Nuclear warheads down worldwide, up in South Asia
23 December 2016: Russia leads the world with nuclear warheads totalling 7,300. US has 7,000. In South Asia, India leads with 130 nuclear warheads followed by Pakistan, which has 120 nuclear warheads. – NYT
6 January: North Korea says it has conducted ‘successful’ hydrogen bomb test. North Korea has the fourth largest standing military in the world by personnel, with 1.2 million soldiers.
Nuclear Tests timeline: North Korea is the only country to have performed nuclear tests in the 21st century.
See also: Pakistan 11th strongest military in the world
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its annual report.
The summary: The number of nuclear warheads around the world is continuing to drop, but that doesn’t mean countries are moving towards a nuclear-free future. Far from it.
India and Pakistan, the two South Asian rivals, could double or even triple the existing arsenal size over the next 10-15 years, says SIPRI.
Although no data is available on deployed warheads for India and Pakistan, but in terms of total inventory, Pakistan (100-120) is ahead of its arch rival India (90-110).
Both countries are engaged in a war of words over Indian Prime Minister Modi’s reported remarks about Pakistan while he visited Bangladesh earlier this month.
Globally, all nuclear-armed states are taking steps to consolidate or modernize their arsenals. “In practical terms we’re seeing a world of fewer but newer nuclear weapons,” SIPRI senior researcher Shannon Kile said.
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At the start of 2015, the SIPRI report says, there were an estimated 15,850 nuclear weapons held by nine states – the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
That’s roughly 500 fewer warheads than the Swedish institute recorded in 2014.
The decline is mostly due to the world’s top two nuclear powers, Russia and the United States. Both have been getting rid of outdated weapons, and cutting down their stockpiles under disarmament treaties, since the end of the Cold War.
But despite the downward trend, the two countries have also embarked on billion-dollar programs to upgrade their nuclear delivery systems and warheads.
China is also modernising its nuclear stockpile. According to the SIPRI report, the number of weapons there has increased from 250 to 260 over the past year.
A more worrying trend, says Kile, is the expansion of nuclear stores in India and Pakistan.
The South Asian rivals are both increasing their ability to produce fissile material, used to make nuclear weapons, and could “double or even triple the existing arsenal size over the next 10-15 years,” Kile says.
These developments have raised concerns of a potential arms race in the region, as well as the danger of nuclear warheads being deployed in military conflicts.
“It’s not just an arms race between India and Pakistan,” says Oliver Meier, deputy head of the International Security Division at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). “China is also part of the equation, so it’s a triangular arms race and that is something that we haven’t dealt with before.”
India and Pakistan aren’t signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has disarmament as one of its main goals.
Iran is currently in talks with the so-called P5+1 – France, Germany, the UK, China, Russia and the US – with the aim of reaching a long term agreement to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Edited excerpts from report by: Deutsche Welle
Download a summary of SIPRI Yearbook 2015.
See also, some other indices on Pakistan:
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Pakistan’s global competitiveness – in 11 photos
Pakistan ranks 11th worst in Global Hunger Index
Pakistan among top 10 global improvers in World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business rankings
Pakistan at rock bottom in Human Capital Index
Pakistan ranks 5th in terrorism-affected countries list
Pakistan world’s 14th most fragile country
Will Pakistan risk falling behind when S Asia ups economic game
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria 3 polio endemic countries
91% Pakistanis have access to drinking water: Unicef/WHO
Pakistan 65th most vulnerable country to face climate change
Which country has the worst air pollution? | Hint: Pakistan
Our July 2014 report: Pakistan is one of the nine nuclear nations in the world.
A Business Insider index about world’s nuclear arsenal highlights that the US, Russia, UK France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea possess approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons, according to the latest assessment from The Center For Arms Control And Non-Proliferation.
The Business Insider graphic illustrates how many estimated nuclear warheads each of these nine nations have in their respective weapons inventories, as well as the first known date of nuclear weapon testing for each country.
BI Note: Since nuclear weapons programs are shrouded in secrecy, the following totals listed should be considered estimates. And the graphic does not reflect differences in a state’s type of nuclear warheads or the accuracy of its delivery systems.
In addition, the SIPRI table below highlight the status of nuclear arms (increasing, decreasing or static) since 2010.
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Wali failed to finish his PhD in international conflict analysis from University of Kent at Canterbury, UK.
As part of his study fellowships, he went to Canada’s Pearson Peacekeeping Center, American University Washington DC’s Summer School in Conflict & Peace, ASPR Austria’s Peace-building Summer program and GIIS’s Program in International Security in Geneva, Switzerland and UK’s Reading University’s Humanitarian Intervention Conference.
He has participated in international conferences along side specialists from SIPRI, which produced the above data.
While he worked as a journalist, Wali had the opportunity to visit Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground, and forward posts along the Line of Control (LOC) on Pakistan-India border.
He also had the opportunity to visit Pakistan Ordnance Factory, Rebuild Factory, PAF Kamra Base, among other facilities.
As a leadership thinker, Wali has spoken on military leadership at Pakistan Naval Academy, Karachi.
His recent piece: Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050
Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series
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