Chicago: The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a US based think tank in a report on ‘Pakistani nuclear forces 2015’ stated that Pakistan will become the fifth largest nuclear power state by 2025 on the basis of their nuclear warheads development performance over past 20 years and its current weapons deployments. Its estimated stockpile has crossed the estimate stockpile from 90-110 to 110-130 warheads.
“With several delivery systems in development, four operating plutonium production reactors, and uranium facilities, the stockpile of warheads are likely to increase over next 10 years,” the report said.
However, the expansion will depend on how many nuclear-capable launchers the country plans to deploy and also on the growth of India’s nuclear arsenal.
The author’s of the report, Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris said Pakistan’s weapons deployment will ‘realistically’ grow to 220 -250 warheads by 2025 making it the fifth largest nuclear power country.
Pakistan has six types of currently operational nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, plus at least two more under development. It is also developing two new cruise missiles, the ground-launched Babur (Hatf-7) and the air-launched Raad (Hatf-8), the report said.
The report comes in the wake of Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aziaz Chaudhry saying that they have made nuclear weapons in response to India’s so called ‘cold-start doctrine’.
However, Pakistan’s nuclear programme was not for starting a war but for deterrence, he added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is currently visiting the US. The Obama administration will try to persuade Pakistan to sign a nuclear deal, and get them to place restrictions on their nuclear programme with the carrot of membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, but Pakistan is bound to resist any imposition of conditions, given its rocky relationship with the Taliban and India.