India behind China and Pakistan in nuclear warheads but not concerned | India News
China now has 350 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan has 165, compared with India’s 156, according to the latest assessment by the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI) released on Monday.
The nine nuclear-weapon countries together possess an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons, with Russia (6,255 warheads) and the United States (5,550) leagues ahead of the rest. The others are France (290), United Kingdom (225), Israel (90) and North Korea (40-50). These figures, of course, are not exact because countries in general keep their nuclear weapons programs secret.
Apart from Russia and the United States, the other seven countries are also developing or deploying new weapons systems. “China is in the midst of significant modernization and expansion of its nuclear weapons inventory, and India and Pakistan also appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals,” SIPRI said.
The report comes at a time when India and China remain mired in the military standoff in eastern Ladakh, which erupted in May last year, with no signs of abating so far. But the new border ceasefire with Pakistan has been in place since February.
Indian officials say robust launch systems like land-based ballistic missiles and nuclear-powered submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles (called SSBNs), with “assured second-strike capabilities,” are more strategically important than the actual number of warheads.
“Nuclear weapons are intended for deterrence, not war. Pakistan, of course, has benefited from its nuclear and missile proliferation nexus with China and North Korea. But India is doing well with the development and modernization of its indigenous credible minimal deterrent, ”said one official.
The Tri-Service Strategic Forces Command, for example, is now introducing the Agni-V ICBM with a range of more than 5,000 km, which carries all of Asia and China, as well as parts of Europe and Africa, within its range. attack wrap, after a shorter attack. range missiles.
Similarly, the new Rafale aircraft have boosted the existing “air vector” for dropping nuclear gravity bombs after some Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s, and Jaguars were previously modified for that role.
But the third leg of the “nuclear triad” is still far from credible. India currently has only one SSBN at INS Arihant, with 750 km range K-15 nuclear missiles. Countries like the US, Russia and China have SSBNs with missiles with a range of more than 5,000 km.
India has three more SSBNs in development, and the INS Arighat is scheduled to enter service this year after some delay. The development tests of the K-4 missiles, with an attack range of 3500 km, in turn, have been completed, but the induction is still some distance away, as previously reported by TOI.
Pakistan does not yet have sea-based nuclear weapons, although it has tested the 450 km-range Babur-3 cruise missiles for deployment in conventional diesel-electric submarines. China, of course, is far ahead with its Type-094 or Jin-class submarines armed with the 7,400 km JL-2 missiles.