Pakistan's nuclear arsenal to increase significantly over next 10 years: SIPRI

Published: June 13, 2016


STOCKHOLM: Two bordering, rival countries are increasing their capacities: India is beefing up its nuclear-capable ballistic missile programme and speeding up its plutonium production, while neighbouring Pakistan is developing battlefield nuclear weapons in a bid to offset India’s superior conventional forces.

Pakistan’s “nuclear arsenal may increase significantly over the next decade,” the institute warned.

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The world’s biggest nuclear powers, the US and Russia, are slowly reducing their nuclear arsenals but are modernising their capacities, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

Nine states — the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — had 15,395 nuclear warheads at the start of 2016, including 4,120 which were operationally deployed, the institutes’s annual report said.

At the beginning of 2015, the number was 15,850.

“Global nuclear weapon inventories have been declining since they peaked at nearly 70,000 nuclear warheads in the mid-1980s. The decline has been due primarily to cuts made in the Russian and US nuclear forces,” researchers Shannon Kile and Hans Kristensen wrote in the report.

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The reductions are the result of three arms limitation treaties signed since 1991, as well as unilateral force reductions by the world’s two nuclear superpowers.

“However, the pace of their reductions appears to be slowing compared with a decade ago, and neither Russia nor the US… has made significant reductions in its deployed strategic nuclear forces since the bilateral New START treaty” entered into force in 2011, SIPRI said.

Russia was estimated to have 7,290 nuclear warheads at the start of 2016, and the US 7,000, with the two countries accounting for 93 percent of nuclear weapons in the world, it said.

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They were followed by France (300), China (260), Britain (215), Pakistan (110-130), India (100-120), Israel (80) and North Korea (10), a reclusive country for which the data is uncertain and therefore not included in the overall totals.

“None of the nuclear weapon-possessing states are prepared to give up their nuclear arsenals for the foreseeable future,” SIPRI said, noting that Washington and Moscow have “extensive and expensive nuclear modernisation programmes under way.”

SIPRI concluded that worldwide, “the prospects for genuine progress towards nuclear disarmament remain gloomy.”

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Haji Atiya
    Jun 13, 2016 - 11:33AM

    If Pakistan must increase its nuclear arsenal, it shouldn’t just do it quantitatively with more of the same old, but rather diversify into sub-launched nukes, geo-static satellite launched nukes, develop a sophisticated anti-missile missile system, etc.Recommend

  • brar
    Jun 13, 2016 - 12:13PM

    India needs 1.3 Billion Nukes and Pakistan 220 Million at least one for every citizen then they will be safe and secure durfitmunh dovan de, in stead of opening more schools, colleges,universities and Hospitals they are producing Nukes, why is it that the head of State had to go to UK for hear surgery he can affort it but what about others.Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Jun 13, 2016 - 12:54PM

    With India’s rapid rise in defence and economy why is Pakistan spending money it does not have? India’s recent successful test of anti missile system these weapons are worthless and furthermore USA is now leaning towards India which will mean that Pakistan will be wiped out in 24 hours if there was a war.
    We better start investing in better education, health and infrastructure. Closure of all madrassa would be a good start,Recommend

  • Jun 13, 2016 - 2:37PM

    @Haji Atiya:
    pakistan,s security establishment know what they need , they always do analysis of their needs and work to achieve their goals ,our defense infrastructure is modernized by and large . . .Recommend

  • quatro
    Jun 13, 2016 - 2:57PM

    @Haji Atiya: Sounds great – but I am unsure how Pakistan is going to develop improved high tech weapons when it has invested little in education. Developing high tech weapons is easier said than done – even China has to resort to stealing tech from the American’s rather than developing it on their own. Recommend

  • Murali
    Jun 13, 2016 - 5:33PM

    I think we are all forgetting the future of wars. The future wars, minus terrorism, will be fought on the lines of economic and technological might. These weapons, including the nuclear ones, are going to be weapons of deterrence rather than weapons of destruction. That is why I agree with Quatro. The question is: What if Pakistan and India get into a war and the whole thing is neutralized by India, with its space technology might? What will the nuclear weapons do then? It is a much better proposition to just discard the idea of “par with India” for Pakistan, and invest in the education of their children, public health, nutrition and Science & Technology along with Industrialization/economic growth.Recommend

  • nasser
    Jun 13, 2016 - 8:17PM

    Bro your comment will carry more weight if it was made under your real name.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jun 13, 2016 - 9:21PM

    To a large degree China’s”stealing”‘ tech amounted to tapping into knowledge base of their overseas based Chinese or NRC, who volunteered to prop up their motherland with their experience and expertise. Pakistan, to some degree, can make a start by emulating that. Certainly, India has.Recommend

  • Aleem
    Jun 14, 2016 - 6:07PM


    India’s ABM will be a dud and can hardly secure ND from Pakistani nuclear deterrence. If India develops it further, Pakistan will make sure it has MIRV capability.

    Pakistan has enough weapons to ensure that India will remain on its toes (even if the US gets 99% of them as per their contingency plans, there is no guarantee about the 1%, this much we know and this is what gives Pakistan the deterrence value against India).

    Claims of US joining with India is another attempt by you to make it look like the US will fight India’s war. They won’t, they will use you to antagonize China and you will get pulled into a long costly war to build up your deterrence against China. China will make sure that it continues to support Pakistan so it can have the benefit of having you spend for a two front war unnecessarily but given your/India’s insecurities, you won’t have much of a choice. So as you preach to us about spending on education etc., you may want to consider doing the same for the 800 million deprived souls in India. For the cost of one Su-30MKI, you can build schools and medical dispensaries for 30,000 people. So what applies to us applies to you ten fold more.Recommend

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