05/30/2013 - 16:18

Indian nuclear forces, 2012

Hans M. Kristensen

Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of...

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Robert S. Norris

Norris is a senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC. A former senior research...

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In April 2012, India successfully test-launched the Agni V ballistic missile—and though the missile needs more testing and is still several years away from operational deployment, the Agni V introduces a new dynamic to the already complex triangular security relationship among India, Pakistan, and China. India is estimated to have produced approximately 520 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium, sufficient for 100–130 nuclear warheads; however, not all of the material has been converted into warheads. Based on available information about its nuclear-capable delivery vehicles, the authors estimate that India has produced 80–100 nuclear warheads. In this article, the authors explore how the country will need even more warheads to arm the new missiles it is currently developing.