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The dangers in Pakistan’s nuclear strategy

The Other Bomb: Pakistan’s Dangerous Nuclear Strategy, Huffington Post  02/07/2016 

 Joseph V. Micallef Best Selling Military History and World Affairs Author and Keynote Speaker  In recent years, the concern over nuclear proliferation has centered on Iran’s ongoing effort to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, however, may prove to be just as dangerous and just as destabilizing as that of Tehran’s. That country is well on its way, within another decade, to amassing the third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. Moreover, its current focus on deploying theater nuclear weapons, so called (5 to 10 kiloton) low-yield battlefield weapons, represents a dangerous new strategy that has wide-ranging impact on both the stability of the Indian subcontinent and the threat that a militant organization will obtain a nuclear device.

For the last seventy-five years, the international politics of the Indian subcontinent, and, to a lesser extent, the broader south and central Asian region that surrounds it, have revolved around the continuing Indian-Pakistani conflict. …….

The program got a significant boost when A.Q. Kahn, a metallurgist working in the Dutch subsidiary of the British-based Uranium Enrichment Company (URENCO Group) returned to Pakistan in 1975. Khan brought with him blueprints for various centrifuge designs and a broad array of business contacts. By buying individual components rather than complete gas centrifuges, he was able to evade existing export controls and acquire the necessary equipment.

Khan would go on to establish an illicit nuclear weapons technology procurement and consulting operation, the “Khan Network,” that would play a major role in the transmission of nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya and to a lesser extent, North Korea. The Pakistani government has denied that it had any knowledge of Khan’s illicit side business but under American pressure arrested A.Q. Khan, sentencing him to house arrest, and dismantled his network.

There continue to be reports, however, that rogue elements of that network continue to operate clandestinely……..

According to various intelligence sources, Pakistan currently has between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons under its control. It is believed, however, that Pakistan has produced and stockpiled around 3,000 kilograms (6,600 lbs) of weapons grade HEU and about 200 kilograms (440 lbs) of plutonium. Pakistan’s HEU based warheads utilize an implosion design that requires between 15 and 20 kg of HEU. The current stockpile is enough for an additional 150 to 200 weapons, depending on the warhead’s desired yield……….

Ultimately, in the long-term, the future direction of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons policy is going to be a function of the state of Indian-Pakistan relations on the subcontinent. In the short-term, however, Pakistan’s rapid growth of its nuclear arsenal and its deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons adds one more factor of instability to the regions international politics and further raises the risk that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of either rogue elements in Pakistan or international jihadist groups.

Follow Joseph V. Micallef on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JosephVMicallef   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-v-micallef/the-other-bomb-pakistans_b_9180504.html

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s arsenal of ”tiny” nuclear weapons

Pakistan’s army is building an arsenal of ”tiny” nuclear weapons—and it’s going to backfire, Quartz,  C. Christine Fair December 21, 2015 

Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal and, within the next five to ten years, it is likely to double that of India, and exceed those of France, the United Kingdom, and China. Only the arsenals of the United States and Russia will be larger.

In recent years, Pakistan has boasted of developing “tactical nuclear weapons” to protect itself against potential offensive actions by India. In fact, Pakistan is the only country currently boasting of makingincreasingly tiny nuclear weapons (link in Urdu).

 Pakistanis overwhelmingly support their army and its various misadventures. And the pursuit of tactical weapons is no exception. However, there is every reason why Pakistanis should be resisting—not welcoming—this development. The most readily identifiable reason is that, in the event of conflict between the two South Asian countries, this kind of weaponization will likely result in tens of thousands of dead Pakistanis, rather than Indians. And things will only go downhill from there.

Why would Pakistan want “the world’s smallest nuclear weapons”?……….http://qz.com/579334/pakistans-army-is-building-an-arsenal-of-tiny-nuclear-weapons-and-its-going-to-backfire/

December 24, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China should not be supplying nuclear reactors to Pakistan – says India

India red flags fresh nuclear reactors in Pakistan with China’s help By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | 18 Dec, 2015 NEW DELHI: India has red flagged fresh nuclear reactors that are being set up in Pakistan with Chinese assistance and asserted that it is taking adequate steps to safeguard any challenge to the country’s security due to these developments.

China is supplying Islamabad with two more nuclear power reactors, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said on Wednesday in Lok Sabha in reply to a question on Chinese made nuclear reactors in Pakistan and its impact on Indian security .. …….
The minister said India was also aware of reports of an agreement for supply of additional reactors of Chinese origin to be built in Chashma, Karachi, and a third site in Pakistan.

“The government remains committed to taking all necessary steps to safeguard India’s national security interests,” he said.

Earlier this year a Chinese official publicly confirmed that Beijing is involved in at least six nuclear power projects in Pakistan and is likely to export more to the country. …….

The Sino-Pakistan nuclear link is no secret.

Revelations about the growing Sino-Pakistan nuclear partnership comes amid continuing concerns in some quarters that ongoing cooperation is happening without the sanction of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which helps supervise the export of global civilian nuclear technology. China is a member of the NSG and existing regulations prohibit members from exporting such technology to nations such as Pakistan which does not have full-fledged safeguard mechanism……
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50227479.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

December 19, 2015 Posted by | China, India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear capable ballistic missile test fired by Pakistan

Pakistan test-fires nuclear capable ballistic missile, The Guardian, By AFP on December 11, 2015 Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Friday, the military said, two days after the government confirmed it would resume high-level peace talks with arch-rival India.

  • The test is the latest in a series carried out by India and Pakistan since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.

    The military said it had fired a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads within a range of 2,750 kilometres (1,700 miles)…….

Relations between Pakistan and India — which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 — have always been fraught but soured further last August amid a rise in clashes along their borders and a row over a Pakistani diplomat meeting Kashmiri separatists.

On Wednesday India’s Foreign Minister held talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on the sidelines of a regional summit on Afghanistan, where they jointly announced they would resume high-level peace talks. http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/12/pakistan-test-fires-nuclear-capable-ballistic-missile/

December 12, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In 1999 Pakistan planned to drop nuclear bomb on India

flag-pakistanKargil war: Pakistan planned to drop nuclear bomb on India during conflict, says former CIA officer http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-india-nuclear-bomb-kargil-war-former-cia-officer-sandy-berger-bruce-riedel-a6758501.html Emma Henderson , 3 Dec 15 

A former CIA analyst revealed the information in an obituary for Sandy Berger, a former national security advisor to President Clinton. Pakistan planned to deploy nuclear weapons against India during the 1999 Kargil War, according to former top White House official.

The information was revealed after former CIA analyst, Bruce Riedel, wrote an obituary for Sandy Berger who died of cancer on Wednesday. Mr Berger and was a former national security advisor to the then American President Bill Clinton.

The CIA had warned President Clinton of the plans, which formed part of the daily top secret classified briefing on July 4, 1999, when he was scheduled to meet visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Mr Riedel wrote: “The morning of the Fourth, the CIA wrote in its top-secret Daily Brief that Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use. The intelligence was very compelling. The mood in the Oval Office was grim.

“Berger urged Clinton to hear out Sharif, but to be firm.

“Pakistan started this crisis and it must end it without any compensation. The president needed to make clear to the prime minster that only a Pakistani withdrawal could avert further escalation.

“Sandy knew Clinton better than anyone, his natural inclination was to find a deal. This time, no deal was possible, it must be an unequivocal Pakistani climbdown.

“It worked. Sharif agreed to pull back his troops. It later cost him his job: the army ousted him in a coup and he spent a decade in exile in Saudi Arabia. But the risk of a nuclear exchange in south Asia was averted.

“It was Berger’s finest hour.”

The Kargil war took place along the Pakistan-India Line of Control (LOC) in Ladakh, in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The infiltration of Pakistani armed forces into Indian Territory, led by General Ashraf Rashid initiated the conflict.

The Indian army managed to recapture the majority of the Indian side of the LOC.

December 4, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA trying to persuade Pakistan to constrain its nuclear weapons program

The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare, NYT  By  NOV. 7, 2015 With as many as 120 warheads, Pakistan could in a decade become the world’s third-ranked nuclear power, behind the United States and Russia, but ahead of China, France and Britain. Its arsenal is growing faster than any other country’s, and it has become even more lethal in recent years with the addition of small tactical nuclear weapons that can hit India and longer-range nuclear missiles that can reach farther.

These are unsettling truths. The fact that Pakistan is also home to a slew of extremist groups, some of which are backed by a paranoid security establishment obsessed with India, only adds to the dangers it presents for South Asia and, indeed, the entire world.

Persuading Pakistan to rein in its nuclear weapons program should be an international priority. The major world powers spent two years negotiating an agreement to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which doesn’t have a single nuclear weapon. Yet there has been no comparable investment of effort in Pakistan, which, along with India, has so far refusedto consider any limits at all.

The Obama administration has begun to address this complicated issue with greater urgency and imagination, even though the odds of success seem small. The recent meeting at the White House on Oct. 22 between President Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan appears to have gone nowhere. Yet it would be wrong not to keep trying, especially at a time of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir and terrorism.

What’s new about the administration’s approach is that instead of treating the situation as essentially hopeless, it is now casting about for the elements of a possible deal in which each side would get something it wants. For the West, that means restraint by Pakistan and greater compliance with international rules for halting the spread of nuclear technology. For Pakistan, that means some acceptance in the family of nuclear powers and access to technology………

The competition with India, which is adding to its own nuclear arsenal, is a losing game, and countries like China, a Pakistan ally, should be pushing Pakistan to accept that. Meanwhile, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has done nothing to engage Islamabad on security issues, and he also bears responsibility for current tensions. The nuclear arms race in South Asia, which is growing more intense, demands far greater international attention.  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/sunday/the-pakistan-nuclear-nightmare.html?_r=0

November 9, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan edging towards deal on nuclear non proliferation

flag-pakistanIslamabad moves closer to total disclosure over nuclear weapons, The National ae,  , 25 Oct 15, It has been more than 17 years since Pakistan detonated five nuclear warheads, in a tit-for-tat exchange with India that announced weapons of mass destruction were now part of the South Asian strategic theatre.

Since then, very little has been made public about the underlying philosophy of Pakistan’s programme. In fact, the sole stated “known” is that Pakistan has refused to embrace the no-first-strike commitment made by India, on the ground that Pakistan’s strategic weapons exist to discourage India from using its conventional military superiority to overwhelm it. That position was taken in 2001.

Until recently, the only other information in the public realm was gleaned from Pakistan’s ballistic missile tests. For example, its tests two years ago of short-range missiles revealed they would be used, in theory, against an Indian force that had seized a strategically important parcel of Pakistani territory. However, it has never been specified which parcels of territory would qualify under that inferred criterion.

Pakistan’s so-called “red lines” – events that would trigger a nuclear weapons launch – are unstated and the subject of conjecture. Security analysts have learnt of no more than three such scenarios and they are statements of the obvious for those familiar with recent history……..

Against that backdrop, and that of annual upward revisions of estimates of the number of Pakistan’s nuclear warheads, there have been occasional outbursts of alarm in the US media, reflecting how little is actually known.

Subtly, that situation has begun to change. In June, a US-Pakistan working group issued a statement about their shared desire to ensure the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and steps Pakistan had taken to prevent even unintentional proliferation of its technology. Then, in August, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Centre proposed that Pakistan’s strategic programme should be accepted and brought into the global non-proliferation scheme, in exchange for its commitment to a ceiling on the number of warheads it would produce and the range of its ballistic missile delivery platforms. This month, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius disclosed that Carnegie’s proposals had, in fact, been adopted by the Obama administration and offered to Islamabad. The veracity of the disclosure was confirmed, by inference, in a statement issued after a meeting of Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership held the next day and, the following day, by the White House.

But a deal is not imminent……..

Last Wednesday, however, 24 hours before prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with Barack Obama, Pakistan’s press, quoting the same unnamed official sources, reported the government’s position was markedly different to the long-perceived policy of zero compromise. It would not accept limits on the number of tactical battlefield warheads, it was reported. No mention was made of other types of devices, the strong hint being that a compromise could be reached on those, eventually, if India were prepared to make a matching commitment.

That is, by far, the biggest shift in – and disclosure of – Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine since the 1998 tests……..

It would appear Pakistan has taken the first steps towards joining the global non-proliferation regime. Nobody is suggesting a breakthrough will happen soon, but in a world increasingly characterised by regional conflicts, Pakistan’s willingness to negotiate is an encouraging sign that responsible attitudes are being adopted.

Tom Hussain is Asia-Pacific editor of The World Weekly On Twitter: @tomthehack    http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/islamabad-moves-closer-to-total-disclosure-over-nuclear-weapons

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan refuses to limit tactical nuclear weapons

flag-pakistanFlag-USAPakistan tells US it won’t accept limits on tactical nuclear arms October 23, 201 Mehreen Zahra-Malik Islamabad:  Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who met US President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, has rebuffed attempts to limit his country’s use of tactical nuclear weapons, Pakistani officials said.

Pakistan insists smaller weapons would deter a sudden attack by its  neighbour India, which is also a nuclear power. But the US worries they may further destabilise an already volatile region because their smaller size makes them more tempting to use in a conventional war.

The Obama administration is preparing to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in an attempt to bolster the two countries’ relationship, despite Washington’s concerns about Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal.

The Federation of American Scientists, a leading US group that monitors the spread of nuclear weapons, published a report on Wednesday that shows that Pakistan has expanded its arsenal to between 110 and 130 warheads, up from 90 to 110 four years ago.

Officials in Washington have said they are exploring whether a deal might be possible to halt Pakistan’s deployment of tactical nuclear weapons that US experts fear are vulnerable to being launched without authorisation, or stolen, on the battlefield.

Pakistan says the US is demanding unreasonable limits on its use of nuclear weapons and not offering much in return apart from a hazy promise to consider Pakistan as a recognised recipient of nuclear technology………The Federation of American Scientists, a leading US group that monitors the spread of nuclear weapons, published a report on Wednesday that shows that Pakistan has expanded its arsenal to between 110 and 130 warheads, up from 90 to 110 four years ago.

Officials in Washington have said they are exploring whether a deal might be possible to halt Pakistan’s deployment of tactical nuclear weapons that US experts fear are vulnerable to being launched without authorisation, or stolen, on the battlefield.

Pakistan says the US is demanding unreasonable limits on its use of nuclear weapons and not offering much in return apart from a hazy promise to consider Pakistan as a recognised recipient of nuclear technology.  http://www.smh.com.au/world/pakistan-to-tell-us-it-wont-accept-limits-on-tactical-nuclear-arms-20151022-gkgees.html#ixzz3phoMZJnK

October 24, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Obama and Pakistan’s President Nawaz Sharif talking about nuclear weapons

Flag-USAflag-pakistanNuclear weapons, Taliban in focus as Obama meets Pakistan’s Sharif http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/22/us-usa-pakistan-idUSKCN0SG29020151022 WASHINGTON | BY DAVID BRUNNSTROM U.S. President Barack Obama met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House on Thursday and was expected to stress U.S. concerns over Pakistan’s expanding nuclear arsenal and to press Sharif to help bring the Taliban back to talks.

Washington has been trying to persuade Pakistan to make a declaration of “restraint” over its nuclear program but Pakistani officials said Sharif would tell Obama Islamabad will not accept limits on its use of small tactical nuclear weapons.

Analysts also question whether Sharif has sufficient influence with his own security establishment to get them to press the Taliban to return to talks on Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is pushing for a negotiated settlement to the 14-year insurgency, which has escalated since tens of thousands of U.S.-led NATO combat troops withdrew ahead of an end-2014 deadline. The two sides held inaugural talks in Pakistan in July but the process has since stalled.

While the Washington talks were expected to focus on nuclear weapons and Islamist militancy, the Obama administration is preparing to sell Pakistan eight F-16 fighter jets in an attempt to bolster the relationship, a U.S. source familiar with the matter said.

The sale, which Congress could block, would be a symbolic step given Pakistan’s already large fleet of fighters.

U.S. concerns have been growing about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, tensions between Islamabad and India, and the continued existence of militant sanctuaries in Pakistan used to target the U.S.-backed Afghan government and U.S. forces.

The insurgency in Afghanistan is hampering Obama’s efforts to withdraw U.S. troops, but Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution think tank said it was not clear Sharif had the clout with his own army to get military leaders to pressure the Taliban back into talks.

Pakistan insists smaller tactical nuclear weapons would deter a sudden attack by India, which is also a nuclear power, but Washington worries they may further destabilize an already volatile region because their smaller size makes them more tempting to use in a conventional war.

The Federation of American Scientists said this week that since 2011, Pakistan had deployed two new nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles and a new medium-range ballistic missile and was developing two extended-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and two nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

It estimated Pakistan’s stockpile had grown to 110 to 130 warheads from 90 to 110 in 2011 and could reach 220 to 250 by 2025, making it the world’s fifth-largest nuclear-weapons state.

Pakistani officials say Washington is demanding unreasonable limits on its nuclear weapons while not offering much in return apart from a hazy promise to consider Pakistan as a recognized recipient of nuclear technology.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Julia EdwardsRoberta Rampton, Idrees Ali and Andrea Shalal; Editing by James Dalgleish)

October 23, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

USA in Talks on Deal to Limit Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal

U.S. Exploring Deal to Limit Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal, NYT By  OCT. 15, 2015 WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is exploring a deal with Pakistan that would limit the scope of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the fastest-growing on earth. The discussions are the first in the decade since one of the founders of its nuclear programAbdul Qadeer Khan, was caught selling the country’s nuclear technology around the world.

The talks are being held in advance of the arrival of Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in Washington next week. They focus on American concern that Pakistan might be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon — explicitly modeled on weapons the United States put in Europe during the Cold War to deter a Soviet invasion — that would be far harder to secure than the country’s arsenal of larger weapons.

But outside experts familiar with the discussions, which have echoes of the Obama administration’s first approaches to Iran on its nuclear program three years ago, expressed deep skepticism that Pakistan is ready to put any limitations on a program that is the pride of the nation, and that it regards as its only real defense against India………http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/16/world/asia/us-exploring-deal-to-limit-pakistans-nuclear-arsenal.html?_r=0

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

USA worries about Pakistan’s nuclear agendas

India, Pakistan’s Nuclear Agendas Concern U.S., Value Walk,   October 10, 2015 A high-ranking official from within the Obama administration has recently likened India and Pakistan to North Korea and Iran in a conversation regarding the countries’ nuclear capabilities. The comment was made in a discussion about countries that are actively pursuing nuclear development and growth even as the international community remains apprehensive about weapons proliferation and the potential fallout of the same.

Addressing a seminar at Oslo, Norway, U.S. official Frank Rose recently said, “India and Pakistan are adding to their arsenals; North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs remain a concern to all; and Iran, despite the landmark nuclear deal, continues its ballistic missile programs”. Mr. Rose currently serves as the Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance of the United States Department of State.

At present, India possesses between 80 and 100 nuclear warheads while Pakistan’s stockpile is estimated at between 100 and 120 nuclear warheads. Assessments based on Pakistan’s nuclear development goals reveal that the country is poised to own the third-largest supply of nuclear weapons within the next ten years.

At present, Russia and the United States have the biggest nuclear weapons supplies in the world, with both Moscow and Washington totaling in at approximately 1,600 each. China, France and the United Kingdom follow suit with 250, 300 and 225 nuclear warheads respectively.

Security experts interpret Pakistan’s ever-expanding nuclear arsenal as a cause for concern given the country’s history of proliferation. Talk of Pakistan and the nuclear issue is incomplete without mention of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan who was found guilty of selling nuclear weapons technology and information on the black-market to bidders in Iran, Libya and North Korea. The country’s record with nuclear technology, its experiences with internal security challenges and extremism and the historic rivalry with India have all caused the international community to worry about regional security and international fallout should nuclear growth in the region be allowed to continue unchecked.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty And Proliferation Concerns

While the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the overarching international regulation by way of which the global community aims to prevent nuclear proliferation, the agreement has not been fully effected. This is, due in part to the reluctance of some states to fully agree to the covenant.

The United States and Iran are amongst the countries that have signed the CTBT but are yet to ratify it. Other states that have signed the treaty but not ratified it include China, Egypt and Israel. India, North Korea and Pakistan are the three countries that have not signed the agreement. Signing began in the year 1996; since then, only three countries have been conclusively known to have carried out nuclear testing: India, North Korea and Pakistan. India and Pakistan both conducted two rounds of nuclear tests in 1998 while North Korea organized its tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013……….

U.S. Considers Nuclear Accord With Pakistan, India Objects

The United States is reportedly exploring options for a nuclear arrangement with Pakistan. The deal, if it were to be realized, would witness a definite capping of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile in return for a greater supply of nuclear material. The deal will allow the U.S. access to Pakistan’s nuclear production facilities and raw materials. For Pakistan, the tradeoff will include the U.S.’ assistance in purchasing nuclear materials and necessary capabilities from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which at present does not transact with countries that have not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty.

While Pakistan has demanded a “non-discriminatory approach on nuclear issues” in its pursuit of a nuclear agreement like the one India enjoys with the United States, Islamabad has not been as successful in realizing its ambitions.

However, The Washington Post has reported that Pakistan’s wishes may soon be realized and while the White House is yet to lend credence to these allusions, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming trip to the United States may indeed spell a new era for Pak-U.S. strategic ties. http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/10/india-pakistans-nuclear-agendas-concern-u-s/

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan building up nuclear weapons in fear of India’s nuclear weapons

atomic-bomb-lflag-pakistanPakistan stockpiling nuclear arms due to fears over India: U.S. report, National Post,  Tim Craig, Washington Post | August 28, 2015  SLAMABAD, Pakistan – A new report by two American think tanks asserts that Pakistan may be building 20 nuclear warheads annually and could have the world’s third-largest nuclear stockpile within a decade.

The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center concludes that Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities because of fear of its arch-rival, India, also a nuclear power. The report, released Thursday, says Pakistan is far outpacing India in the development of nuclear warheads.

Analysts estimate that Pakistan has about 120 nuclear warheads, while India has about 100.

In the coming years, the report states, Pakistan’s advantage could grow dramatically because it has a large stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to quickly produce low-yield nuclear devices. India has far larger stockpiles of plutonium, which is needed to produce high-yield warheads, than Pakistan does. But the report says India appears to be using most of its plutonium to produce domestic energy.

Pakistan could have at least 350 nuclear weapons within five to 10 years, the report concludes. Pakistan would then possess more nuclear weapons than any country except the United States and Russia, which each have thousands of the bombs.

“The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices,” the report states.

Pakistani military officials were not available to comment on the report.

Western officials and analysts have struggled for years to get an accurate assessment of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Several Pakistani analysts questioned the findings of the report, saying it is based on a faulty assumption that Pakistan is using all of its existing stockpiles of fissile material to make nuclear weapons.

Mansoor Ahmed, a nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, said he suspects that a more accurate assessment of Pakistan’s capability is that it can develop no more than 40 to 50 new warheads over the next several years.

Ahmed, however, doesn’t dispute that Pakistan’s military is seeking to expand its nuclear capabilities………

India and Pakistan, which have fought three major wars, became declared nuclear powers in 1998. Since then, Western leaders have been increasingly alarmed about the potential for a nuclear exchange between the rivals.

India has adopted a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons. Pakistani leaders have repeatedly declined to take a similar stance, saying they might be forced to resort to using the weapons should India’s larger army ever invade Pakistan.

India views nuclear weapons “as a political tool, a prestige item, not something you use on a battlefield,” Krepon said. In Pakistan, he said, nuclear weapons are seen as “things you have to be willing to use” to guarantee stability.

But Krepon and Dalton said there is still time for Pakistan to slow down the development of its nuclear arsenal. If it does, they said, the international community should consider what steps it can take to recognize it as a responsible nuclear state.  http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/pakistan-stockpiling-nuclear-arms-due-to-fears-over-india-u-s-report

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Claim that Saudi Arabia is to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan

US officials: ‘Saudis set to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan’, IBT By  May 17, 2015 Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times.

Sunni Arab states are increasingly concerned of the repercussions of a deal currently being negotiated between world powers and Shi’ite rival Iran, which they fear may still be able to develop a nuclear bomb.

The deal being negotiated between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany would see the Shi’ite nation curb its sensitive nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

“For the Saudis the moment has come,” a former US defence official told the Sunday Times last week.

“There has been a long-standing agreement in place with the Pakistanis and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward.”

‘This stuff is available to them off the shelf’

Another US official working in intelligence told the paper that “hundreds of people at [CIA headquarters] Langley” were working to establish whether Islamabad had already supplied the Gulf nation with nuclear technology or weaponry………….

  • Saudi Arabia has financed substantial amounts of Islamabad’s nuclear programme over the past three decades, providing Pakistan‘s government with billions of dollars of subsidised oil while taking delivery of Shaheen mobile ballistic missiles.

    “Given their close relations and close military links, it’s long been assumed that if the Saudis wanted, they would call in a commitment, moral or otherwise, for Pakistan to supply them immediately with nuclear warheads,” former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen told the Sunday Times.

    A senior British military officer also told the paper that Western military leaders “all assume the Saudis have made the decision to go nuclear.”

    “The fear is that other Middle Eastern powers — Turkey and Egypt — may feel compelled to do the same and we will see a new, even more dangerous, arms race.”

    Lt.Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who helped develop Pakistan’s nuclear program, denied Islamabad had ever sent nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia or any other country in recent comments. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-officials-saudis-set-buy-nuclear-weapons-pakistan-1501733

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rural areas in Pakistan get Solar-powered ATMs to deliver clean drinking water

Solar-powered ATMs to deliver clean drinking water in Pakistan – TRFN BY AAMIR SAEED LAHORE, Pakistan, May 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – P unjab province is set to launch an innovation for water-short Pakistan: Solar-powered ATMs that dispense clean water when a smart card is scanned.

The two-foot-square prototype machine looks and functions like an ATM, but dispenses water instead of cash. Users are issued a card they can use to claim a daily share of water.

The project, a collaboration between the Punjab Saaf Pani (Clean Water) Company and the Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab (IPAL), a research centre in Lahore, aims to install a water ATM on each of a series of water filtration plants being established in rural and urban fringe areas of Punjab province…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/pakistan-solar-water-idUSL5N0Y51MO20150514

May 15, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, Pakistan | Leave a comment

The nuclear danger powder keg that no one mentions – Pakistan

exclamation-Smflag-pakistanThe Nuclear Crisis Nobody Mentions  Huffington Post George Kenney 05/07/2015 Those congressmen beating the war drums against Iran have reached new heights of hypocrisy considering their total disregard for the more dangerous, more immediate problems created by Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. It is noteworthy and also downright strange that no one else–from any political persuasion–is paying attention.

The trouble is, Pakistan may become a failing state. We can’t know this for certain. The fact, however, that the possibility can be raised gives pause. A failing state with over a hundred nuclear weapons, building more as fast as it can, miniaturizing new weapons, and having perpetually hostile relations with its neighbor, India, also a nuclear power, presents risks far beyond regional security.

How, for example, should the world respond to a state that proliferates nuclear weapons but denies doing so and that might not even be able to control its proliferation? As a count of its nuclear arsenal edges toward several hundred, and as it increasingly deploys tactical nuclear weapons near its border, Pakistan’s government faces extraordinary challenges of command and control.

Hypothetically, suppose that during a future crisis with India a failing Pakistani government delegates control over tactical nuclear weapons to dozens of forward commanders. Suppose further one or two weapons are ‘lost.’ Conceivably, nobody we consider to be in authority would know what had happened, or would admit knowing. If later on a terrorist group obtained such a weapon they would attempt to detonate it. A smallish nuclear artillery shell, for example, could be sailed up the Thames to London on a yacht.

The point is, if Pakistan starts to ‘lose’ nuclear weapons the world has no ready response…………….

To hazard a more intuitive guess, bluster over Iran comes cheap whereas disarming Pakistan is the real deal. And if negotiations didn’t work does America go to war over the potential threat? A war that devastates Pakistan could be the result. Yet without diplomacy the very same war, the one the establishment doesn’t expect, could be the one we can’t avoid. Maybe it isn’t so surprising after all that we don’t talk about the stuff of nightmares.

It’s never too late for diplomacy but it’s imprudent to cut it so close. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-kenney/the-nuclear-crisis-nobody_b_7229122.html

May 8, 2015 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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