India is aware of reports of Pakistan’s nuclear expansion and was taking all steps to safeguard India’s national interest, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
“The government is aware of reports on the expansion of Pakistan’s capability for fissile material production for nuclear weapons,” he informed the Lok Sabha. “The government continues to monitor development in this regard and is committed to taking all necessary steps to safeguard national security and respond to any threat suitably and adequately.”
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan has 110-130 nuclear warheads while India possesses 100-120.
Meanwhile, a paper by renowned American scholars Tom Dalton and Michael Krepon ‘A Normal Nuclear Pakistan’ argues that Pakistan could have the third-biggest nuclear stockpile within a decade and could end up producing 20 nuclear warheads annually.
The 48-page report warns that if Pakistan continues on its current path, in 10 years it could possess a nuclear arsenal nearing 350 weapons.
The report said Pakistan operates four plutonium production reactors while India operates one.
Pakistan has the capability to produce perhaps 20 nuclear warheads annually. India appears to be producing about five warheads annually.
The report added that given its larger economy and sizable nuclear infrastructure, India can outpace Pakistan in fissile material and warhead production if it chose to.