Pakistan said yesterday it has a nuclear capability and declined to promise it would only be used for peaceful purposes unless its arch-enemy India gave similar assurances.

Pakistan Defense Minister Ghous Ali Shah said earlier this year the country had been compelled to go nuclear because of India's security crackdown in disputed Kashmir, a major cause of tension between the two countries.

Ministers and officials have made progressively bolder statements about the super-secret nuclear program, while sticking to the official line that it is not militarily oriented.

US Sen. Larry Pressler (R) of South Dakota told NBC News Tuesday that Pakistan had at least seven nuclear weapons that could be assembled and dropped within hours.

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