A new report on the status of the worlds nuclear weapons suggests that China has expanded its arsenal for the first time in years by adding 10 nuclear warheads in the past year,the only country to do so among the so called five legally recognised nuclear weapon states.
While both India and Pakistan are recorded as having added new warheads in the past year,China has been named as adding at least 10 nuclear weapons and conducting a series of tests to consolidate its arsenal. According to the report,Beijing now has at least 250 nuclear warheads that can be deployed.
Of the five legally recognised nuclear weapon states,only China appears to be expanding the size of its nuclear arsenal. In 2012,China conducted a comprehensive series of missile trials consolidating its road-mobile,land-based and submarine-based nuclear deterrent, the latest SIPRI yearbook that was released by the Stockholm-based research institute on Monday says.
However,the total number of operational warheads in the world have gone down by nearly 2,000 to reach the figure of 17,265,mainly due to disarmament treaties between the US and Russia and unilateral force reductions,the report says. While there are no indications in the report about an unexpected rise in Chinas arsenal,the last time the SIPRI year book recorded an increase in Beijings nuclear weapons was in 2009.
The increase in Chinas arsenal however is matched by a similar upscaling of weapons by both India and Pakistan. The report notes that while India has 90-110 warheads,Pakistan possesses 100-120 nuclear weapons. This is an addition of 10 warheads each by the two nations over last year. As per most world estimates,Pakistan is in possession of a slightly more number of nuclear warheads than India.
The report also notes that both nations are rapidly modernising their strategic forces. India and Pakistan are increasing the size and sophistication of their nuclear arsenals. Both countries are developing and deploying new types of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missile and both are increasing their military fissile material production capabilities, it says.