Islamabad to raise alarm on Delhi’s ballistic arsenal

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ISLAMABAD: Expressing serious concern over the ‘nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean’ following the recent missile tests carried out by India and its subsequent efforts to boost nuclear second strike capabilities, PM’s aide on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz warned that Pakistan will take necessary measures to augment its defence capabilities in addition to highlighting dangerous implications of New Delhi’s plans at international forums.

Delivering a policy statement in the Senate on Thursday in response to New Delhi’s tests of supersonic interceptor missiles, PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the upper house of parliament that Islamabad is cognisant of defence needs.

“We are not oblivious to our defence needs and will have to upgrade our defensive capabilities through suitable technologies,” Aziz said, but he categorically stated that Pakistan will do so “without entering into an arms race.”

He added that Pakistani scientists and defence experts constantly monitor and evaluate the strategic threats that India’s evolving nuclear doctrine can pose to Pakistan’s security and accordingly evolve Pakistan’s strategic response to these threats.

“Despite limitation of resources, Pakistan has developed a robust nuclear deterrence, which is constantly updated,” he said, adding that the safety and security of its nuclear assets have been widely acknowledged.

Referring to the recent missile tests carried out by India and expansion of large nuclear submarines and related ballistic missiles, Aziz reiterated that these conventional programmes are leading to the nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean. “The deployment of these nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed missiles in the Indian Ocean will not only upset the strategic balance in South Asia but will also affect the maritime security of all the 32 littoral states around the Indian Ocean.”

He added that these actions do not reflect the considerable responsibility and maturity required by such advanced conventional weapon technologies. Further, the adviser said that these actions are contrary to the policy of a peaceful friendly neighbourhood.

“Pakistan has serious concerns over these developments,” he said.

“We are also planning to highlight the dangerous implications of India’s plans to nuclearise the Indian Ocean in all relevant international fora,” he added, stating that a proposal is under consideration to move a resolution at the next General Assembly session of the United Nations in September to declare the Indian Ocean a “nuclear free zone”.

“We will approach all the 32 littoral states that straddle the Indian Ocean to co-sponsor this resolution. We are also taking up this issue with all the major powers bilaterally and through multilateral fora.”

Resolution regarding CCI

The Senate has adopted a resolution moved by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq, urging the government to comply with the constitutional provisions concerning the Council of Common Interests especially regularly holding meetings of the council, establishing its permanent secretariat and timely submission of its report to the parliament.

The resolution also calls for ensuring a population census as soon as possible but well before the next elections.

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