In less than 10 years, Pakistan will have the third largest nuclear stockpile in the world, behind only the US and Russia, two prominent US think tanks said in a report.
According to the report, Pakistan is adding 20 warheads to its nuclear arsenal annually because of its fear of India which is also a nuclear power.
“In the coming years, the report states, Pakistan’s advantage could grow dramatically because it has a large stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to quickly produce low-yield nuclear devices,” said The Washington Post on the report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center.While India has large stockpiles of plutonium, essential for high-yield weapons, the report says that most of it is being used to produce domestic nuclear energy. It says Pakistan could have 350 warheads in the next 5-10 years, leaving UK and France behind.
Unlike India, Pakistan hasn’t declared any no-first-use commitment and its leaders never shy away from reminding India that it is a nuclear power. Even after the recent cancellation of NSA level talks, Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz said nuclear power Pakistan knew how to defend itself.
“The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices,” the report states.
Pakistan is estimated to already have 120 warheads as against India’s 100. According to the Post, Pakistani military officials were not available to comment on the report when it was made available to journalists in the US on Wednesday.
Pakistan recently built its fourth reactor at Khushab military facility, a plutonium producing unit. Many believe that Pakistan is manufacturing low-yield, tactical nuclear weapons which, according to Indian experts, are meant to be used along the border in case of any skirmish with the Indian Army.
Pakistan is developing non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons to check the asymmetry with India in conventional capabilities, noted nuclear expert Hans M Kristensen had said in a report in 2012.