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Pakistan's nuclear trigger in US hands: Indian Expert

Pakistan's nuclear trigger in US hands: Indian Expert

Author: Tara Shankar Sahay
Publication: Rediff on Net
Date: May 30, 2002

A leading Indian nuclear expert on Thursday ridiculed Pakistan's assertion that his country would use nuclear weapons against India even in case of a conventional conflict.

Munir Akram, Pakistan's newly appointed ambassador to the United Nations, had surprised diplomats on Wednesday by stating that "India should not have the license to kill with conventional weapons while Pakistan's hands are tied regarding other means to defend itself".

"The Pakistani nuclear trigger is in the hands of US forces, which are present in their base at Jacobabad. Islamabad fully knows our nuclear deterrence capability. Pakistani assertions regarding resorting to a nuclear strike against India does not impress us," Dr R R Subramaniam of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses said. He said Indian missiles like Prithvi and Agni were "ready".

"They know that while a nuclear strike by them against India could cause havoc, our country will survive despite the terrible costs. But if we were to retaliate, which would be several-fold more, Pakistan stands to be wiped out," Dr Subramaniam said. When asked if he was sensationalising the issue, he said, "These are plain facts known to the world community." "They should desist from belligerent postures because the result of an Indo-Pak nuclear conflict, which they are harping about, is written on the international wall and all too obvious," he said.

Asked what steps India was taking in the wake of Pakistani belligerence, he said: "There is no question of being caught napping."

Dr Subramaniam criticised US nuclear expert David Albright for saying that a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan would result in 12 million deaths.

"His estimate about the uranium production in Pakistani is exaggerated and his assessment about lives being lost in the subcontinent [in case of a nuclear conflagration] is wide of the mark," he said.

Another expert, who did not wish to be identified, said Pakistan should not forget that after the Pokharan blasts, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that in case of necessity, India would review its avowed no-first use principle.

The country's nuclear establishment had "set in motion all measures necessary to respond to any external aggression", he said.

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