India, Pakistan nuclear arsenal – whose is bigger ?

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ejazr, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://blogs.reuters.com/afghanistan/2011/01/02/india-pakistan-nuclear-arsenal-whose-is-bigger/

    India and Pakistan exchanged a list of each other’s nuclear installations on Saturday like they have done at the start of each year under a 1988 pact in which the two sides agreed not to attack these facilities. That is the main confidence building measure in the area of nuclear security between the two countries, even though their nuclear weapons programmes have expanded significantly since then. Indeed for some years now there is a growing body of international opinion that holds that Pakistan has stepped up production of fissile material, and may just possibly hold more nuclear weapons than its much larger rival, India.

    Which is remarkable given that the Indian nuclear programme is driven by the need for deterrence against much bigger armed-China, the third element in the South Asian nuclear tangle. The Indians who conducted a nuclear test as early as 1974, thus,may be behind not just the Chinese, but also Pakistan in terms of the number of warheads, fissile material and delivery systems.

    The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in a global report in August 2010 estimated that India had assembled 60 to 80 warheads and produced enough fissile material for 60-105 nuclear warheads. Pakistan is estimated to have assembled 70–90 warheads and produced missile material for as many as 90 warheads. China’s arsenal was estimated at 240 nuclear warheads. Here’s a PDF of the report prepared by Robert S.Norris and Hans M.Kristensen.

    The majority of India’s and Pakistan’s warheads are not yet operationally deployed, the researchers said. Both countries are believed to be increasing their stockpiles although the competition is nowhere near the intensity of the race between the United States and Russia during the Cold War. Indeed even today the combined total of Indian and Pakistan warheads will only be slightly more than the number carried by a single U.S. Trident submarine.

    Nevertheless the race to expand nuclear weapons programme as also missile development adds another layer of instability in South Asia, with Afghanistan and Pakistan at the centre of the turmoil and home to al Qaedaand allied militant groups. The question is why now ? Why is Pakistan seeking to expand its arsenal ? Is this a numbers game ? Are the rivals getting sucked into a nuclear arms race without intending to ?

    Mark Hibbs, a nuclear affairs expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told me in a conversation last month there was a “budding arms race” on between India and Pakistan, although nowhere near the scale of the Cold War duel between the United States and the Soviet Union.

    And it’s been some years in the making with the rest of world unable or perhaps unwilling to stop it. As early as 2008, the United States had evidence of an increase in Pakistani nuclear activity, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and published by The Guardian. Peter Lavoy, an intelligence officer briefing NATO permanent representatives on the The National Intelligence Estimate for Afghanistan and Pakistan in December 2008 said ” despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan was producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world.”

    Another secret cable dated November 2009 and written by then U.S. ambassador to Islamabad Anne W. Patterson provides a glimpse of Pakistani thinking on nuclear security and why it was stonewalling the launch of negotiations for a fissile material cutoff treaty. First off, the India-United States civilian nuclear accord which the two countries signed off in 2008 dramatically changed the strategic landscape in South Asia. Pakistani officials saw the pact as unshackling India’s nuclear weapons programme by giving New Delhi access to fuel imports to run its civilian nuclear energy plants while saving its domestic uranium reserves for its weapons programme. Thus any numerical advantage held by Pakistan over India in terms of nuclear warheads didn’t matter in the long run because it could continue to produce fissile material at home long after Pakistan had exhausted its reserves.

    Secondly, an increase in high-technology defense and space trade between India and the United States, Russia, and others had improved the quality of India’s nuclear systems, according to Pakistani thinking. While Pakistan faced trade barriers and was denied access to foreign technology on account of proliferation concerns, India was no longer held back by these constraints and was using market access to improve its nuclear delivery vehicles.

    Third, India’s growing conventional military superiority backed by one of the world’s fastest growing economies had forced Pakistan to turn to nuclear weapons to blunt the edge. While India was buying planes, tanks and heavy artillery, Pakistan was struggling to maintain its military at current levels. On top of that, the Indian military’s Cold Start doctrine of rapid mobilisation and offensive action inside Pakistan had compelled Islamabad to work harder on its nuclear deterrent with many experts suggesting it transform its nuclear arsenal into small, tactical weapons to be used in the battlefield against superior Indian conventional forces. It’s another matter that it remained open to question whether India really had the capability and the will to implement the Cold Start doctrine as I wrote in this analysis based on another set of U.S. cables.

    Finally, the Indians were eyeing missile defence even though this could be years away, Pakistani officials argued. Which would make it imperative for Pakistan to improve its nuclear deterrent, both in quality and quantity.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
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  3. kickok1975

    kickok1975 Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    It’s not a competition on who has most toys. As we know all these deadly toys are expensive and need lots of money to maintain. It’s foolish to keep making it just for the sake of showcase. How many cities we need destroy and how many nuclear bombs the world could endure? The nuclear deterrence is based on mutual destroy. As long as one’s bombs can survive first wave of enemy attack, the deterrence is exist.

    So better spend money to create more tools to carry, hide nuclear bomb than keep increasing stockpile.
     
  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^^Well the best case scenario would have been if there is total nuclear disarmament by all powers. However, since that is not likely to happen any time soon we have to deal with it.

    Leaving Russia and US aside both of whom have 2000+ nuke weapons. India China and Pakistan will have to manage their stockpiles. I would prefer if India and China have some sort of START treaty that would limit nuke weapons for both and also have a verifiable mechanism around this like the US and Russia do.
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Ejaz we cannot have a start with china as it will use pak as its proxy. Chinese nukes are of no concern to india. They are not ruled by mad men. Pak is.
     
  6. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Pakistani nukes are more as they have more insecurity.
     
  7. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Though there are reports that Pakistan has more nukes, it does not really matter. Whether Russia has thousand more nukes than US is not a matter of concern.

    What matters is who has the guts to use only one ?
     
  8. jayz india

    jayz india Regular Member

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    i cannot beleive they have more nukes than india,we started our nuclear program back in 1974 and by now we should have a lot of fissile material (pending assembly)not to forget that the program itself runs in high secrecy so apart from few in strategic command and the PM ,PRESIDENT no one really knows the true number of the warheads
     
  9. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    well even if they have more nuclear warheads its not of much worry to civilians....it will be use to target are mobile strike group....
    pakistan's nuclear capabilities is no where near to us.....their nukes are far less lethal compared to us so.....
    secondly the info is carried by bunch of scientist not CIA even are top commanders dont know about are nuclear weapons CIA is far off then....
     
  10. DeletedUser

    DeletedUser Regular Member

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    "Finally, the Indians were eyeing missile defence even though this could be years away, Pakistani officials argued. Which would make it imperative for Pakistan to improve its nuclear deterrent, both in quality and quantity."

    I think we should focus on improving our anti-ballistic missile capabilities. Keep improving our ABM technologies and Pakistan would be forced to resort to producing more nuclear weapons. In essence drag them into a nuclear arms race. Their already fragile economy would collapse under the pressure. Pakistan would be isolated in such an arms race as they cannot get military aid from either the US or China for nuclear purposes. In my humble opinion this would be the best option for India and it looks like this plan is already underway.

    The only thing Pakistan could do is start their own ABM programme but this would take a lot of time, expertise and of course money (which they can't afford). Furthermore they would need some help from the Russians, Americans or the Israeli's and I doubt any of these countries would be willing to help them.

    Just my two cents.
     
  11. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    :dont20tell:......................................:peace:
     
  12. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    They are already doing that, see the rise in their nuke, they have change their nuke doctrine, earlier they had minimum credible deterrence, now they are making credible minimum deterrence This is because they have calculated that, even if they attack first they are not going to deter Indian in counter strike due to our BMD. Thus they have adopted this unannounced changed doctrine to get pass Indian BMD.
     
  13. DeletedUser

    DeletedUser Regular Member

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    That's good for us isn't it. The more money we can force them to spend on their nukes, the weaker their economy gets. Now if India keeps improving her ABM technology and in light if our past success, I believe we are... How far can Pakistan hold out? The collapse of the Pakistani economy would be the best thing for us. Believe me!
     
  14. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    few more test of BMD and deployment news would result into jump in their nukes (which means additional cost for them from protection of nukes to their storage, not to forget their manufacturing).
     
  15. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Common, dude ! The Americans bankroll the Pakistani intelligence and military, and you are saying CIA doesn't know the number of nukes in their arsenal. The ISI act as a stooge for them, they get all kinds of support from them. Do you now, that America has spent 100 million USD in designing special locks for securing the Pakistani nuke storage facilities ! Other than CIA, no other organisation in the world has more info about Pakistan, with the exception of maybe the Mossad and the SIS, I suppose.
     
  16. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    While calculating The respective countries Nuclear stockpile,it must be remembered that until recently both countries were barred from receiving any nuclear related material from the outside,esp Nuclear fuel,so they had to rely on on their domestic production to power their nuclear plans.While Pakistan's nuclear programme was almost exclusively strategic in nature,India had to divide her uranium reserves for an strategic nuclear programme as we all as an active civilian nuclear energy production program.It has been contended that Indian nuclear power programme may have received the lions share of the nuclear resources.
     
  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    To get a better idea of who has more nukes or who can make more nukes look at the Fissile material inventory. India has roughly enough fissile material for 700+ warheads according to many "experts".

    http://www.princeton.edu/sgs/publications/sgs/archive/Rajaraman-Vol-16-No-3.pdf
    Estimates of India's Fissile Material Stocks

    when the Fast Breeder Rectors are actively running they will produce enough plutonium for hundreds of more warheads if used for that purpose. Also India has had a plutonium based program and Pakistan has had a uranium based program. Uranium based weapons take longer using the yellowcake centrifuge method takes roughly 3-5 years to have enough material for 1 warhead. This will change with China violating NPT in helping Pakistan switch to a plutonium based program.

    http://www.business-standard.com/in...pakistan\s-plutonium-nuke-programme\/63332/on
    'China assisting Pakistan's plutonium nuke programme'
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  18. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    :dont20tell:......................................:peace:
     
  19. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Dhruv and Cirus in 2008 produced roughly 800kg of plutonium, if 20-50kt is the number used for 1 nuke then 16-20 warheads can be made annually from those 2 reactors. Those reactors have been producing for 30+ years so multiply 16-20 warhead x30 years to get a rough idea. The Fast Breeders in the future will be producing many times more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  20. jayz india

    jayz india Regular Member

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    no problem sir jiii:happy_2:
     
  21. jayz india

    jayz india Regular Member

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    good insight,completely forgot about that point,by the way when did india statred mining for local plutonium and uranium???
     

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