New Delhi: China and Pakistan possess more nuclear warheads than India, according to a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
While Pakistan is slightly ahead of India in number of nuclear warheads, China has double the number of nuclear warheads than India. India and China increased their nuclear weapons stockpile in last one year.
India has 150 nuclear warheads from 130-140 in 2019. China too increased its nuclear arsenal to 320 warheads in 2020 from 290 in 2019. Pakistan has 160 nuclear warheads.
However, experts said that India has enough nuclear warheads needed for deterrence purpose.
The report comes at a time when India and China have been involved in over a month long military stand-off at the Ladakh sector. Even the line of control (LoC) with Pakistan is seeing continuous firing and shelling between the two sides.
SIPRI said that China is in the middle of a significant modernization of its nuclear arsenal. China 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, it said.
Russia and the USA together possess over 90 per cent of global nuclear weapons. Russia has 6,375 nuclear warheads and US has around 5,800. As far as other nuclear armed countries are concerned, UK has 215 nuclear warheads, France 290, Israel 90 and North Korea 30-40 nuclear warheads.
Russia and the USA have extensive and expensive programmes under way to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities, said SIPRI .
The nine nuclear-armed states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—together possessed an estimated 13,400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020. This marked a decrease from the 13,865 nuclear weapons that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2019.
The decrease in the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world in 2019 was largely due to the dismantlement of retired nuclear weapons by Russia and the USA.
Around 3,720 of the nuclear weapons are currently deployed with operational forces and nearly 1800 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert. However, SIPRI said that there is low levels of transparency in reporting on nuclear weapon capabilities by the nuclear armed states.