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China, Pakistan, India increase nuclear arsenal: Report

China has 320 nuclear warheads this year as against 290 in 2019 and Pakistan has 160 which were between 150 to 160 in the year 2019.

Published: 15th June 2020 10:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2020 10:51 PM   |  A+A-

The nuclear-capable 'Ghaznavi' missile of Pakistan. (Photo | Twitter @WarsontheBrink)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Asian nuclear countries are reported to have increased their nuclear weapons stockpile in the year 2020. Also, while an overall decrease in the count of nuclear arsenal was observed but nuclear powers have begun to modernize their nuclear programme right from production to their means of delivery as per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) finding published in its yearbook 2020.

China is the first time moving towards nuclear triad capability. The SIPRI report mentions, “China is in the middle of a significant modernisation of its nuclear arsenal. It is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land- and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft.”

“India and Pakistan are slowly increasing the size and diversity of their nuclear forces. North Korea continues to prioritize its military nuclear programme as a central element of its national security strategy” adds the report.

China has 320 nuclear warheads this year as against 290 in 2019 and Pakistan has 160 which were between 150 to 160 in the year 2019. India has the least among the three with 150 counts of warheads and had 130 to 140 in the year 2019.

A key finding of the report is that despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2019.  

The nine nuclear-armed states include the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) which together possessed an estimated 13,400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020. This was lesser than the 13 865 nuclear weapons that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2019. The USA and Russia possess 90 per cent of the nukes between the two.

The reductions happened due to dismantling of retired weapons by the USA and Russia and this was as per the requirement of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) were completed in 2018, and in 2019 the forces of both countries remained below the limits specified by the treaty. The New START will lapse in February 2021 unless both countries decide to extend it.

USA has 5800 warheads as against 6185 in 2019 and Russia possess 6375 warheads which was 6500 in 2019.

But, the findings of the report are that nuclear nations are either working or have expressed intention to either develop or deploy the next generation of weapon systems.

Russia and the USA having extensive and expensive programmes underway to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.

“Both countries have also given new or expanded roles to nuclear weapons in their military plans and doctrines, which marks a significant reversal of the post-cold war trend towards the gradual marginalization of nuclear weapons.” mentions the report.

Asian Nuclear nations are not behind. “China is in the middle of a significant modernization of its nuclear arsenal. It is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land- and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft. India and Pakistan are slowly increasing the size and diversity of their nuclear forces, while North Korea continues to prioritize its military nuclear programme as a central element of its national security strategy.”

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