06/06/2013, 00.00
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China, India and Pakistan increase nuclear stockpile

Swedish Institute for Peace (SIPRI) reports increase. The buildup iof war heads by the three Asian giants threatens the fragile stability of the continent. China overtakes Britain in the sale of weapons and is fifth behind the United States, Russia, Germany and France.

Stockholm (AsiaNews / Agencies) - While the major nuclear powers are reducing their arsenals, China, India and Pakistan are increasing their nuclear warheads. This was revealed by the annual report of the Stockholm International Peace Reserch Institute (SIPRI). According to the document Beijing has increased its nuclear potential by 10 units, from 240 in 2011 to 250 in late 2012, finishing fourth in the list of nuclear powers. New Delhi and Islamabad instead added 20 warheads each to their arsenal: from 90 to 110 for India and 100 to 120 for Pakistan.

SIPRI notes that the arms race in weapons of mass destruction by the three Asian giants, undermines the already fragile stability of the continent. The Middle East is ravaged by war in Syria; in South Asia instead tension continues between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir, in eastern Asia North Korea continues with tests of its ballistic missiles, which unnerve neighboring countries and in the South China Sea there are ongoing disputes over territorial waters between China, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and Vietnam.

Only two old superpowers are cutting down on their stockpile: Russia has reduced its ballistic missiles by 1,500 units, from 10 thousand to 8,500, while those of the United States are instead down by 1300 units, from 8 thousand to 7,700. There is no change for France, with 300 warheads. Britain also remains stable with 225, and Israel with 80.

The SIPRI report does not take into account the two possible new nuclear powers: North Korea and Iran. For the institute their programs are still in the early stages and therefore not quantifiable.

The document reveals something still more alarming. While the United States and Russia have destroyed their chemical weapons, on the other hand there are suspicions about the use of sarin gas in Syria. SIPRI reports that fighting between Sunnis and Shiites in progress in Syria, is having devastating effects in Lebanon and Iraq.

Other data relating to Asia is the growth of the international arms trade with China, which has surpassed Britain to become the fifth largest exporter in the world after the United States, Russia, Germany and France.


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