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India, Pakistan expanding capacities producing fissile material: Report.

LONDON -- Eight of the world's nuclear powers together possessed nearly 19,000 atomic weapons with India and Pakistan expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes, a prominent Swedish think tank claimed Monday.

World military spending failed to rise last year for the first time since 1998 in a major shift from the international trend, findings of this years' Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook said.

World military expenditure in 2011 was essentially flat at USD 1.73 trillion, an increase of just 0.3 per cent from 2010 representing 2.5 per cent of global gross domestic product or USD 249 per person, the report said.

"India and Pakistan continue to develop new systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons and are expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes," it said.

"The eight nuclear states-the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel, together possess a total of approximately 19,000 nuclear weapons, as compared with 20,530 at the beginning of 2011," it pointed out.

The total nuclear warheads of India and Pakistan remained the same between 2011 and 2012, the SIPRI report said.

India had 80-100 nuclear warheads while Pakistan possessed slightly more with 90-110 nuclear warheads.

The decrease in the total number of warheads is mainly due to Russia and the US further reducing their inventories of strategic nuclear weapons under the terms of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) as well as retiring ageing and obsolescent weapons, the think tank pointed out.

At the same time, all five legally recognised nuclear weapon states, China, France, Russia, the UK and the US are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programmes to do so, it added.

They appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely.

While the eight nuclear states possessed approximately 4400 operational nuclear weapons at the start of 2012, nearly 2000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert, the SIPRI report cautioned.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jun 5, 2012
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