By Hamid Waheed
The Indian and Western media have been quite vocal in the recent past voicing concerns about Pakistan's nuclear program. In some bizarre incidents, I found that the nuclear safeguards of both these nations have been in regular breach in recent times.
Let me list out the US nukes incidents; a sensitive list of US nuclear sites was mistakenly posted on internet recently. Then, in another case that shocked the whole world, a B-52 bomber that was mistakenly armed with six nuclear warheads flew for more than three hours across several US states.
As far as accidents regarding the Indian nukes are concerned, a few days back a fire left two people dead at India's main nuclear research laboratory, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai. Times of India reported on November 30, 2009 about radiation contamination at the Kaiga nuclear plant in Karnataka. The locals residing in surrounding area suffered damages.
Another case, the sudden missing of a top nuclear scientist L. Mahalingam, who had access to sensitive information, is also a recent happening. He was later found dead. I only wish the scientist did not divulge the information which can help in making dirty bomb to any terrorist outfit. Then, there was a news about two to three tons of heavy water having leaked out of an atomic reactor in western India on August 5, 1981. An examination of the safety record in India's nuclear facilities reveals poor practices and routine accidents, ranging from leaks of oil to complete loss of power in a reactor causing all safety systems to be disabled. Such series of blunders, places the United States and India in the list of world's
most dangerous nuclear powers.
Pakistan has no such history since Pakistan's nuclear command and control system remains one of the most sophisticated and secure in the world. In May 2009, Admiral Mike Mullen stated in press conference at Pentagon “We all recognize, obviously, the worst downside with respect to Pakistan is that those nuclear weapons come under the control of terrorists.” Now the wind has changed, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes that “the nuclear arsenal that Pakistan has, I believe, is secure. I think the government and the military have taken adequate steps to protect that,”. In same context, Indian Army Chief Gen VK Singh affirms, “I don’t think, there is any reason to say things are not secure. Things are secure”. Thanks to our Scientists. But the media keeps spreading perceptions far from truth