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Pakistan Won’t Embark on Arms Race

June 27, 2000

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistan’s leader said Monday that his nation will not give up its policy of nuclear deterrence but also will not embark on a costly nuclear arms race with its hostile neighbor, India.

``We only want to maintain a minimum credible deterrence to deter any aggression against our homeland,″ the state-run news agency quoted Gen. Pervez Musharraf as saying. ``We will not enter into a nuclear arms race with India and never will we subject our people to economic deprivation.″

Pakistan and India exploded underground nuclear devices in 1998 and declared themselves nuclear powers. Since then, the international community has tried to get the two countries to renounce nuclear weapons. Both have refused.

It is not known how many weapons either country possesses or whether either country has taken a step to deploy nuclear weapons.

Talks between the two countries have broken down, and India has refused Pakistan’s offer to restart negotiations.

Since independence of the subcontinent in 1947, the two neighbors have haggled over Kashmir, a disputed territory divided between the two countries and claimed in its entirety by both.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir. The introduction of nuclear weapons into their respective arsenals has the international community worried that another confrontation could result in the use of nuclear weapons.

Musharraf previously said Pakistan won’t be the one to launch a first strike.

The United States has pressed both countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Neither country has rejected or signed it, but both have declared a moratorium on further testing.

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