Pak now blames India for its 1998 nuke tests; wants to join NSG

In a move to cover up Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation record and equate the country with India, Islamabad today claimed it was forced to test nuclear weapons two decades ago due to "hostile posturing" by India.

In a statement issued on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 28 May 1998 nuclear tests, foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal also insisted that the testing of atomic bombs by India eliminated chances of a nuclear weapons-free South Asia.
"Pakistan was forced to take that decision as a response, in self-defence, to the nuclear tests and accompanying hostile posturing by its neighbour. These developments unfortunately put an end to the prospect for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons — an objective which Pakistan had actively pursued," he said.
India conducted a series of five nuclear explosions at the Pokhran in May 1998, which was soon followed by Pakistan's tests.
Pakistan, the spokesman said, however, remained steadfast in its commitment to “non-proliferation”, “global peace” and “strategic stability” and demonstrated “utmost restraint and responsibility” in the “stewardship of its nuclear capability” since 1998.
"It is committed to the principle of credible minimum deterrence and has persistently sought deterrence stability in the region," he said.
Pakistan, Faisal added, took up several confidence building measures (CBMs) in the nuclear and conventional domains, including the 2004 Pakistan-India joint statement which recognised the respective nuclear capabilities of the two countries as a factor for stability.
"Pakistan plans to increase its nuclear power generation capacity to 40,000 MW by 2050, as a clean and cost-effective alternative to fossil fuel," he said while claiming that Pakistan is one of the most affected countries by the impact of climate change.
While insisting that Pakistan has consistently signalled its willingness to consider further measures for risk reduction and avoidance of arms race in the region, the spokesman said his country was confident of its ability to deny space for any misadventure against the backdrop of rapidly expanding nuclear and conventional forces in its neighbourhood.
"The nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean and canesterisation of ballistic missiles in our neighbourhood should be a matter of concern for the international community as well, since these developments have extra-regional ramifications," he said.
Pakistan, he said, while recognising its responsibilities, has developed over the years a robust command and control system led by the National Command Authority, and effective nuclear safety and security regimes and export controls.
Pakistan is looking forward to expanding the scope of its international collaboration in nuclear power generation for meeting the legitimate socio-economic development needs of its people, he added.
He said Pakistan had expressed desire to join the multilateral export control regimes and already applied for participation in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) based on non-discriminatory criteria applicable in a fair manner to all non-NPT states.