Pakistan Nuclear News & Discussion

nrupatunga

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There were many threads for every news on paki nuclear issues but no one thread. Please use this thread to discuss pakistan's nuclear related news.

@Singh @pmaitra Please make this sticky.
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External Work on Pakistan Plutonium Reactor Looks Nearly Done
The exterior of Pakistan's newest plutonium-production reactor appears almost complete, though it is unclear when the reactor will be up and running.

slamabad does not provide updates to the international community on the status of efforts to expand its fissile-material production capabilities. That leaves the public just a few sources of information about the program, such as commercial-satellite images.

"Given that satellite imagery provides limited indication of the reactor's operational status, predicting when the fourth reactor will become operational is difficult," write Kelleher-Vergantini and Avagyan.

The fourth reactor appears to have a layout slightly different from the two reactors that immediately preceded it at Khushab. Construction of the new heavy-water reactor has also moved at a more sluggish pace than was earlier predicted. This could be the result of working out the kinks of a new reactor blueprint or for an entirely different reason that cannot be detected by satellite, according to the ISIS report.

The space-based surveillance did not turn up any signs that work had begun on a potential fifth plutonium reactor at Khushab, the authors noted.

Pakistan is believed to be growing its plutonium-production capacity in order to allow it to acquire an arsenal of plutonium-fueled warheads. Its current nuclear arsenal uses uranium-based warheads.
 
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nrupatunga

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Source - Rediff
China lends Pakistan $6.5 billion to build nuke plants: China has agreed to grant cash-strapped Pakistan $6.5 billion for two nuclear power plants which will be constructed in Karachi as part of efforts to deepen bilateral civil nuclear cooperation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during a special cabinet meeting, said China was providing a concessionary loan for K2 and K3 nuclear power plants which have a combined generation capacity of 2,117 megawatts.

The repayment period of the soft loan will be 10 to 20 years.

Talks with China for more loans for power projects are also underway.
 

nrupatunga

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Pakistan's Nuclear Facilities
Chagai Hills: Pakistan's nuclear test site. First used on May 28, 1998.

Golra: Possible uranium enrichment R&D facility/pilot plant. Like many other sites in Pakistan, it is not subject to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Isa Khel Chasma: Large plutonium extraction plant, civil works complete, and a Chinese-supplied nuclear power reactor in early stages of construction.

Kahuta: Khan Research Laboratory. Enrichment plant designed to produce steady supply of weapons-grade uranium for nuclear devices.

Karachi: Canadian-supplied nuclear power reactor.

Khusab: Plutonium production reactor under construction. If completed, in conjunction with the plutonium extraction plants, it could create a significant inventory of unsafeguarded weapons-usable plutonium.

Rawalpindi: Pakistani Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology. Laboratory and a not-yet-operational plutonium extraction plant.

Sargodha: M-11 surface-to-surface missile storage facility.

Tarwanah: Missile production factory.
 

jaheen100

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Pakistan nuclear program is very strong. Pak also has on 7th big nuclear power in the world.
 

Blackwater

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Pakistan nuclear program is very strong. Pak also has on 7th big nuclear power in the world.
strong nuclear programme without good economy and security or stable politics is catastrophic

you are asking for trouble
 

jaheen100

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Pakistan welcomes the understanding reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran and P-5 Plus One in Geneva on the Iran nuclear issue. As a brotherly neighboring country of Iran, Pakistan has always underscored the importance of finding a peaceful solution to this issue.

We have also been stressing the need to avert confrontation over Iran's nuclear program which had the potential to destabilize our region.

The understanding is an important development, which should augur well for peace and security in our region and the world at large.

Read more: Pakistan welcomes understanding on Iran nuclear issue
 

nrupatunga

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It seems after kushab plant, work on chashma plant is also going on.

Chashma 4 containment capped

Two 340 MWe pressurised water reactors (PWRs) are under construction at Chashma, adding to the generation already provided by Chashma 1 and 2 - 300 MWe PWRs also supplied by China. The general contractor for units 3 and 4 is China Zhongyuan Engineering. The reactor design was provided by the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering and Research Design Institute.

Construction of unit 3 officially started at the end of May 2011, and unit 4 in December 2011. The dome of unit 3 was fitted in March 2013. The new units are scheduled to begin commercial operation in December 2016 and October 2017 respectively.
 

nrupatunga

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One More Reason to Worry about Pakistan's Nukes
Last year, Pakistan experienced a wave of leadership transitions. The country welcomed a new government, president, Supreme Court chief justice, and army chief.

Yet one of the most troubling changes occurred on the very last day of 2013, and with little fanfare. On December 31, according to Pakistani media reports, Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai logged his last day as head of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), the entity in charge of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

Kidwai has long been the institutional face of Pakistani nukes. The SPD was established in 2000, and Kidwai has been its only director (he's been described as the "longest serving boss in any strategic or defense establishment" in Pakistan). He received numerous extensions to continue in the post after 2007, the year of his formal retirement.

Kidwai garnered high praise for his work. Pakistani patriots may revere him for presiding over a drastic expansion of the nation's nuclear arsenal, but international security experts laud him for his leadership—as well as for improving security at sensitive sites. In the words of South Asia security specialist Michael Krepon, "his competence inspires the view that he is indispensable."

It's this longevity and success that make Kidwai's departure so unsettling. For all his accomplishments, volatile Pakistan remains deeply nuclear-insecure. This is a country where one nuclear scientist—AQ Khan—sold nuclear secrets to pariah states, and another—Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood—talked nukes with Osama Bin Laden just weeks before the 9/11 attacks. Where, according to U.S. intelligence, scientists with sympathy for Islamic radicalism have sought positions in the nuclear sector. And where, according to a report in The Atlantic, nuclear bombs are transported via "delivery van" on "congested and dangerous" roads.

Little wonder that five years ago, a U.S. Congressional investigation predicted a nuclear or biological attack by the end of 2013—with a strong likelihood that it would originate in Pakistan. And little wonder that documents made available by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden last year revealed that a nervous Washington is expanding its surveillance of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

Pakistan's nuclear insecurity is intensified by its nuclear strategies. The country is rapidly expanding its stockpile; it now boasts one of the world's fastest-growing arsenals. The more nuclear weapons, the greater the risks. Additionally, Pakistan is emphasizing the production of tactical nuclear weapons (TNW). Generally speaking, these weapons are meant for actual battlefield use with conventional forces (and in Pakistan's case, for short-range use against India). Consequently, they may be removed from locked-down and secured bases, making them tremendously vulnerable to seizure, attack, or accident.

Indeed, because of this vulnerability, TNWs are a favorite target for terrorists. Such an attack is certainly plausible in militancy-ravaged Pakistan, where extremists have recently assaulted military bases thought by some to house nuclear weapons. In 2012, security authorities acknowledged a "serious threat" from the Pakistani Taliban to attack one of Pakistan's largest nuclear installations.

All of this begs the question: Is anyone other than Khalid Kidwai capable of managing Pakistan's nuclear security challenges, given their sheer magnitude?

To be sure, many would say yes. Kidwai's replacement, Lt. Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat, is a protégée of former army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Pakistan's security establishment repeatedly commends his professionalism. One recent Pakistani media report, citing military sources, describes Hayat as "brainy, brave, and bold."

Others would argue that the SPD's institutional strengths render irrelevant any questions about the capabilities of its leaders. Many international observers praise the office for its effectiveness. Significantly, the SPD has created institutional mechanisms that, in the words of one nuclear expert, "can handle a baton pass." As Feroz Khan, a former senior SPD official, put it to me in a recent conversation, Kidwai's departure "reflects institutional maturity rather than [a] personality-driven system."

Fair enough. But let's face it: Strong leadership matters, especially during crises. Most historians don't credit the National Security Council for allowing the world to survive the Cuban Missile Crisis; they credit the leadership of President John F. Kennedy.

Few countries are as prone to a nuclear crisis as Pakistan—and this threat could well rise in the next year. The withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan portends heightened competition between Pakistan and India for influence in Afghanistan. The U.S. troop withdrawal also deprives militants of a prime target, increasing the likelihood that some jihadists—including those with ties to Pakistan's security establishment—will launch new campaigns of violence in India. These scenarios could dangerously escalate India-Pakistan tensions, and conceivably trigger armed mobilizations that include TNWs.

A nuclear crisis in Pakistan could also have devastating consequences for the United States. "What happens or fails to happen in Kidwai's modest compound," the New York Times' David Sanger wrote several years ago, "may prove far more likely to save or lose an American city" than the billions the United States spends on its own nuclear arsenal.

Clearly, the stakes are high. Hayat seems an exceptionally capable leader, and he'll likely be successful. Nonetheless, we have good reason to be anxious about the departure of Kidwai, the long-serving nuclear weapons czar who brought a small measure of stability to one of the world's foremost flashpoints.
 

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Talk to Al Jazeera - Abdul Qadeer Khan: 'My name is clear'

 
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nrupatunga

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Saudis have Pak commitment of nuclear bomb: US expert
"One of the great unknowns is whether they (Saudi Arabia) have already got a deal with the Pakistanis for a bomb. That's one of the mysteries of the contemporary Middle East and South Asia," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst who is currently with the Brookings Institute, an eminent American think-tank.

"Why does Pakistan have the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world? Why are they producing more bombs than the Indians by double or triple? Is there some external partner who they have a commitment to?" he asked at a panel discussion on Obama administration's foreign policy organised by the Brookings Institute.

"On this issue there's a lot of smoke, there's very little fire that anyone has seen, but if you ask my bottom line I think there probably have been discussions between the Saudi and the Pakistanis
 

nrupatunga

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Pakistan's Nuclear Policy Of Opacity
When a state possesses a nuclear weapon, it has to address two issues to efficiently employ and manage its nuclear weapons. Firstly, it needs to develop a doctrine that defines the circumstances and purposes for which such weapons could be used. Secondly, the need of command and control system is vital that ensures the use of nuclear weapons in accordance with their nuclear doctrine and not in other circumstances.

Since the successful Pakistan nuclear tests, it has maintained ambiguity over its nuclear weapon employment policy and its nuclear doctrine as well. International community and especially India has serious apprehensions regarding this policy of Pakistan.

The international community is determined forcefully that Pakistan should disclose its policy regarding use of nuclear weapons. Due to all these facts, Pakistan has faced sarcastic and knavish behavior from the international community as well as its arch-rival India.
Keeping in view the horrible consequences and devastation of nuclear weapons, the question arises here is that why Pakistan has adopted the policy of nuclear opacity?

The answer to this question is quite complex. Pakistan is having the option to opt the policy of "First use" or even "No First Use" but Pakistan is going with the policy of opacity so it could be interpreted as that Pakistan doesn't want to go for "First Use" or even "No First Use" in fact Pakistan wants to prevent itself with respect to use or no use of nuclear arsenals, that's why Pakistan is going with the policy of opacity. Because policy of opacity is the only policy by which deterrence can be assured at maximum level. This policy of opacity depicts that how much Pakistan is mature and concerned about deterrence stability. It is clear from above lines that nuclear weapon is not a military tool but a political tool and Pakistan in real terms is following its essence.

Pakistan and India has a history of four wars with each other. And owing to the Indian conventional military supremacy over Pakistan, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan, has successfully managed some sort of material peace among both the states. It is clear that nuclear weapons are playing significant role in terms of preventing war among both states.

Paradoxically speaking, Pakistan's concept of nuclear deterrence is India specific. It was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who developed the concept of nuclear deterrence in order to strengthen Pakistan's survival. He, in Ayub Khan's era repeatedly warns that India's ultimate intentions are to build an atomic bomb. By the efforts of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a National Command Authority (NCA) was established that assumed the responsibility of developing a nuclear weapon.

Pakistan is still passing through the phase of constructing nuclear doctrinal concepts and testing them.
However, from statements made by political and military leaders, we can deduce Pakistan's doctrine regarding use of weapons. Following are the key features of Pakistan's nuclear doctrine.

A) Since the establishment of nuclear weapons project, it can be observed that Pakistan's objective of development of nuclear weapon was to protect itself from the large scale conventional or nuclear attack from India. So, one can easily figure out that Pakistan's nuclear program is India specific, and it is designed to prevent Indian's from launching nuclear or large-scale conventional attacks on Pakistan.

B) It is said that credible minimum nuclear deterrence is one of the feature of Pakistan's nuclear doctrine. The statements of Pakistani military and political leaders reflect that Pakistan aims to build a small but credible nuclear force to deter Indian aggression.

C) It is indicated from the statements of officials of Pakistani that Pakistan has adopted a policy of massive retaliation. In 1998, against the backdrop of rumors of an Indian preemptive attack, Pakistan warned India that an Indian strike would be reciprocated with massive retaliation with unforeseen consequences. In 2001-2002, General Pervaiz Musharaf warned India in the words, "We don't want war. But if war thrust upon us, we would respond with full might, and give a befitting reply."

D) In contrast to India, policy of Nuclear First Use is the key feature of Pakistan's nuclear doctrine. Pakistan has also rejected India's offer to sign an agreement banning the first use. There are two reasons which compelled Pakistan to adopt this policy (i) First nuclear strike affordable financially and less complex to build. (ii) India's conventional military power far outweighs Pakistan military.

E) If the target of nuclear weapons is some big cities, it is known as counter value targeting. Pakistan has not yet disclosed its targeting policy. Moreover, it appears that Pakistan would focus on counter-value nuclear targeting.

F) Pakistan has declared setting up of a NCA in 2000 and delegated employment and deployment control over all strategic forces and organizations to this body. However, it is not yet clear that what control mechanism Pakistan has adopted or will prefer to adopt.
Pakistan's nuclear doctrine is rough and its details are yet to emerge.


Pakistan is still passing through the phase of formation of an appropriate nuclear doctrine. It can be concluded safely from the above mentioned discussions that Pakistan has adopted nuclear policy of opacity by keeping in view its military, geographical and strategic strengths and weaknesses. It is only option which serves Pakistan effectively. It can also be concluded that Pakistan is not in favor of any kind of hostility with India because such kind of hostility would ultimately lead both the states at the verge of nuclear war which would not be in favor of both the states and would result in instability for the whole South Asian region.
 

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Pakistan's Nuclear Energy Vision 2050
On November 26, 2013 Prime Minister of Pakistan inaugurated the construction of two nuclear power plants (NPPs) of 1100 MWe units, KANUPP II and KANUPP III (K-II & K-III) in Karachi. The Karachi Coastal Power Project is part of Pakistan's Nuclear Energy Vision Program that seeks to generate 44,000 MW of electric power by 2050. In an exclusive interview with a daily newspaper, Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Dr. Ansar Parvez, commented on the process of selecting eight more sites with each site having four nuclear power plants, making it a total of 32 NPPs to supply one-fourth of Pakistan's total energy requirement as predicted for 2050. Note that the current electricity generation capacity of Pakistan is only 725 MW from nuclear energy out of the total of 20,000 MW from other sources.

According to a press release by the Prime Minister's Office, "the setting up of the plant is part of a string of projects aimed at overcoming the power shortage, which include wind energy generation of 2500 MW, CASA project of 1000 MW by 2017 and Tarbella-V extension project by 2017." In addition, the GOP has started work on Pakistan Power Park at Gaddani, Balochistan that will have 10 coal-based power projects of 660 MW each. The GOP has also decided to construct "Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu dams simultaneously, besides building the Bunji dam. These dams have total power generation capacity of 15,000 mega watts from the Indus river." Using this mix of nuclear, hydro and coal energy sources with both short and long term electricity generation capacities, there is tremendous hope for a load shedding free Pakistan.

Sino-Pak Nuclear Energy Cooperation and Its Critics

For Pakistan's fifth and largest nuclear power project (K-II&K-III), China has committed to extend Pakistan a loan of $6.5 billion and will waive off $250,000 insurance premium on the loan. The total cost of the project is $9.6 billion, 82 % of this total cost will be financed by China and the GOP will pay rest of its 18% share in Pak Rupees. Not only has China agreed to finance this project, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) will be building two Chinese designed nuclear reactors, ACP-1000 units of 1,100 MW capacity each.

Critics of this deal have raised issues with the safety and security of the untested Chinese reactor design; the location of these reactors in the city of Karachi and the capacity and capability of Pakistan's nuclear establishment to start such ventures given the overall deteriorating security situation in Pakistan.

* First: the issue with the credibility of the still untested Chinese-designed nuclear reactors, ACP-1000. According to World Nuclear News (WNN) website, the Chinese ACP-1000 is derived from the 900 MWe PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor) imported by China from France in the 1990s. As for obtaining the complete IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights), China maintains that it has acquired full IPR over their design and the 'research and design review' has also been completed. ACP-1000 is generation III, PWR and is an enhanced version (with additional post-Fukushima safety requirements incorporated) of current Chinese CPR-1000 (M310+) design (Gen II+), of which 6 reactors are already operational in China and 18 more are under construction. Therefore, given that it has taken China so many years to expertly localize these reactor designs (from Areva and Westinghouse) and that it is now steadily on its way to wean off foreign reactor technology, any speculation about success of ACP-1000 being sold to Pakistan, is unwarranted. I seriously doubt that China would want to make its mark as an independent Asian reactor manufacturer and supplier by selling faulty equipment and that too in its own backyard where the chances of radiation leak (if any) due to reactor design have the highest rate of reaching across its own border!

* Second, opposition on the location of K-II and K-III and parallels with the Fukushima accident. As a general point of reference, nuclear power plants typically consume huge amounts of water for cooling and steam generation to drive the turbines that in turn generates electricity. Being near the coastline helps minimize the cost of transporting thousands of gallons of water if the NPP was inland. In the U.S. for example, majority of NPPs are inland because the country has the sources of cooling water inland. For a country like Pakistan with restricted resources, having NPPs near coastline will be more cost effective. Just to give you an idea about NPPs and population proximity: there are 65 NPPs in the U.S. with 105 operational nuclear reactors and over one-third of U.S. population lives within 50miles radius of these NPPs. However, what happened in Fukushima[1], Japan was unprecedented and any parallels drawn between Karachi and Fukushima are based on lack of information and knowledge about the nature of the accident. (For detailed report on the accident please see here) Pakistan has an impeccable record of safety and security of nuclear power plants for the past forty-three years with the commissioning of first nuclear power plant in 1971. Pakistan established an independent nuclear regulatory body (Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Board-PNRB) as per its obligations as a signatory of the International Convention on Nuclear Safety, which it joined in 1994. PNRB was later dissolved and Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) assumed all regulatory affairs in 2001 as an independent body to oversee "regulation of nuclear safety, radiation protection, transport and waste safety in Pakistan and also empowered it to determine the extent of civil liability for damage resulting from any nuclear incident." Pakistan has an extensive inter-agency Nuclear Emergency Management System (NEMS) under the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which works in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) therefore in an event of nuclear accident, NEMS and NDMA will ensure necessary steps to deal with the emergency.

It needs to be understood that population of any country that runs and operates NPPs, is at risk either from exposure to radiation leakage; reactor accident or nuclear emergency due to natural disasters therefore there is simply no room for complacency. Pakistan is not an exception in this case and the managers of nuclear power in Pakistan are acutely aware of this crucial aspect.

* Third, the overall security situation in Pakistan. Before I get to the terrorist threat to overall security of Pakistan's nuclear complex, it is important to mention the components involved in physical security of a nuclear power plant which houses nuclear reactors. There are three security zones around nuclear power plants:
** Owner Controlled Area: is the land on which the plant is constructed in addition to the surrounding area. It is mostly open-access area for visitors and general public.
** Protected Area: is located inside the Owner Controlled Area and has higher levels of security as compared to the open access area. There are two rings of parallel fences: the barbed wired inner fence is the first physical barrier against unauthorized access and the outer fence serves as the second physical barrier reducing false alarms. Only authorized personnel are allowed to enter the protected area after verification (only those with SPD security clearance in Pakistan's case from this point onwards).
** Vital Area: is located inside the Protected Area and houses radioactive materials.

Pakistan follows strict security protocols for both the physical security of its nuclear complex and the security of the personnel associated with the nuclear program. Therefore once again, the threat of terrorist attacks on Pakistan's civilian nuclear facilities is no lesser or greater than that to all other countries running NPPs. Having said that let me state that the 'large presence' of terrorist outfits in Pakistan is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition to imply that Pakistani nuclear facilities are more prone to sabotage or terrorist attacks. As for the external threat, for whatever it is worth, both India (20 operational nuclear power reactors) and Pakistan (3 operational nuclear power reactors) signed an agreement of non-attack on each other's nuclear facilities on 31 December 1988, which entered into force on January 1, 1991. Since January 1992, both countries have been regularly exchanging lists of their civilian nuclear facilities.

It is highly commendable that Pakistan has decided to continue with the development of civilian nuclear capability despite being so heavily embargoed. For the skeptics and nuclear power atheists, I would recommend a reading of Charles Parrow's Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies where he argues that "the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety–building-in more warnings and safeguards–fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable." A buffet for thought.

Pakistan and The Fruits of Organized Hypocrisy

In the first part of this essay, I had commented on the organized hypocrisy of the global nuclear order, which is a system of inconsistent rules, and norms established by a selected few powerful countries to serve their national interests. What has Pakistan got to lose or gain from participating in this mix of organized hypocrisy?

The most profound instrument of organized hypocrisy is the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of 45 supplier countries engaging in nuclear trade with selective governments, mainly NPT signatories. Ever since the U.S. pressurized NSG in 2005 to create an exception for India, a non-NPT state, allowing U.S. to sign nuclear agreement with India, it has lost its credibility (both the NSG and the U.S.) to voice concerns about similar agreements between interested parties. Pakistan and China are two such countries that should benefit from an altered post-Indo-U.S. world. Sino-Pak civilian nuclear cooperation dates back to late 1980s and the first contract was signed in 1991 with CNNC for building Chashma-I (CHASNUPP-I) under IAEA safeguards. It is interesting to note that at that time too, the objections raised against civilian-nuclear cooperation with China were almost identical to those being raised today for K-II & K-III: limited Chinese experience in reactor technology; location of CHASNUPP-I and safety of the reactor design but it looks like CHASNUPP-I (300MW) has survived rather successfully against all frightening projections since 2000. China joined NSG in 2004 and maintains that the current civilian nuclear cooperation agreements were part of their commitment to Pakistan before it became a signatory to the NSG and thus are protected under the grandfather clause. Hallelujah! It is about time that we let China 'grandfather' whatever it has to as long as Pakistan is benefitting.

Pakistan's economy has been severely impacted due to energy shortages. Chinese investment in form of loans and energy projects provides Pakistan the confidence to deal with its energy crisis without worrying about its irregular aid relationship with the U.S. Moreover, Chinese investment in Pakistan's nuclear energy sector is a direct result of

(a) its confidence in the capacity and capability of Pakistan's nuclear establishment to deal with issues of safety, security and management of its nuclear infrastructure

(b) the realization of Pakistan's capacity and capability to improve and stabilize the power distribution grid and most importantly

(c) the awareness that a stable, dynamic Pakistan can provide long term return for its investments by providing China the corridor to realize its strategic ambitions in the region.

Bring it on!
 
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Neo

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Thank you nrupatunga for updating this informative thread.

Mods, can you please make it sticky?
Thanks
 

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