Washington: Ahead of the crucial Nuclear Security Summit here this week, the Obama administration has expressed concern over Pakistan's continuing deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons and said this increases nuclear risks.
"Our concerns regarding the continuing deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons by Pakistan relate to a reality of the situation. When battlefield nuclear weapons are deployed forward, they can represent enhanced nuclear security threat," Rose Gottemoeller, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security said.
"It is more difficult to sustain positive control over systems that are deployed forward. We found this lesson ourselves out in Europe during the years of the Cold War. And so I do think that that is a reality of the situation," she told foreign journalists at a news conference yesterday.
"It is not related particularly to any one country. Wherever battlefield nuclear weapons exist, they represent particular nuclear security problems, Gottemoeller said.
Top Obama administration officials had recently expressed similar concerns before US lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.
"We have been very concerned about Pakistan's deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons," she had told Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing earlier this month.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has canceled his trip to Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Lahore in which 74 people have been killed.
The Nuclear Security Summit is being hosted by US President Barack Obama on March 31 and April 1.
Battlefield nuclear weapons refer to such nuclear weapons which are designed to be used on a battlefield in military situations.