India's Defense Minister Backs ISIS Claim It Has Capability to Buy Nuclear Weapons 'Within the Year'

( [email protected] ) Jun 02, 2015 12:41 PM EDT
India's defense minister has backed the Islamic State's claim that it has the capability and resources needed to purchase nuclear weapons from Pakistan within the year.
Comments by Defense Minister Rao Inderjit Singh follow Isis's own 'far-fetched' claims it could obtain a Pakistani nuclear device via corrupt officials. AP Photo

India's defense minister has backed the Islamic State's claim that it has the capability and resources needed to purchase nuclear weapons from Pakistan within the year.

Speaking at a conference in Singapore last Saturday, Rao Inderjit Singh, India's Minister of State for Defence, expressed fears that ISIS could soon gain access to nuclear weapons: "With the rise of ISIS in West Asia, one is afraid to an extent that perhaps they might get access to a nuclear weapon from states like Pakistan," Singh said, Bloomberg reported.

Singh went on to warn that if Pakistan develops technology that enables its submarines to carry nuclear warheads, "it would just be a step further in arming their defense services."

A short time earlier, ISIS released an article in its propaganda magazine Dabiq claiming it will rise from "the most explosive Islamic 'group' in the modern world" to "the most explosive Islamic movement the modern world has ever seen" in less than twelve months.

The group claimed it is "infinitely" closer to purchasing a nuclear weapon from Pakistan and has the capability to smuggle it into the United States.

"The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah [province] in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region," the article claims.

The ISIS article, attributed to British photojournalist John Cantlie, goes on to explain that once the terrorist group has acquired a nuclear weapon, it will smuggle it up to the U.S. border, where militants would be able to hide among the millions of other illegal immigrants trying to get into the U.S. through the southern border.

"Perhaps such a scenario is far-fetched but it's the sum of all fears for western intelligence agencies and it's infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago," the article states. "And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That's easy enough to make."

Despite ISIS' claims, Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, said the idea of Pakistan selling nuclear weapons to ISIS is highly unlikely.

'It would be suicidal for Pakistan to supply them and suicidal for ISIS to seek to acquire them - it would lead to immediate military intervention,' he told MailOnline. 'However it is possible that ISIS might try to acquire nukes from somewhere, but if so, all western intelligence agencies would be on the highest alert to prevent this.

He added, 'As for getting non-nuclear explosives, well that would indeed not be hard. But they're not nukes, I can't believe ISIS could acquire nukes. ISIS is swaggering and posturing. It is taunting both us in the West but also other Middle Eastern states and embarrassing Pakistan at the same time.'

However, Glees clarified that while ISIS' acquisition of a nuclear weapon is unlikely, the group's increasing stranglehold on Iraq and Syria is "desperately bad news" for the West.

Bloomberg notes that Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear program in the world, according to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations,with an arsenal of 100 to 120 warheads, compared with China's 250 and India with 90 to 100.