Kashmir Described as Possible "Nuclear Flashpoint

July 7, 2008 - 7:07 PM

New Delhi (CNSNews.com) - Pakistan's military ruler General Parvez Musharraf that the disputed territory of Kashmir was a possible "nuclear flash-point" in South Asia. He urged neighboring India to "show sincerity" in resolving the issue.

"The recent developments in South Asia have shown that Kashmir is a possible nuclear flash-point in our region," Musharraf told a meeting of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council over the weekend.

"There is daily fire along the Line of Control and existing tension between the two countries, which indicate Kashmir is a major source of tension between the two countries," Musharraf said.

The Line of Control divides the disputed Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir, giving one third to Pakistan and two-thirds to India. The Indian portion comprises the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistan military ruler, who seized power in a coup in October, said Islamabad was "willing to solve the Kashmir problem if India shows sincerity ...Lasting peace in South Asia was not possible without solving the core matter."

The statement came just days after Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes told Indian lawmakers that the country had developed strategic plans to counter possible nuclear strike by Pakistan.

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh had last week accused Pakistan of receiving help from China and North Korea for its missile program.

India and Pakistan both tested nuclear devices in May 1998. The two neighbors have fought three wars since gaining independence in 1947.

Meanwhile, India soon plans to deploy an air defense system capable of identifying multiple targets and locking onto incoming surface-to-air missiles.

"The radar has been integrated with the weapon system and is undergoing field evaluation," George Cleetus, director of Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, told a radar conference.

He said the air shield, designed to detect and shoot down enemy aircraft and missiles, would be in place by mid-2000 and deployed around important cities, nuclear power stations and petrochemical refineries.

Once the radar locates an enemy projectile, the system will activate a surface-to-air Akash (Sky) missile, which has a range of 25 kilometers, he said

India has plans to build a full rack of guided missiles including the ballistic missile series Agni (Fire), which can carry nuclear warheads.