The US has pressed Pakistan to reduce its growing nuclear arsenal but Islamabad has refused to accept any curbs on it saying America must show “greater understanding” of its security concerns in South Asia.
Citing the example of the US and Russia which are working to further reduce their nuclear arsenals, US Secretary of State John Kerry asked Pakistan to understand this reality and review its nuclear policy.
The nuclear issue was discussed during security talks held on Monday as part of the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue.
“I think, it is important for Pakistan to really process that reality and put that front and centre in its policy,” Kerry said in an apparent reference to the reports that Pakistan has the fastest growing stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.
His remarks come ahead of this month’s Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted here by the US President Barack Obama that would be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“We look forward to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s participation in the nuclear security summit next month,” Kerry said, adding “non-proliferation” and “nuclear safety” is of obvious concern to both countries.
“I expect that we continue to discuss the obligation of being a responsible state with nuclear weapons in the coming
year,” he said.
“As you know United States of America once had 50,000 (nuclear) warheads pointing at another country/entity the Soviet Union. Soviet Union had 50,000 pointing at us. It took two Presidents (Mikhail) Gorbachev and (Ronald) Reagan to decide that this did not make sense,” Kerry said.
“We have moved in a completely opposite direction. And today, Russia and the United States are operating under a treaty that has about 1500 or so nuclear warheads and we are seeking to reduce that,” said the top American diplomat. On the other hand, Aziz sought nuclear mainstreaming of Pakistan.
“Our engagement on non-proliferation and strategic stability will continue and Pakistan hopes to see greater US understanding of Pakistan’s security concerns and its desire to contribute actively as a mainstream nuclear power,” he said.
Pakistan has said that it will not accept any unilateral curbs on its nuclear programme and that any reduction should apply to India as well and the US should also consider its concerns on the growing weapons disparity.