Pakistan, India and their nuclear bombs

July 5, 2008

May photo of PML-N party protest in favour of A.Q. KhanBy pure coincidence, Pakistan and India are both embroiled at the same time in domestic rows over their nuclear bombs.

In Pakistan, disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan kicked up a storm by saying that the Pakistan Army under President Pervez Musharraf knew about the illegal shipment of uranium centrifuges to North Korea in 2000 — contradicting his earlier confession that he acted alone in spreading Pakistan’s nuclear arms technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Although Khan has subsequently suggested his remarks may have been overplayed, they are nonetheless likely to raise anxieties overseas about Pakistan’s nuclear programme.  His statement, and partial retraction, have also spawned a range of conspiracy theories about which of Pakistan’s squabbling politicians stood to gain from it, as seen in the comments to this blog on All Things Pakistan.

India’s Brahmos missiles on display/Jan photo, B. MathurIndia has an entirely different problem, but nonetheless one which stems from domestic politics. A nuclear deal with the United States which would have given its nuclear programme legitimacy and, it hoped, set it on the road to superpower status, has foundered on opposition from the Congress-led government’s communist allies. The government is hoping to salvage the deal with support from the regional Samajwadi Party before time runs out on the Republican administration of President George W. Bush.

What is interesting is how these two very different issues will play out in the minds of U.S. voters and on perceptions within South Asia of the U.S. presidential elections.

File photo of Senator Barack ObamaPakistanis are already worried that Barack Obama, if elected president, would take a harder line on Pakistan than the outgoing Bush administration which stands accused of failing to tackle al Qaeda hideouts there. The row about Pakistan’s nuclear programme can only make the country more vulnerable to U.S. pressure,  says Pakistan’s The Post.  And all this comes at a time when some are beginning to say that Pakistan would be better off if John McCain were to be elected. “Most Pakistanis may prefer Obama,” writes Ikram Sehgal in The News, but ” pragmatism and national interest dictate that McCain suits us far better as the next U.S. president.”

India has always been wary of the U.S. Democrats, who have been tougher on nuclear proliferation than the Republicans. So while Obama might have charmed Non-Resident Indians in the United States (who admittedly are the ones who will vote),  at home McCain looks like a better bet for upholding the nuclear deal. “Obama good for the world, McCain good for India,” wrote a blogger on merinews.

Is this the first sign of a convergence of views between India and Pakistan on who they want to become the next U.S. president? Or is it too early in the campaign to see clearly which candidate the two countries would prefer? And in any case, would U.S. voters care?



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Pakistanis only care about Pakistan, Pakistan ‘first and last’ is the current attitude of the Government of Pakistan, Whatever any other country does that is thier own problem, Pakistan does not care, As Pakistanis we only care about Pakistan, The rest of the entire world can die of hunger for all we care.

Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

we are pakistani,this is our right.pakistan is not the property of america,or whatever any one not allowed to discuesse on the issue of neculear programme,thats why who spread it,and who spread it and its shipment to north Korea.these are our internal dispute.

Posted by alqaeeda | Report as abusive

There are several questions that come to mind in the wake of the latest assertions by Mr. Khan. Who is behind this latest embarrassment for President Musharraf and Pakistani military? What is their motivation? Is this the “smoking gun” that the IAEA and many Americans have been looking for? How would President Bush and the US Congress react? Is there room for plausible deniability for a possible covert operation that may have been authorized by the government in Pakistan’s best interest? Where will this lead the world? Will there be a full, public investigation of this matter by foreigners? How many other nations have allowed their scientists to discuss state secrets in such a public way? How often have similar technology transfers by other nations been publicly investigated? Will we ever learn the truth? Will the effort to learn the truth compromise Pakistan’s national security? The questions are many, but the answers are few. Only time will tell how this story plays out and and the extent of its fall-out for Pakistan’s national security.

Posted by Riaz Haq | Report as abusive

I believe that the game may have just begun on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. With Al Qaida and Taliban going from strength to strength in northern Pakistan and growing US demands for official authorization to strike and carry out anti militants operation inside Pakistan (who knows the authorization may already have been granted and this seems to be case from recent US government officials’ statements), Pakistan-US relations are at the lowest ebb ever. In a politically volatile environment like, such whistle-blowing by the father of country’s nuclear weapons can mean a great deal of trouble ahead, particularly if the US would like to use it as an excuse to intervene and take control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. But US government is faced with a whole range of more important challenges and therefore this development may simply be ignored. The Pakistani government is already trying to sweep it under the carpet by saying that the case on nuclear proliferation is already closed and cannot be reopened. Interesting times, that’s all one can say and next few months will give an indication of what turn this issue is going to take. Btw, I and most Pakistan (certainly most international observers) would agree with Mr Khan that if at all any smuggling of nuclear technology has taken place to North Korea, then it could not have been done without the supervision and express consent of Pakistan’s army, which has ruled the country directly or indirectly for all its existence. The question is: why Mr Khan is speaking out now ? If he wanted the truth to be known, why didn’t he come clean when the whole ruckus started ? He himself admits that he covered up the truth because he was promised a pardon for keeping a lid on the matter. It seems that his later suffering in house arrest and growing US pressure to talk to him directly has forced him to finally speak the truth. This sort of makes him a complicit; rather than a geniune whistle-blower. But his statement, although came quite late, can still cause furor in the West and certainly in the high ranking army officers in Pakistan. Whatever happens, this statement is certainly going to create more enemies for Mr Khan than he previously had.

Posted by Safdar Jafri | Report as abusive

as a indian i believe india is first and always who cares about september the 11th india should worry about itself not america let the world die as long as india is alive we indians are happy JAI HIND

Posted by hindu | Report as abusive

A nuclear deal with the United States would certainly give India’s nuclear programme legitimacy. Thereafter nothing could stop India becoming a superpower.

Posted by Deepak | Report as abusive

Pakistan & India are like two brothers. Younger brother listens to fools and set’s fire to his own clothes, runs around not knowing he is setting fire to his own house. Put away the Mullah, Keep to Muhammad an Allah, all will be fine. Why we need Brokers or interpreters to help us to God, our True father. These times of well educated. I would like to know of a single mullah who wore explosive belt to blew himself ! Why he hides like a fox behind shield of humans, asking young and hopeful people. Why he promises wine women and song in the other world. Is that his taste ! Enemy is within. Know the truth and the truth will make you free. If Mohd.Ali Jinnah been made Governor General of India or Primer, would Pakistan or it’s E-Pak been born. Nehru’s greed is still haunting every one. God bless Pakistan. Some where in the Koran it’s given that when God wants destroy some one he need give him wrong ideas. Ancient Vedic Rishis, who were no religion chasers had said the same as ” Vinasha Kale Vipatreetha Bhudhi”. Destructive times come via wrong ideas, that is another point saying the ancients were correct. Good to be Born in a religion but why drown in it ?

Posted by Sathyam | Report as abusive

Pakistan is a joke.

Even worse, most of their inhabitants aren’t even aware what sort of a dump Pakistan really is.

And now, the Islamic terrorists, the same ones whom Pakistan birthed, and continues to do so, are consuming that pitiful excuse of a nation in the same way a malignant tumour devours the body of a cancer-ridden patient.

The rest of the world isn’t dying, Doctor, but Pakistan certainly is!

Posted by CarrotAndStick | Report as abusive

” . . . would US voters care?”

Good question. Because most US voters couldn’t find either India or Pakistan on a world map. A 2006 National Geographic survey of 18-24 year-olds showed that, amongst other astonishing revelations of ignorance, 65 per cent couldn’t find the UK on a map, and 63 per cent couldn’t find Iraq.

So the US voter is irrelevant in this context. What matters is the nature of the legislators. Agreed, they get into the Senate and Congress because of votes — but all politics is local, and money counts more than anything else. Powerful lobbyists buy politicians by facilitating their election campaigns. No sane politician (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms) would refuse the demands of a major contributor of funds to his/her campaign, and that’s where the crunch comes.

The US-India nuclear deal (if it isn’t already dead) will depend on the attitudes (the word ‘convictions’ is too strong) of legislators, as will continuation or otherwise of US support for Pakistan.

No matter what Senators McCain or Obama might like to do, they will be at the mercy of the Senate and the Congress.

So it might be advisable for Delhi and Islamabad to increase their already substantial lobbying efforts if they want to win friends and influence people.

Forget principles. In the end it’s always about cash.

Posted by beecee | Report as abusive

India is a hell hole

most Indians live in gutters infested with rats and monkeys india is the poorest nation on earth according to IMF and the worldbank

Hndu terrorists spread violence and fear across the country and export it to pakistan the hindus abroad also contribute to the movement of terror groups such as BJP and the RSS

THE world is realistic India is a fantasy based natiion infested with evil hindus

Posted by HINDU | Report as abusive

India and Pakistan need to focus on eliminating poverty NOT EACH OTHER!

Posted by Hakie | Report as abusive

americans, british and french helped israel to develop nuclear bomb, ussr helped india to develop nuclear bomb why do the piggs make so much fuss pakistan helping iran or north korea,piggs are hypocrites

Posted by pakistani | Report as abusive

Perhaps the so called ‘pigggggs’ have realised how stupid it is to help people ‘with a mindset of senseless murder and destruction’. Perhaps common sense is starting to prevail and the US Gov’t is thinking maybe, just maybe, the Pakistani government doesn’t have complete control over the country and that the terrorist forces within are a huge problem. With the regular suicide bombings by terrorist groups on it’s own people, and the Gov’t having little or no control to stop this increasing instability and the strong possibility of such weapons falling into the hands of those that are out to destroy, not improve their society, maybe it’s just not a good idea! Sathyam obviously has common sense and is aware to the situation. Heaven forbid if it resorts to: “..Some where in the Koran it’s given that when God wants destroy some one he need give him wrong ideas…” Maybe the world should just let Pakistan and India have free reign on accessing these weapons. By the comments of many Pakistani/Indian bloggers, there are enough ignorant people from both sides who would prefer to blow up each other rather than improve their society. How irrational is that? It seems many do not have the basic education, basic common decency towards fellow beings or basic common sense to think ahead and of the consequences before deciding to act. And why it is NO mullah will blow themselves up in the name of Allah and instead brainwashes some poorly educated, ignorant fool with low self esteem into believing murdering babies and children is holy. How is that rational? These people who hide behind a religion, just want murder and mayhem and they are educated enough to know it prevails through ignorance. (Some of the Catholic and Protestant priests were doing this in Ireland last century and before). Most(not all) of the ‘pigggggs’ learnt this last century or before – perhaps that is why the French are not fighting Spain/Germany. Perhaps they know it is basic common sense to ‘get along’ and choose to do so.

Posted by Conscientious Observer | Report as abusive

Pakistan lost three wars with India. Now Pakistan lost economic battle with India. Pakistan lost all its power in the world politics and it is not possible that Pakistan can attack on India in the future. India and Pakistan both should dispose their nuclear bombs, when India is going to sign for civil nuclear deal with US.

Population below poverty line: 25% in India (2007 est.) and 24% in Pakistan (FY05/06 est.).

Don’t forget one monkey (?) and two cats (India, Pakistan) story, where cats were fighting each other for the bread. Finally both cats lost the bread.

Posted by A.Y. | Report as abusive

This is in reply to the so called HINDU who posted his comments. I am sure he is neither a Hindu nor an Indian. For Indians their nation comes first not religion. Look at all the other non secular countries where the mullahs have taken over the governance and their future looks gloomy. Time will tell this idiotic, childish, cheap son, the truth of this great nation. India has its problems like any developing nation, ofcourse most of these are are caused by the mindless Islamic radicals. I am not supporting any hindu fundamentalists but cannot ignore the facts that most of their actions are in retaliation of the radicals actions. We will in near future throw the radicalisim and poverty out of the country and emerge as a superpower. India is a secular country and people are commited to its secular doctrine. They vote for developement and not for religious reasons. Look at non secular Islamic countries where illiterate, stonage ideologistic mullahs dictate terms.
Thsy have no future and only suffering is eminent for their citizens.

Posted by Hemanth | Report as abusive

I belive, both nations can only progress if they focus on educating people, propogating the tolerance for each other, and accepting each other an equal partner in world peace. Nuclears will only distroy humans. Both nations should learn this sooner then later. Success is in education, research and development, and progressive thinking. India is doing very well since the last decade, it has its own problems of discrimination among people, caste system and all. Pakistan is not going anywhere, yes there are challenges due to the inconsistent policies. Governments politicised the religion to secure their seats, some propogated socialism and liberalism, and some focused on religion only. Majority of Pakistani’s are mix of both extrems, better word would be conservative rather extremists. I hope the new govt focus on that aspact and look for their people first, and then region and then world, bottom up aproach. Love each other and propogate Peace. Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by Naqeeb | Report as abusive

The comment posted by HINDU on 6 July is a perfect example of pakistani mentality. I fail to understand why is Pakistan so Obsessed with India. Stop suppporting and funding all the Terror organisations you sponsor. Stop exporting terror and then after few years you will have peace in your country.

Posted by Fire | Report as abusive

In forbe’s list of billionaires even in first 10 billionaires , four indians are there.Laksmi mittal is the fourth richest man in the world after William Gates(Microsoft).Fith,sixth and eighth position of list also indians.Indians are leading in IT industry,Petrochemicals,Sevice sector,automobiles(Britsh laxuary brands Land Rover and Jaguar are acquired by indian automobile giant Tata for 1.15 billion pounds).
In forbe’s list no pakistani there in entire list -people-billionaires-billionaires08-cx_l k_0305billie_land.html

Posted by Justin | Report as abusive

I love India !

Posted by annj | Report as abusive

If we do not get Osama soon we will bonb the crap out of Pakistan. If you live in Waristan I would ‘Get Out of Dodge’ right now.

Posted by james engel usa | Report as abusive

They are playing a game set to clean this country off the map! By dealing with all the consequences may face by the American army! No matter how many soldiers get killed no matter how many innocent people lives may vanish in ashes & dust! Once there were Nazis who killed Jews! And now they are preparing for the big bang! Why can’t all the humanity could stay in peace and love why there is so hate for each other why can’t we just breathe? Have they thought they have to answer one day! How could someone sleep after all that killing and blood? May Allah help them to walk on the path of glory and stop killing people who just don’t deserves all this phenomenon called WAR and pathetic words like terrorist that is the only form each person could see is MUSLIM! Shame on them and their education and their parents! Pakistan resides on a very important part of this beautiful earth. It’s a war for the place of gold! Not for some stupid Osama or mullah umer ? Peace that’s what ISLAM is all about!

Posted by MR.SHAH | Report as abusive