Pakistan assured the world community that it is considering ratification of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and is actively conducting a review to meet its various requirements, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that energy-starved Pakistan was anxiously looking forward to international cooperation and assistance for nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards.
He also called for Pakistan’s inclusion in all international export control regimes, especially the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and international treaties and forums should supplement national actions to fortify nuclear security.
“Pakistan’s nuclear security is supported by five pillars – a strong command and control system led by the National Command Authority (NCA); an integrated intelligence system; a rigorous regulatory regime; a comprehensive export control regime; and active international cooperation,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said while addressing the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit on Monday.
The two-day summit is being attended by leaders from 53 countries, United Nations, European Union, International Atomic Energy Agency and Interpol.
Prime Minister Sharif is accompanied by Special Assistant Syed Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry for the trip.
The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington in 2010 and the second in Seoul in 2012. The summit is aimed at promoting nuclear security through voluntary national actions and international cooperation. The prime minister will also be one of the keynote speakers at a meeting on the future of the NSS process on March 25.
During Monday’s speech, Nawaz said Pakistan attaches highest importance to nuclear security because it is directly linked to the country’s national security.
“Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapons state. We pursue a policy of nuclear restraint, as well as credible minimum deterrence,” the premier remarked.
“Looking back, we can say with confidence that our decisions and commitments have spurred national action, promoted international cooperation and fostered nuclear security culture,” he said.
On prevention of nuclear terrorism, he remarked, “We all want nuclear security, which is a national responsibility and a global priority.”
Nawaz called for taking measures to secure all nuclear facilities and materials and prevent any perceived nuclear terrorist threat. But at the same time the Pakistani leader underlined the importance of nuclear technology for hospitals, industry and research and said, “We should be vigilant about radiological threats.”
“Our region needs peace and stability for economic development that benefits its people. That is why, I strongly advocate nuclear restraint, balance in conventional forces and ways to resolve conflicts,” Nawaz said.
Highlighting security features of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Prime Minister Sharif said the country’s security regime covers physical protection, material control and accounting, border controls and radiological emergencies.
“Pakistan’s nuclear security regime is anchored in the principle of multi-layered defence for the entire spectrum – insider, outsider or cyber threat. We have established a Centre of Excellence that conducts intense specialized courses in nuclear security, physical protection and personnel reliability,” remarked the premier.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan is ready to share its best practices and training facilities with other interested states in the region and beyond.
“We have also deployed radiation detection mechanisms at several exit and entry points to prevent illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials.”
The prime minister called upon other world leaders to consolidate progress made so far on nuclear security. “We must also maintain our political will, avoid duplication of effort and broaden our membership to gain more acceptance for our decisions,” he added.