HomeIndian DefenceIndia's nuclear stockpile crosses Pakistan for first time in 25 years: SIPRI

India’s nuclear stockpile crosses Pakistan for first time in 25 years: SIPRI

For the first time in 25 years, the Indian nuclear weapons stockpiled has surpassed that of Pakistan, with a leading global tracker assessing that India now has 172 warheads, against 170 estimated to be with Pakistan.

The latest report by arms tracker SIPRI also suggests that for the first time, China has put its nuclear weapons on high operational alert, mating warheads with delivery platforms like long-range missiles for short-notice strikes.

This move, the report says, is possibly being mirrored by India that too is moving towards mating some of its warheads with their launchers in peacetime. The estimate is in line with the larger report that suggests that nuclear arsenal around the world is being strengthened and modernised, as geo-political uncertainties are on the rise.

“It has long been assumed that India stores its nuclear warheads separately from its deployed launchers during peacetime. However, the country’s recent moves towards placing missiles in canisters and conducting sea-based deterrence patrols suggest that India could be shifting in the direction of mating some of its warheads with their launchers in peacetime,” it reads.

India Nuke Count Crosses Pakโ€™s For First Time: SIPRI

Indian nuclear delivery platforms include fighter jets, land-based ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles.The SIPRI report says that India may have added eight nuclear warheads in the past year, up from 164 to 172. It also estimates that Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile remains static at 170. India has steadily increased its nuclear stockpile to close the gap with Pakistan since 2014, when it was assessed to be at 100. This is the first time since 1999 that the Indian stockpile is believed to be higher than Pakistan by the tracker.The report notes that China has been growing its nuclear arsenal faster than any other country, increasing its warhead count from 410 in 2023 to 500 this year. It adds that for the first time, China may also now be deploying a small number of warheads on missiles during peacetime.

“The country’s recent moves towards placing solid-fuelled missiles in silos, conducting sea-based deterrence patrols and, potentially, developing a launch-on-warning (LOW) capability suggest that China might have started mating a small number of its warheads (possibly around 24, corresponding to one missile brigade and one fully loaded ballistic missile submarine) with their launchers,” the report states.

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