Washington, March 3 (IANS) Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs adviser to the Pakistan prime minister, has said “India, not terrorism, is the biggest threat to the region”, and asked India to reduce its nuclear stockpile so that Pakistan can consider reciprocation.
Aziz underscored that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is a major deterrent, a fact that the US also recognises, according to Dawn.
Responding sharply to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s suggestion to cut down on nuclear arsenal, Aziz said it was India that was stockpiling and not Pakistan as it has to keep up a minimum deterrence.
“If they increase the stockpile, we cannot reduce ours,” he said.
Secretary of State Kerry urged Pakistan to reduce its nuclear arsenal by making it front and centre of its policy.
However, Kerry did not mention if the US will ask India to do the same.
Sartaj Aziz in turn asked the US to show a greater understanding of Pakistan’s security concerns and its desire to contribute as a mainstream nuclear power.
The US appreciates Pakistan’s ongoing efforts of command and control in this regard and both countries decided to continue constructive discussion in the Security, Strategic Stability and Non-proliferation working group, Aziz said.
“This is what strategic stability means, to have that deterrence capability,” he added.
“India’s nuclear arsenal has a qualitative side which is continually modernising, so Pakistan has to respond,” Aziz maintained.
Sartaj Aziz was briefing the media on Wednesday in Washington on the proceedings of the sixth round of the Strategic Dialogue between the US and Pakistan.