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India, Pakistan expanding nuke capacity: Report

June 04, 2012 19:25 IST

India and Pakistan are continuing to work towards developing new systems for delivering nuclear weapons and are expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes, according to an international think tank report.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Pakistan was developing a number of new short-range ballistic missiles which suggests that it may use 'battlefield nuclear weapons' resulting in these warheads being deployed on a "launch-ready posture".

"India and Pakistan are increasing the size and sophistication of their nuclear arsenals. Both countries are developing and deploying new types of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles and both are increasing their military fissile material production capabilities," the SIPRI yearbook said.

The report also claimed that in May last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened a meeting of the Nuclear Command Authority to assess progress towards the goal of achieving an operational triad including weapon delivery systems based in air, land and sea.

SIPRI claimed that the number of nuclear warheads with India and Pakistan have continued to be the same in comparison with last year with New Delhi having 80-100 such nukes in its arsenal while Islamabad has 90-110 of them.

The battlefield nuclear warheads, also known as Tactical Nuclear Weapons, were first reported to be with Pakistan during the Operation Parakram in 2001-02.

Traditionally it is believed that TNWs are not to be used against strategic targets and can be used to smoke out an armoured regiment or column advancing into a country.

The report also said that Pakistan's doctrine is based on the principle of minimum deterrence but does not specifically rule out the first-use of nuclear weapons to offset India's superiority in conventional arms and manpower.

It said eight of the world's nuclear powers together possessed nearly 19,000 atomic weapons. World military spending failed to rise last year for the first time since 1998 in a major shift from the international trend.

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