News / Asia

Reported US Surveillance of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program Raises Questions

Reported US Surveillance of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program Raises Questionsi
X
September 10, 2013 9:36 PM
A recent Washington Post article reporting that the United States has stepped up surveillance of Pakistan's nuclear program has once again raised questions about the bilateral relationship between Washington and Islambad. As VOA's Kokab Farshori reports, the reported surveillance has focused new attention on the issue of mutual trust in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.
Kokab Farshori
A recent Washington Post article reporting that the United States has stepped up surveillance of Pakistan's nuclear program has once again raised questions about the bilateral relationship between Washington and Islambad.  The reported surveillance has focused new attention on the issue of mutual trust in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.
 
Pakistan has always maintained its nuclear arms are totally secure and has rejected any suggestion they could fall into the wrong hands.  

But the recent Post article based on what it said are classified documents reported that Washington has increased surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear arms.  

Does this reflect U.S. distrust of Pakistan?  

"The United States helps Pakistan to establish frames of reference and abilities to safeguard material, but then, at the same time, there is not the same kind of transparency to allow the United States to go in and verify those activities," said Thomas Lynch, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University in Washington D.C.   So, the United States, being a large country, doing the same things that it does with other countries with nuclear programs, expends capital and expends energy to determine if the assistance is having the desired effect."

But he adds such reports are bound to raise concerns in Islamabad over U.S. intentions towards Pakistan’s nuclear program.

"I think most American policymakers recognize that in Pakistan, this kind of activity gets morphed into a dramatic worry that the United States is spying on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in order to take them or eliminate them," LYnch said. "That fear is understandable, but it is quite overblown."

After the story appeared in the Post, Pakistan reiterated that the command and control structure of its nuclear program is completely safe. Experts say while there may be some distrust in U.S.-Pakistan relations, the two countries are united by vital common interests.  

"Mutual interests are prevalent throughout the spectrum," said Aqab Malik, who is a Carnegie Fellow at the New America Foundation. "And it’s about balancing those interests with the negative threats that may emanate from each side.  It’s a balancing act.  And overall strategic interest is much greater than the threats against each other."

And Malik is optimistic about the direction of the U.S.-Pakistan relations.

"Pakistan and the United States have established strategic dialogue again.  They reinitiated it," he said.  ?The new government wants to facilitate better relationships with Afghanistan and India, as well as the United States and other countries."  

Analysts stress that eliminating threats from militants and ensuring the safety of U.S. troops as they withdraw from Afghanistan should be the main priority for Washington and Islamabad.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid