SOLNA (BM) – Over the past year, the number of nuclear warheads available worldwide has decreased by 600 and at the end of 2018 they were 13,865, reports the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its annual report, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
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. The reductions affected obsolete warheads from the Cold War, but the pace of reductions is slowing down compared to 10 years ago, SIPRI adds.
The US and Russia, as well as other nuclear states, modernize their arsenals. They are either implementing or planning programs for development of new missile and aircraft systems for nuclear weapons carrying, as well as factories for production of nuclear weapons.
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.
The SIPRI report is based on official sources, including the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom, which provide relatively transparent information on their nuclear arsenals. The UK has about 200 nuclear warheads, France – 300, China – 290. Israel’s arsenal has 80-90 nuclear warheads. North Korea probably has between 20 and 30, but information about it is very limited, SIPRI notes.
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Tranclator editor: Monika Evgenieva