Pak rapidly developing its nuclear arsenal: Report

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 09:46

Washington: Estimated to have more nuclear
weapons than India, Pakistan is rapidly developing and expanding its atomic arsenal, spending about USD 2.5 billion a year to develop such weapons, a report has said.

"Pakistan has been rapidly developing and expanding its nuclear arsenal, increasing its capacity to produce plutonium,
and testing and deploying a diverse array of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles," said the report `Assuring
Destruction Forever: Nuclear Modernisation Around the World`.

"Pakistan is moving from an arsenal based wholly on HEU to greater reliance on lighter and more compact plutonium-based weapons, which is made possible by a rapid
expansion in plutonium production capacity," said the 150-page report by Reaching Critical Will of the Women`s International League for Peace and Freedom.

"Pakistan is also moving from aircraft-delivered nuclear
bombs to nuclear-armed ballistic and cruise missiles and from
liquid-fueled to solid-fueled medium-range missile. Pakistan
also has a growing nuclear weapons research, development, and
production infrastructure," it said.

According to the report Pakistan is estimated to have 90-110 nuclear weapons.

"A long-term concern now driving Pakistan`s nuclear
programme is the US policy of countering the rise of China by
cultivating a stronger strategic relationship with India. This
may tie the future of Pakistan and India`s nuclear weapons to
the emerging contest between the United States and China,"
said the report.

Pakistan has a number of short-range, medium, and
longer-range road-mobile ballistic surface-to-surface missiles
in various stages of development.
"It has developed a second generation of ballistic
missile systems over the past five years. It is estimated that
Pakistan could have a stockpile of 2750 kg of weapon-grade HEU
and may be producing about 150 kg of HEU per year," it said.
Estimates suggest Pakistan has produced a total of about
140 kg of plutonium, the report said.

While not much information is available on the funding of
Pakistan`s nuclear weapons project, the report said estimates
indicate that Pakistan spends about USD 2.5 billion a year on
nuclear weapons.

Despite extensive foreign military assistance, Pakistan`s
effort to sustain its conventional and nuclear military
programmes has come at increasingly great cost to the effort
to meet basic human needs and improve living standards, the
report said.

India the report said is estimated to have 80?100 nuclear
warheads.

"It is also developing a range of delivery vehicles,
including land- and sea-based missiles, bombers, and
submarines," it said.

"While nuclear weapons used to be seen as a `necessary
evil`, there is no more enthusiasm for India to become a
bonafide nuclear weapon power that can exercise its military
might in the region," it said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 09:23

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