US Responsibility as a Nuclear Power By Reema Shaukat

SEVENTY-three years have passed since USA for the very first time used nuclear bombs. On August 6, 1945 the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, and three days later another one on Nagasaki. More than 100,000 people lost their lives instantly and many suffered horrifying injuries and radioactive sickness. Children born after so many years of this nuclear attack, carried birth defects because of those radiations. Though nuclear weapons were never used again, but they remain a constant hazard to the globe. With passage of time, many developed countries have also achieved status of nuclear power. Though the nuclear threat always exists but even the testing and developing of nuclear missiles itself is a big peril and must be dealt wisely.
Although many countries have signed Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an agreement which prevents spreading of nuclear weapons and works towards its elimination. Yet the fact these nuclear weapons can even be accidently used, pose a very major threat. The NPT went structural in 1970 but number of countries have not only developed nuclear nukes but there is no agenda till today for their appropriate elimination. There are less number of states who have declared themselves as nuclear free, rather many are in process of acquiring this status. Many countries are also concerned about the growing use of nuclear energy around the world. Almost over 30 years nuclear power plants have been built across but there is still no safe way of disposing the nuclear waste. These contaminated wastes equally put danger not to environment but lives of many living beings and future generations.
It was during the World War-II that the United States detonated nuclear weapons and thus became the only country in the history of warfare to manufacture nuclear nukes and the only country to have used them. Though during the Cold War era, Cuban Missile Crisis at one stage was expected to escalate but it never led to any more use of nuclear nukes against any of the power blocs of that time. But United States before and after Cold War conducted thousands of nuclear tests just to ensure its supremacy. US nuclear build up is still questioned though US denies its spread and extensive testing. It was in September, 2015 the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) declared that the department had never conducted an authoritative inventory of the location and quantity of plutonium loaned by the US to other nations and that eleven foreign sites with US made bomb-grade uranium had not been visited by the US inspectors in the previous 20 years. The GAO warned in their report that many sites inspected before 2010 lacked rigorous security systems.
USA often imposes military embargo on Pakistan. The justification it seeks is that its terrorist sponsoring state and it needs to be placed on watch list because of its nuclear programme. On the other hand it is well known fact that Pakistan went nuclear in 1998 because of its threatening neighbour India. The United States and other Western states imposed economic sanctions against Pakistan because of nuclear tests. But Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are widely criticized by overlooking Indo-US deals and Cold Start Doctrine. From a military standpoint, doctrine for the use of tactical nuclear weapons must be operationally credible so as to enhance deterrence. Pakistan’s need for doctrine refurbishing with specific regard to tactical nuclear weapons is rooted in challenges, which are all genuine due to growing Indian conventional as well as nuclear capabilities. With the introduction of low-yield or tactical nuclear weapons our doctrine has not changed principally but now it is defined as Full Spectrum Deterrence. These low yield nuclear weapons are under sharp focus of US and west and often say that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals are under high risk of theft, which surely is a wrong postulate.
On the other hand, it is well known to the world and even US that the institutions responsible for nuclear program inspect and visit nuclear installations on regular basis in Pakistan in order to run these sites according to international error free safety and security standards. The propaganda that there is a possibility of nuclear assets in Pakistan going into the hands of terrorist is a pre-planned idea just to target Pakistan’s national security. The US is implementing double game against Pakistan because the US, India and some Western powers who are acting upon the particular agenda to denuclearise Pakistan, and often resuscitate their propaganda campaign regarding the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
Pakistan has the required credentials that entitle it to become part of all multi-lateral export control regimes including the Nuclear Suppliers Group in which Pakistan strive for a non-discriminatory approach. Not a single nuclear radiation accident in Pakistan has occurred since it became nuclear and all its reactors are ensured under IAEA safeguards. Pakistan has always acted sensibly while avoiding arms race in region and India’s hostile intentions forced Pakistan to go for nuclear tests. Pakistan is the only nuclear country with zero incidents of mishap whereas other nuclear states have such incidents on their list including US. Therefore instead of criticising only Pakistan, US must keep a balance in its approach towards all nuclear powers.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.

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