Our nukes no cause for concern, says Pakistan (Lead, changing dateline)

Washington, April 1 (IANS) Pakistan has sought to allay concerns about the safety of its nuclear programme maintaining that the country had never suffered a nuclear accident or breach of security.

At a news briefing here on Thursday, Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhary said the impression that Islamabad’s nuclear installations were insecure was baseless, Dawn online reported on Friday.

“Pakistan’s nuclear installations are not only secure but the world also acknowledges that they are,” he said.

Chaudhary said the International Atomic Energy Agency has recorded 2,734 nuclear incidents worldwide, including five in India, but “not a single accident or breach happened in Pakistan, although our programme is 40 years old”.

The foreign secretary said it was wrong to describe Pakistan’s short-range missiles or small nukes as battlefield or tactical weapons.

“Pakistan has short-range and long-range missiles, and the purpose behind both is to deter aggression,” he said, adding “we want to prevent war, to prevent the space Indians created for war” by building military installations close to the Pakistani border as part of their cold start doctrine, he added.

“Calling them battlefield weapons creates a wrong perception. These are for deterrence, only and only for defence,” Chaudhary said. “There is no cause for concern.”

The foreign secretary said Pakistan had installed radiation monitors at all sensitive facilities and planned to install more monitors at all 72 exit and entry points in the country.

“India, on the other hand, has an ambitious nuclear programme, and an equally ambitious conventional weapons programme,” he added. “We have a modest programme because we feel we have the right to defend ourselves.”

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