ABSTRACT

Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues [May 15, 2009]   [open pdf - 182KB]

"Pakistan's nuclear arsenal consists of approximately 60 nuclear warheads. Pakistan continues fissile material production for weapons, and is adding to its weapons production facilities and delivery vehicles. Pakistan reportedly stores its warheads unassembled with the fissile core separate from non-nuclear explosives, and these are stored separately from their delivery vehicles. Pakistan does not have a stated nuclear policy, but its 'minimum credible deterrent' is thought to be primarily a deterrent to Indian military action. Command and control structures have been dramatically overhauled since September 11, 2001 and export controls and personnel security programs have been put in place since the 2004 revelations about Pakistan's top nuclear scientists, A.Q. Khan's international proliferation network. Pakistani and some U.S. officials argue that Islamabad has taken a number of steps to prevent further proliferation of nuclear-related technologies and materials and improve its nuclear security. A number of important initiatives such as strengthened export control laws, improved personnel security, and international nuclear security cooperation programs have improved the security situation in recent years. Instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question. Some observers fear radical takeover of a government that possesses a nuclear bomb, or proliferation by radical sympathizers within Pakistan's nuclear complex in case of a breakdown of controls. While U.S. and Pakistani officials express confidence in controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons, continued instability in the country could impact these safeguards. For a broader discussion, see CRS Report RL33498, Pakistan-U.S. Relations, by K. Alan Kronstadt. This report will be updated."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34248
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2009-05-15
Series:
Copyright:
Public Domain
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
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