ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and European Union (EU) on Monday discussed important issues about disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a cordial and frank atmosphere.

These issues were discussed during the first round of Pakistan-European Union Bilateral Dialogue on Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy held in Islamabad on Monday.

The Pakistani side was led by Tasnim Aslam, Additional Secretary (United Nations & Economic Co-operation) at the ministry of foreign affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Ambassador Jacek Bylica, principal advisor and EU special envoy for non-proliferation and disarmament, led the European Union delegation.

The two sides reviewed developments in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation. The delegations also discussed issues related to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, maintenance of regional and strategic stability, as well as relevant areas of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. It was agreed to hold the next round of dialogue at Brussels on a mutually convenient date.

Meanwhile, Jaeck Bylical, while addressing a roundtable today on "Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Challenges for Pakistan and the Region" said that EU-Pakistan engagement plan is an effective instrument to counter the threat of nuclear proliferation and global challenges in this domain. The roundtable table was organised by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, SASSI (University).

Dr Maria Sultan, Director General SASSI University, in her opening remarks elaborated that Pakistan believes that Pakistan-European Union strategic dialogue will lead towards tangible and positive outcomes between Pakistan and EU. Highlighting the importance of the bilateral process on this issue of non-proliferation, she stated that Pakistan faces serious security challenges and greatly values its non-proliferation commitments with ground realities.

She emphasised that the Indo-US nuclear deal has created serious security problems for the stability of the region. She was also of the view that EU has taken a very important stance in terms of placing restraints and limitations on access to the nuclear technology, adding the Indian exemption has created regional security imbalance. She also appreciated the EU mission in Pakistan for strengthening the bilateral relations.

Secretary Defence Asif Yasin Malik while speaking on the occasion stated that the increase in the Indian defence budget was equal to the entire defence budget of Pakistan, highlighting that Indian Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) lowers the threshold and creates uncertain security measures, specifically for Pakistan.

He further said that Pakistan continues to believe in credible minimum deterrence and engaging multilaterally on non-proliferation with the rest of the international community and Pakistan's commitment to nuclear security framework is a testament to this.

The roundtable was attended by a number of security experts and defence analysts.