India, Pakistan Trade Barbs over Nukes
Yourish, Karen, Arms Control Today
PAKISTANI PRESIDENT PERVEZ Musharraf has denied reports that Pakistan shared its nuclear technology with other countries, namely North Korea. "All our [nuclear] assets are under strict control," Musharraf asserted Sept. 25 at a gathering in Ottawa organized by the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies. "I can guarantee they will not fall in the wrong hands."
The Pakistani president rejected charges that "lower ranks" of the country's military could be passing nuclear information to other countries or possible terrorists. He admitted having had "defense relations with North Korea" but said those were limited to surface-to-air missiles with conventional warheads. The U.S. government has been unable to prove reports that Pakistan's Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) engaged in a nuclear-for-missile swap with North Korea. (See ACT, September 2003.)
Earlier in the day, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee raised the allegations against Pakistan before the UN General Assembly in New York. He said member states should be "particularly concerned at the various recent revelations about clandestine transfers of weapons of mass destruction and their technologies. We face the frightening prospect of these weapons and technologies falling into the hands of terrorists." The prime minister went on to criticize international conventions such as the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) for their inability to reign in such exchanges. "Surely," he argued, "something needs to be done about the helplessness of international regimes in preventing such transactions, which clearly threaten international security."
"The same regimes expend considerable energy in imposing a variety of discriminatory technology-denial restrictions on responsible states," the prime minister said.
India and Pakistan have refused to join the NPT or the CTBT, both of which would open up their nuclear arsenals to greater scrutiny. The two countries shocked the world in May 1998 when they detonated a series of nuclear devices weeks apart from each other. …