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US helping secure Pak's nuke arsenal at cost of $100 mn

world Updated: Jun 29, 2009 21:29 IST

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The US has launched a USD 100 million technical support programme to help modernise Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and ensure that it remains out of reach of the Taliban, a report has revealed.

The aim of US technical support is to prevent accidents and ensure that the nuclear arsenal is out of extremists' reach, the report by security analyst Andrew Cockburn has said.

However, in pursuit of this objective, "it is inevitable that the US is not only rendering warheads more operationally reliable, we are also transferring the technology required to design more sophisticated warheads without having to test them," the report published in a newsletter said.

The system known as "stockpile stewardship" allows scientists to "test" weapons through computer simulations, not only ensuring weapons' reliability but also the viability of new and improved designs.

Cockburn quotes a former national security official as saying that if the US is involved, "we can make sure they don't start testing, or start a war".

The report said Pakistan in 2008 approached US-based World Security Institute seeking advice on rendering their weapons more secure. The Indian side had a few years ago asked Russian Impulse Design Bureau to help make weapons safer, the report said.