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'India's N-material on terror radar'

A senior Bush administration official warns that this danger is no higher than faced by many other countries including the United States.

world Updated: Apr 05, 2008 13:49 IST
Sridhar Krishnaswami
Sridhar Krishnaswami

India is vulnerable to its nuclear material being targeted by terrorists but this danger is no higher than faced by many other countries including the United States, a senior Bush administration official has said.

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Director of the Office of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence at the US Department of Energy, stated this at a Congressional hearing on 'Nuclear Terrorism' when asked by Democratic Senator Daniel Akaka if India has rejected offers of nuclear security cooperation.

"I think that the problem of India in this regard is the intelligence community would look at it -- of course, we pay attention to policy -- is to expand this from what could be a very simplistic discussion of a problem in the former Soviet Union and Pakistan to ensure that every country, whether it be India, United States, other country, could be potentially part of this small network of countries where terrorists can obtain material or expertise."

The senior administration official was before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmetal Affairs which held the hearing on Nuclear Terrorism Chaired by independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.

"So the decisions that states make, in a world where there's an increased dependence on nuclear power and proliferation of nuclear weapons, all will exacerbate the tendencies in the future -- the ability of a terrorist group at some point in time to reach that threshold they may have a mushroom cloud," he said.

"So my comment would be that certainly India is in the sphere of concern, as any country that has nuclear power and nuclear weapons," the top administration official said.