Islamabad, Feb 26: Pakistan's biggest worry right now is that "India will soon possess the much-vaunted nuclear triad", said a Pakistani daily which observed that Pakistan is nowhere near reaching that level.
An editorial "The NCA meeting" in The News International said that Pakistan's nuclear ambitions are three-fold: It wants to maintain a large enough stockpile to act as a deterrent against India, it wants a civil nuclear deal with the US so that it can import nuclear fuel and technology and it wants to convince the world that the command-and-control structure in place safeguards against our technology falling into the wrong hands.
Wednesday's meeting of the National Command Authority tried to make some progress on all three fronts.
"Regarding the deterrent, our biggest worry right now is that India will soon possess the much-vaunted nuclear triad -- the ability to launch nuclear weapons by land, air and sea.
"Since Pakistan is nowhere near reaching that level, the NCA decided to reiterate its call for a Strategic Restraint Regime with India," said the daily.
It added that this would have the effect of cooling down the nuclear arms race, and lead directly to Pakistan's second ambition of reaching a civil-nuclear deal with the US and countries like France.
"This is why India has adamantly opposed the Strategic Restraint Regime. India wants to maintain its status as the only country yet to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty that has been given a civil-nuclear deal by the US; and should we show our intentions are responsible by creating this regime, India is worried it could lead to a similar deal for us."
It said that to advance Pakistan's third goal of demonstrating the safety of its nuclear arsenal, the NCA also called for the ratification of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
"However, even if we ratify the treaty, as most of the world has already done, we will be unlikely to convince the West that our nuclear technology will not fall into the hands of militants."
It went on to say that regular alarmist stories in the international press, accompanied by the memory of our illicit nuclear transfers in the 1990s to the pariah state of North Korea, have combined to ensure that regular demonstrations of the security and safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal go ignored.
"Add to that Indian lobbying against Pakistan and there is no chance of our being accorded a similar status as our neighbour."