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India wants Pakistan declared terror state

Release of nuclear scientist raises concern

Published:

India on Saturday said the international community should consider declaring Pakistan a terrorist state in light of the country’s release of a scientist who sold nuclear secrets around the globe.

"It is time for the international community to think whether to declare Pakistan a terrorist country," Manish Tewari, the ruling Congress party spokesman said in New Delhi, in reference to the end from house arrest of Pakistani nuclear Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Khan, the man at the centre of the world' most serious nuclear proliferation scandal, was released on Friday after five years of house arrest.

Revered by many Pakistanis as the father of the country's atomic bomb, he confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya in 2004. He was immediately pardoned by the government, although his movements were restricted.

India's Congress party, which faces election in April, where security is likely to be a major voting issue, said Khan's release was a serious security concern.

"Defending him proves Pakistan as not only an exporter of terrorism, but has also given rise to doubts of certain countries, including (United States) America, that nuclear weapons could go into the hands of terrorists," Tiwari told reporters.

Earlier, the Indian army chief said militant camps in Pakistan were thriving and had increased in the past year, as India put pressure on Islamabad to bring militants behind last November's attacks in Mumbai to justice.

"I would not talk about the numbers specifically right now...but infrastructure is existing and active," General Deepak Kapoor told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

India has said the militant attack on its financial capital Mumbai November last year, in which 179 people were killed, was planned from a camp in Pakistan.

Relations between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have been strained since then, with India saying Pakistan was not doing enough to rein in militants.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said this week Pakistan's main spy agency was linked to planners of the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan has denied any involvement by state agencies and said it was investigating a dossier of information from India, to which it will reply next week.