The NTI (Nuclear Threat Initiative) Nuclear Security Index 2020 ranked Pakistan as the ‘most improved country’ with weapons-usable nuclear materials on Wednesday.
According to the report, Pakistan improved its score by seven points with its Security and Control Measures score increasing by 25 points due to actions to strengthen its regulations. The country’s score improvement for regulatory measures was the second-largest improvement for regulations in the Index since 2012. This improvement comes at the back of Pakistan improving by +8 in 2014, +2 in 2016, and +6 in 2018.
“Its score in 2014 improved owing to new regulations for on-site physical protection. In 2016, it passed new cybersecurity regulations. In 2018, it improved its insider threat protection. Its newest regulations mark a much larger shift. Compared with other countries’ score improvements in the Security and Control Measures category, Pakistan’s increase of +25 is the second-largest improvement of any country since the Index first launched in 2012,” the report noted.
Pakistan scores high (67-100) in Domestic Commitments and Capacity, medium (34-66) in both Security and Control Measures and Global Norms, and low (0-33) in Quantities and Sites, owing to its continued increases in quantities of weapons-usable nuclear materials, and low in Risk Environment.
The 2020 Index also noted two new subscriptions to nuclear security INFCIRCs that led to the countries increasing their score this year.
Pakistan subscribed to INFCIRC/899 establishing principles for the Nuclear Security Contact Group. According to the report, “the group was founded by a group of countries that participated in the summits to facilitate cooperation and sustained engagement on nuclear security after the conclusion of the summits in 2016.”
The other country was subscribing to INFCIRC/869 was Switzerland.
Speaking about countries, the report ranked Australia first for the fifth time among 22 countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials. Australia also ranks first in the sabotage ranking for the third time. “Despite its repeated position at the top of the ranking, Australia continues to better its score, improving by +1 in both rankings,” the report said.
Canada and Switzerland tie for second with Germany ranking fourth and the Netherlands and Norway tying for fifth.
Among countries with nuclear facilities in the sabotage ranking, Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom rank second, third, and fourth, respectively with Germany and Hungary tying for fifth.
In the theft ranking New Zealand and Sweden tie for first for countries without weapon-usable nuclear materials, followed by Finland (third), Denmark and South Korea (tied for fourth), and Hungary and Spain (tied for sixth).
The Index in its overall findings said that “progress has slowed significantly, countries must strengthen and sustain political attention on nuclear security to drive progress on adopting nuclear security regulations and on building a more effective global nuclear security architecture.”
“One way to do this is to send high-level delegations to upcoming conferences and meetings to make commitments and to report on progress,” it added.