ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said Pakistan has taken notice of a first “deterrence patrol” of an Indian nuclear submarine and subsequent “self-congratulatory messages in India”.
Addressing his weekly press briefing, FO Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said, “The development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia which is a matter of concern not only for the Indian Ocean littoral states but also for the international community at large.”
Earlier this week, New Delhi had said that its first domestically built nuclear-powered submarine had recently completed a “deterrence patrol”, giving it the capability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air, and sea in the event of any “misadventure” by enemies.
With nuclear-armed China to its north and nuclear-armed Pakistan to its west — both of which India has fought wars with — India’s nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, said the INS Arihant was a “fitting response to those who indulge in nuclear blackmail”.
“The bellicose language employed by the top Indian leadership highlights the threats to strategic stability in South Asia and raises questions about responsible nuclear stewardship in India,” the FO spokesperson said, adding that the increased frequency of missile tests by India, aggressive posturing and deployment of nuclear weapons calls for an assessment of the non-proliferation benefits resulting from Indian membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime.
“Pakistan is committed to the objective of strategic stability in South Asia and believes that the only way forward for both countries is to agree on measures for nuclear and missile restraint,” he said.
“At the same time no one should be in doubt about Pakistan’s resolve and capabilities to meet the challenges posed by the latest developments both in the nuclear and conventional realms in South Asia,” the spokesperson asserted.