India concerned over security of Pak nuke prog

Seoul: Ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit here next week, India today voiced concerns over Pakistan`s nuclear programme saying it has "very little confidence" on the capabilities of its western neighbour on securing its atomic assets.

"We have very little confidence that their nuclear programs are secure or will stay safe," sources said when asked about the security of atomic materials in Pakistan.

The possibility of "insider threat" was the prime concern among the Indian establishment and building capacities would be the key element in India`s pitch at the Nuclear Security Summit which begins here on Monday.

"The real problem is the insider threat," the sources said talking about Pakistan`s nuclear programme.

The sources cautioned that the fissile material could get into the hands of terrorists, who could use it to make dirty bombs.

They said an insider could be a person having legitimate reason to hold and control nuclear materials but who could also do the same for illegitimate purposes.

Multilateral meetings, like the Nuclear Security Summit, help in building capacities and building cooperation with countries but each country needs to shoulder the responsibility of protecting its own nuclear assets.

Concerns over nuclear security have heightened, particularly in the wake of the Fukushima accident, as officials fear that fissile material from such crippled reactors could fall in wrong hands if proper steps were not taken to secure it.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to unveil before the Summit the steps India has taken to tackle challenges of nuclear terrorism. .

Singh is also expected to meet his Pakistan counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani in Seoul on the sidelines of the Summit. Officials did not confirm a meeting between Singh and Gilani but pointed out that they would be in the same room for most part of Tuesday.

Singh and Gilani are among the 54 leaders expected in Seoul for the Second Nuclear Security Summit being hosted by South Korea.

India has voiced concern over the safety of Pakistan`s nuclear assets when militants has attacked a naval base near Karachi a couple of years back. On Iran, the sources said that Tehran`s pursuit of nuclear energy was not on the agenda of the Summit but it may find mention in individual statements made by world leaders.

"On the Iran question, our position has been consistent. We have told the Iranaians, talk to people, settle their doubts," the sources said.

They said none of the world leaders have said that Iran was making nuclear weapons.

"Nobody we have talked to including the Americans and the Israelis says Iran has decided to make nuclear weapons. They are saying that Iran was getting into a position from where it could at a later date acquire the capacity to make weapons.

"At that point it would be difficult to stop it," the sources said. They said Iran has agreed to start talks again with the International Atomic Energy Agency in April.

"Military action would not help solve the problem," the sources said referring to reported threats from Israel to launch strikes on Iran in a bid to cripple its nuclear programme.