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India’s Potential Nuclear Arsenal Bigger Than Britain’s, Report Says

<i> From Associated Press</i>

India’s potential nuclear arsenal is bigger than Britain’s and in the same league as the French and Chinese, a respected military magazine reported.

Pakistan, however, exhausted a significant part of its meager arsenal in last month’s nuclear tests--and the poor performance of its weapons revealed the country’s strategic nuclear weakness, Jane’s Intelligence Review reported Wednesday.

Last month’s rival nuclear tests by the South Asian neighbors, which have fought three wars in the last 50 years, heightened fears of a nuclear arms race in the region.

While the international community has been trying to put the brakes on the development of nuclear weapons in South Asia, Jane’s said in its July issue that India sees greater security in furthering its nuclear potential.

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The report said India’s nuclear weapons program is primarily based on weapons-grade plutonium reprocessed from fuel taken from research reactors located at Trombay.

Based on fissile material from the two reactors, India’s stockpile is estimated at between 20 and 60 nuclear weapons, the report said.

Pakistan’s arsenal is estimated at between six and 12 nuclear weapons.

However, India also has commercial nuclear reactors for producing electricity, and these also produce plutonium.

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According to one estimate, if India’s commercial reactor fuel was taken into account, the country would possess enough fissile material to build at least 390 nuclear weapons and as many as 470 weapons, Jane’s said.


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