Washington, Feb.22 (ANI): Pakistan may claim that it would like to have minimum nuclear deterrence, but if American intelligence agency assessments are to be believed, Islamabad could soon have the world's fifth largest nuclear arsenal, and this development has Washington quite concerned and anxious.
According to a New York Times editorial, Pakistan has between 95 and more than 110 deployed nuclear weapons, up from the mid-to-high 70s just two years ago.
Even without a fourth reactor, experts say that Pakistan has already manufactured enough fuel for 40 to 100 additional weapons.
Only the United States, Russia, France and China are ahead of Pakistan.
Washington and Moscow, with thousands of nuclear weapons each, still have the most weapons by far, but at least they are making serious reductions.
According to the NYT editorial, Washington and its allies must continue to look for ways to get Pakistan to stop blocking negotiations on a global ban on fissile material production.
It says that Washington can threaten to suspend billions of dollars of American aid if Islamabad does not restrain its nuclear appetites. But that would hugely complicate efforts in Afghanistan and could destabilize Pakistan.
The editorial concludes by saying: "The truth is there is no easy way to stop the buildup, or that of India and China. Slowing and reversing that arms race is essential for regional and global security. Washington must look for points of leverage and make this one of its strategic priorities."
It further state that the ultimate nightmare, of course, is that the extremists will topple Pakistan's government and get their hands on the nuclear weapons. (ANI)