ہفتہ، 25 اگست، 2012
Security of Pak-India’s ‘Nukes’
Although recent terrorists’ assault on Kamra Base was successfully foiled by the personnel of Pakistan Air Force, yet a baseless report, published in the New York Times on the same day said that suspected militants attacked a major Pakistani Air Force base where some of the country’s nuclear weapons were considered to be stored in the early hours of the militants’ attack. The report also presumed, “The base is part of Pakistan s nuclear stockpile, estimated to include at least 100 warheads.”
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta also stated on the same day, “There is a danger of nuclear weapons of Pakistan, falling into hands of terrorists.”
Notably when militants had attacked on Pakistan’s Naval Airbase in Karachi on May 23, 2011, US-led some western countries including India and Israel, while exploiting the situation had accelerated their campaign against the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Particularly, on May 25, last year, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony misperceived that India was concerned about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal after a group of terrorists laid siege to a heavily guarded naval air base.” He explained, “Naturally it is a concern not only for us but for everybody.”
In fact, US and other hostile countries which feel jealousy in relation to Pakistan’s atomic assets, should better have concerns about India’s nuclear weapons which are quite insecure.
Indian past record proves various kinds of security lapses regarding various nuclear plants and the related sensitive materials.
In July 1998, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seized eight Kg. of nuclear material from three engineers in Chennai. It was reported that the uranium was stolen from an atomic research center. On November 7, 2000, International Atomic Agency (IAEA) disclosed that Indian police had seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men for illicit trafficking of radioactive material. IAEA had revealed that Indian civil nuclear facilities were vulnerable to thefts.
On January 26, 2003, CNN pointed out that Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd. shipped 10 consignments to Iraq, containing highly sensitive equipments entailing titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps.
In February 2004, India’s Ambassador to Libya, Dinkar Srivastava disclosed that New Delhi was investigating that retired Indian scientists could possibly be engaged in “high technology programs” for financial gains during employment in the Libyan government.
In December 2005, US imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for selling missile goods and chemical arms material to Iran in violation of India’s commitment to prevent proliferation. In the same year, Indian scientists, Dr. Surendar and Y. S. R Prasad had been blacklisted by Washington due to their involvement in nuclear theft.
In December 2006, a container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai.
In June 2009, India’s nuclear scientist, Lokanathan Mahalingam missed from the scenario and after a couple of days; his dead body was recovered from the Kali River. Indian police concocted a story that Mahalingam had committed suicide by jumping into the river. It is a big joke to hide some real facts behind his death because wisdom proves that if an educated person decides to commit suicide, he will definitely adopt a soft way to eliminate his life. Afterwards, Dr. Haleema Saadia said that death of the scientist is a conspiracy.
However, events of nuclear theft, smuggling and killing have become a regular feature of Indian atomic plants which still continue in one or the other way.
It is regrettable that by setting aside the Indian irresponsible record of proliferation, the US signed defence agreement with India on July 20, 2009 as part of the deal about civil nuclear technology, agreed upon by the two countries in 2008.
Thus, New Delhi is officially allowed to obtain the US sophisticated arms and nuclear weapons for its armed forces. In this regard, America had also pressurised IAEA to sign an accord of specific safeguards with India. It permits New Delhi a broad atomic cooperation, while superseding the IAEA in relation to transfer of nuclear equipments and technologies. These arrangements also entail enrichment and reprocessing items under the so-called cover of IAEA. For this purpose, Washington also contacted the Nuclear Suppliers Group in order to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on larger scale, while New Delhi has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). And India has already been getting nuclear material and arms of all kinds from Israel, Russia, and other European countries.
On the other side, despite the repeated assurances of Pakistan’s military and civil leadership that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are well-protected and are under tight security arrangements, having well-coordinated command and control system, a deliberate propaganda campaign against the safety of these weapons keeps on going particularly by the US and India. Besides, some European countries also make much hue and cry regarding the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear assets by ignoring Indian illegal proliferation. It indicates their double standards in the Sub-continent. Nonetheless, Pak ‘nukes’ are more secure than those of India.
By Sajjad Shaukat
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
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