistan, but reached the most successful phase of his career with his back-to-back appointments as Pakistani Ambassador to Bonn, Paris and Washington DC during the tenure of Gen Zia (1977-1988). Mr. Marker said that he admired the way Gen Zia (who became civilian President in 1985) diverted the West’s attention while going all out for giving Pakistan its nuclear weapon. “I maintain a mild, amused contempt for the enthusiasm with which western industrial enterprises, in their pecuniary pursuits, conspired with us to evade their own governments’ law prohibiting all nuclear transfers to Pakistan,” he writes in what is the first account from one of Gen. Zia’s key diplomats on the modus operandi adopted to build the nuclear bomb in Pakistan.
Mr. Marker says the U.S. spy services were aware of Pakistan’s determination to go nuclear and were unable to prevent Gen. Zia.
Nuclear Winter on a Planetary Scale: The Biggest Threat to Mankind Virtually No One Is Talking About, ALTERNET, By Dilip Hiro / TomDispatch April 8, 2016 A war between India and Pakistan could produce human suffering the likes of which the world has never seen before…….
When it comes to Pakistan’s strategic nuclear weapons, their parts are stored in different locations to be assembled only upon an order from the country’s leader. By contrast, tactical nukes are pre-assembled at a nuclear facility and shipped to a forward base for instant use. In addition to the perils inherent in this policy, such weapons would be vulnerable to misuse by a rogue base commander or theft by one of the many militant groups in the country.
In the nuclear standoff between the two neighbors, the stakes are constantly rising as Aizaz Chaudhry, the highest bureaucrat in Pakistan’s foreign ministry, recently made clear. The deployment of tactical nukes, he explained, was meant to act as a form of “deterrence,” given India’s “Cold Start” military doctrine — a reputed contingency plan aimed at punishing Pakistan in a major way for any unacceptable provocations like a mass-casualty terrorist strike against India.
New Delhi refuses to acknowledge the existence of Cold Start. Its denials are hollow. As early as 2004, it was discussing this doctrine, which involved the formation of eight division-size Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs). These were to consist of infantry, artillery, armor, and air support, and each would be able to operate independently on the battlefield. In the case of major terrorist attacks by any Pakistan-based group, these IBGs would evidently respond by rapidly penetrating Pakistani territory at unexpected points along the border and advancing no more than 30 miles inland, disrupting military command and control networks while endeavoring to stay away from locations likely to trigger nuclear retaliation. In other words, India has long been planning to respond to major terror attacks with a swift and devastating conventional military action that would inflict only limited damage and so — in a best-case scenario — deny Pakistan justification for a nuclear response.
Islamabad, in turn, has been planning ways to deter the Indians from implementing a Cold-Start-style blitzkrieg on their territory. After much internal debate, its top officials opted for tactical nukes. In 2011, the Pakistanis tested one successfully. Since then, according to Rajesh Rajagopalan, the New Delhi-based co-author of Nuclear South Asia: Keywords and Concepts, Pakistan seems to have been assembling four to five of these annually.
All of this has been happening in the context of populations that view each other unfavorably. ……….
India’s Two Secret Nuclear Sites
On the nuclear front in India, there was more to come. Last December, an investigation by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity revealed that the Indian government was investing $100 million to build a top secret nuclear city spread over 13 square miles near the village of Challakere, 160 miles north of the southern city of Mysore. When completed, possibly as early as 2017, it will be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities.” Among the project’s aims is to expand the government’s nuclear research, to produce fuel for the country’s nuclear reactors, and to help power its expanding fleet of nuclear submarines. It will be protected by a ring of garrisons, making the site a virtual military facility.
Another secret project, the Indian Rare Materials Plant, near Mysore is already in operation. It is a new nuclear enrichment complex that is feeding the country’s nuclear weapons programs, while laying the foundation for an ambitious project to create an arsenal of hydrogen (thermonuclear) bombs.
The overarching aim of these projects is to give India an extra stockpile of enriched uranium fuel that could be used in such future bombs. As a military site, the project at Challakere will not be open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency or by Washington, since India’s 2008 nuclear agreement with the U.S. excludes access to military-related facilities. These enterprises are directed by the office of the prime minister, who is charged with overseeing all atomic energy projects. India’s Atomic Energy Act and its Official Secrets Act place everything connected to the country’s nuclear program under wraps. In the past, those who tried to obtain a fuller picture of the Indian arsenal and the facilities that feed it have been bludgeoned to silence.
Little wonder then that a senior White House official was recently quoted as saying, “Even for us, details of the Indian program are always sketchy and hard facts thin on the ground.” He added, “Mysore is being constantly monitored, and we are constantly monitoring progress in Challakere.” However, according to Gary Samore, a former Obama administration coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, “India intends to build thermonuclear weapons as part of its strategic deterrent against China. It is unclear, when India will realize this goal of a larger and more powerful arsenal, but they will.”
Once manufactured, there is nothing to stop India from deploying such weapons against Pakistan. “India is now developing very big bombs, hydrogen bombs that are city-busters,” said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a leading Pakistani nuclear and national security analyst. “It is not interested in… nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield; it is developing nuclear weapons for eliminating population centers.”
In other words, as the Kashmir dispute continues to fester, inducing periodic terrorist attacks on India and fueling the competition between New Delhi and Islamabad to outpace each other in the variety and size of their nuclear arsenals, the peril to South Asia in particular and the world at large only grows.
Kerry asks Pak to reduce nuclear arsenal, Business Standard, 1 Mar 16 Citing the example of the US and Russia which are working to further reduce their nuclear arsenals, Secretary of State John Kerry asked Pakistan to understand this reality and review its nuclear policy
Press Trust of India | Washington March 1, 2016 The US has pressed Pakistan to reduce its growing nuclear arsenal but Islamabad has refused to accept any curbs on it saying America must show “greater understanding” of its security concerns in South Asia. Citing the example of the US and Russia which are working to further reduce their nuclear arsenals, Secretary of State John Kerry asked Pakistan to understand this reality and review its nuclear policy.
The nuclear issue was discussed during security talks held here yesterday as part of the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue.
“I think, it is important for Pakistan to really process that reality and put that front and centre in its policy,” Kerry said in an apparent reference to the reports that Pakistan has the fastest growing stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.
His remarks come ahead of this month’s Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted here by President Barack Obamathat would be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif……..http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/kerry-asks-pak-to-reduce-nuclear-arsenal-116030100761_1.html
The Other Bomb: Pakistan’s Dangerous Nuclear Strategy, Huffington Post 02/07/2016
For the last seventy-five years, the international politics of the Indian subcontinent, and, to a lesser extent, the broader south and central Asian region that surrounds it, have revolved around the continuing Indian-Pakistani conflict. …….
The program got a significant boost when A.Q. Kahn, a metallurgist working in the Dutch subsidiary of the British-based Uranium Enrichment Company (URENCO Group) returned to Pakistan in 1975. Khan brought with him blueprints for various centrifuge designs and a broad array of business contacts. By buying individual components rather than complete gas centrifuges, he was able to evade existing export controls and acquire the necessary equipment.
Khan would go on to establish an illicit nuclear weapons technology procurement and consulting operation, the “Khan Network,” that would play a major role in the transmission of nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya and to a lesser extent, North Korea. The Pakistani government has denied that it had any knowledge of Khan’s illicit side business but under American pressure arrested A.Q. Khan, sentencing him to house arrest, and dismantled his network.
There continue to be reports, however, that rogue elements of that network continue to operate clandestinely……..
According to various intelligence sources, Pakistan currently has between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons under its control. It is believed, however, that Pakistan has produced and stockpiled around 3,000 kilograms (6,600 lbs) of weapons grade HEU and about 200 kilograms (440 lbs) of plutonium. Pakistan’s HEU based warheads utilize an implosion design that requires between 15 and 20 kg of HEU. The current stockpile is enough for an additional 150 to 200 weapons, depending on the warhead’s desired yield……….
Ultimately, in the long-term, the future direction of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons policy is going to be a function of the state of Indian-Pakistan relations on the subcontinent. In the short-term, however, Pakistan’s rapid growth of its nuclear arsenal and its deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons adds one more factor of instability to the regions international politics and further raises the risk that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of either rogue elements in Pakistan or international jihadist groups.
Pakistan’s army is building an arsenal of ”tiny” nuclear weapons—and it’s going to backfire, Quartz, C. Christine Fair December 21, 2015
Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal and, within the next five to ten years, it is likely to double that of India, and exceed those of France, the United Kingdom, and China. Only the arsenals of the United States and Russia will be larger.
In recent years, Pakistan has boasted of developing “tactical nuclear weapons” to protect itself against potential offensive actions by India. In fact, Pakistan is the only country currently boasting of makingincreasingly tiny nuclear weapons (link in Urdu).
India red flags fresh nuclear reactors in Pakistan with China’s help By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | 18 Dec, 2015 NEW DELHI: India has red flagged fresh nuclear reactors that are being set up in Pakistan with Chinese assistance and asserted that it is taking adequate steps to safeguard any challenge to the country’s security due to these developments.
“The government remains committed to taking all necessary steps to safeguard India’s national security interests,” he said.
Earlier this year a Chinese official publicly confirmed that Beijing is involved in at least six nuclear power projects in Pakistan and is likely to export more to the country. …….
Revelations about the growing Sino-Pakistan nuclear partnership comes amid continuing concerns in some quarters that ongoing cooperation is happening without the sanction of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which helps supervise the export of global civilian nuclear technology. China is a member of the NSG and existing regulations prohibit members from exporting such technology to nations such as Pakistan which does not have full-fledged safeguard mechanism……
Pakistan test-fires nuclear capable ballistic missile, The Guardian, By AFP on December 11, 2015 Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Friday, the military said, two days after the government confirmed it would resume high-level peace talks with arch-rival India.
- The test is the latest in a series carried out by India and Pakistan since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.
The military said it had fired a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads within a range of 2,750 kilometres (1,700 miles)…….
Relations between Pakistan and India — which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 — have always been fraught but soured further last August amid a rise in clashes along their borders and a row over a Pakistani diplomat meeting Kashmiri separatists.
On Wednesday India’s Foreign Minister held talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on the sidelines of a regional summit on Afghanistan, where they jointly announced they would resume high-level peace talks. http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/12/pakistan-test-fires-nuclear-capable-ballistic-missile/
The information was revealed after former CIA analyst, Bruce Riedel, wrote an obituary for Sandy Berger who died of cancer on Wednesday. Mr Berger and was a former national security advisor to the then American President Bill Clinton.
The CIA had warned President Clinton of the plans, which formed part of the daily top secret classified briefing on July 4, 1999, when he was scheduled to meet visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Mr Riedel wrote: “The morning of the Fourth, the CIA wrote in its top-secret Daily Brief that Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use. The intelligence was very compelling. The mood in the Oval Office was grim.
“Berger urged Clinton to hear out Sharif, but to be firm.
“Pakistan started this crisis and it must end it without any compensation. The president needed to make clear to the prime minster that only a Pakistani withdrawal could avert further escalation.
“Sandy knew Clinton better than anyone, his natural inclination was to find a deal. This time, no deal was possible, it must be an unequivocal Pakistani climbdown.
“It worked. Sharif agreed to pull back his troops. It later cost him his job: the army ousted him in a coup and he spent a decade in exile in Saudi Arabia. But the risk of a nuclear exchange in south Asia was averted.
“It was Berger’s finest hour.”
The Kargil war took place along the Pakistan-India Line of Control (LOC) in Ladakh, in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The infiltration of Pakistani armed forces into Indian Territory, led by General Ashraf Rashid initiated the conflict.
The Indian army managed to recapture the majority of the Indian side of the LOC.
The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare, NYT By THE EDITORIAL BOARD NOV. 7, 2015 With as many as 120 warheads, Pakistan could in a decade become the world’s third-ranked nuclear power, behind the United States and Russia, but ahead of China, France and Britain. Its arsenal is growing faster than any other country’s, and it has become even more lethal in recent years with the addition of small tactical nuclear weapons that can hit India and longer-range nuclear missiles that can reach farther.
These are unsettling truths. The fact that Pakistan is also home to a slew of extremist groups, some of which are backed by a paranoid security establishment obsessed with India, only adds to the dangers it presents for South Asia and, indeed, the entire world.
Persuading Pakistan to rein in its nuclear weapons program should be an international priority. The major world powers spent two years negotiating an agreement to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which doesn’t have a single nuclear weapon. Yet there has been no comparable investment of effort in Pakistan, which, along with India, has so far refusedto consider any limits at all.
The Obama administration has begun to address this complicated issue with greater urgency and imagination, even though the odds of success seem small. The recent meeting at the White House on Oct. 22 between President Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan appears to have gone nowhere. Yet it would be wrong not to keep trying, especially at a time of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir and terrorism.
What’s new about the administration’s approach is that instead of treating the situation as essentially hopeless, it is now casting about for the elements of a possible deal in which each side would get something it wants. For the West, that means restraint by Pakistan and greater compliance with international rules for halting the spread of nuclear technology. For Pakistan, that means some acceptance in the family of nuclear powers and access to technology………
The competition with India, which is adding to its own nuclear arsenal, is a losing game, and countries like China, a Pakistan ally, should be pushing Pakistan to accept that. Meanwhile, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has done nothing to engage Islamabad on security issues, and he also bears responsibility for current tensions. The nuclear arms race in South Asia, which is growing more intense, demands far greater international attention. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/sunday/the-pakistan-nuclear-nightmare.html?_r=0
Islamabad moves closer to total disclosure over nuclear weapons, The National ae, Tom Hussain, 25 Oct 15, It has been more than 17 years since Pakistan detonated five nuclear warheads, in a tit-for-tat exchange with India that announced weapons of mass destruction were now part of the South Asian strategic theatre.
Since then, very little has been made public about the underlying philosophy of Pakistan’s programme. In fact, the sole stated “known” is that Pakistan has refused to embrace the no-first-strike commitment made by India, on the ground that Pakistan’s strategic weapons exist to discourage India from using its conventional military superiority to overwhelm it. That position was taken in 2001.
Until recently, the only other information in the public realm was gleaned from Pakistan’s ballistic missile tests. For example, its tests two years ago of short-range missiles revealed they would be used, in theory, against an Indian force that had seized a strategically important parcel of Pakistani territory. However, it has never been specified which parcels of territory would qualify under that inferred criterion.
Pakistan’s so-called “red lines” – events that would trigger a nuclear weapons launch – are unstated and the subject of conjecture. Security analysts have learnt of no more than three such scenarios and they are statements of the obvious for those familiar with recent history……..
Against that backdrop, and that of annual upward revisions of estimates of the number of Pakistan’s nuclear warheads, there have been occasional outbursts of alarm in the US media, reflecting how little is actually known.
Subtly, that situation has begun to change. In June, a US-Pakistan working group issued a statement about their shared desire to ensure the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and steps Pakistan had taken to prevent even unintentional proliferation of its technology. Then, in August, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Centre proposed that Pakistan’s strategic programme should be accepted and brought into the global non-proliferation scheme, in exchange for its commitment to a ceiling on the number of warheads it would produce and the range of its ballistic missile delivery platforms. This month, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius disclosed that Carnegie’s proposals had, in fact, been adopted by the Obama administration and offered to Islamabad. The veracity of the disclosure was confirmed, by inference, in a statement issued after a meeting of Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership held the next day and, the following day, by the White House.
But a deal is not imminent……..
Last Wednesday, however, 24 hours before prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with Barack Obama, Pakistan’s press, quoting the same unnamed official sources, reported the government’s position was markedly different to the long-perceived policy of zero compromise. It would not accept limits on the number of tactical battlefield warheads, it was reported. No mention was made of other types of devices, the strong hint being that a compromise could be reached on those, eventually, if India were prepared to make a matching commitment.
That is, by far, the biggest shift in – and disclosure of – Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine since the 1998 tests……..
It would appear Pakistan has taken the first steps towards joining the global non-proliferation regime. Nobody is suggesting a breakthrough will happen soon, but in a world increasingly characterised by regional conflicts, Pakistan’s willingness to negotiate is an encouraging sign that responsible attitudes are being adopted.
Tom Hussain is Asia-Pacific editor of The World Weekly On Twitter: @tomthehack http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/islamabad-moves-closer-to-total-disclosure-over-nuclear-weapons
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