Pakistan has overtaken India in the Nuclear Security Index

Pakistan's medium-range ballistic missile Shaheen III.  Reuters/File
Pakistan’s medium-range ballistic missile Shaheen III. Reuters/File
  • Pakistan’s score is higher than India’s 40, Iran’s 29, North Korea’s 18.
  • The index raises concerns over “deteriorating” global nuclear security.
  • Many countries are “increasing stockpiles of weapons-grade material.

Islamabad: Pakistan ranks above India, Iran and North Korea in its handling of hazardous material, gaining three more points since the last assessment. news reported on Thursday, citing an international organization that assesses the state of global nuclear security.

According to foreign media reports, the country is now ranked 19th in the list of 22 states.

The Nuclear Security Index (NSI) – maintained by the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a non-profit organization that meticulously records how countries handle nuclear materials – measures countries’ nuclear security capabilities and efforts based on indicators and criteria.

These include the security of nuclear materials and facilities, adherence to international norms and treaties, the regulatory framework for nuclear security, and the enforcement of best practices to prevent unauthorized access to nuclear weapons or materials.

NSI Ranking.  - NTI
NSI Ranking. – NTI

The NTI index showed that Pakistan’s score of 49 was higher than India’s 40, Iran’s 29 and North Korea’s 18.

It also revealed that Pakistan ranks 32nd with Russia and Israel in terms of security of its nuclear facilities and is above India, Iran, Mexico, South Africa and many other countries in a list of 47 countries.

However, the index raised concerns over global nuclear security, which it said was deteriorating.

It added, “After reporting years of progress on nuclear security, the NTI’s Nuclear Security Index for the first time in 2023 finds that dozens of countries and territories with weapons-usable nuclear material and nuclear facilities are regressing nuclear security positions again.”

The report’s authors also noted that several countries, including Pakistan, were “increasing their stockpiles of weapons-grade material”.

Eight countries – France, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United Kingdom – have increased their stockpiles of weapons-usable nuclear materials, in some cases by up to thousands of kilograms per year, undermining minimization and elimination efforts and increasing the risk of theft,” the report said.

“Countries are also backing away from their commitments to confidence building and information sharing, key drivers of progress during the duration of the Nuclear Security Summit.”

The latest NTI index evaluates the security of highly enriched uranium and plutonium against theft and the security of nuclear facilities against sabotage.

These materials, if stolen, can be used to make an atomic bomb. Sabotage at a nuclear facility can also result in dangerous emissions of radiation.

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