Pakistan currently has a nuclear ‘triad’ of nuclear material delivery systems on land, in the air, and at sea. Islamabad is believed to have modified the American F-16A fighters and, possibly, the Mirage fighter jets for delivering nuclear bombs, The National Interest reported.
Sandwiched between Iran, China, India, and Afghanistan, Pakistan lives in a complicated neighborhood with a variety of security issues. It is one of nine well-known nuclear-weapon states. The nuclear arsenal and doctrine of Pakistan are constantly evolving to match the perceived threats. As a nuclear power for decades, Pakistan is now trying to create its own nuclear triad, making its nuclear arsenal sustainable and capable of retaliating.
Pakistan’s nuclear program dates back to the 1950s, in the early years of its rivalry with India. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as you know, said in 1965: “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”
This program became more priority after the country was defeated in 1971, as a result of which East Pakistan separated and became Bangladesh. Experts believe that the humiliating loss of territory has greatly accelerated Pakistan’s nuclear program. India tested its first bomb, code-named "Smiling Buddha," in May 1974, forcing the subcontinent to embark on a road to nuclearization.
Pakistan has begun the process of accumulating the necessary fuel for nuclear weapons enriched in uranium and plutonium. The country was especially helped by A. Q. Khan, a metallurgist working in the West who returned to his home country in 1975 with centrifuge designs and business contacts necessary to begin the enrichment process. The Pakistan program was assisted by European countries, as well as a covert equipment acquisition program designed to put an end to nonproliferation efforts.
Former President Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Bhutto’s daughter, claimed that her father told her that the first nuclear device was ready by 1977. A member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said the bomb project was completed in 1978 and the bomb went through a “cold test.”
Benazir Bhutto later claimed that Pakistani bombs were unassembled until 1998 when India tested six bombs in three days. After almost three weeks, a similar schedule of rapid-fire tests was carried out in Pakistan, which resulted in five bombs detonated in one day and a sixth bomb in three days.
Experts believe that Pakistan’s nuclear stocks are growing steadily. In 1998, the stock was rated at five to twenty-five devices, depending on how much-enriched uranium is required for each bomb. Today in Pakistan, it is estimated that there are between 110 and 130 nuclear bombs. In 2015, the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and the Stimson Center evaluated Pakistan’s ability to produce bombs at twenty bombs per year, which in addition to existing stockpiles meant that Pakistan could quickly become the third-largest nuclear power in the world. Other observers, however, believe that in the near future, Pakistan could create another forty to fifty warheads.
Pakistani nuclear weapons are controlled by the military department of strategic plans and are mainly stored in the Punjab province. Ten thousand Pakistani soldiers and scouts from the SPD are guarding weapons.
Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine seems to be aimed at holding back India. Nuclear confrontation is exacerbated by traditional hostility between the two countries, several wars in which the two countries participated, and events such as the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai. Unlike neighboring India and China, Pakistan does not have a doctrine that does not require the use of nuclear weapons first and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, especially tactical low-power nuclear weapons, to offset India’s superiority in conventional armed forces.
Pakistan currently has a nuclear “triad” of land-based, air and sea-based nuclear material delivery systems. Islamabad is believed to have modified the American F-16A fighters and, possibly, the French Mirage fighters to deliver nuclear bombs.
Terrestrial delivery systems are in the form of missiles, with many designs based on or under the influence of Chinese and North Korean developments. Pakistan is also developing a Shaheen III medium-range missile capable of hitting targets up to 1708 miles to strike the Nicobar and Andaman Islands.
Pakistan’s sea component consists of Babur-class cruise missiles. The latest version, Babur-2, is similar to most modern cruise missiles, with a range of 434 miles. Babur-2 are deployed both on land and at sea on ships, where it will be more difficult to neutralize them.
Pakistan is clearly developing a powerful nuclear potential that can not only deter but also wage, a nuclear war. He also deals with internal security issues that could threaten the integrity of his nuclear arsenal. Pakistan and India are clearly in the midst of a nuclear arms race, which in relative terms could lead to absurdly high nuclear stocks reminiscent of the Cold War. It is clear that an arms control agreement for the subcontinent is desperately needed.