World Bulletin / News Desk
One of Pakistan’s top nuclear scientists has rejected India’s assertions about terrorists gaining access to Pakistani nuclear arsenals, calling the “totally baseless” claim a yet another attempt to create doubts about the country’s nuclear command-and-control system.
On Tuesday, India’s Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, Amandeep Singh Gill, told the organization’s plenary session in Geneva that state patronage of international terrorists may enable them to get hold of weapons of mass destruction, and it constitutes a real and present danger to international security.
Although Gill had not taken Pakistan’s name directly, it was clear to observers he was making references to his country’s nuclear-armed neighbor.
Dr. Samar Mubarak Mand, who led a team of Pakistani scientists that conducted the country’s first six nuclear tests in May 1998, told Anadolu Agency India was only trying to tarnish Pakistan’s reputation by making such “totally baseless” claims.
“This is not for the first time. India has been doing this for years. New Delhi itself knows that it is not possible -- physically and technically -- for terrorists to get hold of nuclear weapons and fire them, but it does that just to keep the pressure on Pakistan.”
Mubarak Mand said militants could not gain access to the nuclear arsenal even at the peak of terrorism in Pakistan between 2006 and 2012.
“Nuclear arsenals are not like ordinary weaponry which could be stolen and used. There is a multi-layered security, which includes safety codes, and electronic configuration. I doubt those who are raising this issue, [they] do not know much about the technicalities of a nuclear control-and-command system,” he said.
“Being part of the country’s nuclear program, I can tell you that our control-and-command system is the latest and sophisticated one.
“All the nuclear powers, except India fully know and admit this fact,” the scientist, who was the founding chairman of NESCOM -- a Pakistani army-run institution that deals with the country’s missile program, added.
He added that the International Atomic Energy Agency also held a training program in Islamabad last year to train nuclear experts from across the world through Pakistan’s nuclear control and command system.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, a pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear program who later fell out of favor with the military establishment in the country during Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s rule, also rejected the Indian claims.
“This kind of talk is simply ridiculous. Those who are issuing such warnings consider nuclear arsenals like a weapon shop where militants can break into, and get away with them in a suitcase,” Khan, who is credited with initiating the country’s nuclear weapons program in 1970s, told Anadolu Agency.
“Numerous phases are involved in assembling of nuclear arms. Only top nuclear scientists can do that,” he said.
On the other hand, Indian defense experts such as Gulshan Rai Luthra believe there is weight in Indian claims made in Geneva.
“It’s a threat to every nation that loves freedom. Pakistani establishment props up terrorists in their own country. Those attacking Indian establishment are termed as good terrorists.
“They have mixed religion with politics and terrorism, which is really dangerous for the world,” Luthra said.
Pakistan and India are among a few select countries with nuclear arsenals. India joined the nuclear club long before Pakistan, in 1974, prompting Islamabad to follow suit.
Pakistan silently developed its own nuclear capability in the 1980s, when it was an ally of the U.S. in the first Afghan war against the crumbling Soviet Union.
It did not conduct any nuclear tests for years; however, when India carried out a series of its own tests in 1999, it followed suit three weeks later with six tests in the remote Chaghi district near the Afghanistan-Iran border, stoking fears of a nuclear war between the longtime rivals.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India currently possesses between 80 and 100 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan holds between 90 and 110.
A number of international think tanks, meanwhile, which blame China for assisting Pakistan’s nuclear program, believe the size of Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal will cross the 200-mark within the next five years.Last Mod: 29 Mart 2017, 19:53