India is becoming the third nuclear power in the world, SIPRI said

STOCKHOLM, (BM) – The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently released its 2020 annual yearbook and assessed the current state of armaments, disarmament, and international security, learned

Read more: The Indian Agni-III nuclear missile crashed into the sea in ‘very crucial’ night test

Belgian publication observer Zane Moid writes: SIPRI believes that India has the smallest number of nuclear warheads in South Asia, guarding its long-standing tradition of adding 10 more nuclear weapons to Pakistan’s stockpiles.

Today, India is implementing the world’s fastest growing nuclear weapons program.

“New Delhi is conducting a nuclear triad that includes nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-based ballistic missiles (SLBMs), dual-purpose cruise / ballistic missiles, and a huge naval modernization,” says Moid.

Various Indian experts and politicians claim that India needs more than 300-400 nuclear weapons for its strategic forces

An in-depth analysis showed that India has sufficient resources to build between 356 and 492 nuclear warheads. A study called the Indian Unsecured Nuclear Program, published by the Institute for Strategic Studies of Islamabad (ISSI), showed a recent and detailed assessment of the potential of the Indian Nuclear Weapons Program.

Today, New Delhi has facilities for the production of approximately 80-90 plutonium-based nuclear warheads and 7-8 uranium-based nuclear warheads each year. According to this study, if we take into account all types of weapons and reactor plutonium, as well as stocks of highly enriched uranium, then India can produce from 2,261 to 2,686 units of weapons.

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India is rapidly expanding its nuclear weapons program through many secret projects. For example, New Delhi is known to operate a Dhruva plutonium production reactor and a uranium enrichment plant that are not subject to IAEA authority.

“India is building the largest military complex of nuclear centrifuges and nuclear research laboratories in South Asia. This facility will enable India to produce many large-capacity nuclear weapons and hydrogen bombs,” the Belgian publication notes.

Over the next few years, India will be able to replace China, France and the UK in its ability to produce nuclear weapons, in order to allow it to become the third nuclear power after Russia and the United States.

India has stepped up development and strategic procurement to stockpile weapons material for future use in military modernization programs. The increase in stockpiles of weapons-grade fissile material from New Delhi will have unbearable consequences in terms of strategic stability in South Asia.

Indian Agni-III nuclear missile crashed on December last year recalls that on December 3 last year the Indian nuclear missile Agni-III crashed near the defence base off Odisha coast.

A highly placed source informed ‘The Express’ that the missile tumbled into the sea after first phase separation. “The missile travelled around 115 km into its initial flight trajectory when things went awry. It deviated from the flight path forcing the mission team to terminate it midway,” he said then.

Read more: SIPRI: Nine States Have Nuclear Weapons

The test was considered ‘very crucial’ as it was to reconfirm the technical parameters set for the user and its readiness to handle the weapon during night hours.

The flight trajectory of the missile was set for nearly 2,800 km. While the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army conducted the trial, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) provided all logistic support. The trial was conducted as part of user training exercise.

Though the exact technological fault behind the ‘failure’ is yet to be ascertained, preliminary investigations attributed it to manufacturing defects. “Staring from the launch to the first phase separation, everything was smooth in accordance with the mission plan. But suddenly it started behaving abnormally. It could be possibly due to metallurgical defects,” claimed the source.

The missile used in the test was picked up randomly from the production lot. The missile equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, advanced on board computer has the latest features to correct and guide in-flight disturbances. However, it was not the first failure of the Agni series missile.

Two other variants of the missile, Agni-I and Agni-II, have failed during both development and user trials in the past. Agni-II had failed to deliver desired result during its first night trial in 2009.

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According to SIPRI, nine countries have nuclear weapons

Over the past year [2019 – ed.], the number of nuclear warheads available worldwide has decreased by 600 and at the end of 2018 they were 13,865, reports on June the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its annual report.

The Institute has taken into account the fit warheads kept in warehouses or ready for dismantling. “What we are reporting is that the overall number of nuclear weapons is in decline but all of the nuclear weapon-possessing states are either modernizing or have announced plans to modernize,” SIPRI researcher Shannon Kile told DPA.

Nine states have nuclear weapons: Great Britain, Israel, India, China, Pakistan, Russia, North Korea, the United States and France.

“It is clear that nuclear weapons remain a central element in their military strategies and national security doctrines. Nuclear weapons have not lost their value for national security,” Kile adds.

About 2000 nuclear warheads are maintained at a high state of readiness, SIPRI points out. The United States and Russia – the largest nuclear forces – own over 90 percent of the nuclear arsenals in the world. At the beginning of the year, the United States had 6,185 nuclear warheads, and Russia 6500. Both countries have reduced their stocks in line with the bilateral Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 2010, known as New START.

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The reductions affected obsolete warheads from the Cold War, but the pace of reductions is slowing down compared to 10 years ago, SIPRI adds.

India and Pakistan continue to increase their nuclear arsenals and can significantly expand them in the next 10-15 years. India has between 130 and 140 nuclear warheads, and Pakistan – between 150 and 160, which is a slight increase compared to 2018.


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