Pak nukes 'vulnerable' as Army preoccupied with counter India programme: US

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Washington, Feb.4 (ANI): The United States is worried over the safety of Pakistan's nuclear assets and believes that they are 'vulnerable', as the Army continues to consider India as a prime threat.

Addressing the Senate Intelligence Committee, US Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess said that while there is no immediate threat to Pakistan's nuclear establishment from the extremists, particularly the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, they pose a serious threat to that country's nuclear armaments.

"We have confidence in Pakistan's ability to safeguard its nuclear weapons though vulnerabilities exist," Burgess said.

Burgess pointed out that the ungoverned tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border continued to remain 'valuable sanctuaries' to the Al Qaeda and banned extremist organisations.

He said the Pakistan Army's offensive in these regions has dismantled their network to an extent, but they remain 'resilient.'

Burgess said despite the terrorist groups threatening the very existence of the Pakistan, the country's armed forces are preoccupied with their old motive of countering India.

"Pakistan's military has demonstrated increased counter-insurgency training and doctrinal adjustments but its priority remains India," The Dawn quoted Burgess, as saying.

"Islamabad's conviction that militant groups are an important part of its strategic arsenal to counter India's military and economic advantages will continue to limit Pakistan's incentive to pursue an across-the-board effort against extremism," he said, while tabling the US intelligence' Annual Threat Assessment before the committee.

"Thus despite robust Pakistani military operations against extremists that directly challenge Pakistani government authority, Afghan Taliban, Al Qaeda, and Pakistani militant groups continue to use Pakistan as a safe-haven for organising, training, and planning attacks against the United States and our allies in Afghanistan, India, and Europe," he added.

Meanwhile, US National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair has said the Pakistan Army is well aware of the "catastrophic consequences, primarily for Pakistan," if any of the nuclear bombs falls into the wrong hands.

"The Pakistan army takes very seriously the security of its weapons, and they know the catastrophic consequences, primarily for Pakistan, if they were to get loose," Blair told the House Intelligence Committee. (ANI)

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