Nuclear weapons: India keeps pace with Pakistan, but focuses on China

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Vishwarupa, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. Vishwarupa

    Vishwarupa Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 15, 2009
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    WASHINGTON: China, India, and Pakistan all added 10 to 20 nuclear weapons to their arsenal last year even as the top four nuclear nations -- US, Russia, UK and France -- appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely even if they didn't add to their inventory, the Swedish arms watchdog Sipri said in its 2013 handbook released this weekend.

    Sipri's world nuclear forces chart showed India bumping up its nuclear warheads from 80-100 in 2012 to 90-110 in 2013, keeping pace with Pakistan, which went from 90-110 weapons to 110-120. China meantime went from 240 nuclear weapons in 2012 to 250 in 2013, while France and UK froze their arsenals at 300 and 225 weapons respectively, as did Israel at 80 weapons.

    Russia and the USA were the only two countries reducing their inventories of strategic nuclear weapons under the terms of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) as well as retiring ageing and obsolescent weapons. However, Sipri said, they, along with the three other recognized nuclear powers, France, Britain and China, are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programs to do so, and appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely.

    As a result, although the total number of nuclear weapons in the world dropped from approximately 19000 in 2012 to 17265 in 2013, there was little to inspire hope that the nuclear weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals, the Sipri report said.

    ''The long-term modernization programs under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a marker of international status and power,'' said Sipri senior researcher Shannon Kile.

    While Sipri did not cite sources for its data, it is ranked as one of the top think tanks in the world and is widely respected for its research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Its analysis is the first time nuclear pundits have suggested India is now keeping pace with Pakistan in terms of ramping up its nuclear arsenal.

    With greater insecurities and fears of survival, Pakistan is long thought to possess more nukes than India (because it has to target a larger landmass and greater number of cities of its perceived enemy), although recent suggestions that it has or will overtake the weapons count of Britain and France seems misplaced. India, on the other hand, appears to be ramping up its arsenal with China in its calculations since Pakistan is a smaller land mass has only a few targets.

    ''With India we see the gradual expansion of its longer-range ballistic missile capabilities which are not really targeted at Pakistan but rather at China,'' Kile said.

    The Sipri report said the eight nuclear states possessed approximately 4400 operational nuclear weapons at the start of 2013 of which nearly 2000 are kept in a state of high operational alert. All the deployments -- warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces -- came from US, Russia, France and UK. It did not count North Korea in the list although Pyongyang was said to have as many as eight warheads with an uncertain operational status.

    Nuclear weapons: India keeps pace with Pakistan, but focuses on China - The Times of India
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  3. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 1, 2013
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    Re: Nuclear weapons: India keeps pace with Pakistan, but focuses on Ch

    The following data is from SIPRI for the year 2011.



    If you were to compare the data in these statistics (somewhat doubtful, for no one has access to exact spending), you will see that while the nuke count is nearly same for India and Pak. We were spemding over two times on nuclear weapons as compared to them.

    I'm not certain if BM missile development, MIRV etc plans are funded from the nuclear budget or the DRDO budget, but the later is more plausible IMHO. That removes it as the reason for the large difference in spending.

    Also, the weapon yields are different for the two sides, with yields of Pak nukes reportedly in the region of ~25-45KT max, while ours is confirmed to be atleast 200KT, with reportedly designs of 350-400KT warheads being minituarised for mounting on a missile.

    Then there is another interesting fact seen here. The Indian Nukes (from weapons grade material stockpile) are almost completely based on Plutonium, which allows minituarisation of nukes to a much larger degree as compared to Uranium based ones.

    The fact that Pak has significant weapons grade uranium stocks (and by extension, uranium based nukes) suggests that minituarisation of a part of their weapons may not have been achieved, meaning they will need to be delivered by AC.
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