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US-Pak deal to safeguard N-arsenals absurd: Pak Army

November 09, 2009 23:16 IST

A media report about the US and Pakistan negotiating secret understandings on allowing American troops to provide security to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal in the event of a crisis are "absurd and plain mischievous", a top military official said here today.

"We have operationalised a very effective nuclear security regime, which incorporates very stringent custodial and access controls," Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen Tariq Majid said.

"As overall custodian of the development of our strategic programme, I reiterate in very unambiguous terms that there is absolutely no question of sharing or allowing any foreign individual, entity or a state any access to sensitive information about our nuclear assets," he said in a statement issued today in response to an article in the New Yorker magazine.

The US and Pakistan yesterday initiated a major damage-control exercise in response to the article in the prestigious magazine, which quoted unnamed senior American and Pakistani defence and civilian officials as saying the two countries were negotiating secret understandings to secure Islamabad's nuclear arsenal.

However, Majid rejected the contents of the article and said Pakistan's engagement with other countries through the International Atomic Energy Agency or bilaterally "to learn more about international best practices for security of such assets are based on two clearly spelt out Red Lines ┬ľnon-intrusiveness and our right to pick and choose".

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