Pakistan claimed on Sunday it had been forced to test nuclear weapons in May 1998 because of “hostile posturing” by India. May 28 marks the 20th anniversary of the first public testing of nuclear weapons by Pakistan. Its tests had come two weeks after India’s test explosions in Pokhran.

“Pakistan was forced to take that decision as a response, in self-defence, to the nuclear tests and accompanying hostile posturing by its neighbour,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. “These developments unfortunately put an end to the prospect for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons, an objective which Pakistan had actively pursued.” it said, hinting at India.

The Foreign Office said that Pakistan remains “steadfast in its commitment to non-proliferation and global peace and strategic stability”. The country has shown “utmost restraint and responsibility” in exercising its nuclear capability since the 1998 tests, the statement read.

However, in the face of “rapidly expanding nuclear and conventional forces” in the region and “aggressive security doctrines”, Pakistan is “confident of its ability to deny space for any misadventure”, the statement added.