Pakistan on Monday said it had shared information on its nuclear security through a booklet marking the occasion of the third International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS).
The conference is being organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria through Thursday.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a booklet on ‘Pakistan’s Nuclear Security Regime’,” said a ministry statement.
This step, the statement added, was part of Islamabad’s “practice to share information on the measures taken to further strengthen nuclear security and to demonstrate the high-level attention that nuclear security continues to receive in Pakistan.”
Copies of the booklet – one of them made available to Anadolu Agency – are being distributed among the ICONS participants.
Pakistan, the statement went on to say, has established a “comprehensive” and “effective” national nuclear security regime, one on par with international standards and guidelines.
“The regime is based on an extensive legislative and regulatory framework governing the security of nuclear materials, radioactive substances, associated facilities and activities,” it said.
“This is backed by strong institutions and organizations with the requisite authorities, resources and trained manpower for effective implementation.”
“Our affiliated institutes at Centre of Excellence on nuclear security have transformed into an international hub for imparting training and sharing best practices in the area of nuclear security. Pakistan’s nuclear security arrangements have been recognized at the international level by several high-ranking officials and experts,” it explained.
The booklet is the second version of “Pakistan’s Nuclear Security Regime,” first published as a brochure on the sidelines of the second International Conference on Nuclear Security organized by the IAEA in 2016.
Pakistan and its longtime rival India are among a few select countries with nuclear arsenals.
India joined the nuclear club long before Pakistan, in 1974, prompting Islamabad to follow suit. Pakistan silently developed its own nuclear capability in the 1980s, when it was an ally of the U.S. in the first Afghan war against the crumbling Soviet Union.
It did not conduct any nuclear tests, however, until India carried out a series of its own tests in 1999. Only three weeks later, Pakistan conducted six successful tests in the remote Chaghi district near the Afghan-Iranian border, stoking fears of a nuclear war between the longtime rivals.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India currently possesses some 80-100 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan holds 90-110.
A number of international think tanks, meanwhile, accusing China of assisting Pakistan's nuclear program, believe the size of Islamabad's nuclear arsenal will cross the 200 mark within the next five years.
By Aamir Latif in Karachi, Pakistan