Empire Diaries Desk
June 22, 2020, New Delhi: As tensions flare between Asian military giants India and China over the Galwan Valley massacre in Ladakh, figures released by arms watchdog SIPRI show that the nuclear arsenal possessed by these two nations throws up a stark and uneasy contrast.
Figures as of January this year on country-wise possession of nuclear weapons show that China alone has more nukes than its neighbours India and Pakistan put together.
In fact, while Beijing has more than twice as many nuclear weapons as New Delhi, India is marginally yet significantly lagging behind bitter diplomatic and military rival Pakistan as well.
India has a total of 150 nuclear weapons, according to the latest data made available by Europe-based SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), which is the world’s leading watchdog for arms control and country-wise arms possession.
In contrast, the SIPRI data shows that China possesses a whopping 320 nuclear weapons. Pakistan, meanwhile, has 160 nukes, staying marginally ahead of India.
China’s relatively high number of nuclear weapons, coupled with the fact that Pakistan can be seen as an ally when it comes to a geopolitical stance against India, New Delhi’s N-arsenal does appear short.
A SIPRI report published on June 15, 2020 says that there’s still a good sign despite the fact that China, India and Pakistan have expanded their nuclear weapons pool. “The nine nuclear-armed states – US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the North Korea – together possessed an estimated 13,400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020. This marked a decrease from the 13,865 nuclear weapons that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2019,” according to the SIPRI report on its website. “Around 3,720 of the nuclear weapons are currently deployed with operational forces and nearly 1,800 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert.”
The Stockholm-based monitoring body pointed that the reduction in the total number of nuclear weapons globally was caused by the dismantling of old N-weapons by Washington and Moscow. The report also reveals that the US and Russia together own more than 90% of all the nuclear weapons in the world.
Last month, during the height of an ongoing US-China cold war, China-based Global Times had reported that Chinese experts urged Beijing to drastically increase its pool of nuclear weapons from the existing 320 to 1,000.
“Chinese military experts urged the country to expand its nuclear arsenal to deter the US from its ambition to contain China through military means and dispel thoughts of irrational military action by US warmongers,” the Global Times report noted, adding, “China needs to expand the number of its nuclear warheads to 1,000 in a relatively short time and have at least 100 DF-41 strategic missiles to curb US strategic ambitions and impulses towards China.”
Post Galwan Valley carnage, India will naturally keep a hawk eye on China’s upcoming plans and programmes on the nuclear front, and it certainly will seek to strategise against a fast-rising Beijing before it’s too late to contain it.
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