In the latest 2023 NTI Nuclear Security Index, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) acknowledges Pakistan’s remarkable improvement in securing nuclear materials and facilities, placing it ahead of regional counterparts, including India. While Pakistan’s progress is commendable, the report also highlights a worrying trend of deteriorating nuclear security conditions worldwide. This article delves into Pakistan’s rise in the rankings and the growing concerns surrounding global nuclear security.
- Pakistan’s Advancements in Nuclear Security
The 2023 NTI Nuclear Security Index reveals Pakistan’s significant strides in nuclear security. The country has secured a position at 19, surpassing India, Iran, and North Korea since 2020. With an impressive score of 49, Pakistan has gained three additional points this year, whereas India’s score remains unchanged at 40.
In terms of the security of nuclear facilities, Pakistan shares the 32nd rank with Russia and Israel. Notably, it stands above India, Iran, Mexico, South Africa, Egypt, North Korea, and several other nations. Pakistan earned a score of 61, reflecting an increase of four points in facility security. In contrast, India’s score is 52.
- The Importance of the NTI Index
The NTI Index, a joint project by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Economist Impact since 2012, serves as a premier resource for assessing global nuclear and radiological security across 175 countries and Taiwan. By using publicly available information, the index tracks progress and proposes action plans for governments, regulators, international institutions, industry, and civil society to enhance nuclear security worldwide.
- Concerns over Global Nuclear Security
Despite Pakistan’s noteworthy progress, the 2023 NTI Index raises a red flag concerning the overall state of nuclear security worldwide. The report highlights a regression in nuclear security conditions among several countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials and facilities. This unsettling trend comes at a time of heightened geopolitical and economic instability, increased violent non-state actor activities, environmental disasters, and cyber-attacks.
- Escalating Risks
The NTI Index points out that numerous countries, including Pakistan, are increasing their stocks of weapon-grade nuclear materials. The eight countries—France, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United Kingdom—have augmented their stocks, undermining efforts for minimization.
Moreover, countries are falling short of fulfilling their commitments to confidence building and information sharing, which were essential drivers of progress during the Nuclear Security Summits.
- Evaluating Nuclear Security
The NTI Index assesses the security of highly enriched uranium and plutonium against theft, as well as the security of nuclear facilities against sabotage. These measures are crucial, as stolen materials can be weaponized, and sabotage may lead to hazardous radiation releases.
Pakistan’s remarkable progress in nuclear security, as recognized by the 2023 NTI Nuclear Security Index, sets an example for other nations to follow. However, the report’s findings on deteriorating global nuclear security conditions call for immediate attention and collective action. Governments, international organizations, and stakeholders must collaborate to fortify nuclear security measures to safeguard the world against catastrophic nuclear terrorism. The NTI Index remains an indispensable tool to track progress and guide efforts to protect nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities, ensuring a safer future for all nations.