The stance and size of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal have been wrought with speculation. For the first time, the matter has found place in the annual report of India’s ministry of defence, according to which our western neighbour is “relentlessly” expanding its nuclear and missile capabilities.
Reliable international estimates suggest that Pakistan now has at least 140 nuclear warheads, slightly more than India does. Given the destructive capacity of a single atomic bomb, the actual count on either side is irrelevant. The point of nukes is to deter enemy attacks, not use them, and that is done through “credible minimum deterrence”, which India achieved in 1998, the year the country tested a series of explosive nuclear devices at Pokhran and spelt out its “no first use” doctrine.
New Delhi’s position has been clear: These weapons are to be used only in retaliation to a nuclear attack, but strike back India certainly will. Today, the country is equipped to launch a nuclear-tipped missile from a chosen location on land, high in the air, or off the coast at sea. Read More