New Delhi: China is undertaking a ‘substantial expansion’ of its nuclear weapons arsenal, which satellite images show includes the construction of more than 300 new missile silos, even as Pakistan also continues to be slightly ahead of India in the number of nuclear warheads.
China has an estimated 350 nuclear warheads, with new mobile missile launchers and another submarine becoming operational over the last one year, while Pakistan has 165 and India 160, as per the latest assessment of the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI), which was released on June 13.
India and Pakistan also seem to be increasing the size of their nuclear weapon inventories, the arms watchdog said.
On Pakistan, SIPRI said that the South Asian country also appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal like China. The think tank added that as of January 2022, Pakistan possessed 165 nuclear warheads. The figure in January 2021 was also 165.
Further, the defense think-tank said India too appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal and had 160 N-warheads in January 2022. According to SIPRI, New Delhi has expanded its nuclear stockpile from 156 in January 2021 to 160 in January 2022.
“India and Pakistan appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals, and both countries introduced and continued to develop new types of nuclear delivery systems in 2021,” it claimed.
“The availability of reliable information on the status of the nuclear arsenals and capabilities of the nuclear-armed states varies considerably…India and Pakistan make statements about some of their missile tests but provide no information about the status or size of their arsenals,” the SIPRI’s statement pointed out.
It may be noted here that the Indian government, as a policy, does not disclose official data on its nuclear arsenal.
Across the world, nine countries possess nuclear weapons, including the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea.