New Delhi: Pakistan and India have steadily increased their nuclear arsenal from 60-80 and 70-90 warheads in 2010, to 110-120 and 90-110 respectively by 2014, a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.
China has more than double that number with 250 warheads. The US and Russia, of course, are in a different league altogether with 7,000-8,000 warheads each, together possessing 93% of all nuclear weapons.
The data compiled by the SIPRI shows that at the start of 2014, the nine nuclear armed states, namely United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea together possessed approximately 16 300, nuclear warheads, while the number of active/deployed nuclear weapons was around 4000.
Russia, US still lead world nuclear arsenals
The report further states that despite the reduction in the number of nuclear weapons the nuclear armed states are apparently not willing to completely dismantle their nuclear arsenals, instead have been modernising their delivery systems.
It further claims that all five legally recognised nuclear weapon states—China, France, Russia, UK and USA—are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programmes to do so.
But rather than its actual stockpile of warheads as compared to Pakistan and China, the Indian defence establishment remains more worried about its delivery systems.
The Indian armed forces still do not have SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) and ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles) in their arsenal, both of which are needed for credible deterrence against its two neighbours.
India may have conducted two successful tests of its first ICBM, the over 5,000-km Agni-V, over the last couple of years but it will take at least three years for the missile to become fully-operational. Similarly, the 750-km K-15 SLBM is yet to be tested from India's first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant, which is slated to head for extensive "sea trials" only later this year.
The report further claims that there is an emerging consensus in the expert community that North Korea has produced a small number of nuclear weapons, as distinct from rudimentary nuclear explosive devices.
A longer range SLBM, the over 2,000-km K-4, was also tested for the first-time from a submersible pontoon in March.
Apart from the shorter-range Prithvi missiles, India currently has the Agni-I (700-km), Agni-II (2,000-km) and Agni-III (3,000-km) missiles under its Strategic Forces Command.