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Indian official warns over Pakistan nukes: report

February 19, 2008

NEW DELHI, Feb 18: India should be deeply concerned about the possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists, a top official was reported as saying on Monday.

“The nature of the dangers which nuclear weapons pose has dramatically intensified with the growing risk that such weapons may be acquired by terrorists... ,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special envoy Shyam Saran said.

“The mounting concern over the likelihood that in a situation of chaos, Pakistan’s nuclear assets may fall into the hands of jihadi elements ... underscores how real this danger has become,” Saran was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India at a lecture in New Delhi.

“India has to be deeply concerned about the danger it faces” from this “new and growing threat,” said Saran, who was India’s top diplomat until 2006.

The United States and other Western countries have expressed mounting concern over the security of Islamabad’s estimated 50 warheads, with Pakistani forces battling a growing insurgency by Al-Qaeda-linked militants. Pakistan said last month that it had tightened security around all its nuclear facilities.—AFP