Pak disturbed over India’s nuke test possibility

Islamabad: Pakistan today said it was "disturbed" by reports that India could be preparing for additional nuclear tests and hoped a unilateral moratorium on testing would remain in place in the region.

"We are disturbed by media reports that India might be considering to conduct additional (nuclear) tests," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing.

Basit was responding to a question on concerns expressed by Indian Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor about a reported increase in Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan does not "discuss the contours of our deterrence in public" but is committed to maintaining a "credible deterrence at the minimum levels," he said.

Pakistan is also opposed to any arms race in South Asia, he added.

"We have proposed a regional restraint regime, including a regional nuclear test ban treaty. The proposal is still on the table. We hope a unilateral moratorium on testing in the region will continue to be observed," Basit said.

Leading Indian defence scientist K Santhanam's recent remarks that the test of a thermonuclear bomb in 1998 was not as successful as was claimed triggered speculation that New Delhi could be preparing for further tests to validate the design of its nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has refuted Santhanam's claims.

Bureau Report