India expanding its nuclear arsenal with eye on China: SIPRI | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India expanding its nuclear arsenal with eye on China: SIPRI

By, New Delhi
Jun 18, 2024 04:52 AM IST

SIPRI estimates India has 172 warheads, while China has 500 and Pakistan has 170. Russia and the US hold almost 90% of all nuclear weapons.

India expanded its nuclear arsenal slightly in 2023 and appeared to be placing growing emphasis on longer-range weapons capable of striking targets across China, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in a new yearbook released on Monday.

China's DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles are seen during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 2019. The SIPRI report pegs the number of nuclear warheads in the Chinese arsenal at 500 as of January 2024 (compared to 410 in January 2023), while India is estimated to have 172 (up from 164 last year). (AFP)
China's DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles are seen during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 2019. The SIPRI report pegs the number of nuclear warheads in the Chinese arsenal at 500 as of January 2024 (compared to 410 in January 2023), while India is estimated to have 172 (up from 164 last year). (AFP)

“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 think tank’s yearbook said.

It pegs the number of nuclear warheads in the Chinese arsenal at 500 as of January 2024 (compared to 410 in January 2023), while India is estimated to have 172 (up from 164 last year). At 170, Pakistan’s count remained the same for that period.

The SIPRI yearbook comes at a time when the dragging military standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh has entered its fifth year, with no indication of an immediate resolution to the outstanding problems along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) even as India is hoping that ongoing negotiations with the neighbour will help restore the status quo ante of April 2020.

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

For the first time, China may also now be deploying a small number of warheads on missiles during peacetime, SIPRI said. “Depending on how it decides to structure its forces, China could potentially have at least as many intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as either Russia or the USA by the turn of the decade, although its stockpile of nuclear warheads is still expected to remain much smaller than the stockpiles of either of those two countries.”

Russia (4,380) and the US (3,708) together possess almost 90% of all nuclear weapons, according to the new yearbook.

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