ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will tell US President Barack Obama that Islamabad will not accept limits on its use of small tactical nuclear weapons, Pakistani officials said on Wednesday.
Pakistan insists smaller weapons would deter a sudden attack by its bigger neighbor India, which is also a nuclear power. But the United States worries tactical weapons may further destabilize an already volatile region because their smaller size makes them more tempting to use in a conventional war.
Sharif and Obama are due to meet at the White House on Thursday. The Obama administration is preparing to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in an attempt to bolster the two countries' relationship despite Washington's concerns about Pakistan's growing nuclear arsenal, according to a US source familiar with the matter.
The aircraft sales, which the US Congress could block, would be a symbolic step given Pakistan's already large fleet of fighter jets.