Nuclear warheads down worldwide, up in South Asia

18 April 2016 update: South Korea has detected signs indicating North Korea is preparing to carry out its fifth nuclear test, President Park Geun-hye says. – BBC

6 January 2016 update: 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.

North Korea is the only country to have performed nuclear tests in the 21st century

Nuclear Tests timeline: North Korea is the only country to have performed nuclear tests in the 21st century.

See also: Pakistan 15th most powerful military in the world

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its annual report on Monday.

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.

Nuclear tests world

Nuclear tests by world powers. Courtesy: The Washington Post

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 Both have been getting rid of outdated weapons, and cutting down their stockpiles under disarmament treaties, since the end of the Cold War.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.

Nuclear warheads in 2016 worldwide

China is also modernizing 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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Our July 2014 report: Pakistan is one of the nine nuclear nations in the world.

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.

Pakistan nuclear state

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.

nuclear arms

Pakistan: The brighter side:

Breaking: Harvard predicts over 5% growth in Pakistan in next 10 years

Forbes calls Pakistan the next Colombia success story, asks US to see beyond security lens

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects pick up pace

$46B China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: 15 years, 3 routes, 51 projects

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

$7.6B 1,800km TAPI gas pipeline to be operational in 2018

Bloomberg on Pakistan’s economic revival, construction boom

Next year, Pakistan may upgrade to emerging-market status: WSJ

Naya Pakistan: Travel from Pindi to Islamabad in 20¢ in wifi-ed AC bus

Rs 154B Orange Line Metro Train for Lahore

Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi with free wifi

Groundbreaking of Karachi’s Green Line Bus project

No ordinary day as international cricket returns to Pakistan

Pakistan is enjoying a rare period of optimism: The Economist

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan world’s least expensive country: World Bank

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world

Nuclear missile submarines in world. -WSJ

nuclear missile submarines in world

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Wali Zahid

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: Wali on Pakistan of future

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