Pakistan may have caught up with India in the amount of destructive nuclear power it can summon, according to a new assessment by a Washington think tank.
In a paper on the world's fissile material stocks, David Albright and Kimberly Kramer of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) estimate that Pakistan now has between 55 to 90 nuclear weapons compared to 55 to 110 with India.
Israel and North Korea, listed among other current de factor weapons states, have between 110-190 weapons and 2-9 weapons respectively.
The ISIS estimates, published in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, is based on the production of fissile material in 'nuclear' countries.
India, whose nuclear weapons program is mostly plutonium-based, is estimated to have between 300-470 kilograms of plutonium stocks. Pakistan has between 20-60 kg of plutonium.
Pakistan, whose weapons program is mostly uranium-based, has between 1000-1250 kgs of highly-enriched uranium, charts accompanying the paper indicate, without specifying the degree of enrichment.
Bomb grade uranium needs to be enriched beyond 95 per cent. India too is said to now possess uranium from its new enrichment plants but the survey does not reveal how much.
News of the continuing pile-up of nuclear material and weapons is certain to dismay peace activists in both countries who believe even a few bombs are enough to decimate the sub-continent, making the rest of the inventory redundant.