The Foreign Office has done an apt and timely job by calling US Ambassador Donald Blome to hand him over demarche in response to US President Joe Biden’s reckless remarks about the safety of Pakistani nukes. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has taken the right step that Biden’s remarks at a Democratic congressional campaign committee reception that Pakistan could be “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” because it has “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”, should not be overlooked. Biden, facing unpopularity in his country because of his reckless actions, is feeling the heat of OPEC’s decision to cut oil production, which heralds a tough, freezing winter for the US and the whole world. According to a transcript of the speech posted on the White House website, Biden said, “… and what I believe to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world: Pakistan.” Shame. Pakistan has always remained a peaceful country and a vital partner in ensuring US-Taliban peace talks which helped the US pull out its troops from the longest war of its history. Pakistan maintains that its nukes are for deterrence and that its nukes are in safe hands. Even world watchdogs on nuclear arsenal safety have ranked Pakistani nukes safer than several countries housing nukes. The foreign minister has also clarified Pakistan’s nuclear assets “meet every international standard in accordance with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in terms of security and safety. Any concerns about nuclear safety should be directed to our neighbour India, which recently accidentally fired a missile into Pakistani territory.”
Biden’s statement is irresponsible and will create an imbalance in the region. Pakistan should invoke nuclear-capable countries to step forward and raise serious concerns about Biden’s statement. Moreover, Pakistan and the US should raise their level of engagement and consultation to remove such misunderstandings.