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India upgrading its nuke arsenal with China-focused strategy: American report


Nov 12, 2022

New Delhi: According to a 2022 assessment by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), India is continuing to modernise its nuclear arsenal and operationalize its fledgling triad, and the country's nuclear strategy, which was formerly centred on Pakistan, now appears to lay more emphasis on China.

According to FAS, the nation's existing nuclear-capable planes, land-based delivery systems, and submarine-launched missiles, which make up the triad, are being supplemented or replaced by at least four new weapon systems, TOI reported.

"India currently operates ten different nuclear-capable systems: two aircraft, six land-based ballistic missiles, and two sea-based ballistic missiles. At least four more systems are in development, most of which are thought to be nearing completion and to be combat-ready soon. Beijing is now in range of Indian ballistic missiles," according to the report written by FAS's Hans M. Kristensen and Matt Korda

According to the report, India is thought to have generated "about 700 kilogrammes (plus or minus 150 kg) of weapon-grade plutonium," which is enough for 138 to 213 nuclear bombs. However, not all of the raw materials have yet been used to create nuclear bombs

FAS estimates that India has about 160 nuclear warheads in its arsenal and will require additional to equip the new missiles. The similar figures are 165 for Pakistan, 350 for China, 5,428 for the US, and 5,977 for Russia.

Last year, as per the Swedish arms watchdog Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India increased its nuclear weapons stockpile from 156 in January 2021 to 160 in January 2022 at a time when China operationalized new launchers and Pakistan continued to develop new weapon delivery platforms in the Indian neighbourhood.

The Dhruva reactor at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre complex in Mumbai has been the country of India's primary source of weapon-grade plutonium. According to the report, the nation intends to dramatically increase its capability for producing plutonium by erecting at least one more reactor.

FAS claims that although while India's "main deterrence relationship" is with Pakistan, its modernization of its nuclear programme shows that it is placing a greater focus on its relationship with China going forward. At Rambilli hamlet, some 50 km from Vishakhapatnam, INS Varsha, a highly classified complex with several tunnels into a mountain, sizable piers, and support facilities for nuclear submarines, is being built.

India's under development S-5 SSBNs to have a displacement of 12000 tones and 12 silo tubes equipped with 6000 km ranged K-6 MIRV'ed SLBMs. A fleet of four S-5 SSBNs would be needed to maintain a CASD of 2 SSBNs.
Would be entirely based at secret nuke sub base INS Varsha.

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