London: Pakistan has been secretly
accelerating pace of its nuclear weapons programme and it has
assembled 70 to 90 nuclear warheads as against India`s 60 to
80, a Washington-based nuclear watchdog has claimed.
The Institute for Science and International Security
has obtained satellite images showing that a row of cooling
towers at Pakistan`s secret Khushab-III reactor has been
completed, The Daily Telegraph reported.
This suggests the plant could begin operation within
months, allowing Pakistan to increase substantially its
stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium, it said.
Work at Khushab-III has forged ahead even as Pakistan
struggles to cope with floods that have inflicted damage
estimated at 27 billion pounds - and amid mounting concerns
over the long-term security of the country`s nuclear arsenal,
the report said.
Pakistan argues that its nuclear programme is
necessary to counter the superior conventional forces of
India, the report said.
A report, published by the Bulletin of Atomic
Scientists, estimated it had assembled 70-90 nuclear warheads
to India`s 60-80, and had produced, enough fissile material to
make a further 90.
According to the report, the US is also disturbed by
Chinese plans to build two new nuclear reactors in Pakistan,
bypassing rules that bar sales of nuclear equipment to states
that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.