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25,000 soldiers guard Pakistan's nuclear stockpile

Last updated on: July 1, 2013 08:35 IST

25,000 soldiers guard Pakistan's nuclear stockpile

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Pakistan has raised a 25,000-strong special force and put in place extensive measures to protect and manage its strategic assets, including its nuclear arsenal, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said.

"A special security force of 25,000 personnel, who have been specially trained and provided sophisticated weapons, has been deployed to protect (the nuclear assets)," Dar said while winding up the debate on the 2013-14 budget in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament.

Pakistan has raised a Special Response Force, a Special Escort Force and a Marine Force to protect and guard its strategic assets, he said, without giving further details.

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Image: Top Pakistan Army officials climb atop a tank during military exercises in the Khudai Range in central Punjab's Muzaffargarh district
Photographs: Adrees Latif/Reuters

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25,000 soldiers guard Pakistan's nuclear stockpile

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Besides, there are also counter-intelligence teams and a "personnel reliability programme" to oversee the strategic programme, he said.

The 25,000-strong security force has been equipped with the latest equipment and the personnel are fully prepared for "mobility on the ground or in the air", he said.

The Strategic Plans Division, which manages the nuclear arsenal, has set up a training academy for the security force, Dar said.

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Image: A Pakistani worker polishes a model of the 'Chagai Mountain', the site of Pakistan's nuclear tests, in Islamabad
Photographs: Reuters

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25,000 soldiers guard Pakistan's nuclear stockpile

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The security force is always prepared and it has been trained for all conditions and eventualities on the basis of past experiences and potential scenarios involving the strategic assets, he said.

The system for identifying dangers is always at high alert and is constantly being reviewed, Dar said.

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Image: Members of the fundamentalist youth organisation Shabab-e-Milli drive a truck carrying a mock nuclear bomb through Islamabad
Photographs: Adrees Latif/Reuters
Tags: Dar , Pakistan

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25,000 soldiers guard Pakistan's nuclear stockpile

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Pakistan's strategic assets programme is based on strong foundations and meets international standards for security and management of nuclear assets, as laid down by organisations like the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime, he said.

Over the past year, the military too has provided details of the special security force raised by the Strategic Plans Division.

Several batches of this force have passed out of training academies across the country.

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Image: Pakistan Army soldiers leap from a vehicle during winter military exercises
Photographs: Reuters

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