Pakistan currently has around 140 to 150 nuclear warheads and the stockpile is expected to increase to 220 to 250 by next decade, according to a latest report by authors keeping a track of the country’s nukes.
Hans M Kristensen, Robert S Norris and Julia Diamond said in the report ‘Pakistani nuclear forces 2018’ said, the current estimate of 140 to 150 nuclear weapons exceeds the projection made by the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020.
Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems and a growing fissile materials production industry.
“We estimate that the country’s stockpile could more realistically grow to 220 to 250 warheads by 2025, if the current trend continues. If that happens, it would make Pakistan the world’s fifth-largest nuclear weapon state,”.
Kristensen, the lead author, is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC.
Over the past decade, the US assessment of nuclear weapons security in Pakistan appears to have changed considerably from confidence to concern, particularly as a result of the introduction of tactical nuclear weapons, the report said.
“With several delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors, and its uranium enrichment facilities expanding, however, Pakistan has a stockpile that will likely increase further over the next 10 years,” says the report.