Pakistan’s increasing cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a major chapter of its emerging peaceful nuclear power status. A few months earlier, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi’s visit to Islamabad and endorsement of Pakistan’s high standards of safety and security parameters in the nuclear sector was a continuation of growing international confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear security regime. Pakistan’s exceptional expertise and potential in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, particularly in the health, agriculture, and energy sectors has been seriously taken into consideration by nuclear-related international forums.
During the last few years, the nature of Pakistan’s nuclear sector has grown under this emerging international trust. This transformation is rooted in Pakistan’s active participation in international nuclear committees, commissions, and agencies. As a permanent member of the United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) Pakistan actively participated in the committee’s formal sessions and provided regular support to its mandate. A cherishable part of Pakistan’s international cooperation that needs national and international acceptance is its valuable services which include support to nuclear-related international agencies in international regulatory missions, training, and compilation of documentation. In addition to its regular share in services, its fulfillment of commitments according to the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety also played a vital role in the updated status of Pakistan’s nuclear posture in the international arena.
Pakistan’s membership to several other committees of the IAEA extended the canvas of Pakistan’s nuclear cooperation and collaboration with international nuclear forums, including the Radiation Safety Standards Committee (RASSC), the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN), the Transport Safety Standards Committee (TRANSSC), Nuclear Safety Standards Committee (NUSSC), Advisory Group on Nuclear Security (AdSec), Waste Safety Standards Committee (WASSC) and Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC). The standards defined by these international committees under the IAEA, International conventions, and protocols were carefully taken into consideration by Pakistan to establish the credibility and quality of various programs.
The peaceful use of nuclear technology is a great success story of Pakistani nuclear scientists and the supporting administrative structure. Over the last few decades, Pakistan has effectively managed joint energy ventures with the US, China, and Canada under the safeguards of the IAEA. These projects have not only enhanced Pakistan’s capacity to establish new energy venues but also produced trained human resource to maintain and uplift peaceful energy resources. On the other hand, Pakistan’s nuclear research has opened new horizons for the medical science sector. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s (PAEC) expertise can be traced through its state-of-the-art atomic energy hospitals. Currently, 19 such hospitals are providing unmatched services to cancer, allergy, and radiation-related disease.
Food security is considered as an important element in contemporary concepts of national security. Pakistan’s nuclear research and development laid foundations for a sustainable way forward for food security. Pakistan introduced new varieties of seeds, nuclear technology to utilize saline areas, control of pests and pathogens and high standard hybrid technologies. New technologies have also been invented by our prestigious research organizations to minimize issues like fertilizer hazards and the use of chemicals in crops.
Pakistan supports non-proliferation and thus contributes towards international security through world-class arrangements for export control. It follows and meets all international protocols and IAEA standards in its declared policy guidelines. In this regard, the Strategic Export Control Division (SECDiv) has been contributing extraordinarily in maintaining quality, regulations, and required standards. These achievements have been largely endorsed by the IAEA and the international community.
Pakistan only needs a common agenda to grow as a nation and a firm belief in statecraft. The peaceful posture of nuclear Pakistan can be a game changer and what we need is to realize our strength.
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