THERE is once again confirmation from the US side that Washington is engaged with Pakistan on development of tactical nuclear weapons and that Islamabad is willing to engage on the issue. US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson told Congress that candid discussions were held on some of the concerns including about short-range nuclear systems.
Indeed, it is in line with the policy of the country to remain engaged with the United States and other members of the international community on issues pertaining to nuclear programme. The engagement is aimed at removing some of the misgivings and mis perceptions that are deliberately created by some vested interests to cast aspersions on safety, security and use of nuclear weapons. This is despite the fact that Pakistan has one of the most robust, dependable and comprehensive command and control systems and a fool-proof security umbrella in place to guard against any unauthorized access or use. We believe that the propaganda against Pakistan’s nuclear programme and weapons is nothing but a tool to pressurize the country into accepting some of the discriminatory conditions. While supporting the engagement policy, we would, however, suggest that it should be a short term process and must not be an endless exercise. This is particularly so when the United States and other influential members of the international community have closed their eyes towards India’s nuclear programme and ambitions, which have assumed dangerous and catastrophic dimensions. A latest report by America’s own Foreign Policy magazine reveals that India is in the advance stage of building a top-secret nuclear city at Challakere in Karnataka state to produce, among other things, hydrogen bomb. The project to be completed in 2017 is the largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic research laboratories and weapons and aircraft testing facilities. This is in addition to another secret facility – Rare Materials Plant – in Maysore that would give tremendous boost to country’s enrichment efforts. Apart from China, Pakistan has legitimate reasons to be scary of such moves anddevelopments as, understandably, most of the weapons development in India is Pakistan-specific. It is anybody’s guess thatdevelopment of thermonuclear weapons by India would compel Pakistan to take counter measures to safeguard its security interests. We would urge our authorities concerned not only to focus on refining and updating nuclear weapons and technology but also concentrate more on the delivery system in view of emerging scenario.