State Dept tries to pacify Pakistan after Biden’s incautious remarks

Says US confident of country’s determination to protect its nukes

Picture source - AP

A day after US President Joe Biden’s statement on nuclear weapons of the country, a State Department spokesperson said that Washington was confident of Pakistan’s determination to protect its nuclear arsenal.

Talking to a private news channel, the spokesperson said Biden “believes a safe, prosperous Pakistan” is critical to American interests. He also reiterated that the US valued its longstanding cooperation with Pakistan.

There was a furore in Pakistan a day earlier after the US president, while addressing a Democratic congressional campaign committee reception, made remarks about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Biden had said Pakistan may be “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” as the country had “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”. “And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” Biden was quoted as saying in a transcript of the address, published on the White House’s website.

Biden’s remarks were made with regard to the changing geopolitical situation globally, as he highlighted that the world was changing rapidly, and countries were rethinking their alliances.

“And the truth of the matter is – I genuinely believe this – that the world is looking to us. Not a joke. Even our enemies are looking to us to figure out how we figure this out, what we do,” he added.

The statement was condemned by the government, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif terming the statement “factually incorrect and misleading”. Pakistan also issued a “strong” demarche to US envoy in Pakistan David Blome.

Acting Foreign Secretary Jauhar Saleem called in the US ambassador to deliver the demarche, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that Pakistan’s disappointment and concern were conveyed to the US envoy on the unwarranted remarks. The remarks, a statement from the ministry mentioned, were not based on ground reality or facts.

The acting secretary made it clear that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and its impeccable stewardship of the nuclear programme and adherence to global standards and international best practices were well acknowledged, including by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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