Experts say reports about India do not account for its shift in stance
“Western think tanks have had a historical tendency to misreport Pakistan’s nuclear programme as the fastest growing one, and downplay the scope of India’s nuclear capabilities,” said Ambassador Ali Naqvi, the executive director of the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) during a webinar on Friday. Hosted by his institute, the webinar focused on the myths about the Pakistani nuclear programme.
Noting that certain ideas are often propagated about the Pakistani programme by the international media and certain academics, Naqvi pointed to a report recently published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) which suggested that the “size and diversity” of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons was greater than that of India and that there was no openness about the “status or size” of the arsenals.
The report, he said, had claimed that Pakistan had 160 warheads, which were 10 more than those in the Indian arsenal
CISS Senior Fellow Dr Naeem Salik said that a difference of ten warheads in the arsenals of two nuclear armed neighbours has been reported in most estimates for over a decade, which in itself is an admission that no country’s nuclear programme was growing faster than the other.
Dr Salik suggested most of the estimates were mere guesses in the absence of accurate data on key factors of warhead production, including nature of weapon design, and capacity of plutonium production and others.
South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) DG Dr Maria Sultan pointed to the huge transition in India’s force posture from the ‘No-First Use’ doctrine to one of ‘First Use’.
Moreover, data on the estimated number of warheads for India did not match with New Delhi’s restructuring of its strategic forces, military posture, and the actual amount of fissile material stockpiles.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2020.