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Pakistan's nuclear programme is safe from terrorists: Aizaz

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry addressing a seminar on nuclear security on Thursday said Pakistan has urged the United States to shun discriminatory treatment against Islamabad when it comes to nuclear and defence ties.

“If India is given preferential treatment regarding membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, then stopping a regional nuclear arms race will become a distant dream,” he said at the seminar titled ‘Assessing South Asia’s Nuclear Security’.

“Indian aggression is not in the best interests of the region,” he said.

Aizaz reiterated the claim that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was “not against anyone” and is only for self-defence.

Aizaz claimed that Pakistan’s nuclear programme complies with global standards of safety and has never faced any threats. “Terrorists have never attempted to harm the programme,” he said, adding that “our programme has remained secure even during waves of terrorism”.

He said Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state and its nuclear assets were safe and regularised by the autonomous Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Radio Pakistan reported.

He said Pakistan qualified for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and had mobilised member countries in order to support the cause.

India and Pakistan are both non-NPT states aspiring for the membership of the 48-member international nuclear trade cartel dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development. The group’s members have to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

Pakistan earlier suggested that both countries sign a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. Pakistan’s suggestions, however, have never been positively received, Aizaz said.

He added that both countries need to bolster Confidence-Building Measures in order to reach pragmatic solutions to long-standing disputes, Radio Pakistan reported.

Explore: India’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group ‘not merited’, says NYT

China is leading opposition to a push by the United States (US) and other major powers for India to join the main club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology.

India already enjoys most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear cooperation deal with Washington, even though India has developed atomic weapons and never signed the nuclear NPT, the main global arms control pact.

Opponents argue that granting it membership would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation.

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