A Pakistani official bemoaned India’s apparent progress on a new site capable of making uranium for advanced nuclear weapons, Reuters reports.
The high-level insider sounded alarm over a Friday finding that India is inching toward completion of a second uranium-enrichment facility at its Rare Materials Plant near Mysore. The possible gas-centrifuge site could annually generate fuel for five bombs following its launch, which may take place by next summer, IHS Jane’s security specialists said in a Friday analysis of satellite images and remarks by Indian government personnel.
India could also combine any additional uranium with plutonium from its current stockpile, potentially helping New Delhi to build a class of more powerful “thermonuclear” weapons, according to Reuters.
“This is something that India has been trying to develop for a long time,” said Tariq Azeem, a staffer for Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “We don’t want any nuclear race. That doesn’t bode well for either country.”
Azeem added that India’s reported work on the facility underlined its “established hegemony” as a nuclear power.
The potential clandestine site in southern India may become capable of generating roughly twice the amount of uranium fuel needed for the country’s future line of submarines, according to Reuters. Karl Dewey, proliferation editor at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, said the additional production capacity would “most likely” support nuclear-arms activities, according to a statement by the research group.
According to former U.S. State Department official Mark Fitzpatrick, India’s reported expansion of the Mysore site’s uranium-refinement capacity would further bolster its “already far greater advantage over Pakistan in terms of nuclear-weapons production potential.”
“It also brings India closer to matching China, which is how most Indians would probably see it,” Fitzpatrick said.