Pakistan's nuclear assets safe

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Islamabad, Apr 18: Pakistan's Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has expressed satisfaction over the effectiveness of command and control structures of the country's nuclear capability. ''These structures have matured and well conceived and elaborate,'' he said during a visit to Strategic Plans Division, which serves as secretariat for the National Command Authority, responsible for supervising the country's nuclear and missile assets.

''It has been ensured that while our nuclear assets are safe and secure, the force development as per needs of Pakistan's minimum deterrence is progressing well,'' he said after attending a detailed briefing on various dimensions of the nuclear programme at the division yesterday. The prime minister, reiterating his government's commitment to the strategic programme, said Pakistan believed in maintaining the minimum credible deterrence as a cornerstone of its national security policy. ''Pakistan's security will always remain my government's priority,'' he added.

The prime minister said as a responsible, declared and acknowledged nuclear power, Pakistan would continue to play a positive role in international efforts aimed at non-proliferation.

The Prime Minister's remarks came at the backdrop of media reports that the US has sought a direct access to NCA through an official to be placed at its embassy in Islamabad.

However, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmud Qureshi ruled it out completely when he told the National Assembly today that Islamabad could not permit any foreign access in sensitive installations including NCA.

He said Pakistan's nuclear programme is fully secure and is in safe hands. ''We have ensured best pratices in addressing international concerns by creating multi-layered command and control structures.''

UNI

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