India continues to modernise its atomic arsenal with an eye on its powerful neighbour China, according to a media report.
New Delhi is developing its Agni missiles which can target all of China from its bases in South India, according to a recent media report covered by IRNA in Farsi.
China, Pakistan and India, as the three countries of South and East Asia, which have a range of border tensions, have 250, 120 and 110 atomic bombs, respectively.
Although the number of India’s bombs is less than its regional rivals, the country is estimated to have produced approximately 600 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium. Therefore, one can say India’s capacity is not less than its western neighbour.
India, along with China, the United States and Russia, has nuclear potential at sea, air and land.
India’s Sukhoi-30 MKI jets, MiG 29 fighters and Mirage 2000 combat aircraft are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
INS Arihant nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines are also among other capabilities of India in this field.
Experts believe India’s increased atomic power and its program to expand its atomic capabilities are to combat China’s growing power.
Analysts say India needs to increase its nuclear deterrent to ensure its security, given the increasing tensions between India, China and Pakistan.
American nuclear experts published an article in the July-August issue of the digital journal After Midnight claiming that India is now developing a missile which can target all of China from its bases in South India.
The paper was also published by Indian papers on Friday.
Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris in the article- “Indian nuclear forces 2017”- wrote India is developing a missile that could target China from its southern bases.
Noting that India continues to modernise its nuclear arsenal with the development of several new nuclear weapon systems, the two experts estimate that New Delhi currently operates seven nuclear-capable systems: two aircraft, four land-based ballistic missiles, and one sea-based ballistic missile.
Kristensen and Norris said the two-stage, solid-fuel, rail-mobile Agni-2, an improvement on the Agni-1, which can deliver a nuclear or conventional warhead more than 2,000 kilometres is probably targeted on western, central, and southern China.
This comes as the Agni-4 is already capable of striking targets in nearly all of China from northeastern India including Beijing and Shanghai.
The report adds that India is also developing the longer-range Agni-5, near-intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a warhead more than 5,000 kilometres.
The continuation of the Indian nuclear program provoked criticisms against a country that has not even signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and even led to imposition of sanctions against India after nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. However, these sanctions were removed after a while.
Finally, the United States accepted India’s nuclear capability, if the nuclear tests would not be repeated.
Many experts cite Washington’s green light to the suppliers of nuclear facilities, winning the trust of West by India, and the US double-standards as the reasons behind development of India’s nuclear weapons.