Neeraj Singh Manhas
(Stockholm, Sweden, April 26, 2021) Global military spending totalled $1981 billion last year, a 2.6 percent rise in real terms over the previous year, according to new figures released today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The United States, China, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom were the top five spenders in 2020, accounting for 62% of worldwide military expenditure. China increased military spending for the 26th consecutive year. This article will talk about the SIPRI report numbers and analyse it with respect to India, China and Pakistan.
As of January this year, China, Pakistan, and India each have 350, 165, and 156 nuclear warheads, respectively, and the three nations seemed to be building their nuclear arsenals, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).Additionally, it stated that Russia and the US combined own over 90% of the world’s estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons.
China, Pakistan, and India each possessed 320, 160, and 150 nuclear weapons in January of last year, according to SIPRI research released. There are nine nuclear-weapon states globally: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. “China is undergoing a massive modernization and development of its nuclear arsenal, while India and Pakistan look to be doing the same,” the paper stated.
It has been more than a year since the military stalemate between India’s and China’s forces erupted in eastern Ladakh on May 5, 2020, resulting in the first casualties on both sides in 45 years.India and China have made some headway toward disengagement in the Pangong lake area, but discussions on comparable measures at other flashpoints have stalled.India and Pakistan issued a joint statement on February 25 this year proclaiming a truce along the Line of Control following discussions between their respective Directors General of Military Operations.
The SIPRI report also discussed the countries’ fissile raw material inventories for nuclear weapons. “Fissile material, either highly enriched uranium (HEU) or separated plutonium, is the primary material for nuclear bombs… India and Israel have mainly generated plutonium, while Pakistan has primarily created HEU but is developing its capacity to generate plutonium, the report stated.According to the report, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all created HEU and plutonium for nuclear bombs.
“While India and Pakistan’s governments make announcements about some of their missile tests, they release no information regarding the condition or quantity of their (nuclear) arsenals,” the report added.Around 2,000 of the world’s 13,080 nuclear weapons are “kept on high operational alert,” according to research cited in the SIPRI Yearbook 2021.Additionally, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, and China were the world’s top five importers of significant weaponry between 2016 and 2020.Saudi Arabia accounted for 11% of world imports of significant weaponry during this period, while India accounted for 9.5%.
Total spending increased in 2020 will be primarily determined by consumption trends in the United States and China (first and second largest spenders respectively).India’s spending of USD 72.9 billion in 2020, a rise of 2.1 percent, placed it as the world’s third largest spender.
SIPRI identified 164 nations as significant weapons importers between 2016 and 2020.Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, and China were the top five arms importers, accounting for 36 percent of overall arms imports.Asia and Oceania got the most substantial arms shipments in 2016-20, accounting for 42 percent of the world total, followed by the Middle East, which received 33 percent.
Treaties Preventing Nuclear Proliferation and Testing
* The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
* The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, Outer Space, and Under Water, sometimes referred to as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT).
* The Treaty on the Comprehensive Ban on Nuclear Tests (CTBT) was signed in 1996 but has not yet entered into force.
* The Nuclear Weapons Treaty (TPNW), which will enter into force on 22nd January 2021.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, and the Wassenaar Arrangement all fall under this category.India conducted its first nuclear test in May 1974 and remains a signatory to neither the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).However, India has an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for facility-specific safeguards and a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) allowing it to engage in global civilian nuclear technology commerce.In 2016, it was accepted to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group.India’s official commitment to non-first-use of nuclear weapons remains unbroken.
In a May report titled ‘Nuclear Deterrence and Stability in South Asia: Perceptions and Reality,’ the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London stated that chance played a significant ameliorative role in the India-Pakistan crisis of February 2019 and that the two countries “risk stumbling into using their nuclear weapons through miscalculation or misinterpretation in a future crisis.”
“India and Pakistan are pursuing new technology and capabilities that might jeopardize one other’s nuclear deterrent. Whatever they learn from previous crises, the uncharted territory they are now exploring requires informed judgement about their doctrines, nuclear and conventional capabilities, and the unpredictable consequences of future crises,” according to the report’s lead author, Antoine Levesque’s, an IISS Research Fellow. China’s rising reputation as a nuclear weapons state, it warned, was exacerbating India’s security difficulties. “Yet, control of the drivers of the India-Pakistan nuclear-deterrence and stability equation remains virtually solely in the hands of New Delhi and Islamabad leaders,” the report concluded.It found that a robust, credible, dependable, and deniable back channel between the leaders is the most promising approach for India and Pakistan to achieve more robust strategic and nuclear deterrent stability.
(The author is a Doctoral Scholar in International Relations at Sardar Patel University, Gujarat)