LONDON - A former British defence minister stunned peers on Friday by suggesting that a neutron bomb could be used to create a ‘cordon sanitaire’ in troubled border regions like the one between Afghanistan and Pakistan, reported a private TV channel.During debate in House of Lords on multi-lateral nuclear disarmament, Lord Gilbert said the use of such weapons could ‘greatly reduce problems of protecting those borders’. He added: “These things are not talked about but they should be....” According to AsianImage website, the Labour former minister said that what used to be called a neutron bomb, but was actually an enhanced radiation reduced blast weapon (ERRB), could have ‘many uses’ today. “I think you could use an ERRB warhead to create a cordon sanitaire around various borders where people are causing trouble these days.” He said an example was the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan where no one was living ‘except a few goats’. Acknowledging his idea might seem ‘impractical’ to peers, Lord Gilbert added: “If you told them there was going to be some ERRB warheads dropped there, it would be a very unpleasant place to go and they wouldn’t go there.“You would greatly reduce your problems of protecting those borders from infiltration by one side or another. These things are not talked about but they should be because there are great possibilities for deterrence in using weapons we’ve got already.” Lord Gilbert said he was ‘delighted’ that nuclear weapons had been invented because, by acting as a deterrent, they had prevented a possible third world war and helped save lives. Labour former defence secretary Lord Browne of Ladyton rounded on Lord Gilbert over his remarks, accusing him of being at his ‘most challenging and contrarian’. Cabinet Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire said the government did not share Lord Gilbert’s ‘rumbustious’ views on the sensitive issue. “The UK retains a firm commitment to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” he said. “Our aim is to build an international environment in which no state feels the need to possess nuclear weapons - an environment that will allow nuclear states to disarm in a balanced and verifiable manner.”Lord Wallace said there had been continuity from one government to another on the issue, adding: “This is absolutely not an area of partisan disagreement.”