Two decades of nuclear South Asia

Despite repeated assurances of Pakistan that its nuclear program is aimed for peaceful means only and has maintained minimum credible deterrence, still Pakistan is doubted from a number of angles.

By: Waheed Ali
Pakistan was compelled to conduct nuclear tests on May 28th in 1998 due to India’s threatening approach by conducting nuclear tests on 11th and 13th May 1998. However, the first series of the nuclear tests by India were conducted in 1974. Despite India’s such aggressive and threatening activities no serious action was taken against them. Rather, Pakistan was threatened for not following the suit, in case found on that ground was warned of serious repercussions. Such discriminatory approach of world mainly by the US was seemed targeting and going against the interests of Pakistan.
According to BBC, President Clinton had telephoned the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ‘urged Islamabad to refrain from conducting nuclear tests.’ The US Assistant Secretary of State Strobe Talbott had warned Pakistan of serious and strong measures if it followed the path that India had taken. The US Under-Secretary of State, John Holum, had said the US would emphasize the argument that matching India test-for-test would worsen, not improve, Pakistan’s security. However, the then Pakistani Foreign Minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, had said: “Indian actions which pose an immediate and grave threat to Pakistan’s security will not go unanswered.”
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing a mass gathering on the eve of the 20th anniversary nuclear tests said the then President of the US Mr. Bill Clinton had called him five times and had offer offered him $5 billion for not conducting nuclear tests.
Critics of Pakistan has been attacking Pakistan with hard hammer while India is left with free hand and soft choice. Despite repeatedly assurances of Pakistan that its nuclear program is aimed for peaceful means only and has maintained minimum credible deterrence, still Pakistan is doubted from a number of angles. It is wrongly profiled about Pakistan that its nuclear arsenals are at the risk of being hijacked or going into the hands of terrorists. Pakistan has maintained high level security of its nuclear site even before conducting the nuclear tests.
Pakistan being a responsible nuclear armed states has always firmly resolved that it adheres to the principle of ‘Minimum Credible Deterrence’ while India has crossed the principle and has went otherwise. Similarly, it is India not Pakistan that is regional security risk that always breaches principles of maintaining peace and stability of the region and is trying it’s hard to profile Pakistan as a regional risk and alleges Pakistan with the tag of sponsor of violence which is a naked lie and allegations.
Pakistan has done enough and is standing with firm resolve to establish complete peace and eliminate the menace of terrorism from its soil and the beyond and contribute in regional peace. Pakistan’s efforts on the war on terror are obvious. Pakistan has sacrificed in the war against terror more than anyone else and successfully dismantled terrorists’ network through a number of operations i.e. Operation Al-Mizan (Justice) June 2002, Operation Kalosha March 2004 (Wana), Operation Rah-e-Haq (the Path of Truth) October-November 2007, Operation Zalzala (Earthquake) Jan 2008, Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (Right Path) June 2008, Operation Sher Dil (Lion heart) Sep 2008, Operation Rah-e-Haq-III (January 2009), Operation Sher Dil: Battle for Bajaur (September 2009), Operation Rah-e-Rast (May 2009), Operation Rah-e-Nijat (2009-2010), Operation Koh-e-Sufaid (White Mountain) July 2011, Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014 and Operation Rad ul Fassad in 2017 are few names which are the evidences of Pakistan’s efforts towards peace in the region.
Despite all such efforts and strong military actions by Pakistan against terrorist networks, India has always Pakistan a security risk and has portrayed unsafe picture of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, which is nothing but Indian propaganda to weaken Pakistan’s stance and put forward wrong impression about the safety and security of nuclear arsenals.
Under what circumstances, Pakistan should be treated as a reliable, sound secure and responsible nuclear state. However, the international community must realise and acknowledge Pakistan’s contribution towards peace efforts. And the critics of Pakistan must remember that it was India not Pakistan who initiated nuclear race within the South Asia which compelled Pakistan to go nuclear for the just survival and safety and security of its land and the people.
Waheed Ali Chandio works as Research Associate at PAKISTAN HOUSE an Institute of International and Cultural Relations Islamabad areas of interests include Foreign Policy, National Security, Strategic Studies and International Politics.

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