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Pakistan wants India to bring its civilian nuclear programme under IAEA

07 February, 2017

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Pakistan wants India to bring its entire civilian nuclear programme under the safeguards laid out by the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA), a press release quoting Director General Disarmament at the Foreign Office Kamran Akhtar said.

Akhtar was speaking at a round-table discussion in Islamabad on Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), organised to prepare for the upcoming Conference on Disarmament (CD). Experienced FMCT experts also participated in the meeting.

"It is incumbent on us to stand up for our own interest. We want an assurance that India's whole three stage nuclear power programme would be under safeguards," Akhtar said, Pakistan will not agree to FMCT until it gets the assurance from India.

He said negotiating a treaty that only bans future production of fissile material without taking into account the existing stockpiles would freeze "the existing asymmetries".

The DG Disarmament was of the opinion that India has been given "discriminatory waivers", which add to Pakistan's security concerns.

He said that eight of the Indian reactors, its fast breeder programme and approximately five tonnes of reactor-grade plutonium were included in the safeguards of dictated by the IAEA.

The FMCT would put Pakistan at a permanent disadvantage and undermine its security interests, Akhtar added.

There is a fear that the reactors not mandated by the safeguards might be used clandestinely for plutonium production and the existing stockpiles might be diverted to a military programme at a subsequent stage, the DG said.

He further said, "Pakistan should not be asked to agree to something that is not in its strategic interest."

"We have to factor into consideration possible actions by India that could undermine credibility of our nuclear deterrence," he added.

Dr Mansoor Ahmed, a post doctoral fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, said that Pakistan was not engaged in a "classic cold war-type arms race" but that it is striving to maintain the credibility of its deterrent.

"It's striving for balance, not parity with India," Ahmed argued and said that India was pursuing the fastest growing fissile material expansion and conventional and strategic force modernization outside the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) states, besides moving in the direction of a first strike option coupled with a review of their No-First Use policy.

The expert further said that India's development of ballistic missile defence and other emerging conventional and nuclear counterforce capabilities were straining Pakistan's deterrence, compelling it to take appropriate countermeasures.

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