'Peace-loving' Pak to continue credible minimum nuke deterrence policy: Air Force chief

Islamabad, Mar 22(ANI): Pakistan does not wish to enter into a nuclear arms race, but will continue to maintain the policy of credible minimum deterrence, Pakistan's Air Force chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has said.

Suleman made these comments while speaking at an international conference on "Fissile Material Treaty (FMT): Possibility and Prospects."

"Pakistan was reluctant to enter into the nuclear business. It decided to embark on a nuclear programme-not as a matter of choice-but out of compulsion," the Daily Times quoted the air chief, as saying.

Suleman also said that although Pakistan wants to follow a policy of peaceful co-existence in the region, it cannot remain oblivious to the developments in South Asia.

As a nuclear state, Pakistan is fully cognisant of its responsibilities and has established effective and robust command and control structures along with comprehensive export controls and regulatory regimes, he said.

"These are fully compatible with international practices and global regimes and are acknowledged internationally," he added.

Suleman further stated that Pakistan considers the Conference on Disarmament as the "sole forum entrusted to negotiate disarmament agreements with an all encompassing view to achieve complete and general disarmament, and has always remained constructively involved in its proceedings."

Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament objectives in South Asia, he said, are linked with regional security dynamics, the need to address existing asymmetries and the resolution of outstanding disputes.

"Pakistan is a peace loving country and wants to live in the region, with honour and dignity... but will not compromise on its national security," he added. (ANI)