Pakistan PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi flaunted last week, “Our country’s tactical or nonstrategic nuclear weapons are meant to deter the Indian Army’s ‘cold start’ doctrine.”
While he declared that Pakistan’s nuclear assets including the nukes were under a robust command and control system, the short-range weapons were meant to be used early against India, are vulnerable to accidents and have a risk of landing up with the terrorists.
According to a report recently published by the FAS (Federation of American Scientists,), Pakistan has stored its nuclear weapons at nine different places across the country.
Hans Kristensen said, “Pakistan’s nuclear warheads may be located in storage facilities near the bases the report identifies, and that these bases themselves appear to house nuclear-capable launchers that would use those warheads.” He is a renowned US nuclear weapon expert and co-author of the FAS report.
What is the report about?
The report explains the launcher bases to give browsers and readers an impression of the extent to which Pakistan’s nuclear forces are being dispersed across the entire country.
Hans added, “because Pakistan was building a short-range sub-strategic nuclear arsenal(in addition to its longer-range force), the warheads would likely be distributed to regional storage sites from which they could be assembled and transported to the launcher bases.”
He further said, “Since the shorter-range systems are intended to be used earlier in a conflict below the strategic level, weapons for these systems would likely be distributed early in a crisis and raise the risk of accidents and incidents. If used against conventional attacks, use of the tactical nuclear weapons would likely lead to escalation to a wider nuclear war quickly.”
A Trump administration official was quoted some time back saying, “The US was particularly concerned by the development of tactical nuclear weapons that were designed for use on the battlefield, and that Washington believed these systems were more susceptible to terrorist theft and increased the likelihood of nuclear exchange in the region.”
The report also states that Pakistan has a rapidly been expanding nuclear arsenal of 130-140 warheads and an increasing portfolio of delivery systems. It also stated that Islamabad is quantitatively and qualitatively strengthening its arsenal and deploying weapons at more sites and yet the locations are difficult to pinpoint.
It said, “No reliable public information exists on where Pakistan produces or stores its nuclear weapons. Thus, we have used commercial satellite images, expert studies, and local news reports and articles to make the assumption that nuclear weapons are likely to be at, or near, wherever nuclear-capable weapon systems are deployed.”
Source: Times of India