World should support conflict resolution in S Asia: Aizaz Chaudhry

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Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry on Thursday called on world powers to strive for conflict resolution in South Asia and avoid actions that destabilize the region’s strategic stability.

The foreign secretary was speaking at an international conference jointly hosted by Islamabad-based Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London.

The conference was titled ‘Defense, Deterrence and Stability in South Asia’.

Chaudhry said that if their (world powers) aim is to help achieve a lasting peace in South Asia, they should help to promote an equitable solution to Kashmir and other outstanding disputes and an agreement on mutual military restraint between Pakistan and India.

He said that Pakistan’s nuclear program was defensive in nature and had no offensive designs.

Explaining the regional context, Chaudhry stressed that “conventional asymmetry between India and Pakistan continues to widen as India engages in a massive arms buildup”, while Pakistan’s policy is being guided by the principles of “restraint and responsibility”.

He further said that Pakistan was being compelled to take appropriate measures for its security as the strategic stability in the region was being undermined through “discriminatory nuclear cooperation agreements and waivers from long-held non-proliferation principles” to favour India.

The foreign secretary also elaborated the concept of Full Spectrum Deterrence adopted by the National Command Authority.

“Our conduct continues to be guided strictly by the principle of credible minimum deterrence. Full Spectrum Deterrence is by no means a quantitative change in our credible minimum deterrence, it is rather a qualitative response to the emerging challenges posed in South Asia,” he said.

He dismissed reports about Pakistan’s nuclear program being the fastest growing in the world as “utterly baseless hype”.

“Such reports are aimed at diverting attention from the exponential increase in India’s fissile material stockpiles as a result of nuclear deals with a growing number of NSG   countries and its destabilizing consequences for the region,” he observed.