The Times reports alarming developments in Pakistan.
Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistanâ€™s nuclear program.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the assessment of the expanded arsenal in a one-word answer to a question on Thursday in the midst of lengthy Senate testimony. Sitting beside Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, he was asked whether he had seen evidence of an increase in the size of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.
â€œYes,â€ he said quickly, adding nothing, clearly cognizant of Pakistanâ€™s sensitivity to any discussion about the countryâ€™s nuclear strategy or security.
Inside the Obama administration, some officials say, Pakistanâ€™s drive to spend heavily on new nuclear arms has been a source of growing concern, because the country is producing more nuclear material at a time when Washington is increasingly focused on trying to assure the security of an arsenal of 80 to 100 weapons so that they will never fall into the hands of Islamic insurgents.
Meanwhile the Times of India thinks US aid dollars may be paying for all this.
Are American lawmakers and the Obama administration unintentionally funding a runaway Pakistani nuclear weapons program that may not only mean a mortal danger to the United States in the long run, but pose a more immediate existential threat to India?
Influential American commentators and media outlets are now starting to question what they see as Washingtonâ€™s indirect bankrolling of Pakistanâ€™s nuclear program through massive infusion of aid, even as US President Obama is insisting that he is confident Islamabad wonâ€™t allow its nuclear assets to fall into extremist hands.
News of Islamabadâ€™s accelerated nuclear weapons program, exposed by US satellite imagery and reported in this paper last Saturday, is being scrutinized in the light of the administration-backed Congress move to pump billions of dollars of US aid into Pakistan. Confirmation last week by USâ€™ highest military official, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, that Pakistan is indeed ramping up its weapons program, had added a sense of urgency to the review, particularly since the aid package is being finalized this week.