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US concerned about Pakistan’s Nuclear Program Integrity

Washington & Melbourne, May 3:   Director of ARC Humankind, Paulo Casaca, met US Congressman Trent Franks last month, and presented him the ARC Humankind policy brief, “The Pink Triangle Threat: Nuclear Terror Proliferation: An Assessment.”

Congressman Trent Franks, Arizona Republican Congressman since 2002, has been especially active in the fight against nuclear proliferation, and is an authority in the field.

In its recent five points report, ARCHumankind argues that nuclear terror proliferation is the most important impending threat facing humanity today, and emphasizes that this threat has increased considerably, following the accommodative attitude of the international community towards the undercover Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

It further states that the contemporary wave of nuclear proliferation was centred in Pakistan, and was developed through the so-called “Khan network” – a mix of state, non-state and multinational fanatics that promoted clandestine nuclear weapons technology across the World – which allowed both Iran and North Korea to develop their nuclear programmes.

Although the West disrupted this nuclear network, its existence enabled North Korea to acquire nuclear weapon capability sold by the Pakistan Army, and Iran to come very close to its completion, thereby posing a major threat to regional and global stability.

Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear weapons programme in the world today, and recently announced the development of a new tactical nuclear weapons initiative, for deployment along its border with India.pakistan nuclear program

Whereas Pakistan has repeatedly shown itself as an irresponsible country, unable to rein-in its Army-controlled, runaway nuclear weapons program, and being the source of most of today’s proliferation, and whereas its nuclear arsenal has been seen as the least secured, a lighter, more diversified and widespread nuclear device capability, implied by the tactical nuclear announcement, significantly increases the present dangers.

Given its consistent support to the jihadist and terrorist infrastructure, it is assessed that the possibility of these small nuclear devices being used by these groups to target the West or its forces, is extremely high.

The Obama administration has repeatedly expressed concern over Pakistan’s continuing deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons and said this increases nuclear risks.

“We have been very concerned about Pakistan’s deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons,” Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller had told Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing in March 2016.

However, Pakistan PM’s advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz blamed India for its nuclear activity.

“Pakistan is a peace loving country but it was compelled to get nuclear deterrence in the face of growing threat to its security and integrity after Indian nuclear tests,” he said.

As international pressure mounted on the country to slow down its atomic programme, Pakistan said it would maintain minimum nuclear deterrence for balancing the strategic stability in South Asia.

Addressing a seminar titled ‘Pakistan’s Non-proliferation Efforts and Strategic Export Controls’ hosted by the Institute of Strategic Studies, he said South Asia’s strategic stability has been negatively impacted by India-US nuclear deal.

“A case in point is the Indo—US civil nuclear deal and the subsequent discriminatory waiver granted to India by the NSG. Eight years down the road one wonders what benefit the non-proliferation regime has secured from the deal?” he asked.

He said that the NSG waiver has allowed India to increase its fissile material stocks with grave implications for the strategic stability of the region.

“As we seek to ensure our security, credible minimum deterrence remains our guiding principle and our conduct will continue to be defined by restraint and responsibility,” he said.

He said the policy of nuclear mainstreaming of any state should be based on uniform criteria rather than a country specific approach.

By Jim Bellushi from Washington DC and RV in Melbourne

feature image: US President Barack Obama meets with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in White House in Washington in Oct. 2015

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