June 3, 2013 - 17:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - All five legally recognised nuclear states as defined by the non-proliferation treaty – China, France, Russia, the UK and US – are either deploying new nuclear weapons and delivery systems or plan to do so, according to a leading international research organization, The Guardian reported.
The countries "appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely", says the latest yearbook published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).
At the start of 2013, eight states – the US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel – possessed approximately 4,400 operational nuclear weapons. Nearly 2,000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possess a total of approximately 17,265 nuclear weapons, says the Sipri report.
Of the five "official" nuclear states, China appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal while India and Pakistan are expanding both their nuclear weapon stockpiles and their missile delivery capabilities, Sipri says. Pakistan is also expanding its main plutonium-production complex at Khushab, Punjab.
Sipri estimates that Israel has approximately 80 intact nuclear weapons, 50 for its Jericho II medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 for gravity bombs carried by aircraft. Israel may also have produced non-strategic nuclear weapons, including artillery shells and atomic demolition munitions, says the yearbook.
It estimates world military expenditure in 2012 to have been $1.756tn (£1.157tn), representing 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP). The international arms trade in major conventional weapons grew by 17% between 2003 and 2012.