Pakistan has rejected the US’ call to reduce its nuclear weapons arsenal, with PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz saying that such a move will allow neighbouring India to pose a serious security threat to his country.

Aziz has identified the “strategic and conventional imbalance with India” as the topmost security threat to Pakistan. According to the PM’s adviser, Pakistan’s top security concern is India, and not terrorism. He described terrorism as Pakistan’s domestic concern, saying that the current overflow of terrorism from Afghanistan is the second top security concern and Islamabad could be able to control it in the next few years.

Meanwhile, he advised the US to make the same request to India and not put the onus for it on Pakistan. “If India does (caps its nuclear weapons programme), we would think about it,” he stressed. Aziz further advised the US to normalise its ties with Russia by reducing nuclear arsenals.

Aziz rubbished a report prepared by the US government according to which Pakistan has the fastest growing stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, saying: “Our nuclear programme is a deterrence. It is India which is expanding its nuclear arsenal at a much faster rate than we are.”

Aziz explained that the idea of deterrence is a dynamic one. “Deterrence has to be effective and our deterrence is India centric. If India would not have started its nuclear programme, we would have never done this,” he told the press.

However, the senior Pakistani official made no comment on India’s “No First Use” (NFU) policy. Unlike Pakistan, India has declared that it will never use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. India has also identified itself as a champion of non-invasion, non-expansion and as someone who is not interested in gaining territories of its neighbours. India developed nuclear weapons only after its bitter loss to China in the war in 1962, as the South Asian country felt the need to be able to defend itself from the Chinese expansionist ideas.

Pakistan developed nuclear weapons for the same reason: to act as a deterrent against India. Now, the important question is: Who is India’s enemy or who threatens the sovereignty of India? Indian policymakers do not have a clear-cut answer. They are of the opinion that India may be in a war with any unstable states with internal conflicts, repressive militaries or dictatorships around it. It means that both Pakistan and India are not ready to reduce their nuclear weapons arsenal in near future.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]