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High risk of theft of Pak nuclear weapons: US report

With Pakistan moving towards tactical nuclear weapons, there is an increasingly higher risk of nuclear theft, a US think-tank report has warned ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit here later this month.

“Overall, the risk of nuclear theft in Pakistan appears to be high,” said the report ‘Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?’ released by the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School.

“The trend seems to be toward increasing risk, as Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal expands and shifts toward tactical nuclear weapons, while adversary capabilities remain extremely high,” it said.

Over the longer term, the possibilities of state collapse or extremist takeover cannot be entirely ruled out, though the near-term probability of such events appears to be low.

The report from the Harvard Kennedy School comes a week after a top American diplomat had raised a similar concern.

“We’ve been very concerned about Pakistan’s deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons,” US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rise E Gottemoeller told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.

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