Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released its 2018 edition of the yearly report on the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security.
There are nine countries which have nuclear warheads. They include Russia, the US, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
China continues to modernize its nuclear weapon delivery systems and is slowly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal. The country now has an estimated 280 nuclear warheads. In 2017 report, the number was 270.
The US and Russia still constitute a major share of approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons that exist in the world. Both together account for nearly 92% of all nuclear weapons despite reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
Despite the overall decrease in global nuclear weapons year-on-year, India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles. India, which had an estimated 120-130 nuclear warheads as per 2017 report, now has 130-140 warheads. Similarly, Pakistan, which had 130-140 warheads now has increased to 140-150 warheads. Both countries are also developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.
Nuclear warheads in other countries: UK (215 warheads), France (300 warheads), Israel (80 warheads) and North Korea (10-20 warheads). The figures for North Korea are uncertain.
Nuclear weapons remain uniquely dangerous because they are uniquely destructive. The renewed focus on the strategic importance of nuclear deterrence and capacity is a very worrying trend. The world needs a clear commitment from the nuclear weapon states to an effective, legally binding process towards nuclear disarmament.