ISLAMABAD: Nine states — the US, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possess about 12,705 nuclear weapons, of which 9,440 are estimated to be in military stockpiles for potential use, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) says in its annual report released on Monday.

About 3,732 of these warheads are estimated to be deployed with operational forces, and around 2,000 are kept in a state of high operational alert, the Sipri yearbook estimates.

According to the report, Pakistan has 165 weapons in stockpile with the same number of weapons in inventory, and India has a total of 160 weapons in stockpile, with the same number of weapons in inventory, while there is no deployment of any warhead by the two countries.

The United States has stockpile of 37,408 weapons with a total inventory of 5,428 weapons, whereas Russia has stockpile of 4,477 weapons with total inventory of 5,977 weapons. The US has deployed 1,744 warheads while Russia has deployed 1,588 warheads.

Report says Pakistan, India keep 165 and 160 weapons, respectively, in stockpile

The total stockpile of nuclear weapons of the United Kingdom is 180 with the inventory of 225 weapons. The UK has deployed 120 nuclear warheads.

France has total stockpile of 290 weapons with the same number of inventory. It has deployed 280 warheads.

China has the total stockpile of 350 weapons, with the same number as total inventory. Israel has 90 weapons in total stockpile with the same number of inventory. The North Korea has 20 weapons in stockpile and total inventory.

The Sipri yearbook notes that overall, the number of nuclear warheads in the world continues to decline, but this is primarily due to Russia and the US dismantling retired warheads. Global reductions of operational warheads appear to have stalled, and their numbers may be rising again.

At the same time, both Russia and the US have extensive and expensive programmes under way to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.

The nuclear arsenals of the other nuclear-armed states are considerably smaller, but all are either developing or deploying new weapon systems or have announced their intention to do so.

China is in the middle of a significant modernisation and expansion of its nuclear arsenal, which appears to include the construction of over 300 new missile silos.

India and Pakistan also seem to be increasing the size of their nuclear weapon inventories, while in 2021 the UK announced its intention to increase its nuclear stockpile.

India and Pakistan make statements about some of their missile tests, but provide no information about the status or size of their arsenals.

The North Korea has acknowledged conducting nuclear weapon and missile tests but provides no information about the size of its nuclear arsenal. Israel has a longstanding policy of not commenting on its nuclear arsenal.

The report says that global military expenditure rose for the seventh consecutive year in 2021 to reach $2113 billion, exceeding $2 trillion for the first time. It accounted for 2.2 per cent of global GDP, equivalent to $268 per person.

World military spending was 0.7pc higher than in 2020 and 12pc higher than in 2012. This upward trajectory remained unchanged despite Covid-19 pandemic-induced economic fluctuations.

Published in Dawn,June 14th, 2022

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