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Pakistan’s nukes safely guarded: Narayanan

“It is extremely difficult for any outside element to just walk away with a readymade nuclear device”



M.K. Narayanan

New Delhi: India believes that the nuclear weapons in Pakistan are “pretty safely guarded,” making it “extremely difficult” that they will fall into the wrong hands. The U.S. is paying “very close attention” to the issue.

It said the government had a contingency plan in place to deal with a situation of the neighbouring country’s nuclear weapons being used by radical elements.

“It is extremely difficult for any outside element just walking away with a readymade nuclear device,” National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan told Karan Thapar on India Tonight programme on CNBC TV18.

It is not easy for just a couple of people to manage a nuclear device, he said, adding that even as National Security Adviser “I cannot activate this on my own.”

“I would therefore say it [Pakistani nuclear arsenal] is relatively safe or I would say it is largely safe,” he said.

Fears of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radicals have “activated” the American government to pay “very close attention” to the matter, Mr. Narayanan said. “... they are quite satisfied with the checks and balances, which are adequate,” he said.

It was no secret that there had been infiltration of radical elements in the Pakistan armed forces, he said, adding that he believed that during Pervez Musharraf’s tenure as Army Chief and now under General Ashfaq Kiyani steps had been taken against them.

ISI hand suspected

Mr. Narayanan suspected Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence to be behind the recent failed plot to kidnap Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.

The interrogation of the Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists in Lucknow recently was “most revealing,” he said.

It was certain that without official patronage it was difficult to conceive of such a detailed plan, he said.

“At some stage there could be an ISI hand,” Mr. Narayanan said but sought to absolve the political class of involvement in the conspiracy.

On the threat of infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists, he said the Line of Control had become difficult to penetrate but admitted that the presence of terror launch pads across the LoC remained a cause of concern.

“There are enough [terror launching pads] for us to be concerned,” the NSA said.

Mr. Narayanan said he did not think every terrorist incident in India had links to the political class or the military in Pakistan. — PTI

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