Stockholm: Pakistan continues to be ahead of India when it comes to possessing nuclear warheads, with China having double the quantity, according to a report by a leading Swedish think-tank. Pakistan is believed to have 140-150 nuclear warheads in 2018, 10 more than 2017. In contrast, India is said to have 130-140 nuclear warheads, according to the annual nuclear forces data by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
It added that nine countries - the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea - had 14,465 nuclear warheads at the beginning of 2018, of which 3,750 were actually deployed. At the start of 2017, the total number of nuclear warheads was 14,935.
"The nuclear arsenals of the other nuclear-armed states are considerably smaller, but all are either developing or deploying new nuclear weapon systems or have announced their intention to do so. India and Pakistan are both expanding their nuclear weapon stockpiles as well as developing new land - sea- and air-based missile delivery systems. China continues to modernise its nuclear weapon delivery systems and is slowly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal," it said.
To quote the organisation - "At the start of 2018 nine states - the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea - possessed approximately 14 465 nuclear weapons. This marked a decrease from the approximately 14935 nuclear weapons that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2017. The decrease in the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world is due mainly to Russia and the USA - which together still account for nearly 92 per cent of all nuclear weapons - further reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START)."
SIPRI further said that France with 300 warheads, China 280, Britain 215, Pakistan 140-150, India 130-140, Israel 80 and North Korea 10-20, were all either deploying or planning to deploy new nuclear weapons system.
(With inputs from PTI and sipri.org)