"Pak producing n-arms faster than anyone else", read one of the notes sent home by the US embassy in Islamabad as leaked by WikiLeaks. A recent study in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on fissile material and nuclear weapons' inventory points in the same direction. Pakistan has more nuclear weapons than India, and its weapons-usable fissile material inventories are larger than those of its bigger neighbor. In fact, Pakistan today possesses the fourth largest inventory of nuclear weapons in the world. The increasing nuclear capabilities of a country mired in internal conflict and considered to be a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism is alarming.
Three factors shed light on why Pakistan is increasing its nuclear weapons' capabilities: India's fissile material stock; preference signaling; and the concept of moral hazard.
Offsetting India's fissile material stock
Pakistan's main concern regarding India's nuclear capabilities is India's 1,300 kilograms of reactor-grade plutonium accumulated through many years' worth of nuclear waste generated by India's Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). While PHWRs are the mainstay of India's (peaceful) nuclear energy program, the spent fuel that they produce is rich in plutonium-239 - a driving factor behind India's nuclear weapons program. After the 2005 Indo-US nuclear deal, India agreed to place a number of its nuclear reactors under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. However, India also vehemently negotiated safeguard exemption for some of the PHWRs considered vital to its military program. As a result, eight PHWRs still remain outside IAEA safeguards. India's insistence on keeping some of the reactors unsafeguarded emanates from the ongoing debate about how many nuclear weapons should be sufficient for India's national security. In light of Pakistan and China's evolving nuclear weapons capacities, India would like to retain the possibility to vertically increase its numbers of nuclear weapons. More >>>