‘India has capacity to produce hundreds of new nuclear bombs’

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ISLAMABAD: A new study indicates that India has sufficient material and the technical capacity to produce between 356 and 492 nuclear bombs.

The study titled ‘Indian Unsafeguarded Nuclear Program’ which was published by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and was co-authored by four nuclear scholars, unveils a new and comprehensive assessment of India’s nuclear weapon capacity The launch of the study at the ISSI on Monday was attended by foreign diplomats, scholars, journalists and students.

Speaking at the event, ISSI Board of Governors Chairman Ambassador Khalid Mahmood said the book gives a fresh perspective on India’s unsafeguarded nuclear program, will be read with interest around the world and will benefit scholars and diplomats alike.

An internationally known physicist and a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials Dr A.H Nayyar said the book was a significant addition to the existing material on the size, history and capacity of India’s nuclear program. He also highlighted a number of weaknesses and flaws in the book and suggested the ambiguities be removed in the next edition.

Former Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Ansar Pervez said the research breaks new ground by providing officials, researchers, scholars and students with new insight into India’s nuclear weapon making capacity.

He said that in terms of detail, depth, analysis and the use of information from primary sources, the research is far superior to several studies on the Indian nuclear program and carefully blends social science perspective with technical details.

Mr Pervez added that the book will also expand international awareness, policy discourse and academic debate on this secretive and unsafeguarded program.

ISSI’s Dr Naeem Salik then chaired a discussion between the authors and called the study a “pioneering effort”. The four authors – including Adeela Azam, Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Ali and Sameer Khan- said that the purpose of the study was to provide an understanding of the true history, size, extent and capabilities of the different aspects of the complex Indian nuclear program which New Delhi has kept outside the International Atomic Agency safeguards.

The authors said the study contains evidence that India has the largest and oldest unsafeguarded nuclear programme in the developing world and among the states not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

They said that member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should consider the large and swiftly expanding Indian nuclear bomb capacity when dealing with India’s NSG membership and ensure that Indian membership of this export control arrangement does not, in any way, help India expand and accelerate its nuclear weapons program.