Washington: – The US defence department has warned that China is making strong moves to attain the nuclear triad, like the United States and Russia, and the number of nuclear weapons with China will be doubled in the next decade. The United States is making efforts to include China in the agreement to restrict the number of nuclear weapons. But China has replied that as compared to the United States and Russia, the number of nuclear weapons with China is significantly less, and therefore, China should not be pressurised to sign the agreement. Against this background, the report of the US defence department draws attention.
The US defence department recently published a report named ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020’. This report submitted to the US Congress has an account of the progress made by China in the defence sector in the last 20 years, their plans and their future ambitions. The report draws attention to the Chinese efforts for nuclear deterrence. The US defence department has warned that it is believed that China has nearly 200 nuclear weapons, and looking at the rate of modernisation of the defence forces, this number would have doubled in the next decade.
While warning about the number of nuclear weapons, the report also states that China is in the process of developing the Air-Launched Nuclear Ballistic Missile. At the same time, the report also warns that China possesses a minimum of 100 Intercontinental Ballistic missiles capable of targeting the United States, and the number will reach 200 in the next five years.
Since the last few months, the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), for limiting the number of nuclear weapons, is being discussed between the United States and Russia. It was reported the discussions had been held between the Presidents of the two countries to include China into the agreement. But China retorted that the United States and Russia should first reduce the number of nuclear weapons in their possession and then preach that to the world. Whereas, the United States had expressed a strong doubt that China is not declaring the real number of weapons in its possession and the number of nuclear weapons possessed by China is much higher than the announced numbers.
A few months ago, while these discussions were going on, Global Times, the Chinese daily, had advised that China should possess at least 1,000 to stop the military ambitions of the United States. Whereas the US defence department report, published in April, noted that China was secretly carrying out nuclear tests. The United States had doubted the Chinese intentions as it hid the information regarding the tests.