I regret nothing

Don’t overlook the fact that no nuclear-capable country has been subjected to aggression or occupied, or had its borders redrawn. Had Iraq and Libya been nuclear powers, they wouldn’t have been destroyed in the way we have seen recently. If we had had nuclear capability before 1971, we would not have lost half of our country—present-day Bangladesh—after disgraceful defeat…

India and Pakistan understand the old principle that ensured peace in the Cold War: mutually assured destruction. The two can’t afford a nuclear war, and despite our saber rattling, there is no chance of a nuclear war that would send us both back to the Stone Age. What pains me is that we gave Pakistan nuclear capability for its self-esteem and deterrence against adversaries. With our sovereignty thus secure, I urged various governments to concentrate on development to raise the people’s standard of living. Unfortunately, successive incompetent and ignorant rulers never bothered to work on the greater national interest. We are far worse off now than we were 20, or even 40, years ago when we were subjected to embargoes.

Our nuclear-weapons program has given us an impregnable defense, and we are forced to maintain this deterrence until our differences with India are resolved. That would lead to a new era of peace for both countries. I hope I live to see Pakistan and India living harmoniously in the same way as the once bitter enemies Germany and France live today.