Indian subcontinent faces N-bomb danger

Indian subcontinent faces N-bomb danger

Explosive situation

India is continuing to expand its nuke arsenal, says a new report.

India is one of the three countries – the other two being Pakistan and China – that continues to expand its nuclear arsenal, making the sub-continent one of the most volatile places in the world, says a new report.

“India currently holds 130-140 nuclear weapons but is expanding its military fissile material production capabilities on a scale that may lead to significant increases in the size of their nuclear weapon inventories over the next decade,” says Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its latest report.

India, however, isn’t alone on the nuke path. Pakistan with 140-150 nuclear warheads and China, estimated to have around 290 nuclear warheads, are gradually increasing the size and diversifying the composition of their nuclear arsenal, according to the report from SIPRI that specialises on arms trade and disarmament around the world.

At the start of 2019, nine countries — the USA, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possessed an estimated 13,865 nuclear weapons, of which 3,750 were deployed with operational forces. Nearly 2,000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert.

Most of them – almost 90% of such weapons – are with the USA and Russia even though both of them committed to reduce their nuclear arsenal. The deployed weapons belong to four countries – the USA, Russia, the UK and France.

The nuclear arsenals of the rest are considerably smaller, but all of them are either developing or deploying new weapon systems or have announced intention to do so.

India conducted two nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998, but announced having a nuclear triad – second strike capability from air, land and sea in the wake of a nuclear attack – only in 2018, when indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant completed its first deterrent patrol, presumably carrying nuclear tipped ballistic missiles.

For a counter-strike from land, India has Agni and Prithvi missiles whereas Mirage-2000 and Jaguars can drop the N-bombs from the sky.

The governments of India and Pakistan don’t disclose information on their N-arsenal but release some information on the missile tests. Countries like the US and the UK, on the other hand, share some information on their nuclear stockpile, says the SIPRI report.

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