India's Nuke modernising arsenal eyes towards China, say American experts

Indias Nuke modernising arsenal eyes towards China, say American experts


Washington: In the midst of raucous relationship with China over border disputes, India's nuclear modernisation indicates that it is putting increased emphasis on its future strategic relationship with that country (China), American experts have said. Besides the four existing land-based nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, Indian government and scientists are working with two other longer-range Agni missiles - the Agni-4 and Agni-5. "India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal .......India is reportedly building two new plutonium production facilities. India's nuclear strategy, which has traditionally focused on Pakistan, now appears to place increased emphasis on China," a report by Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris said in the journal, 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists'. Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists while Robert S Norris senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC. Although the Agni-4 will be capable of striking targets in nearly "all of China" from northeastern India (including Beijing and Shanghai), India is also developing the longer-range Agni-5, a three-stage, solid-fuel, rail-mobile, near-intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a warhead more than 5,000 kilometers The article further said, "India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal, with at least four new weapon systems now under development to complement or replace existing nuclear-capable aircraft, land-based delivery systems, and sea-based systems". India is estimated to have produced enough plutonium for 150–200 nuclear warheads but has likely produced only 120–130, the article titled 'Indian Nuclear Forces - 2017' said, also adding: "Nonetheless, additional plutonium will be required to produce warheads for missiles now under development, and India is reportedly building two new plutonium production facilities". In addition to the 'Dhruva plutonium' production reactor near Mumbai, India reportedly is building two new plutonium production reactors.The unsafeguarded Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor under construction at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research near Kalpakkam could potentially increase India's plutonium production capacity significantly in the future, although the reactor is continuing to experience delays. The report also says that while India has "traditionally" been focused on deterring Pakistan, its nuclear modernization indicates change of focus for a "future strategic relationship with China". India has four types of land-based nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that appear to be operational, according to the report. They are - the short-range Prithvi-2 and Agni-1, the medium-range Agni-2, and the intermediate-range Agni-3. "At least two other longer-range Agni missiles are under development: the Agni-4 and Agni-5," the report said.

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