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India Has More Nuclear Weapons Than Pakistan: Report

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New Delhi: India has more nuclear weapons than Pakistan as the US, Russia, France, China, India and Pakistan continue to increase their nuclear stockpile, a Swedish think tank revealed on Monday.

In its report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said China’s nuclear arsenal increased from 410 warheads in January 2023 to 500 in January 2024 and is expected to keep on growing.

The report stated that around 2100 of the deployed warheads were kept in a state of high operational alert on ballistic missiles and most of them belonged to Russia and the US. The report also said that for the first time, even China has some warheads on high operational alert.

The SIPRI also mentioned that nine nuclear-armed states — the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel are continuing to modernise their nuclear arsenals and deploy new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023. Of the total global inventory of an estimated 12,121 warheads in January 2024about 9,585 were in military stockpiles for potential use.

The SIPRI report also mentioned that an estimated 3,904 of those warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft 60 more than in January 2023 and the rest were in central storage. “Around 2,100 of the deployed warheads were kept in a state of high operational alert on ballistic missiles. Nearly all of these warheads belonged to Russia or the US, but for the first time China is believed to have some warheads on high operational alert,” the report said.

As per the Think Tank India, Pakistan and North Korea are all pursuing the capability to deploy multiple warheads on their ballistic missiles, something that Russia, China, the US, France and the UK already have. The think tank further added that this will enable a rapid potential increase in deployed warheads, as well as the possibility for nuclear-armed countries to threaten the destruction of significantly more targets.

The SIPRI, Russia and the US possess almost 90% of all the nuclear weapons. The research stated that while Russia is expected to have deployed about 36 more warheads with operational forces than in January 2023, the quantities of their respective military stockpiles appear to have stayed largely steady in 2023.

The report added that the transparency regarding nuclear forces has declined in both countries in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and debates around nuclear-sharing arrangements have increased in saliency. The report said that India’s stored nuclear warheads stand at 172 as of January this year, while Pakistan’s stored nuclear warheads stood at 170.

“While Pakistan remains the main focus of India’s nuclear deterrent, India appears to be placing growing emphasis on longer-range weapons, including those capable of reaching targets throughout China,” the report said. The report said that China could have at least as many intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as either Russia or the US by the turn of the decade depending on how it decides to structure its forces.

The report also mentioned that China’s stock of nuclear weapons will remain small as compared to Russia and the US. “China is expanding its nuclear arsenal faster than any other country,” said Hans M Kristensen, Associate Senior Fellow with SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme and Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) as per PTI.

As per PTI, Kristensen added, “But in nearly all of the nuclear-armed states there are either plans or a significant push to increase nuclear forces”.

 

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