Washington, Jan 31 (PTI) Pakistan has doubled its nucleararms stockpile to 110 warheads, developing new weapons todeliver them and significantly accelerating production ofuranium and plutonium for bombs to edge ahead of India.
Islamabad''s nuclear weapons stockpile now totals morethan 110 deployed weapons in a sharp jump from an estimated30-80 weapons fours years ago, ''Washington Post'' reported.
"Pakistan has expanded its nuclear weapons productioncapability rapidly", the Post quoted David Albright Presidentof the Institute for Science and International Security assaying.Albright said that based on accelerated production ofplutonium and highly enriched uranium, Pakistan may now havean arsenal upto 110 weapons.
The non-government US analyst said that while continuingto produce weapons-grade uranium at two sites, Islamabad hassharply increased its production of plutonium, enabling it tomake lighter warheads for more mobile delivery system.
Pakistan''s has developed a new missile Shaheen II, with arange of 1,500 miles which is about to go into operationdeployment. The country has also developed nuclear capableland and air launched cruise missiles, the Institute said in anew report.
"The Pakistanis have significantly accelerated productionof uranium and plutonium for bombs and developed new weaponsto deliver them. After years of approximate weapons parity,experts said, Pakistan has now edged ahead of India, itsnuclear-armed rival", Washington Post said.
The paper said while Pakistan has produced morenuclear-armed weapons, India is believed to have largerexisting stockpiles of such fissile material for futureweapons.
Dubbing Pakistan as one of the world''s most unstableregion, Post said an escalation of nuclear arms race in SouthAsia possess a dilemma for Obama Administration.
It said in politically fragile Pakistan, theAdministration is caught between fears of proliferation orpossible terrorist attempts to seize nuclear materials andPakistani suspicions that the US aims to control or limit itsweapons programme and favours India.
Quoting Pakistan''s Defense attache at its embassy inWashington, Post said the number of Pakistani nuclear weaponsare heavily deployed near its border with India.
The paper said that in December 2008, Peter Lavoie, USnational intelligence officer for South Asia, told NATOofficials that "despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistanis producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than in anyother country in the world".