Pakistan owns about 90-110 nuclear warheads: report

Pak missile

Pakistan's atomic arsenal probably consists of between 90 to 110 nuclear war heads, a latest Congressional report has said, informing the American lawmakers that Islamabad is interested in concluding a nuclear cooperation deal with the US, which would require their approval.

"Pakistan's nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 90-110 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger," said the report of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), an independent research wing of the US Congress.

"Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles. These steps could enable Pakistan to undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal," the report said.

India currently has approximately 60-80 nuclear weapons, it said, referring to one public estimate.

"Whether and to what extent Pakistan's current expansion of its nuclear weapons-related facilities is a response to the 2008 US-India nuclear cooperation agreement is unclear. Islamabad does not have a public, detailed nuclear doctrine, but its 'minimum credible deterrent' is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan," it said.

"It is worth noting that Pakistani officials have expressed interest in concluding a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States, which would require congressional approval," said the report titled 'Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues'.

Noting that Pakistan has in recent years taken a number of steps to increase international confidence in the security of its nuclear arsenal, the report however said instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question.

"Some observers fear radical takeover of a government that possesses a nuclear bomb, or proliferation by radical sympathizers within Pakistan's nuclear complex in case of a breakdown of controls. While US and Pakistani officials continue to express confidence in controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons, continued instability in the country could impact these safeguards," it said.

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