THREAT

Pak's growing nuclear stockpile pose huge risk: Pentagon

pak-nuclear (File) Pakistan's nuclear warheads estimated to be between 110 and 130 are aimed at deterring India from taking military action against it | Reuters

Pentagon says Pak is aware of the threat presented by extremists to its nuclear programmes

  • Pakistan's nuclear weapons continues to grow. We are concerned that this growth, as well as the evolving doctrine associated with tactical weapons, increase the risk of an incident or accident—Pentagon

Pakistan's growing nuclear arsenal and its evolving "tactical nuclear weapons" doctrine pose increasing risk of an "incident", Pentagon's top spymaster has warned.

"Pakistan's nuclear weapons continues to grow. We are concerned that this growth, as well as the evolving doctrine associated with tactical weapons, increase the risk of an incident or accident," Defence Intelligence Agency Director Vincent Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"Islamabad continues to take steps to improve its nuclear security, and is aware of the threat presented by extremists to its programmes," Stewart said in his testimony on Tuesday.

A Congressional report in January had estimated Pakistan's nuclear warheads to be between 110-130 and that they are aimed at deterring India from taking military action against it.

Stewart also said Pakistan will face internal security threats from militants and separatist groups this year.

Islamic State's branch in Afghanistan-Pakistan and al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent will remain significant security concerns for Islamabad, he said.

"Counterinsurgency operations along Pakistan's Western border and paramilitary operations in Karachi have had some success in reducing violence and are likely to continue," Stewart said.

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