India’s nuclear ambitions and development of innovative nuclear delivery systems have come under scrutiny in a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a think-tank based in Sweden.
The SIPRI report reveals that India is actively enhancing its nuclear capabilities, with a specific focus on the development of long-range weaponry. The driving force behind this strategic shift is the escalating tensions and perceived threats from neighbouring countries, namely China and Pakistan.
According to SIPRI, both India and Pakistan are showing signs of expanding their nuclear arsenals and exploring new avenues for nuclear delivery systems.
The recently published SIPRI Yearbook 2023 highlights India’s growing emphasis on long-range weaponry, including missiles capable of reaching targets within China.
“While India’s primary nuclear deterrent continues to be focused on Pakistan, there is an apparent shift towards the development of longer-range weapons, with the ability to target areas across China,” the report states.
The rapidly escalating geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, exacerbated by China’s assertive behaviour and swift military modernization, have compelled India to reevaluate its strategic priorities.
India’s focus on long-range nuclear weapons aims to bolster its deterrence capabilities vis-à-vis China. The pursuit of these extended-range weapons involves advancements in missile technology and infrastructure.
The Ministry of Defense is actively enhancing the Agni series of ballistic missiles, such as the Agni-V, which boasts a range of over 5,000 kilometres, showcasing India’s commitment to expanding its strike capabilities.
Furthermore, India’s investments in advanced missile defence systems serve the purpose of safeguarding its assets and countering potential threats, thereby augmenting its overall nuclear deterrent.
Meanwhile, the SIPRI report estimates that China’s nuclear arsenal has witnessed an increase from 350 warheads in January 2022 to 410 in January 2023, with further growth anticipated in the future. The report also speculates that India currently possesses 164 nuclear warheads.