New York, Sep 21 : Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that the country has access to short-range nuclear weapons and will use it to counter the Indian Army.
“We have developed short-range nuclear weapons as a counter to the Cold Start doctrine that India has developed. Again, those are in the same command-and-control authority that controls the other strategic weapons,” he said at the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank.
Abbasi’s declaration comes amid North Korea’s escalating threats of nuclear warfare, which has been condemned by leaders across the world.
Expressing doubts over Pakistan’s ability to handle nuclear weapons, the council moderator David Sanger said, “There’s no nuclear arsenal in the world that is growing faster. And there’s no nuclear arsenal in the world, other than North Korea’s, that tends to worry American more, because they worry about the safety of the arsenal. They worry about the command and control of the arsenal.”
“We have a very robust and secure command-and-control system over our strategic nuclear assets. Time has proved that it’s a process that is very secure. It’s a process that has complete civilian oversight through the NCA,” he said.
He further added that the command-and-control systems are as secure as anybody else’s in the world.
“The last 20 years are testament to that,” Abbasi said in response to another question.
“So let there be no doubt that any extremist element or somebody like that can gain control of fissile material or a nuclear weapon. There is just no possibility of that. And it’s time-tested, and it’s a very secure system that has been put in place,” he said.
“Pakistan is a responsible global citizen, and we’ve shown a responsibility on the ground with this huge war on terror that we’ve been fighting for the last 15 years,” Abbasi said.
“We do have nuclear capability. There’s no doubt about that. And we know how to handle nuclear waste. We had a nuclear program in the early ’60s, one of the first countries in Asia to have a nuclear program. So if we’ve managed it for over 50-odd years, I think we can continue to manage it,” he said.