'Pakistan to give Saudis N-bomb'
President Musharraf and Saudi King Abdullah reach a pact with seven secret clauses, writes Pramit Pal Chaudhuri.Updated: Feb 18, 2007 01:52 IST
Pakistan has agreed to provide Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons and missiles last month, according to an Israeli intelligence website debka.com.
The website stated that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Saudi King Abdullah concluded an agreement with “seven secret clauses” on January 21, during his visit to Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan agreed to provide an atomic deterrent in the event of “a nuclear emergency”. The transfer of control would also occur in case Iran threatened the Persian Gulf Emirates, Egypt or Jordan.
According to intelligence sources, the agreement is impossible to confirm. However, it is a logical extension of a long-standing Saudi-Pakistan nuclear understanding. The goal: ensure a nuclear Iran does not dominate the Gulf.
Retired senior Indian officials believe the Saudis have financed Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme through shipments of cheap petrol since the 90s. In return, Pakistan was to provide a nuclear weapon on request.
However, it is uncertain how the exchange will occur.
While, Indian intelligence believes a number of missiles will be designated as Saudi, but physically remain in Pakistan with Riyadh controlling the launch button, others differ.
A Pentagon nuclear consultant said: “Saudis would have to develop a system of ground-tracking stations and satellites. This would be too much trouble and attract too much attention.” But John Pike, head of globalsecurity.org, said a large airplane could easily move warheads, especially if the missiles are bought elsewhere.
The implications of such a nexus for India would be negative, added the Pentagon advisor.
First Published: Feb 18, 2007 01:52 IST