Washington: Days ahead of the crucial Nuclear Security Summit, the Obama Administration has expressed concern over the deployment of "battlefield nuclear weapons" by Pakistan, calling it "destabilising aspects of their nuclear programme".
"We have been very concerned about Pakistan's deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons," the US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rise E Gottemoeller told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing yesterday.
"Battlefield nuclear weapons, by their very nature, pose security threat because you're taking battlefield nuclear weapons out to the field where, as, you know, as a necessity, they cannot be bade as secure," Gottemoeller said in response to a question.
"So, we are really quite concerned about this, and we have made our concerns known, and will continue to press them about what we consider to be the destabilising aspects of their battlefield nuclear weapons program," the top Obama Administration official told lawmakers ahead of the crucial Nuclear Security Summit here later this month.
Heads of States of a large number of countries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are expected to attend the Summit on March 31 and April 1 at the invitation of the US President Barack Obama.
India, she said, is at an early stage of establishing their own Center of Excellence for nuclear security, but they are also working with the US quite extensively and vigorously in the Nuclear Security Summit context.
"Prime Minister Modi will be here for the Nuclear Security Summit and we have seen quite a bit of advancement in India's working on this problem in recent years," Gottemoeller said in response to a similar question from Senator Jeff Flake on assessment of overall nuclear security in India and Pakistan.
"I was able to visit Pakistan's Center of Excellence a few years ago and they have really done an excellent job to establish a program there that is not only serving Pakistan's interests, but is also serving on a regional basis to provide training with the help of the IAEA, and so forth," she said.
Senator Ben Cardin said it is very distressful that Pakistan will not work with the US on a fossil material treaty and that they are producing materials at a very fast rate.
"When we look at our relationship with Pakistan, we look at a partner that we hoped would be fighting ISIL and dealing with the safe havens and their border areas, the mountainous border areas with Afghanistan. So the attentions that they're paying on their nuclear development seems to be inconsistent with where the priorities need to be in that region," he said.
Senator Bob Corker said the threat of nuclear conflict is greater than ever.
"Pakistan and India are enlarging and improving their nuclear arsenals in an attempt to gain an upper hand over one another. Meanwhile, there has been virtually no progress made to address nuclear security," he observed.