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DATE=10/12/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PAKISTAN NUCLEAR - U-S (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-254937 BYLINE=JIM RANDLE DATELINE=PENTAGON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Pentagon officials say political unrest in Pakistan does not appear to have increased the danger that Islamabad's nuclear weapons might be used. But V-O-A's Jim Randle reports, officials say the uncertainty over the world's newest nuclear power underscores the need for the test ban treaty. TEXT: Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon says control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal does not seem to be changing hands. /// FIRST BACON ACT /// It is my understanding that the Pakistani Army has controlled the nuclear program, and the security of the nuclear weapons, as a matter of course. So I don't think that anything should change, based on the events that we see taking place in Pakistan. /// END ACT /// Mr. Bacon says it is difficult for U-S military officials to learn what is going on in Islamabad because military-to-military ties were severed nine years ago. That is when Washington cut aid to Pakistan when officials suspected - correctly - that Islamabad was developing nuclear weapons. Pakistan and its neighbor and rival India both set off underground nuclear weapons tests in 1998, making it very clear that each could devastate the other. U-S officials say both nations are also developing or importing ballistic missile technology that could eventually be used to deliver nuclear bombs. Mr. Bacon spoke as the U-S Senate was considering the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. /// SECOND BACON ACT /// I think it (events in Pakistan) does underscore the need for treaties like the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty, that would if in effect, make it more difficult for countries to develop nuclear weapons. Pakistan has not signed the treaty but both India and Pakistan have both indicated that they could in the future perhaps sign the treaty, and that would be good because it make the further developent of nuclear weapons more difficult, if they cannot test them. /// END ACT /// Concern in Washington and other capitals grows out of the longstanding bitter relations between India and Pakistan. The two nations have fought three wars in the past 50 years and have just gone through an armed confrontation over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Many experts in military matters and regional politics say they are worried that a new confrontation between the two bitter rivals could escalate to a nuclear exchange. They say those fears are compounded by the uncertainty over Pakistan's current political situation. Even if Islamabad and New Delhi avoid using nuclear weapons, they both deploy powerful conventional military forces that could kill a large number of people in the event of war. India fields nearly one-point-two million active duty military personnel and about 840 combat aircraft. Pakistan, a far smaller nation, has about 600-thousand people in uniform and just over 400 combat aircraft. (Signed) NEB/JR/TVM/gm 12-Oct-1999 16:20 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 2020 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .