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SIPRI Report: India Surpasses Pakistan in Nuclear Weapons; China Holds 500 Warheads

China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, now possessing three times the number of warheads that India has, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). China’s nuclear stockpile increased from 410 in January 2023 to 500 by January 2024, with further growth anticipated. Some of these warheads are deployed on high-alert ballistic missiles. India has 172 nuclear warheads, up from 164 in 2023, while Pakistan’s count remains at 170.

Despite these figures, India’s defense establishment remains confident in its strategic deterrence capabilities. The recent test of the Agni-5 ballistic missile, with a range exceeding 5,000 km and multiple-warhead capacity, is set to enhance these capabilities. India is also moving towards canister-launch missiles for better operational readiness and plans to commission its second SSBN, INS Arighat, soon.

The SIPRI report highlights that all nine nuclear-armed states are modernizing their arsenals amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Israel-Hamas conflict. Russia and the US lead with 4,380 and 3,708 warheads, respectively. The report notes a global trend towards the modernization and deployment of new nuclear-capable systems.


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