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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/17/21

Pakistan beats India in nuclear arsenal, SIPRI

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India and Pakistan appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals, according to Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Year Book 2021 released on Monday.

According to the SIPRI year book, India possessed an estimated 156 nuclear warheads at the start of 2021 compared to 150 at the start of last year, while Pakistan had 165 warheads, up from 160 in 2020.

A report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London, in May titled 'Nuclear Deterrence and Stability in South Asia: Perceptions and Realities' said that the two countries "risk stumbling into using their nuclear weapons through miscalculation or misinterpretation in a future crisis."

IISS stated that China's evolving profile as a nuclear-weapons state was compounding India's security challenges. "Yet control over the drivers of the India-Pakistan nuclear-deterrence and stability equation remains almost entirely in the hands of leaders in New Delhi and Islamabad," it noted.

Listing several Confidence Building Measures and other practical steps in this direction, IISS concluded that a robust, trusted, reliable, deniable back channel between the leaderships is the most promising means by which India and Pakistan could achieve greater strategic and nuclear deterrence stability.

China's nuclear arsenal consisted of 350 warheads up from 320 at the start of 2020.

The nine nuclear armed states - the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea - together possessed an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021. Russia and the U.S. together possessed over 90% of global nuclear weapons and have extensive and expensive modernization programs under way, SIPRI said.

'The overall number of warheads in global military stockpiles now appears to be increasing, a worrisome sign that the declining trend that has characterized global nuclear arsenals since the end of the cold war has stalled," said Hans M. Kristensen, Associate Senior Fellow with SIPRI's Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Program.

New Work Underway at Israeli Nuclear Site

According to armscontrol.org, the Federation of American Scientists estimates that Israel has produced enough fissile material for about 200 weapons and has assembled around 90 non-deployed nuclear warheads, which were designed for delivery by its Jericho ballistic missiles and aircraft. Israel may also have modified its Dolphin-class submarines purchased from Germany to establish a sea-based nuclear strike capability.

armscontrol.org reported in April that satellite imagery analyzed by experts at the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) in February 2021 shows significant new construction underway in the southwest portion of Israel's main nuclear weapons complex near the city of Dimona.

The construction activity at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center (NNRC) is within the immediate vicinity of the buildings that contain the facility's heavy-water nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant, which have been used to produce plutonium for the country's nuclear weapons arsenal. Israel does not publicly acknowledge possessing nuclear weapons and has not provided an explanation about the construction activities underway.

According to a Feb. 19 update of the original IPFM blog post analyzing the satellite imagery of the site, the new construction likely began in late 2018 or early 2019, but the exact intention of the newly cleared parcel, measuring 140 meters by 50 meters of excavated land, remains unclear.

North Korea could have 40 to 50 nuclear weapons

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Pyongyang currently has in possession anywhere from 40 to 50 nuclear weapons, up from last year, when the country was believed to have stockpiled 30 to 40 warheads.

It said its estimates are based on the number of warheads that North Korea could "potentially build" with the fissile material available.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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