Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal has said that Pakistan’s nuclear programme is only for defence purposes. Speaking on the 20th anniversary of nuclear tests, he said that Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998 in response 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. Notwithstanding these facts, Pakistan has remained steadfast in its commitment to non-proliferation and global peace and strategic stability, he said. Dr Faisal said Pakistan had 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 continued: “At the same time, Pakistan remains confident of its ability to deny space for any misadventure against the backdrop of rapidly expanding nuclear and conventional forces in its neighbourhood, deployment of BMD and pursuit of aggressive security doctrines and developing force postures.” “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. “Cognizant of its responsibility as a state with nuclear capability, Pakistan has over the years developed robust command and control systems led by the National Command Authority, effective nuclear safety and security regimes and export controls which are at par with the contemporary international standards. Pakistan has taken significant measures to ensure comprehensive nuclear security which have been acknowledged internationally.” He added that Pakistan was also proud of its accomplishments in harnessing nuclear technology for peace, progress and prosperity. He went on to say that the nuclear technology had been successfully employed for the benefit of the people in areas of medicine, health, agriculture, industry, food preservation, water management and power generation. “Being one of the most affected countries due to the impact of climate change, 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. Pakistan looks forward to expanding the scope of its international collaboration in nuclear power generation for meeting the legitimate socio-economic development needs of its people.” Published in Daily Times, May 29th 2018.