Pakistan’s Push for Tactical Nukes Fuels Proliferation Fears

Sea-Based Nukes Seen as Key to Countering India

Pakistan has been talking up the creation of tactical nuclear weapons for quite some time, and in recent days, the reports suggest that they are closer to the ability to produce miniaturized nuclear missiles for launch from ships or submarines.

That’s the point, of course, with India making much of its own “triad” arsenal including not just land, but sea and air based weapons as well. With Pakistan’s own arsenal confined to land, the fear that they didn’t have sufficient deterrent for a first strike without some sea-based nukes.

Yet Western analysts fear those more portable tactical weapons could be a significant proliferation risk, with the possibility that a militant faction could seize a single ship and have control of a nuclear weapon.

That’s true of any other nuclear-armed nation, of course, but with Pakistan facing such a large number of militant factions it seems to be drawing more attention to the risk. That said, it is unlikely to prevent Pakistan from going forward, since the constant tension with India means they’re going to get that deterrent one way or another.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of