A new report by a nuclear disarmament advocacy group offers a higher estimate than another recent analysis of the amount of money Pakistan expends annually on its nuclear arsenal, the Press Trust of India reported on Wednesday (see GSN, March 8).
The analysis by the Reaching Critical Will project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom concluded Islamabad is spending $2.5 billion each year on nuclear arms operations. A March assessment by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said the South Asian state last year spent $2.2 billion on its deterrent.
"Pakistan has been rapidly developing and expanding its nuclear arsenal, increasing its capacity to produce plutonium, and testing and deploying a diverse array of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles," reads the Reaching Critical Will analysis.
The report states that Islamabad is shifting away from relying on only highly enriched uranium to fuel its warheads and is using more plutonium, which allows for production of smaller warheads (see GSN, Feb. 10, 2011).
The analysis assesses the South Asian state is generating roughly 330 pounds of highly enriched uranium each year and has at hand approximately 6,060 pounds of uranium enriched to warhead levels. The nation is also projected to possess 309 pounds of plutonium.
"Pakistan is also moving from aircraft-delivered nuclear bombs to nuclear-armed ballistic and cruise missiles and from liquid-fueled to solid-fueled medium-range missiles. Pakistan also has a growing nuclear weapons research, development, and production infrastructure," the 150-page report states.
Pakistan has a variety of missiles with differing ranges and launch capabilities in development. "It has developed a second generation of ballistic missile systems over the past five years," according to the report
The analysis projects Pakistan's present arsenal as numbering between 90 and 110 warheads, which would put it slightly ahead of longtime rival India, which is thought to have between 80 and 100 weapons.
Islamabad is preoccupied with worries the United States is growing closer to India. "This may tie the future of Pakistan and India's nuclear weapons to the emerging contest between the United States and China," the analysis reads.
India, meanwhile, "is also developing a range of delivery vehicles, including land- and sea-based missiles, bombers and submarines," the report says (see GSN, April 4; Press Trust of India/Hindu, April 11).
A new report by a nuclear disarmament advocacy group offers a higher estimate than another recent analysis of the amount of money Pakistan expends annually on its nuclear arsenal, the Press Trust of India reported on Wednesday.