Washington: As tensions between India and Pakistan continue to escalate, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice is expected to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday, media reported on Saturday. The US, earlier, called for restraint in developing nuclear weapons and expressed concern over recent developments as well as rising tensions between the neighboring countries. During the visit, Rice is also expected to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and her counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Rice is also expected to meet Pakistan’s political and military leadership over bilateral relations and the regional security situation, Dawn reported. A top military source also confirmed a separate meeting with the army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, where the regional security situation is likely to be discussed.
Earlier, the US warned that speculation about the potential use of such weapons will not help reduce tensions between India and Pakistan, media reported. At a news briefing, US State Department spokesman John Kirby on Friday stressed the need for exercising restraint in developing nuclear weapons. “Obviously, we continue to urge all nuclear-capable states, including Pakistan, to exercise restraint regarding furthering their nuclear capabilities,” he said. He refused to get dragged into a media debate, claiming that some Pakistani officials had threatened to use the nuclear option if the current situation in South Asia led to an armed conflict with India. “I haven’t seen those comments, so I’d be loath to specifically address them,” Kirby said, “what we want to see are the tensions decrease”.
Asked if the US was working with Pakistan to bring it into the mainstream on the nuclear issue, Kirby said: “Obviously, these kinds of matters are matters we discuss with Pakistani leaders on a routine basis. “The nuclear issue, he said, was something that the US would continue to focus on, as it was consistent with President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Kirby said the US regularly held discussions with Pakistani officials on the country’s nuclear program but he refused to comment on a US think-tank report that Pakistan would have the third-largest nuclear stockpiles after the US and Russia in a decade. “I’m not going to have anything substantive to offer on the report’s findings,” he said.
The think tank report released on Thursday said that Pakistan should have the rights and obligations of a nuclear-weapon state recognized by the NPT. Countries recognized as nuclear-weapon states by the members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are allowed to keep their weapons in return for meeting certain obligations.”It is in Pakistan’s national security interests and the interests of the international community to find ways in which Pakistan can enjoy the rights and follow the obligations of other nuclear-weapon states recognized by the NPT,” says the paper released by two think tanks, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Centre.