India is worried over the threat of Pakistan’s Pakistan nuclear weapons falling into the hands of militants and terrorists, but otherwise it is confident that it is prepared as Islamabad strengthens its nuclear arsenal.
This was stated by Defence Minister A.K. Antony during an interaction with journalists at a function to honour the Indian Air Force team that successfully climbed Mount Everest.
“Our only worry about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is that there is always a danger and threat of [the weapons] going into the hands of militants and terrorists,” he said.
The Minister was responding to questions related to recent reports from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that Pakistan had increased its nuclear weapons stockpile from 70- 90 to 90-110 warheads in the last year.
Claiming that his Ministry was aware that Pakistan was strengthening its arsenal, Mr. Antony said the situation was being monitored. “We are also taking care of it. We are not unduly worried because we are also capable of meeting any threat…but the danger of [such weapons] going into the hands of terrorists [is a] cause [for] worry to us.”
While the issue has always been a cause for concern in the West, especially in the United States, anxiety levels had increased all around after the terror attack on Pakistan’s naval base in Karachi last month.
Asked about the acquittal of Tahawwur Hussain Rana by a U.S. court in the Mumbai terror attack case, the Minister did not offer any direct comment. He, however, reiterated that given the security scenario in India’s neighbourhood, the armed forces remained vigilant round-the-clock. “They are closely monitoring everything and are very vigilant.”
Mr. Antony said the process of opening up the armed forces to women was gathering momentum.
“Two months ago, at a meeting of Service chiefs, I told them now you have to open up more. So now they are processing the possibilities of opening up more streams in the three Services for lady officers. So the momentum will gather in the years to come…things are moving.” Hindu