WASHINGTON: U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday voiced confidence about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets and renewed his administration’s strong support for the country’s stability beset with challenges from militants. Obama told a White House Press conference, marking first one hundred days of his presidency.
“I’m confident that we can make sure that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure. Primarily, initially, because the Pakistani army, I think, recognizes the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands. We’ve got strong military-to-military consultation and cooperation,”
He declined to be drawn into any hypothetical worst case scenarios about Pakistani nuclear assets and whether the U.S. could ensure their security, if need be. He responded.
“I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals of that sort. I feel confident that that nuclear arsenal will remain out of militant hands,”
Obama said he is ‘gravely concerned’ about the situation in Pakistan not because the Taliban will take over it but because the country does not have the capacity to deliver basic services in all areas like schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of the people.
He expressed his administration’s resolve to strengthen the government’s hand toward acquiring that capacity to deliver. “So we need to help Pakistan, help Pakistanis.”
He felt Pakistan is now realizing that the menace of extremism and not India is the biggest threat facing them.“And you’re starting to see the Pakistani military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists. “We want to continue to encourage Pakistan to move in that direction. And we will provide them all of the cooperation that we can.”
“We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don’t end up having a nuclear-armed militant state.”