Pakistan's rivalry with India is driving its nuclear ambitions, a media report on Monday said, noting that Islamabad seems incapable of understanding that the real threat comes from Taliban and other extremists.
"The army claims to need more nuclear weapons to deter India's superior conventional arsenal... It seems incapable of understanding that the real threat comes from the Taliban and other extremists," the New York Times reported.
It said that Pakistan can't feed its people, educate its children, or defeat insurgents without billions of dollars in foreign aid. "Yet, with China's help, it is now building a fourth nuclear reactor to produce more weapons fuel."
The paper earlier reported that Pakistan has been steadily building up its nuclear arsenal since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. The country is on its way to overtake Britain as the fifth largest nuclear weapons power, and soon even surpass France as the fourth largest.
The United States, Russia and China are currently the three largest nuclear weapons states.
The daily pointed out that "the biggest game-changer would be for Pakistan and India to normalize diplomatic and economic relations."
Earlier this month, New Delhi and Islamabad agreed to resume talks on "all outstanding issues". The talks came to a halt following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The paper suggested that while India won't accept outside mediation, Obama could still press both countries to settle differences over Afghanistan and Kashmir.
For the first time, Afghanistan has been included in the list of items that both countries have agreed to talk about.
"Washington also needs to urge the two militaries to start talking, and urge the two governments to begin exploring ways to lessen the danger of an accidental nuclear war — with more effective hotlines and data exchanges — with a long-term goal of arms-control negotiations," the paper suggested.
Pakistan has produced enough material for 40 to 100 additional weapons, according to experts, including a new class of plutonium bombs.
The paper recommended that Washington push Pakistan stop blocking negotiations on a global ban on fissile material production.
The daily also underlined that Pakistan needed to do more to stop insurgents who target India.