May 25, 2011 / 11:33 AM / 9 years ago

India concerned for safety of Pakistan nuclear weapons

Pakistani nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missiles Shaheen II on a military mobile launching pad during the National Day parade in Islamabad March 23, 2005. REUTERS/Mian Kursheed/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India is concerned about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal after a group of militants laid siege to a heavily guarded naval air base, the defence minister said on Wednesday.

“Naturally it is a concern not only for us but for everybody,” A.K. Antony was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying when asked about concern for the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in light of the attack.

“Our services are taking all precautions and are ready round-the-clock. But at the same time we don’t want to over-react,” he said.

Sunday’s attack by as few as six Taliban militants on the PNS Mehran base in Karachi has raised fresh worry about the safety of Pakistan’s 70-100 nuclear weapons, and some analysts see it as a blueprint for a raid on a nuclear base.

Some security officials have said the attack may have been an inside job, spotlighting militant sympathisers within the ranks of Pakistan’s military.

Tension between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan have mounted since the U.S. operation to find and kill Osama bin Laden. Islamabad and New Delhi have traded barbs about each country’s readiness to take on an attack from a neighbour or launch one.

The neighbours have fought three wars since 1947.

Writing by C.J. Kuncheria; Editing by Paul de Bendern and Robert Birsel

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