What is the power of the United States, Russia, India and Pakistan in nuclear weapons?

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 12:28 pm

India has more nuclear weapons than Pakistan. However, China has more nuclear weapons than these two countries. And China is increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile.

According to a report published by the Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China’s weapons stockpile has increased significantly compared to last year.

China had 410 nuclear warheads in 2023, rising to 500 this year. On the other hand, India has 172 nuclear missiles and Pakistan has 170. However, China still lags behind Russia and the United States in terms of nuclear weapons.

A warhead is a part of a weapon in which an explosive agent or toxic material is placed. The warhead is used by missiles, rockets, torpedoes or bombs.

According to SIPRI’s Yearbook 2024, nine nuclear powers – the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – are modernizing their nuclear arsenals.

Some countries have either stockpiled new nuclear weapons or installed nuclear weapons delivery systems on missiles in the past year.

According to the recently published SIPRI report, in January 2024, there are 12 thousand 221 missiles stockpiled around the world. Of these, 9,585 missiles are stockpiled in the arsenal for possible use.

India, Pakistan and North Korea – all three countries are increasing their capability to deploy multiple warheads on ballistic missiles that Russia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and China already possess.

Incidentally, no country has been seen to use nuclear weapons even though there has been a situation of extreme conflict in recent times. But many of them have stockpiled nuclear weapons in their arsenals.

And experts are worried about the tendency to enrich the arsenal of Balinese countries with nuclear weapons.

India-Pakistan fight

The SIPRI report indicates that there is a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan.

India has increased the number of nuclear warheads in its possession to 172 as of January 2024. India has 164 nuclear warheads in 2023.

Pakistan had 170 nuclear missiles in its stockpile in 2023. According to the report, the number of nuclear weapons in Pakistan’s stockpile remains the same as of January this year.

But according to the SIPRI report, Pakistan is developing nuclear weapons keeping India in mind. And India is looking at deploying long-range weapons, weapons that can reach ‘targets’ in China.

China’s nuclear arsenal

China’s growing arsenal, however, is a cause for concern for many countries, including India.

In January 2023, China had 410 nuclear missiles in stock, but in January 2024, the number of nuclear warheads in the country’s arsenal increased to 500. According to the data published in the report, this number is likely to increase further.

The report also expressed fears that China may have deployed some nuclear warheads on its missiles.

Not only this, it is feared that China may now deploy a small number of warheads on missiles even during ‘peace time’, which is a cause for concern.

Depending on whether China makes any changes to its military structure in the next few years, it could also be that China is focusing on deploying more intercontinental ballistic missiles like the US and Russia in the coming days. However, China still lags behind those two countries in terms of stockpile of weapons.

The United States and Russia’s nuclear arsenal?

According to SIPRI’s report, 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in possession of Russia and the United States.

However, in view of 2023, the weapons stockpile of these two countries has not increased, it is mentioned in that report.

As of January 2024, the United States possesses 3,708 nuclear warheads, of which 1,770 are deployed and the rest are stockpiled.

On the other hand, Russia has 4380 nuclear weapons. Of these, 1710 nuclear warheads are stored in their stockpile.

While the two countries’ nuclear arsenals have not increased by 2023, Russia is believed to have already deployed 36 warheads ready to strike as of January last year.

Meanwhile, there have been persistent claims that Russia has deployed nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil, but no evidence of nuclear missile deployment has been found.

However, both Russia and the United States have removed 1,200 nuclear weapons from their stockpiles. They are slowly being destroyed.

According to the report, 2,100 warhead ballistic missiles are deployed around the world and kept on ‘operational alert’.

Almost all of them are occupied by the United States or Russia. However, this is the first time that the list includes some of the nuclear warheads in China’s possession.

North Korea has 50 nuclear warheads. The country is focused on developing more nuclear weapons.

Developing nuclear weapons has become an important part of North Korea’s national security strategy.

According to SIPRI’s calculations, North Korea has enough nuclear material to build 90 nuclear warheads.

Israel’s nuclear arsenal

According to SIPRI’s annual report, Israel is believed to be modernizing its stockpile of nuclear weapons, although it has not publicly acknowledged it.

The report notes that the effects of the war in Ukraine and Gaza are visible in nearly every area examined, including weapons, disarmament and international security.

What do the experts say?

The current state of the stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the developing countries has worried experts.

Dan Smith, director of SIPRI, said: “While the total number of nuclear missiles in the world’s stockpile continues to decline as a result of the gradual phase-out of Cold War-era weapons, we have unfortunately seen an increase in the number of nuclear missiles ready to strike over the years.

He feared that this trend will increase.

According to him, this trend is expected to continue and possibly accelerate in the coming years which is very worrying. We are in the most dangerous time in human history.

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