Pakistan warns of strong response to nuclear arsenal seizure

Pakistan's military warned Tuesday that it would resist any international attempt to size its nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan warns of strong response to nuclear arsenal seizure
Pakistan's military warned Tuesday that it would resist any international attempt to size its nuclear arsenal, as the country successfully test-fired its Hatf-VII Babur cruise missile, which is capable of carrying warheads.

"No responsible state in the world would contemplate such an impossible operation," a statement released by General Tariq Majeed, chairman of Pakistan's joint chiefs of staff, said. "Yet if someone did create such a scenario, Pakistan would meet the challenge strongly."

The Bush administration and US military have reportedly been drafting contingency plans to secure the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan, a key US ally, if President Pervez Musharraf's government collapsed amid the ongoing political crisis or Muslim groups based here seized power.

Options under consideration include sending in US military units to forcibly find and remove the estimated 50 nuclear warheads in Pakistan's possession, or assisting the country's military in moving the weapons to safe locations inside or outside the country.

Majeed asserted that such contingency plans were unnecessary.

"Pakistan's nuclear assets are very safe and secure, and there is a very strong security system in place which can ward off all threats, internal as well as external," he said.

The New York Times reported last month that the US was assisting Pakistan in securing its nuclear weapons through a classified 100- million dollars programme.

The programme includes supplying helicopters, night vision goggles, and nuclear detection equipment to help the Pakistani military secure its nuclear material, warheads and laboratories, the newspaper reported.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2007, 11:23
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