Pakistan will be looking to go ahead with its tactical nuclear weapons programme despite growing concerns from the West, according to the adviser to the National Command Authority (NCA) retired Lt Gen Khalid Ahmed Kidwai.
According to Dawn, Kidwai justifies as to why Pakistan had been compelled to build tactical nuclear weapons and asserted that the world criticised Pakistan for developing battlefield weapons while completely ignored the causes that had pushed it in that direction. "We are not apologetic about the development of tactical nuclear weapons. They are here to stay and provide the third (tactical) element of our full-spectrum deterrence," Gen Kidwai said during a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.
Since Pakistan first tested the short-range Nasr missile in 2011 to counter India's Cold Start Doctrine, the United States and other Western countries have been expressing concerns about the security of the battlefield nuclear weapons. The US has been vehemently nudging Pakistan to rein in the tactical weapons programme.
However Gen. Kidwai further said that "Pakistan will not cap or curb its nuclear weapons programme or accept any restrictions. All attempts in this regard, as recently made clear by NCA, are bound to end up nowhere". "The ball is back in the court of politicians and diplomats. They must reassert from this position where there is a situation of military stalemate, with neither side expecting military results, to achieve political objectives," Gen. Kidwai said.
This development comes days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told US Ambassador David Hale that Pakistan was ready to make commitments about security of nuclear assets, but not the ones that could affect its military capability, according to a source.