Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

By Editor Jul30,2023

Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads,
although it could have more. Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production
facilities, and deploying additional nuclear weapons and new types of delivery vehicles.
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military
action against Pakistan, but Islamabad’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new
types of nuclear weapons, and the adoption of a doctrine called “full spectrum deterrence” have led
some observers express concern about an increased risk of a nuclear conflict between Pakistan
and India, which also continues to expand its nuclear arsenal.
Pakistan has in recent years taken a number of steps to increase international confidence in the
security of its nuclear arsenal. Moreover, Pakistani and U.S. officials argue that, since the 2004
revelations about a procurement network run by former Pakistani nuclear official A.Q. Khan,
Islamabad has taken a number of steps to improve its nuclear security and to prevent further
proliferation of nuclear-related technologies and materials. A number of important initiatives,
such as strengthened export control laws, improved personnel security, and international nuclear
security cooperation programs, have improved Pakistan’s nuclear security.
However, instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into
question. Some observers fear a radical takeover of the Pakistani government or diversion of
material or technology by personnel within Pakistan’s nuclear complex. While U.S. and Pakistani
officials continue to express confidence in controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, continued
instability in the country could impact these safeguards. Furthermore, continued Indian and
Pakistani nuclear weapons development could jeopardize strategic stability between the two

Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation
Mary Beth Nikitin
Specialist in Nonproliferation
August 1, 2016

By Editor

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