The South Asian region may witness nuclear mishaps with the acceleration of India and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programmes, America’s top spymaster Daniel Coats told lawmakers. His statement came amid the US intelligence community’s assessment of worldwide threats in the year 2019.
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Coats briefed about the situation in Pakistan and India, saying “Pakistan is still developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer-range ballistic missiles. While India conducted its first deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine armed with nuclear missiles”.
“The continued growth and development of Pakistan and India’s nuclear weapons programmes increase the risk of a nuclear security incident in South Asia, and the new types of nuclear weapons will introduce new risks for escalation dynamics and security in the region,” Coats said.
Coats and other top American intelligence agencies appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on their worldwide threat assessment. Prominent among them included CIA Director Gina Haspel, who has just returned from a trip to India; FBI Director Christopher Wray and Defence Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley.
Coats emphasised saying, “US intelligence committee expect the overall threat from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to continue to grow during 2019 and Russia will remain the most capable WMD adversary, developing new strategic and non-strategic weapons systems”.
“China continues its multi-year effort to modernise its nuclear missile forces, including deploying sea-based weapons, improving its road-mobile and silo-based weapons, and testing hypersonic glide vehicles,” he concluded.
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