A new Congressional Research Service report on "U.S. Arms Sales to Pakistan" recently obtained by the FAS provides a succinct overview of recent U.S. arms sales to General Pervez Musharraf's regime, the tumultous fifty-year history of US security assistance to Pakistan, and presidential authority to stop such sales. The release of the report coincides with a worsening political crisis in Pakistan and growing Congressional and public discontent over the United States' multi-billion dollar military aid program for General Musharraf's beseiged and increasingly authoritarian regime.
Shaheen 2 launch
By Hans M. Kristensen
Pakistan is preparing its next-generation of nuclear-capable ballistic missile for deployment. A satellite image taken on June 5, 2005, shows what appears to be 15 Transporter Erector Launchers (TELs) for the medium-range Shaheen 2 fitting out at the National Defense Complex near Fatehjang approximately 30 kilometers southwest of Islamabad.
The vehicles were discovered as part of preparations for the latest Nuclear Notebook on Pakistani nuclear forces published in the May/June issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The Notebook is written by Hans M. Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists and Robert S. Norris of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The authors estimate that Pakistan currently has an arsenal of about 60 nuclear weapons. In the last five and a half years, Pakistan has deployed two new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, entered the final development stages of a potentially nuclear-capable cruise missile, started construction of a new plutonium production reactor, and is close to completing a second chemical separation facility. As Pakistan completes development of two more nuclear-cable ballistic missiles and a cruise missile in the next few years, the nuclear arsenal will increase further.
government responds to blog:The government downplayed a report by
an organization of American scientists that Pakistan is preparing
its next generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile for
deployment. "This is a speculative report which contains part fact and part
fiction,” is how the spokesperson characterized the report."Source:
Dawn, "N-Capable Missiles," May 11, 2007.
The main driver for Pakistan's nuclear modernization appears to be India's nuclear build-up, although national prestige probably also is a factor. The two countries appear to be entering a new phase in their regional nuclear arms race with medium-range ballistic missiles gradually replacing aircraft as the backbone of their nuclear strike forces. In contrast to aircraft, ballistic missiles have a very short flight time and cannot be recalled once launched.
(Updated January 3, 2007) North Korea may have gotten all the attention, but all the nuclear weapon states were busy flight-testing ballistic missiles for their nuclear weapons during 2006. According…
At Thursday’s hearing on the sale of 36 F-16 aircraft to Pakistan, Assistant Secretary of State John Hillen endured tongue-lashings from several members of the House International Relations Committee (HIRC), who objected to the manner in which his bureau has managed the $5.1 billion arms package. Of particular concern was the administration’s unilateral decision to waive the customary 20-day pre-notification for major arms sales, which many members viewed as a deliberate attempt to circumvent the committee’s authority. The decision – and the confrontation it provoked – could have far-reaching consequences, not only for Congressional oversight of arms sales but also several key State Department initiatives.
On Monday, the Bush administration announced a massive $5.1 billion arms package for Pakistan, the largest arms sale to the Indian subcontinent since US sanctions were suspended in 2001. The package includes 36 F-16 fighter jets, armaments, and upgrades for its existing fleet of F-16s. The announcement came five days after the administration officially notified Congress of the sales.
The deal is significant for many reasons. It will help to modernize Pakistan's aging airforce, and help pave the way for an even larger fighter jet sale to India. The sale also has tremendous symbolic significance. In 1991, the first Bush Administration imposed various sanctions on Pakistan for its nuclear weapons program, the most high profile of which was the impounding of 28 F-16s purchased by Pakistan in the 1980’s. Pakistan lobbied hard for their release but the Bush and Clinton administrations held firm, and the planes came to symbolize the post-Cold War deterioration of US-Pakistani relations. Following the September 11th attacks, the US hastily sought to mend diplomatic fences with Pakistan, which has provided critical support in the War on Terror. The Bush administration immediately lifted the ban on military aid to India and Pakistan and gradually increased the quantity and sophistication of weapons exports to both countries. The F-16 sale, which still tops the list of weapons sought by the Pakistani government, signifies a completion of the rapprochement between the US and its erstwhile ally.
The Air Force has published a new report about the threat from ballistic and cruise missiles. The new report, Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat, presents the Air Force National Air…