Threat Assessment Brief - Arms Control

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Threat Assessment BriefAnalysis on Effective Policy Responses to Weapons-Related Security ThreatsBY GREG THIELMANN,SENIOR FELLOW,and DAVID LOGAN,PRINCETON UNIVERSITYThe Complex and Increasingly DangerousNuclear Weapons Geometry of AsiaJULY 27, 2016Asia is home to four of the world’s nine nuclear-armed states, each of which is increasing the sizeand technological sophistication of its own nuclear arsenal. While much of the world’s attentionis focused on efforts to halt the nuclear and missile tests of North Korea,1 the nuclear arsenals andambitions of India, Pakistan, and China also pose significant dangers and deserve more attention.Pakistan is believed to be increasing its stockpile of fissile material at the fastest rate of any nuclearweapon state. The threat of a nuclear war originating from an interstate conflict between Indiaand Pakistan, or from acquisition by terrorists of fissile material or nuclear weapons stored in thesecountries, remains dangerously high. The nuclear dynamics between India and Pakistan wouldbe difficult to manage, even if the countries were part of a closed-loop system, but they are not.While Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is designed to counter India’s conventional and nuclear forces, NewDelhi measures its own nuclear weapons program against that of China. Beijing, in turn, judgesthe adequacy of its nuclear arsenal against the threat it perceives from the United States’ strategicoffensive and defensive capabilities. And in its efforts to mitigate the ballistic missile threat fromNorth Korea, the United States and its allies in the region are expanding their strategic and theatermissile defense capabilities.The complicated nuclear weapons geometry of Asia thus extends from the subcontinent tothe other side of the world. In order to fully understand how the pace and direction of nuclearproliferation can be influenced, the interconnections of these countries must be considered, alongwith the kinds of nuclear weapons they have at their disposal.HIGHLIGHTS A cross-border conflict between nuclear-armed India andPakistan poses a serious threat of nuclear the country against which India measures its ownnuclear weapons profile. The presence of terrorist organizations in Pakistan raises The United States has a significant impact on the Southsignificant concerns about the prospect of unauthorizedAsian nuclear threat as well, both direct and indirect:access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. China plays a critical role in fueling South Asia’s nucleararms race:as the foreign country that most influences the size andshape of China’s nuclear arsenal; andas a major player in efforts to halt global fissile materialas the outside country most responsible for Pakistanacquiring nuclear and missile technology; andproduction and in managing the terms of global nuclearcooperation with India.Realistic Threat Assessment Project, Greg Thielmann, DirectorArms Control Association, 1313 L Street, NW, Ste. 130, Washington, D.C. 20005 (202) 463-8270

HIGHLIGHTS (cont.) Creating and sustaining a robust nuclear security andAdvocating a moratorium on further numericalstability dialogue between India and Pakistan is key toincreases in nuclear forces and a halt to fissile materialmitigating South Asian nuclear threats and should be a topproduction for weapons;priority of U.S. diplomacy.Discouraging the development and deployment of U.S. security policies toward Asia should include thetactical nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons on navalfollowing elements:ships; andAcknowleding that no state can be made invulnerable toLeveraging Indian and Pakistani interest in expandingnuclear weapons;peaceful nuclear cooperation to achieve international armscontrol objectives—such as increasing accessions to theAvoiding U.S. missile defense deployments thatComprehensive Test Ban Treaty.provoke increases in strategic offenses;Background1971, 1999), numerous skirmishes, and the formation ofBangladesh. In spite of India’s widening demographic andmilitary advantages over Pakistan, it was New Delhi thatfirst decided to conduct an underground nuclear test—becoming the first state to do so outside the five originalNPT nuclear-weapon states. And it was again India thattriggered the 1998 round of nuclear testing by detonatingat least three devices2 in mid-May.Already disadvantaged in the South Asian militarybalance, Pakistan’s relative position suffered further fromits bifurcation in 1971 when Bangladesh was created out ofEast Pakistan. By 1984, Pakistani scientists claimed to haveachieved a nuclear weapons capability and there is goodreason to believe that China tested a Pakistani-designedderivative of an earlier Chinese device (CHIC-4) at its LopNor Nuclear Test Site in May of 1990.3However, Pakistan’s capability was not demonstratedto the world until the end of May 1998, shortly afterIndia tested for a second time, when Pakistan conductedmultiple (probably two4) detonations over a two-day period.India’s nuclear detonation thus spurred a Pakistan alreadyincentivized to develop its own nuclear weapons. Thetests of both countries that year played a critical role inlaunching the nuclear arms buildup on the subcontinentthat continues to this day.With over 1.3 billion inhabitants each, China and Indiatogether contain more than a third of the world’s totalpopulation. In recent years, they have both experiencedhigh rates of economic growth and rank near the top inthe size and expenditures of their military establishments.In the early years following World War II, both of theseAsian giants maintained unambiguous denunciationsof nuclear weapons use and possession. It was only afterreceiving nuclear threats from the United States duringthe Korean War and the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1954-55that China decided to pursue its own bomb—a decisionreinforced by China’s sometimes violent border disputeswith the nuclear-armed Soviet Union in the 1960s.In spite of Moscow severing all nuclear technologicalcooperation with its erstwhile ally in 1959, China was ableto conduct its first nuclear test explosion in 1964, leadingto its recognition as one of five nuclear weapons statesunder the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), whichwas concluded in 1968.The Sino-Indian relationship has gone through severalphases during the last seven decades. The two countriesultimately came to blows over a border dispute in 1962—adispute, which continues today. India’s humiliating loss ofterritory in that conflict, along with China’s 1964 nucleartest, goaded New Delhi into its own pursuit of nuclearweapons, culminating in India’s “Smiling Buddha” nuclearweapon test in 1974—disingenuously labeled a “peacefulnuclear explosion.”The bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan,meanwhile, has been built on the fractured terrain ofBritish India—split between its Muslim and mostlyHindu constituencies in May of 1947. The states’ painfulbirth left grievances on both sides, sewing hostility andrevanchism, which spilled over into four wars (1947, 1965,ChinaChina currently holds some 230 nuclear warheads in itsoperational inventory.5 (See Table 1.) Beijing appears to sizeand structure its nuclear forces according to an evaluationof what is needed to pose unacceptable losses to the UnitedStates in response to an American attack. There is littleevidence that China is very concerned with Indian nuclearforces—or with the massive nuclear arsenal of Russia,which from a technical standpoint, potentially poses a2

Greg Baker/AFP/Getty ImagesChina’s DF-31A ICBMs, shown here in a Beijing parade on September 3, 2015, have doubled the number of Chinese warheadsthat can target the U.S. mainland and have significantly reduced China’s vulnerability to a counter-force attack.much larger threat.China’s minimum nuclear force structure and no-firstuse doctrine have remained remarkably stable over time.For more than two decades, the Chinese only maintainedthe capability to target some twenty nuclear warheads onthe United States, approximately one percent of the U.S.nuclear warheads that could be targeted on China. EvenChina’s research and development work on sophisticatedweapons – such as enhanced radiation, anti-satellite, andprompt global strike systems – seems to have been drivenmore by a desire to avoid technological surprises from apotential enemy rather than by an intention to deployasymmetrical weapons to assure that enemy’s defeat in theevent of war.6Only in recent years has China begun to move towardacquiring the kind of full spectrum deterrent longdeployed by Russia and the United States. (See Table 4.)Only in the last decade did it deploy road-mobile missilesthat could target the U.S. mainland. Only last year didit start deploying multiple, independently-targetable(MIRVed) warheads on its DF-5 (CSS-4) intercontinentalballistic missiles (ICBMs); only this year is China projectedto initiate sea-going patrols of its nuclear ballistic missilesubmarines (SSBNs).7 Yet, while each of these steps maybe considered slow motion reactions to threats fromU.S. military developments, such as missile defensedeployments and ongoing improvements in the accuracy,speed, and reach of conventional attack systems, each islikely to have a cascading impact on the strategic decisionsof India and Pakistan.Chinese leadership beliefs about the role of nuclearweapons are unique among nuclear-weapon states and haveappeared stable over time.8 Since conducting its first nucleartest in 1964, China has professed adherence to a categoricalno-first-use pledge in which it promises to use nuclearweapons only in response to suffering a nuclear attack.China has repeatedly said that it will not use or threatento use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon statesand that it will not engage in an arms race. According toChinese statements, the purpose of the country’s nucleararsenal is to avoid “nuclear blackmail” and respond tonuclear strikes. China has not viewed nuclear weaponsas tools for war-fighting; it has professed the principle of“limited development” of nuclear weapons and states thatthe country aims for a “lean and effective” force.9Given its relatively limited view of the utility androle of nuclear weapons, China has prioritized politicalcontrol over operational flexibility, leading to a strict and3

Table 1: Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2016TYPENUMBER OFLAUNCHERSRANGE(KILOMETERS)WARHEADS PERLAUNCHER (OR BOMBSPER AIRCRAFT)NUMBER OFWARHEADSLAND-BASED BALLISTIC MISSILESDF-4 105,500 1 10DF-5A 1013,000 1 10DF-5B 10 12,0003 30DF-15?6001?DF-21 802,1501 80DF-26?4,000 1?DF-31 87,000 1 8DF-31A 2511,000 1 25DF-41N/A?N/AN/ASUBTOTAL 143 163SUBMARINE-LAUNCHED BALLISTIC MISSILESJL-2(48)7,000 1(48) 203,100 1 20 2501,500?1?1?AIRCRAFTH-6CRUISE MISSILESDH-10DH-20?TOTAL 183 (260*)Source: Hans M. Kristensen and Robert R. Norris, “FAS Nuclear Notebook: Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2016,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.* The total stockpile includes warheads for the DF-26, those waiting dismantlement, and a small inventory of spares.highly centralized command-and-control system and arelatively restrained deployment posture. China’s nuclearwarheads have long been believed to be unmated to theirdelivery systems and stored in separate locations. A nuclearstrike can only be ordered by China’s Central MilitaryCommission. China did not develop an early warningsystem and, according to some experts, the country’snuclear war plans anticipate that, after enduring anadversary’s nuclear strike, China’s leaders might wait daysor even a week before launching a retaliatory strike.10Some Chinese officials are now calling for thedevelopment of an early-warning system and for Chinato place its nuclear weapons on a higher state of alert.11Although there is not yet evidence that China’s politicalleadership has altered any of its core beliefs about nuclearweapons, nor that the newly-created PLA Rocket Forcecommand implies a change in nuclear doctrine, themodernization and expansion of Chinese nuclear weaponsmay be harbingers of such changes down the road.China is undertaking a modernization and expansion ofits nuclear arsenal. Over the last decade China has addedmore than 50 nuclear warheads to its ICBM forces capableof hitting the U.S. mainland; within another decade, thenumber could well exceed 100.124

China’s current stockpile of fissile material is sufficientto sustain this expansion. However, a sprint to strategicparity with the United States and Russia, as some havepredicted, would require additional investments in newfissile production facilities. China is believed to havestopped producing highly enriched uranium (HEU) by theend of the 1980s and plutonium, which it reportedly usesin the primaries of its nuclear weapons, at the beginningof the 1990s. It retains a stockpile of military plutoniumdeployments. At an April 2016 joint press conferencewith his Russian counterpart, Chinese Foreign MinisterWang Yi criticized the possible deployment to SouthKorea of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense(THAAD) ballistic missile defense system, stating that itwould: “directly affect [the] strategic security of Russiaand China add[ing] fuel to the fire of an already tensesituation and even possibly wreck the regional strategicbalance.”15 A decision to deploy THAAD was announced inIn spite of augmenting the quantity of its nuclearweapons, China’s modernization efforts have focusedmore on qualitative an estimated 1.8 metric tons,13 which would permit it tobuild no more than 250-450 additional nuclear warheads.Resorting to warheads drawing only on HEU from itsstockpiles of some 18 metric tons, would allow China tocreate some 600 warheads, but it would probably need toresume nuclear testing to validate the reliability of any newwarhead designs.In spite of augmenting the quantity of its nuclearweapons, China’s modernization efforts have focused moreon qualitative changes. Just over ten years ago, most ofChina’s nuclear-armed missiles and all of its ICBMs wereliquid-fueled, silo-based, and each capable of carryingonly one very heavy warhead. Today, China’s missilesare increasingly solid-fueled, road-mobile, and capable ofcarrying multiple warheads.China already possesses four SSBNs, with a fifth hullcurrently under construction, although they are not yetconducting nuclear deterrence patrols. Together, thesesubmarines will provide China with the capability to haveat least one vessel conducting patrols at all times. However,these Type 094 Jin-class, second-generation submarinesare much noisier than the submarines in Western andRussian fleets and cannot be considered secure. Moreover,basic aspects of the 094’s design seriously limit China’spotential for significantly reducing these vessels’ acousticsignatures.14 Consequently, unless they are armed with amuch longer-range follow-on to the 7,000 km-range JL-2SLBM and operate out of bastions close to China’s coasts,their vulnerability in open oceans to U.S. and alliedsubmarines are likely to prevent them from providing areliable retaliatory capability against the U.S. mainland.Chinese statements have been most vocal about theperceived threat of U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD)Seoul on July 8.Chinese fears do not appear generated by U.S. regionalBMD capabilities in isolation, but rather on the perceivedcombined threat posed by integrated missile defensenetworks and by offensive systems that could potentiallymake strategic BMD feasible following a disarmingfirst strike. Advanced U.S. intelligence-surveillancereconnaissance (ISR) capabilities could aid in identifyingand tracking China’s nuclear missiles. Conventionalprecision strike capabilities would lower the operational andpolitical costs of a U.S. attack. In such a scenario, strategicmissile defenses would allow the United States to interceptthe few Chinese ICBMs surviving. Chinese officials haveargued that the bolstering of U.S. BMD capabilities is a“driver for a range of its modernization efforts.”16Regardless of the drivers, this modernization presentspotential risks to strategic stability as well as toproliferation. China’s deployment of additional solid-fuel,road-mobile missiles and the development of an SSBN forceincreases doubts that China would be able to maintain itslongstanding policy of keeping missiles unmated with theirwarheads. The small, relatively noisy, and vulnerable SSBNforce presents unique command-and-control challengesfor a country that has prioritized strict supervision of itsnuclear weapons. Onerous authorization requirements fornuclear use by submarine commanders could jeopardizethe availability of these assets in certain wartime scenarioswhen continuous communication is difficult. A larger,more sophisticated Chinese nuclear arsenal, at a higheralert level, could also spur both horizontal and verticalproliferation by potentially prompting Japan or Korea toconsider their own nuclear programs or motivating Indiato further expand its growing nuclear arsenal.5

India(5,200 km range), which will be able to cover targetsthroughout China.India’s nuclear-capable, surface-ship-launched tacticalballistic missile, the Dhanush, and the K-15 Sagarikasubmarine-launched ballistic missile have been validatedin flight tests, but are not yet fully operational. Moreover,their relatively short ranges (350 km and 700 km,respectively) practically limit them to contingenciesrelevant only to Pakistan. Although India has alreadyflight-tested the longer-range (3,500 km) K-4 submarinelaunched ballistic missile (SLBM), the missile does notappear compatible with India’s first nuclear-poweredballistic missile submarine, the Arihant, which has justIndia currently holds some 120 nuclear warheads in itsoperational inventory. (See Table 2.) Even though Indiahas now flight-tested ballistic missiles that can reach overthe Himalayas to target China’s largest cities, it remainsa regional nuclear weapons power. Although India haslong aspired to build a nuclear triad, its nuclear forcestoday still essentially constitute a dyad based on attackaircraft carrying gravity bombs and short- and mediumrange ballistic missiles, mostly based on land. Duringthe next decade, it is likely that India will be able todeploy significant numbers of longer-range, land-basedballistic missiles, the Agni-4 (3,500 km range) and Agni-5Table 2: Indian Nuclear Forces, 2015NUMBER OFLAUNCHERSRANGE(KILOMETERS)WARHEADS PERLAUNCHER (OR BOMBSPER AIRCRAFT)NUMBER OFWARHEADSMirage 2000H 321,8501 32Jaguar IS/IB 161,6001 16SUBTOTAL 48TYPEAIRCRAFT 48LAND-BASED BALLISTIC MISSILESPrithvi-2 242501 24Agni-1 20700 1 20Agni-2 82,000 1 8Agni-3 43,200 1 4Agni-4N/A3,500 1N/AAgni-5N/A5,200 1N/ASUBTOTAL 56 56SEA-BASED BALLISTIC MISSILESDhanush235012Sagarika(12)7001(12)K-4N/A 3,0001N/ASUBTOTAL2 (14)*2 (14)*TOTAL 106 (118)** The number in parenthesis includes 12 warheads possibly produced for the first SSBN for a total stockpile of roughly 118 warheads.Source: Hans M. Kristensen and Robert R. Norris, “FAS Nuclear Notebook: Indian Nuclear Forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.6

SSGT Mathew Hannen/USAFThe Indian Air Force Shamsher (SEPECAT Jaguar), pictured during a 2004 exercise in Alaska, is one of two types of attackaircraft used by India for delivering nuclear bombs.finished sea trials. Only the fourth SSBN to be built in thecurrent series will definitely be able to accommodate theK-4’s dimensions and that submarine is at least a decadeaway from being constructed.17India’s stockpile of fissile materials is estimated to include5.7 tons of weapon-grade plutonium for non-civilianpurposes and 3.2 tons of HEU – although part of India’sHEU is reserved for naval propulsion. India continuesto produce fissile materials for weapons, operating aplutonium production reactor (Dhruva) and a uraniumenrichment facility (Bhabha Atomic Research Reactor)that are not subject to International Atomic EnergyAgency safeguards.18 India is also suspected of significantlyexpanding its uranium enrichment capability throughtransformation of a rare material plant (near Mysore) andconstruction of large new facilities (in Challakere).19Due to technical realities and doctrinal inclinations,India’s nuclear forces will remain an inherently secondstrike system against China and Pakistan for the foreseeablefuture – even if it is perceived otherwise in Islamabad.Moreover, tight control over India’s operational nuclearforce by civilians and the oversized role of the DefenceResearch and Development Organization (DRDO) over newnuclear weapons development imply that military necessityis unlikely to be the principal driver of nuclear weaponspolicy. Instead, modernization unplugged from policypurpose, bureaucratic maneuvering, and foreign policyobjectives will continue to play an outsized role.More than is the case with India’s two potential nuclearantagonists, New Delhi wields its nuclear weapons toenhance its prestige and to gain leverage for winning “aseat at the high table” among the NPT nuclear-weaponstates.20 India used its special status very effectively tosecure Washington’s support for the Indo-U.S. nuclear dealof 2005, enacted into law in 2008, and to seek a NuclearSuppliers Group waiver for India to commence civiliannuclear trade. Critics of the deal noted that India hadacquired the benefits accorded to NPT signatories withoutjoining the treaty and without making concessions onimportant arms control objectives such as ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty (CTBT) ratification.Equating nuclear weapons prowess with prestige alsomeans that India will be tempted to pursue technologicaladvances in its capabilities whether or not they arerequired to assure the viability of its nuclear deterrent. AsRajesh Basrur and Jaganath Sankaran conclude in a recentanalytical compilation published by Stimson Center,21however lacking in urgency or impetus derived fromdeterrence strategy, India is likely to proceed in a questfor MIRVs, regarding China’s pursuit of BMD and MIRVsas sufficient incentive. DRDO has hinted that MIRVing isalready underway and that variants of the Agni-5 can carryup to three warheads.As India’s “strategic enclave” of politicians and scientists,7

spurred by visions of grandeur, drive toward technologicalparity with China, they may destabilize nuclear relationswith Pakistan.22 A larger, MIRV-ed Indian nuclear force,buffered by a future ballistic missile defense system,may increase Pakistani fears of a disarming first strike byIndia. In a manner echoing the ongoing action-reactiondynamics of the U.S.-China nuclear relationship, thiscould motivate Islamabad to accelerate its nuclear buildup,threatening stability on the subcontinent and ultimatelyundermining Indian security.nuclear forces to counter conventional threats from India.Although its population and economy are significantlysmaller than those of China and India, Pakistan is theAsian state expanding its fissile material productionmost rapidly. As of the end of 2014, Pakistan wasestimated to have accumulated a stockpile of about0.19 tons of plutonium and 3.1 tons of HEU. With fourreactors (Khushab-I, -II, -III, and -IV) now believed to beoperational,23 Pakistan is adding 0.04 tons of weaponsgrade plutonium to its inventory annually. Pakistan has atleast one centrifuge plant (Kahuta) for uranium enrichmentand may have a second (Gadwal), but there is uncertaintyabout their operational history and current status.24Like India, Pakistan currently uses aircraft and landbased short- and medium-range ballistic missiles as deliveryvehicles for its nuclear weapons. Pakistan has six types ofoperational nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and at leasttwo more under development. It has also deployed nuclearcapable, air-launched cruise missiles, is testing groundlaunched cruise missiles, and apparently plans to developand deploy sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) as well.With India as its only potential nuclear opponent it doesnot need and is not pursuing either intermediate-rangeballistic missiles (IRBMs) or ICBMs.Pakistan’s introduction of the Nasr (Hatf-9) ballisticmissile is probably the most destabilizing technologicaldevelopment in the nuclear arsenals of the subcontinent.With a range of only 60 km, the Nasr is designed fortactical use, possibly on Pakistani territory in the eventof an Indian conventional attack. Military planners inPakistan are convinced of its utility by the advocacy ofsome Indian planners for a “Cold Start” doctrine thatwould permit Indian forces to seize territory in responseto a provocation before Pakistan had a chance to fullymobilize. It is not clear that such an Indian doctrinehas been operationalized, but the relatively small sizeof the Pakistsani missile and warhead, the necessity ofauthorizing its early use, and need for forward deploymentare all worrisome aspects of tactical weapons.It is infeasible for Pakistan to mimic India in developingand deploying SSBNs armed with SLBMs. Neither canPakistan rapidly enhance its ISR capabilities, or aspire toballistic missile defenses. But active Indian pursuit of BMDand MIRVs is likely to elicit a Pakistani response, howeveronerous the burden on Pakistan’s economy.Islamabad’s objective will be to deprive New Delhi of anyreasonable expectation that India could avoid a devastatingnuclear response in the event of war with Pakistan. Inpursuit of this objective, Pakistan would be likely to seek acombination of indigenous development and acquisitionPakistanPakistan currently holds some 130 nuclear warheads/bombs in its operational inventory. (See Table 3.) Theirmission is relatively straightforward. Whatever the roleof national pride in motivating their initial development,Islamabad wields them today primarily to compensate forthe growing conventional military superiority of India.As India increases its conventional military edge andeconomic power, Pakistan will rely more and more on itsISPRPakistan declared successful this October 2011 test of theBabur (Hatf-7) ground-launched cruise missile, and claimed a700 km range, twice the estimate of the U.S. intelligencecommunity. Each Babur launcher carries three missile tubes,but the missiles may be armed with either nuclear orconvention warheads.8

Table 3: Pakistani Nuclear Forces, 2015NUMBER OFLAUNCHERSRANGE(KILOMETERS)WARHEADS PERLAUNCHER (OR BOMBSPER AIRCRAFT)NUMBER OFWARHEADSF-16A/B 241,6001 32Mirage III/V 122,1001 16SUBTOTAL 36TYPEAIRCRAFT 48LAND-BASED BALLISTIC MISSILESAbdali (Hatf-2)few1801fewGhaznavi (Hatf-3) 162901 16Shaheen-1 (Hatf-4) 167501 16Shaheen-1A (Hatf-4)—9001N/AShaheen-2 (Hatf-6) 81,5001 8Shaheen-3 (Hatf-?)—2,7501N/AGhauri (Hatf-5) 401,2501 40Nasr (Hatf-9) 6604 6SUBTOTAL 86 86CRUISE MISSILESBabur (Hatf-7) 83503 8Ra’ad (Hatf-8)—3501N/ASUBTOTAL 8 130TOTAL 130Source: Hans M. Kristensen and Robert R. Norris, “FAS Nuclear Notebook: Pakistani Nuclear Forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.of foreign technology. It would almost certainly increaseits nuclear-armed cruise missile forces25 and enhance thepenetration capabilities of its ballistic missiles (most likelythe Shaheen-2 and Shaheen-3).26 The latter task could beaccomplished by deploying penetration aids such as decoysand chaff, and by deploying multiple warheads per missile,aimed at the same target. Toward these ends, Pakistanwould likely solicit technological help from China, its onlyreliable ally.Alone among Asian nuclear-weapon states, Pakistanfaces serious challenges to the security of its nuclearweapons stockpiles. Terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba,the Pakistani Taliban, and the al-Qaeda affiliate Jaish-eMohammed, operate out of Pakistan and are supported bysome elements of the Pakistani government, like the InterServices Intelligence directorate (ISI). While most activitiesof these groups are focused on targets in disputed Kashmir,India proper, or Afghanistan, some groups also opposethe Pakistani government and are implicated in brazenattacks against centers of Pakistani military activity. Pastsponsorship (or tolerance) by Islamabad of terrorist groupsbased in Pakistan have led some experts to label Pakistanas the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism.27Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD) acts as the9

secretariat of the National Command Authority and isresponsible for the management and administration of thecountry’s nuclear weapons stockpile. By most accounts, theSPD is very professional with regard to its maintenance ofrigorous security procedures for handling and stockpilingnuclear weapons, including the vetting of personnel. SPDofficers have also apparently been avid students of U.S.nuclear weapons security practices and claim measuressimilar to U.S. permissive action links (PALs) to avoidunauthorized access to nuclear systems. Moreover, Pakistanis believed to store its nuclear warheads separately fromtheir delivery vehicles.28Yet Pakistan’s development of smaller, nuclear armedmissiles, such as the Nasr, internal tensions between civiland military authorities, and the continuing operation ofterrorist groups inside the country raise justified concernsabout the theft of fissile materials, nuclear warheads, oreven nuclear-armed delivery vehicles. In recent years,militants have launched attacks on or near four of the15 facilities believed to be associated with Pakistan’snuclear program.29 Moreover, transport of nuclear materialand even mated nuclear weapons is reported to occurvia civilian-style vans, without noticeable defenses, inthe regular flow of traffic rather than in armored, welldefended convoys.30their mutual interest in avoiding nuclear weapons use.According to a National Resources Defense Council studyin 2001, a “limited” nuclear exchange involving detonationof only ten Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons over ten majorcities in India and Pakistan would kill or severely injurewell over four million people.31 According to an updatedstudy by the International Physicians for the Preventionof Nuclear War in 2013, an exchange of 100 weapons (lessthan half of

North Korea, the United States and its allies in the region are expanding their strategic and theater missile defense capabilities. The complicated nuclear weapons geometry of Asia thus extends from the subcontinent to the other side of the world. In order to fully understand how the pace and direction of nuclear

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