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Aug 24, 2006 at 04:02pm IST

Pak flexes nuke muscles with 2nd reactor

New Delhi: The Government said on Thursday that Pakistan is setting up a heavy water production reactor inside the Khushab nuclear complex which is capable of producing enough plutonium for 40 to 50 nuclear weapons a year.

''Government is constantly monitoring all developments that have a bearing on India's security environment and is committed to taking all necessary steps to safeguard the nation's security,'' Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said.

The news on the heavy water production reactor is based on a US-based non-governmental Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) report which was stated to be ''grossly exaggerated'' by Pakistan Ambassador the US Mahmud Ali Durrani.

NUCLEAR POWER: Pakistan is setting up a heavy water production reactor inside Khushab complex.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Sharma said ''there is no definite information on the size of the Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.''

He said the Government was aware that Pakistan was actively pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme for more than three decades and has plans for expansion of the programme.

As per the agreement on prohibition of attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between India and Pakistan, signed on December 31, 1988, ratified on 27 January 1991, and exchanged every year on January one, a list of the locational coordinates of nuclear facilities in both the countries was given to each other. This list was last exchanged on January 1, 2006.

''The Government regularly monitors proliferation trends in the neighbourhood. The Government remains fully vigilant and takes all necessary steps to safeguard India's security and national interests,'' said Sharma.