ISLAMABAD: Gaining three more points since the last assessment, Pakistan ranked above India, Iran, and North Korea in terms of its handling of hazardous material, according to media reports, citing an international organisation evaluating the status of global nuclear security.
According to foreign media reports, the country now ranks 19 on the list of 22 states.
The Nuclear Security Index (NSI) — maintained by the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a non-profit entity that meticulously records how countries handle nuclear material — 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 implementing best practices to prevent unauthorised access to nuclear weapons or materials.
The NTI index revealed that Pakistan’s score of 49 was higher than India’s 40, Iran’s 29, and North Korea’s 18.
It also showed that Pakistan ranked 32 along with Russia and Israel in terms of the security of its nuclear facilities and was above India, Iran, Mexico, South Africa and several others on a list of 47 countries.
However, the index raised concern over global nuclear security, which it said was deteriorating.
“After years of reporting flagging progress on nuclear security, the NTI’s Nuclear Security Index for the first time in 2023 finds that nuclear security conditions are regressing in the dozens of countries and areas with weapons-usable nuclear materials and nuclear facilities,” it said.
The report’s authors also noted that several countries, including Pakistan, were “adding to their stocks of weapon-grade materials”.
Eight countries — France, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United Kingdom — have increased their stocks of weapons-usable nuclear materials, in some cases by thousands of kilograms per year, undermining minimisation and elimination efforts and increasing the risk of theft,” the report stated.
“Countries also are reneging on their commitments to confidence building and information sharing, key drivers of progress during the period of the Nuclear Security Summits.”
The latest NTI index has evaluated the security of highly enriched uranium and plutonium against theft and the security of nuclear facilities against sabotage.
If stolen, these materials can be used to build a nuclear bomb. The sabotage of a nuclear facility can also result in a dangerous release of radiation.
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