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Published On: Mon, Sep 2nd, 2019

Won’t Use Nuclear Weapons First, Says Pak PM Imran Khan

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, July 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

ANUP SINHA
NEW DELHI : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said his country will not use nuclear weapons first, news agency Reuters reported. “We both are nuclear-armed countries. If these tensions increase, the world could be in danger,” Mr Khan said addressing members of the Sikh community in eastern city of LahoreAfter brazenly highlighting Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal amid ongoing tensions with India, Imran Khan on Monday dialled down his aggressive stand and said that his country won’t be the first to use nuclear weapons in case of a war or a conflict.

With his calls to the international community in the aftermath of India revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir not getting even an iota of support, Imran assumed an aggressive tone and even mentioned nuclear weapons Pakistan has in an address to his country.
On Monday, however, Imran took a step back and said he remains committed to not making the first use of such weapons. “We both are nuclear-armed countries. If these tensions increase, the world could be in danger,” he said. “There will be no first from our side ever.”
While a nuclear conflict could have massive ramifications for not just Pakistan and India but for the entire world, there have also been grave concerns in the past about how well Islamabad can guard the country’s nuclear installations.
There have been widespread suspicions that terrorists could take over one of more of these extremely sensitive installations which could result in a massive threat to global peace and security.

Even a non-nuclear conflict with India could have a detrimental impact on Pakistan, a country that is grappling with ginormous economic woes.
Last month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had underscored that India reserves the right to change its policy of ‘No First Use’, which has been the cornerstone of India’s nuclear weapons policy for decades. The government firmly stands by its ‘No First Use’ policy but “what happens in future will depend on the circumstances,” the minister had said.
Pakistan had also approached the United Nations Security Council seeking its intervention in the matter. After a closed-door meeting, most of the members of the council had supported India’s stand that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between the two countries. Ever since the UNSC snub, Mr Khan has been making contentious remarks against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter. Pakistan has threatened to move the International Court of Justice against India’s Kashmir move.
France last month, PM Modi had reiterated India’s stand that Kashmir was a bilateral issue. “There are many bilateral issues between India and Pakistan, and we don’t want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally,” PM Modi had said.
Meanwhile, During the interview with Politico magazine in Brussels recently , India Foreign Minister Mr Jaishankar ruled out any possibility of relaunching bilateral talks with Pakistan — as suggested by Imran Khan — so long as the neighbouring country changes its ways.
“Terrorism is not something that’s being conducted in the dark corners of Pakistan. It’s done in broad daylight,” he said, adding that there was no question of New Delhi and Islamabad approaching the negotiating table until the latter stops financing and recruiting terrorist groups.
An op-ed article that appeared in The New York Times had Imran Khan terming the Narendra Modi government’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status last month as an “assault on Kashmir and its people”. He also claimed that a military escalation between the nuclear powers was imminent unless global powers intervene in the matter.
In his interview with Politico, Mr Jaishankar maintained that the communications blockade in Kashmir was necessary to stop the activation of “terrorist assets” even if it meant inconveniencing the people to some extent. “How do I cut off communications between terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the Internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know,” he said.
(With Agency Inputs ).

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