Thursday, March 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak reactor, missile site photos posted on Internet

WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) — A US policy group that caused a stir when it published satellite photographs of a North Korean missile site has put pictures of Pakistani nuclear and missile facilities on the Internet only days before President Bill Clinton visits South Asia.

The Federation of American Scientists release photos — bought from a Colorado company and of spy-satellite quality — of Pakistan’s nuclear reactor and support facility at Khushab and of its missile base at Sargodha.

The scientists’ federation unveiled the images on its website,, at 8 a.m. EST (6.30 p.m. IST) today — only three days before Mr Clinton leaves on a trip to India that will include a stopover in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s missile base at Sargodha houses M-11 missiles that the country bought from China a decade ago, said Mr John Pike, Director of the group’s space policy project yesterday. The photo, provided by Space Imaging Inc. of Thornton, Colorado does not include missiles but shows that the installation is “a full-scale missile base”, he said.

“Pakistan has invested a tremendous effort in building these facilities, and I don’t think we’re going to talk them out of building these weapons any time soon, Mr Pike said.

Future US policy should focus on “reducing the risk that these weapons will be used”, he said.

The Federation of American Scientists has ordered satellite photos of similar facilities in India.

Pentagon spokesman P.J. Crowley said: “Our desire is for both countries to walk away from their nuclear programmes. Other countries have done it, such as Argentina, Brazil.

“And we don’t think that the existence of nuclear weapons in India, Pakistan, in any way enhances their security”.

The Federation of American Scientists was founded in 1945 by members of the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bomb. Its key goals are nuclear disarmament and prevention of the use of nuclear weapons.

Since the fall, when Space Imaging Inc. launched a satellite that can take pictures nearly as close to the ground as spy satellites do, the company has given anyone willing to pay about $ 2,000 per photo access to such images. Previously they were obtainable only by government employees with security clearances.

The imagery covers two of Pakistan’s most important special weapons facilities, the plutonium production reactor at Khushab, and the nearby medium range missile base at Sargodha. Plutonium from the Khushab reactor would probably be used in lightweight nuclear warheads for the M-11 missiles at Sargodha, which Pakistan acquired from China in the early 1990s. The new satellite imagery indicates that construction of the Khushab reactor is essentially complete, and that Pakistan has built a dozen garages for mobile missile launchers and associated vehicles at Sargodha.

“Pakistan has laid the groundwork for a force of dozens of nuclear tipped missiles capable of striking Indian cities and military bases. But Pakistan is in danger of having most of its nuclear eggs in one basket, which would be a tempting target for a pre-emptive Indian attack in a time of crisis”, according to Mr Pike, who directs the Federation’s Public Eye project. “The USA needs to work with India and Pakistan to reduce this temptation for launching disarming attacks. With Pakistan and India apparently moving ahead with deploying nuclear forces, the danger of such attacks will grow. In the past, American policy focused on preventing these countries from acquiring nuclear weapons. In the future, American policy need a new focus on initiatives to reduce the risk that these weapons will be used.”

In early 1991 it was reported that US intelligence had detected in Pakistan a number of launch vehicles for the M-11 missile, with a range of 300 km with a 500 kg payload. And in November, 1992, China reportedly delivered about two dozen M-11s to Pakistan through the port of Karachi. In May, 1993, it was reported that China had delivered to Pakistan unassembled M-11 missiles. Subsequently, it was reported that more than 30 M-11s appeared to be in storage at Sargodha air base. Other reports suggested that as many as 84 such missiles are deployed at the Sargodha air base. It is believed that Pakistan may have from 12 to 20 M-11 missile launchers, and is developing nuclear warheads for M-11.

Indian intelligence agencies are reported to believe that the missiles are stored in a sub-depot near the Central Ammunition Depot at Sargodha on Kirana Hills near Lahore. The Pakistani military has constructed storage sheds for the missiles and mobile launchers, as well as related maintenance facilities and housing for launch crews. Reportedly soldiers have also been sighted practising simulated launches with advice from visiting Chinese experts. The Indian assessment is that in a time of crisis the M-11 missiles would be deployed at Gujranwala, Okara, Multan, Jhang and Dera Nawab Shah, where defence communication terminals have been set up. Over half of the Pakistani road network is unpaved and over two-thirds of paved arterial roads do not have enough carriagway width for two lanes., However, over 80 per cent of Pakistan’s freight and passenger traffic travels by road. The major north-south link is Lahore and Rawalpindi to Peshawar and carries over half of Pakistan’s goods and passenger traffic. A six-lane motorway opened for use in late 1997 on Lahore-Faisalabad-Sargodha-Rawalpindi/Islamabad route, with the second part between Rawalpindi to Peshawar.

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