The American newspaper, The New York Times, has made the mischievous comment that Pakistan may take the initiative in using nuclear weapons; it goes on to say also that the U.S., like India, is apprehensive of Pakistan's nuclear capability. Pakistan lacks the type of latest military equipment, it says, that India has; hence, its reliance is mostly on its nuclear weapons. The newspaper editorial warns world powers to shift attention from Iran to South Asia, where two big nuclear powers are present. The newspaper writes that after negotiations on Iran's nuclear program are over, the U.S. and other world powers should focus on South Asia because, along with Iran, the countries of Pakistan, China and India were making plans to install nuclear weapons on the Indian Ocean. The newspaper goes on to say that Pakistan is not the only threat to the security of South Asia; China's acceleration of its nuclear capabilities is also worrisome. It further says that a large part of Pakistan's budget is being used to equip its army with modern arms and missiles with the capability to carry atomic weapons. At the same time, Pakistan is facing problems such as economic and political instability and terrorism, the effects of which can engulf the whole region.
This New York Times editorial has been written under the influence of specific prejudices and is in sheer contradiction to the facts. It happens that just a few days ago, India increased its defense budget, but this increase was not visible to the newspaper. Nor did it see the frequent missile tests conducted by India. But it was able to see a project for installing missiles on the Indian Ocean, about which it could not outline any details.
The contention that Pakistan could be the first to use atomic weapons is ridiculous. It is Pakistan's stance to rely on the minimum amount of defense power; further, it is against an arms race. The New York Times should be aware that the U.S. was the first to use atomic bombs; its editorial should, at least, have denounced this action by the U.S. Another superficial piece of reasoning in the editorial is that Pakistan is surrounded by problems of economic and political instability and terrorism, the effects of which could engulf the whole region. Here, too, the great sacrifices made by Pakistan in fighting terrorism and the historic successes it achieved in this area have been deliberately ignored. In other words, instead of praising Pakistan's role in freeing the region of terrorism, a completely negative attitude has been adopted by the editorial.
The reality that both China and Pakistan are jointly working for peace, progress and prosperity in the region should not be ignored; efforts are being fully appreciated at the regional level.