Pakistan N-arsenal passes 100 warheads | world | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan N-arsenal passes 100 warheads

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal now totals more than 100 deployed weapons, a doubling of its stockpile over the past several years in one of the world's most unstable regions, according to estimates by nongovernment analysts.

world Updated: Jan 31, 2011 23:36 IST
Karen DeYoung

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal now totals more than 100 deployed weapons, a doubling of its stockpile over the past several years in one of the world's most unstable regions, according to estimates by nongovernment analysts.

The Pakistanis have significantly accelerated productionof uranium and plutonium for bombs and developed new weapons to deliver them. After years of approximate weapons parity, experts said, Pakistan has now edged ahead of India, its nuclear-armed rival.

An escalation of the arms race in South Asia poses a dilemmafor the Obama administration, which has worked to improve its economic, political and defense ties with India while seeking to deepen its relationship with Pakistan as a crucial component of its Afghanistan war strategy.

In politically fragile Pakistan, the administration is caught between fears of proliferation or possible terrorist attempts to seize nuclear materials and Pakistani suspicions that the United States aims to control or limit its weapons program and favors India.

Those suspicions were on public display last week at the opening session of U.N. disarmament talks in Geneva, where Pakistani Ambassador Zamir Akram accused the United States and other major powers of "double standards and discrimination" for pushing a global treaty banning all future production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.

While Pakistan has produced more nuclear-armed weapons, India is believed to have larger existing stockpiles of such fissile material for future weapons.

That long-term Indian advantage, Pakistan has charged, was further enhanced by a 2008 U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

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