Pakistan may slip over nuclear weapons to the Taliban for use against India in the event of escalated tension or war between the two neighbours, a non-proliferation US commission has said.
"If something broke out in Kashmir that reignited the vitriol between India and Pakistan, that could be an incident that could cause someone to make the decision.
"We don't want to use these weapons, but we're going to let our surrogate Taliban have access to these weapons and they'll do our dirty work," Bob Graham, head of US Commission on the Prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
Graham was responding to questions from anxious lawmakers who expressed concern over the safety and security of nuclear weapons in Pakistan at a hearing convened by the House Homeland Security Committee.
"I think one of our recommendations was to work with India and Pakistan to develop some fail-safe procedures. Unlike, the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, where although we were strong adversaries and had the capability of destroying each other.
"We understood that we didn't want to allow a misstep or an accidental event to become the ignition for such a war. So we set up the red phone in the Oval Office and a whole protocol," Graham said referring to the report of the commission released early this year.
"None of that exists between India and Pakistan. I have felt that this may be an area in which the US and Russia together, since we developed these protocols for our own benefit and the world's benefit, might work together with India and Pakistan to try to get them to develop," he said.
"I was encouraged that within the last month India and China have started to develop some of those fail-safe procedures. But there's almost nothing that has been done in a similar vein between the real adversaries, which are India and Pakistan," Graham said.