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'Pak can thwart any surgical strike by India'

December 04, 2008 23:16 IST

Pakistan's armed forces can thwart any possible surgical strike by India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks though such an attack could escalate into a full-scale war, a Pakistani scientist who supervised the nation's nuclear tests said on Thursday.

Though the Indian leadership has not spoken of any military option in the wake of the terror attacks blamed on Pakistan-based elements, the local media has been abuzz with reports of surgical air strikes on targets like the headquarters of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba terror group.

Samar Mubarakmand, who headed the team of Pakistani scientists that supervised the detonation of five nuclear devices in 1998, said, 'Even if they are thinking of carrying out surgical strikes, Pakistan's radar systems, air force, ground troops and ground defences are very alert and they will give the right response. They will never be successful in their surgical strikes.' he told Geo News channel.

'But if the mistake of carrying out surgical strikes is made by India, they should know that the surgical strikes could lead to a full-scale war which would not be good for India or Pakistan,' he told Geo News channel.

Mubarakmand also dismissed a US commission's report that highlighted Pakistan as the weakest link in world security and also warned terrorists were likely to use nuclear or biological weapons in the next five years.

The report, ordered by the US Congress, said: 'If one was to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan. There is a grave danger it could also be an unwitting source of a terrorist attack on the US, possibly with weapons of mass destruction.'

But Mubarakmand said Pakistan's nuclear weapons were 'very secure' and under 'one of the world's best command and control systems'.

He said: 'The storage of the weapons is very safe. Pakistan's weapons have a secret code that will prevent their accidental arming. Even if someone wants to do that, they can't. By any standard, our nuclear deterrence cannot be described as unsafe.'

He claimed such reports were 'issued from time to time to put pressure on Pakistan'. He added: 'Probably this report has been issued at this time as India has put Pakistan under pressure because of whatever happened in Mumbai.'

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