Pakistan: Misperceptions about Nuclear Stockpiles

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Recently, Western and Indian analysts have widely publicized unsubstantiated assumptions that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is growing at a rapid pace, and that the country could become the third largest nuclear weapon state by next five to ten years.1 These assumptions are largely based on speculation and hypothetical assessments, ill-founded media reports and attribution to vague sources. No scientific methodology has been used to reach conclusions.

Like all other nuclear weapon states (NWS), Pakistan has never declassified such information as to how many nuclear weapons does the country really possess. What is the total quantity of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU-235) and weapon-grade Plutonium (Pu-239) in its possession? What is the number of nuclear weapons that are developed per year in Pakistan? The question that comes to mind is that, in the absence of such information, how could western analysts assume the number of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons?

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