Pakistan Ranks Above India In Handling Nuclear Materials, but Global Security Deteriorates

In a recent report released by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Pakistan has been ranked above India, North Korea, and Iran in terms of handling weapons-usable nuclear materials. The NTI, a US-based organization focused on reducing nuclear and biological threats worldwide, evaluated 22 states based on their nuclear security conditions. Pakistan secured the 19th place with a total score of 49, which is higher than India’s 40, Iran’s 29, and North Korea’s 18. However, despite some countries’ progress, the overall global nuclear security situation is deteriorating, as per the index findings.

Pakistan’s Improved Ranking and Nuclear Facilities Security

The NTI Nuclear Security Index showed that Pakistan improved its ranking by three points since the last assessment in 2020. It now shares the 32nd spot with Russia and Israel in terms of the security of its nuclear facilities. This improvement indicates that Pakistan has taken significant measures to enhance the safety and protection of its nuclear installations, earning it a higher position in the rankings. 

Global Nuclear Security Deterioration

While Pakistan’s progress is noteworthy, the NTI index report raises concerns about the overall state of global nuclear security. The 2023 assessment reveals that conditions are regressing in many countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials and nuclear facilities. This decline is alarming, as it could potentially increase the risk of nuclear theft and compromise international efforts towards minimizing and eliminating nuclear weapons.

Stockpiling of Weapon-Grade Materials

The report highlights that several countries, including Pakistan, have been increasing their stocks of weapons-usable nuclear materials. Among the eight countries mentioned, namely France, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United Kingdom, they have been accumulating significant quantities of these materials. The accumulation poses a significant challenge to disarmament efforts and raises concerns about the potential for illicit acquisition by non-state actors or rogue elements.

Radioactive Source Security Assessment

In addition to assessing nuclear security, the 2023 NTI Index also includes a separate Radioactive Source Security Assessment. The assessment evaluates national policies, commitments, and actions across 175 countries and Taiwan to secure radioactive sources and prevent the use of dirty bombs. While it does not rank countries, it provides valuable insights into the efforts being made worldwide to mitigate radiological risks.

Efforts to address the present challenges must be intensified, with greater emphasis on international cooperation, information sharing, and confidence-building measures. The report serves as a stark reminder of the importance of sustained commitment to nuclear disarmament and security at the global level to ensure the safety and security of all nations and humanity as a whole.

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