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Pakistan has more nuclear weapons than India: Report

November 17, 2009 22:35 IST

Pakistan is estimated to have more nuclear warheads than India and the two Asian neighbours along with China are increasing their arsenals and deploying weapons at more sites, two eminent American nuclear experts have said.

While Pakistan is estimated to possess 70-90 nuclear weapons, India is believed to have 60-80, claims Robert S Norris and Hans M Kristensen in their latest article 'Nuclear Notebook: Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2009'.

The article published in the latest issue of Bulletin of the Atomic Science claimed that Beijing, Islamabad, and New Delhi are quantitatively and qualitatively increasing their arsenals and deploying weapons at more sites, yet the locations are difficult to pinpoint.

For example, no reliable public information exists on where Pakistan or India produces its nuclear weapons, it said. "Whereas many of the Chinese bases are known, this is not the case in Pakistan and India, where we have found no credible information that identifies permanent nuclear weapons storage locations," they said.

"Pakistan's nuclear weapons are not believed to be fully operational under normal circumstances, India is thought to store its nuclear warheads and bombs in central storage locations rather than on bases with operational forces. But, since all three countries are expanding their arsenals, new bases and storage sites probably are under construction," the two nuclear experts said.

In their 13-page paper, the two scholars have estimated that there are about 23,360 nuclear weapons located in sites in 14 countries. Nearly half of the weapons are active or operationally deployed and US and Russia alone account for nearly 96 per cent of total global inventory of the nuclear weapons.

After Russia (13,000) and US (9,400), France tops the list with an estimated 300 nuclear warheads, followed by China (240), Britain (180) and Israel (80-100). Pakistan is ranked seventh with 70-90 nuclear weapons, followed by India with estimated nuclear weapons of 60-80. North Korea has been ranked last but the number of nuclear weapons have not been revealed in this case.

Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists while Norris who works at the Natural Resources Defense Council is a well-known expert of nuclear weapons programmes of the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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