“China is in the middle of a significant modernization of its nuclear arsenal. It is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land- and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft. India and Pakistan are slowly increasing the size and diversity of their nuclear forces,” said the think tank in a statement.
The nine nuclear-armed states–the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)–together possessed an estimated 13 400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020. This marked a decrease from the 13 865 nuclear weapons that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2019.
The Swedish think tank has said a decrease in the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world in 2019 was largely due to the dismantlement of retired nuclear weapons by Russia and the US–which together still possess over 90 per cent of global nuclear weapons.
Russia and the US have extensive and expensive programmes underway to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.
The 51st edition of the SIPRI Yearbook reveals a continuing deterioration in the conditions for international stability.