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Pakistan to have 200 nuclear weapons by 2020: US think tank

By on Monday, November 24th, 2014

Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear weapons program in the world and by 2020 it could have enough fissile material to produce more than 200 nuclear devices, a top American think tank has said.

“Though many states are downsizing their stockpiles, Asia is witnessing a buildup. Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear program in the world. By 2020, it could have a stockpile of fissile material that, if weaponized, could produce as many as 200 nuclear devices,” council on foreign relations has said.

The report Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age, authored by George Mason University’s Gregory Koblentz, has identified South Asia as the region “most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability due to an explosive mixture of unresolved territorial disputes, crossborder terrorism, and growing nuclear arsenals.”

Pakistan, the report said, has deployed or is developing 11 delivery systems for its nuclear warheads, including aircraft, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

“Pakistan has not formally declared the conditions under which it would use nuclear weapons but has indicated that it seeks primarily to deter India from threatening its territorial integrity or the ability of its military to defend its territory,” the report said.

CFR said while Pakistan is focused predominantly on the threat posed by India, it is reportedly also concerned by the potential for the US to launch a military operation to seize or disarm Pakistani nuclear weapons.

“This concern is based in part on reported contingency planning by the US military to prevent Pakistani nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists,” CFR said.

CFR said India is estimated to possess enough fissile material for between 90 and 110 nuclear weapons and is expanding its fissile material production capacity.

China, it said, is estimated to have 250 nuclear weapons for delivery by a mix of medium, intermediate, and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles and bombers.

“Though nuclear arsenals are shrinking in the rest of the world, Asia is witnessing a nuclear buildup. Unlike the remaining P5 countries, China is increasing and diversifying its nuclear arsenal,” the report said.

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North Korea carries out tests for missiles: think tank

By on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

North Korea has conducted motor tests to improve its long-range missiles after a failed launch in April, a US think tank said Monday after reviewing new satellite images.

Since the embarrassing flop in April, the communist regime appears to have carried out at least two tests of large motors needed for rockets and worked on a launch platform, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said.

The institute examined commercial images of the Sohae satellite launch station between April and September and found that 34 fuel tanks had been moved and vegetation appeared to be burned, next to a flame trench stained with an orange residue.

Such fuel tests would boost development of engines for the Unha-3, the rocket which North Korea unsuccessfully launched in April, or what seemed to be a new, longer-range missile displayed at a military parade the same month.

Some analysts believe that a North Korean rocket, if successfully developed, could eventually reach the range to hit the United States.

Nick Hansen, an expert on imagery analysis, said that North Korea may step up action after elections in both the United States and South Korea, the regime’s two primary foes.

“In the aftermath of the US and South Korean presidential elections, Pyongyang may embark on a new round of activities in the first half of 2013, including rocket and nuclear tests that will contribute to further development of its nuclear deterrent,” he wrote on the institute’s blog, 38 North.

South Korea’s defense minister, Kim Kwan-Jin, said last week that North Korea had completed preparations for another nuclear test and long-range missile launches.

However, 38 North in September reported a work stoppage at a new launch pad for intercontinental missiles — possibly due to rain — that could set the project back by up to two years.

North Korea defiantly went ahead with the rocket launch in April, saying it was trying to put a satellite in orbit, but it disintegrated just two to three minutes after blast-off.

The test put a halt to the latest international effort to engage the isolated state, with the United States calling off plans to deliver badly needed food assistance.

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