Battlefield nuke deployment by Pakistan raises risk: U.S.

As leaders from more than 50 countries are set to discuss measures to prevent nuclear terrorism, the U.S. said the battlefield deployment of nuclear weapons by Pakistan was an enhanced threat though it has taken several other measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Senior U.S officials, briefing journalists on the agenda and expected outcomes of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), however, said the risks of nuclear terrorism have been substantially reduced over recent years thanks to measures taken by various governments and agencies, including Pakistan.

Modi to lead Indian delegation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be leading the Indian delegation to the summit. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cancelled his trip to the U.S. capital following the terrorist attack in Lahore on Easter Sunday.

Laura Holgate, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council said, the U.S. was looking at Mr. Modi’s presence as “a chance to highlight steps that India has taken in its own nuclear security to go beyond, perhaps, some of the activities that it has done before.” “We really would like to see an even deeper bilateral cooperation with India going forward out of the summit,” she said.

Forward deployment raises risks

Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, has said forward deployment of nuclear weapons enhances the risks.

“Our concerns regarding the continuing deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons by Pakistan relate to a reality of the situation: When battlefield nuclear weapons are deployed forward, they can represent an enhanced nuclear security threat,” she said, adding that was more difficult to sustain positive control over systems that are deployed forward.

During the Cold War

“We found this lesson ourselves out in Europe during the years of the Cold War. And so I do think that that is a reality of the situation. It’s not related particularly to any one country. Wherever battlefield nuclear weapons exist, they represent particular nuclear security problems,” the Under Secretary said. Pakistan continues to reject repeated U.S. calls to hold back its deployment of tactical nuclear weapons.

U.S. has solid ties with Pak on n-security

Ms. Gottemoeller, however, added that the U.S .has “a very solid cooperation with Pakistan on nuclear security.” “They have developed their own Nuclear Security Center of Excellence in recent years. It has quite a mature capability now. We continue to work with them on the nuclear security front,” she said.

The U.S officials did not elaborate the nature of the “deeper” bilateral relations that it sought with India and the further measures it expected India to take. “I’ll let India speak for itself on those points. We’re eager to work with any country who wishes to work with us to improve nuclear security,” Ms. Holgate said.

Doval meets Susan Rice

Meanwhile, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met U.S. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on Tuesday. “Ambassador Rice and NSA Doval exchanged views on the terrorist threat posed by ISIL in the region and the importance of combating the ideology that fuels such groups. They also discussed U.S.-India counterterrorism cooperation, including against Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” a White House statement said.

The White House said the NSAs also exchanged views on the prospects for commercial progress this year under U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation. Ms. Rice “reiterated U.S. support for India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime,” the statement said.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 7:36:42 PM |

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