Army voices concern at reported Pak nuke expansion | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Army voices concern at reported Pak nuke expansion

delhi Updated: May 29, 2009 22:32 IST

India's army chief said on Friday arch-rival Pakistan's apparent expansion of its nuclear programme was a "matter of concern" for the entire world that only global pressure could halt.

General Deepak Kapoor was speaking after satellite photos released on Tuesday showed Pakistan had expanded two sites crucial to its nuclear programme, according to a US arms control institute.

The Institute for Science and International Security said the enlargement was part of an effort to bolster the destructive power of Pakistan's atomic arsenal.

"Even if Pakistan is looking at deterrence, they require a minimum amount. But when you keep increasing it, it is a matter of concern," Kapoor told reporters in New Delhi.

"I think the world community should put the kind of pressure which is required for Pakistan to cap their nuclear weapons," he added.

Pakistan stopped short on Thursday of denying reports it had expanded its nuclear programme, accusing India of disturbing the regional balance and compelling Islamabad to take remedial steps.

A peace process between the two neighbours has been on hold since deadly militant attacks in Mumbai last November, which killed 166 people.

India has said it has "overwhelming evidence" that "official agencies" in Pakistan were involved in plotting and carrying out the attacks, an apparent reference to Pakistan's spy agency and army.

Also on Friday India's newly appointed external affairs minister, SM Krishna, renewed calls for Pakistan to stop militant activities directed at India from Pakistani soil.

Islamabad admitted in February for the first time that the Mumbai attacks were planned partly in Pakistan and filed a case against eight suspects, saying that six of them were already in custody.

"We would like to live in peace with Pakistan but it is very difficult for India to continue a dialogue" until Islamabad takes steps to fight terror, Krishna told Indian television channel CNN-IBN.

Krishna added the threat of extremism in Pakistan, whose military has launched a full-scale offensive against Taliban militants in the northwest of the country, was a matter of concern for India.

"India will be a partner in fighting the terror in Pakistan but unfortunately every time our efforts reach critical stage, suddenly a heinous crime is perpetuated from Pakistani soil on India."