The stark warning from the head of the world’s most powerful military alliance comes in the wake of fresh H-bomb tests by North Korea and boasts by Islamic State that they are seeking to acquire a nuclear device.
The military alliance’s latest review of security threats, released today, highlights the “proliferation of ballistic missiles” as a “threat to Allied populations, territory and forces”.
General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, author of the report, said: “Over 30 countries around the world have, or are acquiring, ballistic missile technology that could eventually be used to carry not just conventional warheads, but also weapons of mass destruction.”
While he stopped short of naming individual nations – or non-state terror groups – developing the technology, defence experts believe China, Iran and Russia are leading the way.
Prompted by fears of a proliferation of ballsitc weapons, Nato agreed to extend its own missile defence system in 2010.
Since then, four US Navy ships have been deployed in Europe and Patriot surface-to-air missiles have been stationed along the frontier with Russia.
Both Poland and Romania will welcome US-made missile interceptors in the coming years – largerly in response to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.
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