Pakistan Fears Strikes To Its
Nuclear Arsenal By US, Isreal, India

London (PTI) - Pakistan is under pressure to move all or part of its nuclear weapons to China for safekeeping from fundamentalists and it is apprehensive of pre-emptive strikes on its nuclear sites by America, India or Israel to prevent the weapons falling into fundamentalist hands, media report said today quoting Pakistani sources.
The threat to weapons widely regarded as the Pakistan military's "crown jewels" has forced Islamabad "to consider removing warheads to China, Pakistan's closest strategic ally in the region," the Sunday Times reported.
The prospect that loose warheads might be loaded onto helicopters or moved around a region foaming with fundamentalist turmoil is adding to fears in Washington that the war in Afghanistan might provoke a nuclear crisis.
According to the report, Abdul Sattar, the Pakistani foreign minister, insisted last week the arsenal was secure. But Washington officials have expressed mounting alarm that any coup attempt against General Pervez Musharraf, the military President, might put Pakistan's nuclear arsenal at risk.
Pakistani generals were appalled by one authoritative American report last week that an elite Pentagon undercover unit, trained to disarm nuclear weapons, was exploring plans for a mission inside Pakistan.
"Every paranoid fear they have had over the past 20 years about people coming to get our missiles is suddenly coming to the force," Zia Mian, a Pakistani physicist and authority on the nuclear programme said.
China' nuclear relations with Pakistan have long been the focus of controversy. Chinese scientists are believed to have played a key role in developing Pakistan's nuclear programme in the early 1980s. The two countries share a mistrust of India, which has also developed nuclear weapons.
Copyright © 2001 Press Trust of India Ltd. All rights reserved.


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