The U.S. is mulling a deal with Pakistan that would curb Islamabad’s scope of nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported Thursday. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is the fastest growing in the world.
Ahead of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the U.S. next week, President Barack Obama’s administration is holding talks centered around America’s concern that Pakistan might be on the verge of setting up a small tactical nuclear weapon that would be more difficult to secure than the South Asian country’s arsenal of larger weapons, according to the Times.
The Washington Post first reported about the discussions last Tuesday, after which several officials and experts weighed in about the effort in more detail. However, the White House has yet to comment on the issue.
Pakistan, meanwhile, is highly unlikely to put any limitations on its nuclear arsenal, according to experts familiar with the talks, which are being headed by Peter R. Lavoy, an intelligence expert on the Pakistani program, who is currently on the National Security Council, the newspaper reported.
“If Pakistan would take the actions requested by the United States, it would essentially amount to recognition of rehabilitation and would essentially amount to parole,” George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, according to the Times.
“I think it’s worth a try,” Perkovich added. “But I have my doubts that the Pakistanis are capable of doing this.”
According to other officials and outside experts, the main component of the deal would be the loosening of strict controls imposed on Pakistan by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an affiliation of nations that try to control the creation of weapons.