US banks on India for Pakistan’s nuclear security: Stratfor

May 13th, 2009 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 13 (IANS) The US comfort level over nuclear security in Pakistan is in part a reflection of India’s comfort level as Washington works very closely with New Delhi on this issue, according to a strategic think tank.

“The expanding Taliban insurgency in Pakistan is rekindling concerns over the security of the country’s nuclear arsenal,” Stratfor, the global intelligence company, said Wednesday. But “While there is reason for concern, the threat is not so much from the Taliban.

“From all indications, the US comfort level over nuclear security in Pakistan is in part a reflection of India’s comfort level, and the emerging objectives of the Obama administration for Southwest Asia are to neutralise Al Qaeda prime and do whatever it can to help Pakistan secure its nuclear assets,” it said.

While Pakistan’s primary means of containing India were many of these very jihadist actors, Stratfor said Islamabad has long known that its nuclear weapons were the ultimate deterrent against a conventional war with its far more powerful regional rival.

Thus, since the early days of the Pakistani nuclear programme, the army has treated the nuclear assets as its most prized possession and has invested a great deal to protect it from both internal and external threats.

The view within the US intelligence community is that there is simply no sound way to independently assess the workings of the systems with any great certainty, it said.

This means Washington has to rely on what it is hearing from Islamabad about control over its nuclear facilities, and on unilaterally obtaining information from third-party intelligence sources and intelligence-sharing with other countries, such as India.

The United States thus works very closely with India on the issue of Pakistan’s nuclear security, Stratfor said.

“New Delhi is a key source of intelligence on the status of that security, and a good - albeit imperfect - measure of valid concern is the degree to which India is worried about it, since it stands the greatest risk of being targeted by Pakistan-based nukes,” the intelligence group said.

“And although India continues to underscore the threat it faces from Pakistan-based militants, it remains comfortable with Pakistan’s nuclear command-and-control infrastructure,” it said. “This would explain to a considerable degree the current US comfort level.”

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