Currently Pakistan is undergoing a deep economic crisis. Is there any attempt by the international community to encourage Pakistan to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic aid? Would asking to denuclearize be an active option/bargain in talks with Pakistani government for granting financial help.

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    I can only think of one country that's actually been denuclearised like that, and that's South Africa. Iran and North Korea have been under economic pressure to denuclearise for decades, but the extent to which they are actually doing so is debatable.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 15:29
  • add ex soviet states like Ukraine to list. Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 15:35
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    Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 17:14
  • and this would be accompanied by a matching de-nuclearization of India, of course? @F1Krazy not sure South Africa is that close a match. IIRC its nuclear program was very low key, perhaps assisted by Israel, and involved a brief ambiguous test flash signature observed by sats. When they announced their de-nuking it came as kind of a surprise that a) they de-nuked and b) they had something to de-nuke. It was more a goodwill gesture IIRC than anything else - international pressure had been on revoking their apartheid, not nukes. Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 18:25
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    @F1Krazy South Africa was never really denuclearised, as it had never any nuclear wepons just the program for developing this weapons, which it stoped.
    – convert
    Commented Jan 29, 2022 at 12:09

2 Answers 2


According to Wikipedia, In 1998, just before when Pakistan was preparing for a nuclear test, the then US president Bill Clinton offered Pakistan a package of financial aid in exchange for not conducting a test. Pakistan rejected that offer. Then, the G8 countries threatened Pakistan with economic sanctions. Again Pakistan was undeterred.

In 1999, the sanctions against Pakistan, for testing nuclear weapons, was lifted by the USA because of the concern that, if Pakistan's regime collapses, Pakistan could sell its nuclear know-how to other Muslim states like Iran, etc.

From 2001, the USA provided Pakistan with monetary aid to establish security and a command and control structure for Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

In 2012, there was a proposal for Pakistan for signing a treaty to stop producing fissile materials. Pakistan blocked that negotiation, too.

So, to answer your question, initially, there was a proposal for stopping Pakistan's nuclear program which Pakistan didn't pay heed to. Then when the USA understood that Pakistan won't give up its nuclear asset, they came to Pakistan's aid to secure their nuclear assets so that it doesn't proliferate. Then, finally, the international community gave up on Pakistan, and they are just minding their own businesses.

In my opinion, a nuclear arsenal cannot be exchanged for any amount of money. Therefore, Pakistan won't give up its nuclear program, won't dismantle its nuclear assets, and they will keep them at any cost.

There are several educative examples to look at:

  1. In 2014 (Crimea) and in 2022 (Donbas), the whole world is observing what is happening to Ukraine when they gave up their nuclear missiles in 1994.
  2. In 2011, the whole world saw what happened to Gaddafi when he rolled back his nuclear program in 2003.
  3. And finally the whole world saw this:

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    Well, that Pakistan wasn't the only country playing this game in 1998. But, you know what, I'll add it to mine instead. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 20:13

Why would there be?

For this to be the case one or several of the following would need to be true.

  • Pakistan would need to be asking for economic help and signal acceptance of significant sovereignty-impacting conditions. Whether or not one approves of Pakistan's nuclear program, giving up weaponry is about as sovereignty-impacting as things get, especially given an active regional rival.

  • One or several actors (the World Bank, IMF, US ... EU... someone) would have to be willing to provide funds and request denuclearization as a condition. While some actors would see a nuclear free Pakistan as a plus, most of them would see the unfairness of not making the same request of India.

  • Alternatively, as F1Krazy said, this would not be so much as relief of existing sanctions targeting the Pakistani nuclear program, as there are with North Korea or Iran. Are there any significant such?

As far as most of the world is concerned - aside from the possibility of radical Islamists getting hold of nuclear weapons - Pakistani nuclearization goes hand in hand with Indian nuclearization. Both happened at roughly the same time, both were highly unwelcome development and both are seen as having significantly increased the risk of accidental nuclear war.

Why should the international community bankroll the de-nuclearization of Pakistan while not asking the same of India?

And also the claim that many countries have been forced to denuclearize in return for economic help is not really supported by the historical record, again as per F1Krazy.

p.s. About who tested what first:

India detonated a first (civilian?) nuke in 1974. Then India carried out a 2nd test on May 11, 1998. Pakistan's 1st nuke was May 28, 1998. So already then there would have been an element of picking sides if only Pakistan was asked to stand down.

On the flip side: Pakistan is also high on the list of vendors suspected of having assisted both North Korea and Iran in their nuclear pursuits.

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    agree with most part apart from the sentence except "Why should the international community bankroll the de-nuclearization of Pakistan while not asking the same of India?" This conclusion is based on the assumption that their exists a parity between "India" and "Pakistan" which is simply not true. Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 19:27
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    It would not be in the interests of regional stability to denuclearize Pakistan while a highly nationalistic Indian government still has nuclear weapons.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 11:28
  • "Why would there be?" To answer the question, because it might be a relatively option to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons a bit. It may be a matter of the price. But on the other hand, nuclear weapons are seen as prizeless, so maybe not. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 20:39
  • @ManishKumarSingh, This conclusion is based on the assumption that there exists a parity between "India" and "Pakistan" which is simply not true. --- This is what the international community doesn't agree on. Coz, as long as Pakistan has its nuclear arsenal intact, they are in parity with India.
    – user366312
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 18:54
  • @Trilarion I am not against denuclearization, but my answer is largely postulated on the premise that it would be fundamentally unfair to ask only Pakistan to disarm. If you choose to interpret it differently, so be it. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 20:18

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