Khalid Kidwai, a top adviser in Pakistan’s National Command Authority, has endorsed plans to build an arsenal of tactical nuclear arms, saying they are necessary to deter neighboring India.
Tactical nuclear weapons are smaller sized arms meant to be more readily launched from ships. India has made much of its own nuclear arsenal having both ship and plane-based weapons, and Pakistan has thus been keen not to confine its whole arsenal to land-based missiles.
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. Pakistan seems determined to go forward with the plan irrespective of the concern, however, as the arms race with India continues to trump proliferation fears.