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India's Stored Nuclear Warheads More Than Pak, Some Countries Have Nukes On 'High Op Alert': Report

Swedish think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report said some 2,100 of the deployed warheads were kept in a state of high operational alert on ballistic missiles, and nearly all of them belonged to Russia or the US, adding that for the first time, China is believed to have some warheads on high operational alert.

AP/Representative
The nuclear power plant of Jaslovske Bohunice is pictured, in Bohunice, western Slovakia, March 22, 2000. Photo: AP/Representative
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A Swedish think-tank report said that India has more nuclear warheads than Pakistan, adding that both the countries continued to develop new types of nuclear delivery systems in 2023.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said, in a report, said all nuclear-armed nations continued to modernise their nuclear arsenals and several of them deployed new nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023.

SIPRI Report On Nuclear Arsenals | Key Points

  • Several Countries Deployed Nuclear-Capable Weapon Systems In 2023: Nine nuclear-armed nations including the US, Russia, France, China, India and Pakistan, continued to modernise their nuclear arsenals and several of them deployed new nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023, a report by Swedish think-tank SIPRI said on Monday, adding that several of these countries deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023.

  • Nuclear Warheads On 'High Operational Alert': SIPRI said China's nuclear arsenal increased from 410 warheads in January 2023 to 500 in January 2024, and it is expected to keep growing. The report said some 2,100 of the deployed warheads were kept in a state of high operational alert on ballistic missiles, and nearly all of them belonged to Russia or the US. However, for the first time China is believed to have some warheads on high operational alert, it said.

"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.

  • India's Nuclear Warheads More Than Pak: The report put India's 'stored' nuclear warheads at 172 in January this year while the number for Pakistan was 170. India slightly expanded its nuclear arsenal in 2023, it said, adding that both India and Pakistan continued to develop new types of nuclear delivery systems in 2023. 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 added.

  • Total Global Inventory: Of the total global inventory of an estimated 12,121 warheads in January 2024, about 9,585 were in military stockpiles for potential use, the report said. 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, it said.

  • 90% Of All Nuclear Weapons With Russia, US: The SIPRI report said Russia and the US together possess almost 90 per cent of all nuclear weapons. The sizes of their respective military stockpiles seem to have remained relatively stable in 2023, although Russia is estimated to have deployed around 36 more warheads with operational forces than in January 2023, it said.

  • 'Possibility For Nuclear-Armed Countries To Threaten...': According to the report, India, Pakistan and North Korea are all pursuing the capability to deploy multiple warheads on ballistic missiles, something Russia, France, the UK, the US and more recently China already have. This would 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, it said.

  • China's Nuclear Stockpile Much Smaller Than Russia, US: The report said China's stockpile of nuclear warheads is still expected to remain much smaller than the stockpiles of either of 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). But in nearly all of the nuclear-armed states there are either plans or a significant push to increase nuclear forces, Kristensen said.

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