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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 9, 2007
No end to S. Asia nuke race, predicts U.S. non-proliferation expert
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No end to S. Asia nuke race, predicts U.S. non-proliferation expert

A dossier prepared by the U.K.-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) says that Pakistan will only stop its nuclear proliferation if it determined that India was no longer doing so.

Washington, May 9 : A dossier prepared by the U.K.-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) says that Pakistan will only stop its nuclear proliferation if it determined that India was no longer doing so.

"Realistically, India may not be very enthusiastic about doing so. So, if I had to bet, I would bet on that no end to nuclear race" in South Asia in the near future, Mark F Fitzpatrick, the author of the dossier, was quoted by the Dawn, as saying.

Fitzpatrick said that the July 18, 2005 nuclear deal that India and the US were negotiating "will exacerbate Pakistan's concerns that it will fall behind India ... and will make it harder for Pakistan to enter into an agreement to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons".

He said he understood that Pakistan 'aspires' to have a similar deal that India has been offered, but before it happens, the international community will have to have "more confidence in the command and control system that Pakistan has put in place".

He said that Pakistan had established "a very strong" command and control system and Pakistani officials had done a good job in explaining this system to international observers in Washington and in Brussels.

"But concerns about Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the hands of religious extremists will remain as long as there's instability in the country," he added.

He also said that there is no evidence of a link existing between the Al Qaeda and the nuclear proliferation network created by Pakistan's disgraced top scientist A. Q. Khan.

According to Fitzpatrick, a former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation, investigators found no link between the Khan network and the terrorist group that caused 9/11.

"We never saw any suggestion that Dr. Khan ever met Al Qaeda leaders. There's no link between the Khan network and Al Qaeda," the Dawn quoted Fitzpatrick, as saying.

He said the Khan network also had no links with Umma Taamir-e-Nao, an NGO whose members allegedly met Osama bin Laden and discussed the production of nuclear weapons with him.

He also said that there was no evidence to suggest that Pakistan allowed the A.Q. Khan's network to sell nuclear technology to fund its nuclear programme.

But Fitzpatrick's report identified some 'grey areas', adding that previous Pakistani governments' possessed knowledge of and even involvement in A. Q. Khan's secondary proliferation activities.

In an interview to the Dawn, Fitzpatrick said that former Chief of Army Staff, General Aslam Beg 'encouraged' the Khan network's sales to other countries.

"Ego, money, nationalism and a sense of Islamic fraternity" motivated Dr Khan and his supporters to sell nuclear technology to other Muslim countries, he said.

"Different motivations in different cases," he added.

Fitzpatrick claimed that Pakistan had made a nuclear bomb 10 years after establishing its nuclear programme, and added that about 50 members of the Khan network were from Dubai, Turkey, Malaysia, Switzerland and Germany while 22 of them were from Pakistan.

Fitzpatrick also said that North Korea's nuclear test conducted last year was "not based on any technology that Dr Khan provided to them".

ANI

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