Think tank report shows India possesses more nuclear weapons than Pakistan

A recently released report claims India possesses more nuclear weapons than Pakistan
New generation ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ was successfully test-fired by DRDO in 2021. Photo Courtesy: PIB

A report released by a Swedish think tank revealed India possesses more nuclear weapons than Pakistan, while China’s nuclear arsenal increased from 410 warheads in January 2023 to 500 in January 2024.

According to the report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India stored 172 deployed warheads in January this year in comparison to Pakistan’s 170 during the same period.

The nine nuclear-armed states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Israel—continued to modernise their nuclear arsenals and several deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023, the report said.

Of the total global inventory of an estimated 12,121 warheads in January 2024, about 9,585 were in military stockpiles for potential use.

An estimated 3,904 of those warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft—60 more than in January 2023—and the rest were in central storage.

Around 2,100 of the deployed warheads were kept in a state of high operational alert on ballistic missiles.

Nearly all of these warheads belonged to Russia or the USA, but for the first time China is believed to have some warheads on high operational alert, the report said.

Russia and the USA together possess almost 90 percent of all nuclear weapons.

The sizes of their respective military stockpiles seem to have remained relatively stable in 2023, although Russia is estimated to have deployed around 36 more warheads with operational forces than in January 2023.

“Transparency regarding nuclear forces has declined in both countries in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and debates around nuclear-sharing arrangements have increased in saliency,” the report said.

“China is expanding its nuclear arsenal faster than any other country,” said Hans M. Kristensen, Associate Senior Fellow with SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme and Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

“But in nearly all of the nuclear-armed states there are either plans or a significant push to increase nuclear forces,” Kristensen said.