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executive summary This chapter reviews developments in Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal since 1998 and projects likely developments through 2020. main argument: Pakistan remains one of the most likely sources of nuclear risk globally— through theft of Pakistani nuclear material, unauthorized use of weapons during conflict, or intentional use in war. This stems from the large number of dangerous groups based in Pakistan, regional instability in its neighborhood, and the country’s increasing reliance on nuclear weapons rather than conventional military force for deterrence. The future of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is the development of a larger arsenal with more types of delivery vehicles and an expanding role for nuclear arms in warfighting. While not yet committed to a battlefield role for nuclear weapons, Pakistan is developing the constituent components necessary for such missions, giving it a battlefield capability that the country’s adversaries must account for in the event of crisis or conflict. In other words, even without fully developing a battlefield nuclear force, Pakistan has taken the steps necessary to create a battlefield “force in being” that can affect the decisions of other states, even at this nascent stage. policy implications: • The U.S. has little leverage to directly alter Pakistan’s increasing reliance on nuclear weapons or to shape the country’s nuclear choices. • The two factors that are most likely to arrest the growth of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal are resource constraints and improved relations between India and Pakistan. • Pakistani civilian leaders are more likely to force a reassessment of nuclear decisions than their military counterparts. As a consequence, U.S. policy initiatives to bolster civilian leaders may ultimately facilitate greater moderation in the expansion of the Pakistani arsenal. Pakistan The Future of Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program Christopher Clary Fifteen years ago, in May 1998, Pakistani officials announced that they had tested six nuclear devices, completing a round of reciprocal nuclear tests that had begun two weeks earlier when Indian representatives announced five nuclear tests. After having bombs in the basement for so long, the period of overt weaponization in South Asia began. Before the eventful month of May 1998, both states had unproven designs; Pakistan had conducted no overt nuclear tests, and India’s 1974 “peaceful nuclear explosion” device was viewed as unreliable and so massive as to be undeliverable.1 Both states had uneven delivery dyads in 1998, relying primarily on manned aircraft and secondarily on ballistic missiles. These missiles were mostly in development and had undergone only a handful of flight tests. Both India and Pakistan likely had very small arsenals at the time of the tests, with warheads perhaps numbering in the single digits.2 In the immediate aftermath of the May tests, both governments assured the world that they would avoid the mistakes of the established nuclear powers. Pakistan’s foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad explained to the international 1 On India’s 1974 device, see Ashley J. Tellis, India’s Emerging Nuclear Posture: Between Recessed Deterrent and Ready Arsenal (Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2001), 196–98. 2 Robert S. Norris and William M. Arkin record two and three warheads in their historical estimate of the respective Indian and Pakistani arsenals in 1998. Although this estimate seems too small, it likely is of the correct order of magnitude. See Robert S. Norris and William M. Arkin, “Global Nuclear Weapons Inventories, 1945–2010,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 66, no. 4 (2010): 82. Christopher Clary is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Stanton Nuclear Security Predoctoral Fellow at the RAND Corporation. He can be reached at . 132 • Strategic Asia 2013–14 community: “It is not our purpose to enter into an arms race. The history of the Cold War showed that such disastrous races are counterproductive and definitely not sustainable.”3 The following year, Ahmad reaffirmed this stance to an Islamabad think tank: “Let me state clearly and unequivocally that Pakistan can and will find ways and means to maintain credible nuclear deterrence against India without the need to match it—bomb for bomb, missile for missile.”4 Despite those statements of restraint, the fifteen years since 1998 have witnessed abundant developments by both South Asian nuclear powers. Although still constrained by limited resources, Indian and Pakistani policymakers appear to have determined that the requirements for credible minimum deterrence are considerably more expansive than they anticipated in the initial months after the 1998 nuclear tests. Pakistan has emphasized nuclear weapons development...


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