Author Archives: kerr

Pakistan’s Defense Minister on Nuclear Weapons

This past June, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif gave an interview in which he commented on Islamabad’s nuclear weapons program:

Our nuclear capability, or nuclear assets, they are not for any jingoistic or hostile intentions. If you observe, since we attained nuclear capability, the skirmishes, the wars, the battles between India and Pakistan have not escalated the way they escalated way back in 1965, and 1948, and then 1971. These were large-scale wars between India and Pakistan. We have had some sort of tension between India and Pakistan, but they are short-lived tensions, military tensions or border tensions.

So, I think it’s something which underwrites our security, it’s not for any hostile—no, absolutely no, absolutely not. India had become a nuclear power. And we were compelled not to be gobbled by India over the years or over the decades. This is something which underwrites the peace in our region and to a great extent, our security. Otherwise, we have absolutely no intentions. Absolutely no.

It is a program which is certified by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and even as recently as a month back, there was a statement from the IAEA that all the standards—even from the United States—that our program is safe. So, this is something which the regional countries, our neighbors or even elsewhere, despite the fact that we have terrorist activities, which was a byproduct of a foreign war in the ’80s and after 9/11, that’s the byproduct of that war that threatened our internal security in so many ways, but we contained everything with conventional forces and conventional weapons.

And we will not, never, never, ever cross that threshold. That is something that just guarantees our independence

China and State Compliance Report

A few weeks ago, I noticed something in the 2023 Compliance Report. The report mentions China’s 2000 commitment to refrain from assisting “in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons (i.e., missiles capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kilograms to a distance of at least 300 kilometers),”

The report then includes this bit:

Based on information included in the classified Annex, the United States will no longer report on the PRC’s adherence to its 2000 commitment in future Compliance Reports.

Not sure what that’s about.

DRC and Nuclear History

Back after a month off from blogging.

The LRB has some history of the DRC’s nuclear reactor, much of which I did not know:

…the Americans were confident that the Katanga secession would protect the Shinkolobwe uranium mine from nationalisation – and from a Soviet hand in any new arrangements. Congolese uranium had been essential to the Manhattan Project; during the Second World War, the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor to the CIA) had set up a station in the Belgian Congo to protect the ore from both the Soviets and the Nazis. As the Cold War came to a head in the 1950s, the US agreed to fund Belgium’s nuclear energy programme in order to maintain the supply. Two first-generation reactors were built as a consequence, one in Belgium and one in the Belgian Congo. In August 1960, the US Atomic Energy Commission asked [CIA chief of station, Larry Devlin] to disable it in the event of a Soviet takeover by removing the fuel rods from the reactor – a reckless mission he declined.

Pakistan on Nuclear Sharing

From the June 1 Pakistan MFA briefing:

Question:​ You’ve mentioned that the Minister of State will be heading to Sweden to attend the Annual Meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) as a key note speaker. Will she be holding bilateral meetings because the matter of the closure of Swedish Embassy or a technical closure of their consular section is quite a pain for Pakistani nationals seeking to go to Sweden for study or other purposes? So, will that matter be taken up in her interactions?

Secondly, we had the Belarus Foreign Minister visit Pakistan very recently. Was the matter of Russia deploying its nuclear weapons in Belarus considered or discussed in this meeting? (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)

Answer:​ Your first question was about the Minister of State’s visit to Sweden. Yes, when she visits Sweden, she will also hold the bilateral meetings where all aspects of bilateral cooperation will be discussed including visa related matters.

Regarding your second question, the focus of discussions between the visiting Foreign Minister of Belarus and Pakistani dignitaries including the Foreign Minister was on the bilateral relationship. As such no such issue came up. However, we would like to reiterate Pakistan’s consistent position that all states should abide by their international legal obligations and Non-Proliferation commitments and avoid steps inconsistent with such commitments. The issue of stationing nuclear weapons on territories of NPT non-nuclear weapon states, at present as well as in the past, needs to be carefully examined by all parties to the Treaty as it has serious repercussions for global peace and security.