India appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal, claims SIPRI
New Delhi: India had 160 nuclear warheads as on January 2022 and it appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal, Stockholm-based defence think tank SIPRI claimed on Monday.
Similarly, Pakistan also appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a statement.
“China is in the middle of a substantial expansion of its nuclear weapon arsenal, which satellite images indicate includes the construction of over 300 new missile silos,” SIPRI’s statement noted.
China had 350 nuclear warheads in January 2021 as well as January 2022, it stated.
“Even though SIPRI’s estimate of China’s total inventory is the same as for January 2021, the number of stockpiled warheads potentially available for use has changed because new launchers became operational during 2021,” it noted.
While India’s nuclear stockpile increased from 156 in January 2021 to 160 in January 2022, Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile has remained at 165 in January 2021 and January 2022, it claimed.
“India and Pakistan appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals, and both countries introduced and continued to develop new types of nuclear delivery system in 2021,” it claimed.
India does not share official data on its nuclear arsenal.
“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 said.
There are total nine countries that have nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — it said.
The armed forces of India and China have been engaged in a tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5, 2020, when there was a violent clash between the two sides in the Pangong lake area.
India and China have held 15 rounds of military talks so far to resolve the eastern Ladakh standoff.
As a result of the talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
However, each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector.