‘Global nuclear arsenal to grow for first time since Cold War’

STOCKHOLM: Quantity nuclear weapons The world will increase over the next decade after 35 years of decline as global tensions flare amid Russia’s entry into war in Ukraine, researchers said Monday.
Nine nuclear powers – Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, the US and Russia – have 12,705 nuclear warheads at the beginning of 2022, or fewer than 375 warheads at the beginning of 2021, according to the report. estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
This number has dropped from a high of more than 70,000 in 1986, as the US and Russia have steadily reduced the vast arsenals built up during the Cold War.
However, this era of disarmament appears to be coming to an end, and the risk of nuclear escalation is currently at its highest level in the post-Cold War era, SIPRI researchers said.
“Soon we will get to the point where, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the number of global nuclear weapons in the world may begin to increase for the first time,” said Matt Korda, a of the report’s co-authors, told AFP.
“It really is a dangerous kind of territory.”
After a “slight” decrease last year, “nuclear arsenals are expected to grow over the next decade,” SIPRI said.
During the war in Ukraine, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in some cases referred to the use of nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, a number of countries, including China and Britain, are formally or informally modernizing or enhancing their arsenals, the institute said.
“It will be very difficult to make progress on disarmament in the coming years because of this war and because of the way Putin talks about his nuclear weapons,” Korda said.
These disturbing statements are prompting “so many other nuclear-armed states to think about their own nuclear strategies,” he added.
According to SIPRI, although the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons took effect in early 2021 and the “New START” treaty between the US and Russia was in effect for five years, the situation has deteriorated for some time, according to SIPRI.
Iran’s nuclear program and development of increasingly advanced hypersonic missiles have raised concerns.
SIPRI noted that the decrease in total arms was due to the US and Russia having “dismantled retired warheads”, SIPRI noted, while the number of active weapons remained “relatively stable”.
Moscow and Washington alone account for 90% of the world’s area nuclear arsenal.
Russia remains the largest nuclear power, with 5,977 warheads at the start of 2022, down 280 warheads from a year ago, either deployed, stockpiled or awaiting scrapping, according to the institute.
Its more than 1,600 warheads are expected to be operational immediately, SIPRI said.
Meanwhile, the United States has 5,428 warheads, 120 fewer than last year, but more deployed than Russia, at 1,750.
In terms of overall numbers, China is third with 350, followed by France with 290, UK with 225, Pakistan with 165, India with 160 and Israel with 90.
Israel is the only one of the nine countries that has not officially admitted to having nuclear weapons.
On the North Korean side, SIPRI said for the first time that Kim Jong-Un’s Communist regime now has 20 nuclear warheads.
Pyongyang is said to have enough materials to make about 50 of them.
In early 2022, the five permanent nuclear-armed members of the United Nations Security Council – Great Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – issued a declaration that “nuclear war cannot be won and never had to fight”.
However, SIPRI noted, all five “continue to expand or modernize their nuclear arsenals and appear to be increasing the possibility of using nuclear weapons in their military strategies.”
“China is in the midst of a significant expansion of its nuclear arsenal, which satellite images show includes the construction of more than 300 new missile silos,” it said.
According to the Pentagon, Beijing could have 700 warheads by 2027.
Last year, Britain said it would raise a ceiling on its total stockpile of warheads and would no longer make data on the country’s active nuclear weapons public.

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