Days after Pakistan announced in the United Nations General Assembly that it has developed short-range nuclear weapons, reports today said it has a stock of 140 such weapons and is now building underground tunnels not far from the Indian border to store them.
The site is reportedly in Mianwali, 350 km from Amritsar and 750 km from New Delhi, the reports said.
According to WION, the facility comprises three interconnected tunnels, each 10 metres high and 10 metres wide. The tunnels are linked by wide roads, broad at the corners to facilitate the movement of transporter erector launchers from where missiles are filed.
All the tunnels have separate entry and exit points. Each tunnel can store anything between 12 and 24 nuclear weapons. The entire area is heavily fenced.
A similar report in The Print cites retired Colonel Vinayak Bhat to say that Pakistan is constructing underground tunnels in Mianwali district.
"The pace of construction indicates that possibly a small group of specialised engineers and construction staff has been working on this project permanently. The slow speed is suggestive of construction under the aegis of Frontier Works Organisation or FWO of the Pakistan Army," said Bhat.
The colonel, who is a military intelligence veteran and an expert in satellite imagery analysis said that India needs to monitor this site frequently.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) had said last month that Pakistan has stored its nuclear arsenal at nine different locations across the country.
Nuclear weapon expert Hans Kristensen had told The Times of India that since Pakistan is building a short-range sub-strategic nuclear arsenal, the warheads are likely to be dispersed in regional storage sites, from where they would be assembled to the launcher bases.
This is not the first time underground tunnels have been commissioned by Pakistan. On 30 September, Indian security forces detected a 14-foot-long tunnel dug from the Pakistan side across the international border in the Jammu district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The tunnel, from which the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel said they have recovered war-like stores, was found a day after the its field commanders and those of Pakistan Rangers held a flag meeting in which it was mutually agreed that peace and tranquillity would be maintained on the international border by both sides.