Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, consisting of 110 to 130 warheads, has been designed to deter India from taking military action against it.
However, recent adoption of a doctrine called “full spectrum deterrence” and expansion of arsenals by both, Islamabad and New Delhi, have in fact heightened risks of nuclear conflict between the two hostile but hyphenated neighbours, Times of India reported. According to a 28-page report by a Congressional Research Service, “Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads, although it could have more.”
“Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, deploying additional nuclear weapons, and new types of delivery vehicles.”
The CRS is an independent research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports by on a wide range of issues so as to help lawmakers take informed decisions. “Continued Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons development could jeopardise strategic stability between the two countries.”
The report noted that Pakistan had shored up security for its nuclear arsenal and material especially since the US went to war in Afghanistan and the subsequent revelations about a procurement network.
However, it said that a number of recent terrorist incidents have cast doubts on the durability of the measures taken by Islamabad to ensure the safety and security of its nuclear arsenal.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2016.