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Islamic Bomb and India's Options

Lt. Gen. K.P. Candeth

By Major General D.K. Palit  & P.K.S. Nam­boodiri
Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 150, Rs. 30.00

VOLUME IV NUMBER 2 September/October 1979

It is to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that the credit for embarking Pakistan on a nuclear course goes. The idea of an Is­lamic Bomb was his and it was he who against much opposition, set up the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology and started negotiations for the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant. As far back as 1964, as Foreign Minister, he had urged Ayub Khan to sanction Rs. 300 million to set up· a Nuclear re­processing plant. At that time, it was to be a Pakistan Bomb but he realized that Pakistan lacked the financial resources to go it alone and so hit upon the idea of Pakistan developing an Islamic Bomb on behalf of all the Arab and Islamic countries. The Arabs had suffered four humiliating military defeats at the hands of Israel and it was easy for Bhutto, endowed as he was with much charm, persuasive manners and intellectual bril­liance, to convince Colonel Gaddaffi, King Soud and the other oil rich Arab states that as Israel already had nuclear capa­city, it was essential for the Arabs to have it too. He argued that unless the Islamic States had a deterrent, the Israelis would not hesitate to use the bomb in an extremity. He pointed out to willing listeners that Pakistan had the skilled man­power and nuclear technology and the only restrictive factor washer lack of financial resources. Colonel Gaddaffi and King Soud and the Arabs readily agreed. Bhutto was an ambitious man and an egotist and he felt that by developing the Islamic bomb, Pakistan would become easily the most powerful, Islamic state militarily, and he as its head, the tem­poral leader of Islam. Saudi Arabia would of course continue as the spiritual and financial leader of the Islamic world but the, real power would be his. This aspiration to leadership no doubt played a leading part in his desire to develop the Bomb. Although the Bomb may techni­cally be an Islamic Bomb, the finger on the trigger will be Pakistan's. So when India exploded a nuclear device in 1974, he used the occasion to cry ‘Islam in danger’ to force the pace of the development. The fact that from 1965 onwards, Pakistan had not been publishing details of its defence budget came in handy when she set about clandestinely to acquire the material and resources required for the reprocessing plant. Dr. A.Q. Khan, ...

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