Hello defence lovers! Recently Pentagon published its report on China. According to that report, China is allegedly increasing its nuclear weapon stockpile. In this article, we are going to discuss why India should be concerned about this development and how it could start a new nuclear arms race in the subcontinent and Asia. We will also discuss what India should do what India can do to counter Chinese Nuclear weapons.
Click here to read the Pentagon’s detailed report on China
China’s Nuclear Programme
Before assessing the threat from the growing Chinese nuclear weapon stockpile, let us first briefly discuss the Chinese Nuclear programme. Under Mao Zedong’s leadership, communist china began its quest for atomic power amidst its tensions with Taiwan in 1954 to get global diplomatic assistance. Initially, the Soviet Union provided technical assistance for the Uranium enrichment process. But due to the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviets abruptly terminated all their assistance for China. Finally, China was able to test its first fission type nuclear bomb on 16 October 1964 under project 596. China conducted the test of its hydrogen bomb very soon afterwards. China conducted its last nuclear test on 29 July 1996 which was its 45th nuclear test.
Allegedly China has also smuggled some nuclear technology to Pakistan in form of a “package” that included uranium enrichment technology, highly enriched uranium and design for a compact nuclear weapon. China also received Abdul Qadeer Khan’s stolen western nuclear technology. Thus we can conclude that China’s record in Nuclear Proliferation is not completely clean.
China’s Growing Nuclear Arsenal
According to Pentagon’s report, China is rapidly increasing its Nuclear weapons stockpile. Allegedly China has opened several plutonium enrichment centres. The communist party of China intends to produce over 1000 nuclear warheads by 2030. And unlike Pakistan, all these warheads will be deployable. It also plans to have at least 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027. As of now, it is estimated that China has over 300 nuclear warheads and most of them are deployed. For comparison, it is estimated that India has somewhere between 120 to 150 nuclear warheads. It is not at all surprising that for these upcoming nuclear warheads, China is developing hundreds of missile silos all over China including Tibet.
China’s ultimate ambition is to match the nuclear capabilities of the USA and Russia. During the peak of the cold war, Russia or the Soviet Union had 45,000 nuclear warheads. As of now, Russia maintains a nuclear stockpile of 6400 warheads, 1600 of which are deployed. Russia’s dead hand mechanism is a threat to the existence of mankind. And China is ambitious to develop a dead hand system of its own.
A Nuclear Arms Race in Asia?
In an era where the entire world should head towards global nuclear disarmament, a nuclear arms race is yet to start in Asia. Over the years several media reports have stated that Pakistan has been increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile. Now China is also doing the same. This arms race can persuade other nations like Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear weapons. In such a situation Joe Biden is about to make another diplomatic blunder. According to some media reports the Biden administration is planning to introduce a “no first use” policy like India and China which can create a sense of insecurity among the countries which previously relied on the American Nuclear umbrella.
What Should India do?
India does not need to do anything since we already have a strong nuclear triad. We don’t need to engage in another nuclear arms race since in the case of a full-scale nuclear war, hundred nuclear warheads are enough to annihilate the entire human race from the earth. We must invest heavily in our ballistic missile defence programme and also import the best missile defence systems like S 400 and the upcoming S500. Apart from that, we must try to build diplomatic pressure on China with the help of our western allies to slow down the growth of the Chinese nuclear arsenal. This growth is a greater concern for countries like Japan rather than India which has a nuclear triad ready for massive retaliation for any misadventure. Though China pledges to have a no first use policy, it would be absolute stupidity to believe in the policies of a country that is founded on lies and is the greatest example of hypocrisy.