Pakistan may produce enough weapons grade uranium by the year-end in an attempt to match India’s nuclear capability, according to a leading US think tank.
Pakistan, in a bid to gain parity with India, could produce “enough enriched uranium to manufacture 50 to 110 nuclear weapons” by the year-end, said the study by ‘Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’.
It claimed that both countries possessed components to deploy a small number of nuclear weapons within a few days or weeks, with fighter-bomber aircraft being the most likely delivery vehicle, the media reports said.
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were stored in components, with the fissile core separated from the non-nuclear explosives, the study said, adding it was not known where the fissile material and warheads were stored.
It also criticised US for signing the nuclear pact with India, saying, “President (George W) Bush thus accorded India a much sought after seat in the “responsible nuclear club.” While admitting that the nuclear tests by India in 1998 raised its “visibility and clout” in the post-Cold War era, the study said the Bush administration had decided to downplay nuclear non-proliferation concerns so that it could renew defence ties and establish strategic relations with India.
Meanwhile, a separate study by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) claimed that if the Indo-US nuclear accord was endorsed by Congress, the resulting cooperation would “contravene” the multilateral export control guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). It alleged that such a deal could “prompt other suppliers like China to justify their supplying other states like Pakistan.”