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Pak nukes safely guarded: Narayanan

The national security adviser also says India has a plan in place to deal with a situation if Pak N-weapons falls into the wrong hands.

delhi Updated: Dec 16, 2007 12:12 IST

India believes that nuclear weapons in Pakistan are "pretty safely guarded" making it "extremely difficult" of it falling in "wrong hands" with the US paying "very close attention" to the issue.

It also said that the government has a contingency plan in place to deal with a situation of Pakistani nuclear weapons getting used by radical elements in the neighbouring country.

"It is extremely difficult for any outside element just walking away with a readymade nuclear device," National Security Adviser (NSA) M K Narayanan told Karan Thapar on India Tonight programme on CNBC TV 18.

It is not easy for just a couple of people to manage a nuclear device, he said adding that even as National Security Adviser "I cannot activate this on my own."

"I would therefore say it (Pakistani nuclear arsenal) is relatively safe or I would say it is largely safe," he said.

Fears of nuclear weapons falling in the hands of radicals has "activated" the American government to pay "very close attention" to the matter, the Narayanan said. "... They are quite satisfied with the checks and balances which are adequate," he said.

It is no secret that there has been infiltration of radical elements in the armed forces, he said adding that he believed that during Pervez Musharraf's tenure as Army Chief and now under General Ashfaq Kiyani steps have been taken against them.

"There are certain secret radical elements but I think it is a remote possibility (of Pakistan nuclear weapons falling in the hands of radicals)," Narayanan said.

Narayanan sought to allay apprehensions on threat posed by Pakistan's nuclear arsenal to India and said that the government has a contingency plan in place to deal with such a situation.

"We have a contingency plan in place (to deal with a situation) of nukes falling into wrong hands and getting used by elements in Pakistan," he said.

Narayanan suspected that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to be behind the recent failed plot to kidnap Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.

The interrogation of the Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists in Lucknow recently was "most revealing", he said. It was certain that without official patronage it is difficult to conceive of such a detailed plan, he said.

"At some stage there could be an ISI hand," Narayanan said but sought to absolve the political class from being involved in the conspiracy.

On the threat of infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists, he said the Line of Control has become difficult to penetrate but admitted that the presence of terror launch pads across the LoC remained a cause of concern.

"There are enough (terror launching pads) for us to be concerned," the NSA said. Narayanan said he did not think every terrorist incident in India has links to the political class or military in Pakistan.