Atlantic Council, an American think-tank has reported that Pakistan's tactical nuclear-weapons programme is not only dangerous for safety and security of the region but also the surest route to escalating the conventional war to the nuclear level.
The report titled 'Asia in the Second Nuclear Age' however, said Pakistan does not appear to have operationalised its tactical nuclear-warfare plans yet.
"Pakistan's tactical nuclear-weapons programme is dangerous for safety and security reasons, and also because it is the surest route to escalating the conventional war to the nuclear level. However, Pakistan does not appear to have operationalised its tactical nuclear-warfare plans yet," said the report.
It said the region faces the greatest threat not from the development of large, sophisticated, and diversified nuclear arsenals, but from the continued stability of the institutions guarding them. "In this regard, the future stability of Pakistan remains a wild card," said the report.
The report noted that both the Pakistani state and civil society have become the targets of terror attacks, adding some of the attacks have occurred, with insider help, on sensitive military bases where nuclear weapons are likely stored.
"The possibility that Pakistan's nuclear weapons could be stolen - or that schisms in Pakistan's military might cause nuclear command-and-control failures - is not as fantastic as it once seemed," said the report.
The report is authored by Gaurav Kampani and Bharath Gopalaswamy. It concludes that in the nuclear dynamic in the Indo-Pacific region, India and Pakistan are novice developers of nuclear arsenals; the weapons in their inventory are first-generation fission weapons.
Likewise, their delivery systems are the first in the cycle of acquisitions, the report said, adding that their hardware acquisitions generate outside concern because of the scope of their ambitions.
(With PTI inputs)