Pakistani Leader Backs Military's Pursuit of 'Full-Spectrum Deterrence'

Global Security Newswire Staff

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday gave his backing to a plan to continue developing new nuclear-weapon capabilities, DAWN reported.

“Pakistan would not remain oblivious to evolving security dynamics in South Asia and would maintain a full-spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression,” the government reportedly said in a statement released following the meeting of the National Command Authority, which Sharif chairs.

This week's meeting of the NCA body -- which has policy oversight over the country's nuclear arsenal -- was Sharif's first since he was elected prime minister in June, after having presided over the nation in earlier terms until a 1999 military coup. Some have anticipated since Sharif's election that he would work to lower tensions with longtime nuclear rival India.

The authority's endorsement of continued development of the atomic-weapons establishment could close perceived holes in Pakistan's nuclear capabilities, according to DAWN.

In recent years, Islamabad has focused on ramping up its plutonium production capabilities and developing lower-yield tactical weapons in order to deter India's superior conventional forces.

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a senior fellow with Harvard University's Belfer Center, told Global Security Newswire that he interprets Pakistan's pursuit of full-spectrum deterrence abilities to mean it will continue to focus on producing "smaller nuclear weapons with larger yields."

"In order to do this, they are dramatically expanding their production of plutonium," the former Energy Department director of  intelligence and counterintelligence said in an e-mail.