INTERNATIONAL

Pakistan’s nuke warheads aimed at deterring India: U.S. report

A ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead launched by Pakistan on December 15, 2015.— File Photo: AFP  

Pakistan’s nuclear warheads which are estimated to be between 110-130 are aimed at deterring India from taking military action against it, a latest Congressional report has said.

The report also expressed concern that Islamabad’s “full spectrum deterrence” doctrine has increased risk of nuclear conflict between the two South Asian neighbours.

“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,” Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report.

In its 28-page report, the CRS noted that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against it, but Islamabad’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new types of nuclear weapons and adoption of a doctrine called “full spectrum deterrence” have led some observers to express concern about an increased risk of nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India, which also continues to expand its nuclear arsenal.

CRS is the independent research wing of the U.S. Congress, which prepares periodic reports by eminent experts on a wide range of issues so as to help lawmakers take informed decisions. Reports of CRS are not considered as an official view of the U.S. Congress.

Pakistani and U.S. officials argue that since the 2004 revelations about a procurement network run by former Pakistani nuclear official A.Q. Khan Islamabad has taken a number of steps to improve its nuclear security and to prevent further proliferation of nuclear-related technologies and materials.