Washington, June 29 (ANI): The US is providing technical support at an estimated cost of 100 million dollars to Pakistan in order to keep that country's nuclear arsenal out of the extremists reach and prevent accidents.
Andrew Cockburn, a renowned author who has written several books on security issues, says that the official aim of US technical support, at an estimated cost of 100 million dollars a year, is to prevent accidents and to ensure that they are out of the extremists' reach.
But in pursuit of this objective, "it is inevitable that the US is not only rendering the warheads more operationally reliable, we are also transferring the technology required to design more sophisticated warheads without having to test them," the report adds.
The author quotes a former national security official as saying that if the US is involved, "we can make sure they don't start testing, or start a war."
This system known as 'stockpile stewardship' was conceived after the US forswore live testing in 1993. It allows scientists to 'test' weapons through computer simulations. This vastly expensive programme not only ensures the weapons' reliability but also the viability of new and improved designs.
The report says that in 2008, the Pakistan military approached Bruce Blair, president of a Washington-based World Security Institute, seeking advice on means to render their weapons more secure.
"Their aim was clearly to render their nuclear force mature and operational," the Dawn quoted Blair, as saying.
In the same way, Blair said, a few years ago an Indian military delegation turned up at the Russian Impulse Design Bureau in St. Petersburg to ask for help on making their weapons safer to handle.
"They said they wanted to be able to assure their political leadership that their weapons were safe enough to be deployed."
The author argues that the United States has allowed Pakistan's nuclear programme to continue because it needs Islamabad's help in other issues.
Cockburn recalls that when President Ronald Reagan was asked for his views on Pakistan's nuclear ambitions, he replied "I just don't think it's any of our business."
The author claims that "during the years Dr A. Q. Khan was peddling his uranium enrichment technology around the place, his shipping manager was a CIA agent, whose masters seem to have had little problem with allowing the trade to go forward."
The Obama administration also has not changed this policy of tolerance towards Pakistan's nuclear programme, he says. (ANI)