'Rapidly expanding' Pak arsenal now possesses over 100 deployed nuke weapons: Expert

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 09:10 hrs

Pakistan has doubled its nuclear weapons stockpile over the past several years, increasing its arsenal to over 100 deployed weapons, an expert has said.

According to the Washington Post, four years ago, the Pakistani arsenal was estimated at 30 to 60 weapons.

"They have been expanding pretty rapidly," the newspaper quoted David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security and a leading analyst on the world's nuclear forces, as saying.

Based on recently accelerated production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, Islamabad may now have an arsenal of up to 110 weapons, Albright added.

The figure makes Pakistan the world's fifth-largest nuclear power, ahead of "legal" powers France and Britain.

When asked about it, Brigadier General Nazir Butt, defense attache at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said that the number of Pakistan's weapons and the status of its production facilities were confidential.

"Pakistan lives in a tough neighborhood and will never be oblivious to its security needs. As a nuclear power, we are very confident of our deterrent capabilities," Butt said.

India is estimated to have 60 to 100 weapons. (ANI)