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India making a missile to target China: US report

WASHINGTON: Top American nuclear experts have said India is modernizing its nuclear arsenal with an eye on China, shifting its focus from Pakistan which remained the India’s traditional arch rival.

An article published in the July-August issue of the digital journal- After Midnight has also claimed that India is now developing a missile which can target all of China from its bases in South India.

“While India has traditionally been focused on deterring Pakistan, its nuclear modernisation indicates that it is putting increased emphasis on its future strategic relationship with China,” they wrote.

India is estimated to have produced enough plutonium for 150-200 nuclear warheads but has likely produced only 120-130, wrote Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris in the article- “Indian nuclear forces 2017″.

While India has traditionally been focused on deterring Pakistan, its nuclear modernisation indicates that it is putting increased emphasis on its future strategic relationship with China,” they wrote.

“That adjustment will result in significantly new capabilities being deployed over the next decade that may influence how India views nuclear weapons’ role against Pakistan,” they said.

Noting that India continues to modernise its nuclear arsenal with 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.

They wrote that  adjustment will result in significantly new capabilities being deployed over the next decade that may influence how India views nuclear weapons’ role against Pakistan.

Based on available information about its nuclear-capable delivery force structure and strategy, we estimate that India has produced 120-130 nuclear warheads, the article said adding that the country will need more warheads to arm the new missiles it is currently developing.

Kristensen and Norris said that 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.

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India making a missile to target China: US report

by Web Desk