Pakistan rejects claims of US role in nuke arsenal

Islamabad strongly rejects reports that the US has been spending millions of dollars to keep Pakistani nukes out of the reach of extremists,reported Press TV.

A foreign ministry statement said on Monday that there was no truth whatsoever that any US money had been diverted toward developing or toward the maintenance of the nukes.

The ministry also emphasized that the control and command systems of nukes were completely indigenous.

"We are fully capable of looking after the safety and security of our strategic assets," the statement said, adding that, "We have never sought the advice of any US expert in this regard."

The statement comes after Andrew Cockburn, a renowned author on security issues, said in a report on Sunday that Washington was spending $100 million a year to prevent nukes from accidents and to ensure that they were out of the extremists' reach.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said that such reports have been published to create suspicion about the security of the country's nuclear weapons.

The developments come as western and Indian officials raise concerns over the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal amid a growing insurgency across the country.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview with Fox News in late April said the US was worried about the "unthinkable" in Pakistan -- that the Taliban and al-Qaeda could topple the government, and get their hands on "the keys to a nuclear arsenal".

Recently, a top al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, has said that his men would use Pakistan's nuclear weapons against the US, should they be able to get their hands on any.

Officials in Islamabad, meanwhile, have ruled out the possibility of the nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the militants.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari insists that his country has a strong command-and-control system for its nuclear weapons.

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