Pakistan has a strong command and control system with tight security arrangements in place for protection of its nuclear weapons, which make the strategic assets inaccessible for militants, a top expert on South Asian nuclear affairs said. Naeem Salik, author of the recently published book The Genesis of South Asian Nuclear Deterrence - Pakistans Perspective also told an audience of experts, diplomats and academics at Johns Hopkins University that Indian nuclear program preceded Chinese quest for atomic weapons. The retired brigadier, who has been closely associated with Pakistan Strategic Plans Division, termed frequent media stories on concerns about Pakistani nuclear security as far-fetched. Such reports, he remarked, superficially try to connect some incidents of terrorism in the country to nuclear safety in order to invoke concerns. The expert spoke as senior U.S. officials including National Security Adviser and Defense Secretary also voiced confidence in the safety of nuclear weapons in Pakistan, which is fighting militants in its areas close to the Afghan border. In his presentation, Salik said some of the media accounts reflect sheer lack of information and understanding about the countrys safety measures while others appear to be part of a deliberate propaganda campaign. Delivering a talk at the Universitys School of Advanced International Studies, he pointed out that nuclear locations in some of the troubled spots in the world get very little mention in the international media and do not prompt the needed attention. For instance, he said, the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks took place near Indias nuclear facility, which should have been a matter of serious concern. He said Pakistans National Command Authority is responsible for policies related to strategic assets while Pakistan army ensures safety of the secretly located weapons. Salik, who spent a year and a half as a visiting scholar at SAIS, recalled that Indian nuclear explosions in May 1998 at Pokhran forced Pakistan to test its own devices, leading to nuclearization of South Asia. The two states, he said, have been responsibly sharing information about each others nuclear facilities as a safeguard from attacks, even during tense times under a bilateral agreement. The expert also spoke about the missile and other delivery systems developed by both Pakistan and India. On past activities of Dr A Q Khan, the analyst said, the scientist acted alone as he had a free hand, both financially and administratively. Tracing nuclear evolution in the region, Salik informed the gathering that Indian scientist Homi Bhabha conceptualized the nuclear program for the country beginning in 1940s and later also developed it, much before Beijings entry into the field. As a matter of fact, Indias nuclear program did not emerge in response to Chinas program but preceded it, Salik noted. India, he added, became the first country in Asia to carry out chain reaction and described how it got heavy water and reprocessing plants in 1960s and by 1965 intelligence estimates concluded India could go nuclear in a few years, which it did by exploding its first test in 1974. Walter Anderson, Director of South Asian Studies at SAIS, praised Saliks profound knowledge on the subject and said his deeply-delved book would be a valuable contribution to understanding the nuclearization of the region.