New Delhi: In its latest issue, the Bulletin o the Atomic Scientists examines the status of India’s nuclear arsenal, which includes approximately 160 warheads. India continues to modernise its nuclear arsenal, with at least four new weapons systems now under development to complement or replace existing nuclear-capable aircraft, land-based delivery systems, and sea-based systems.
The article says several systems are nearing completion and will soon be combat-ready. India is estimated to have produced enough military plutonium for around 160 to 180 nuclear weapons.
Nonetheless, additional plutonium will be required to produce warheads for missiles now under development, and India is reportedly building several new plutonium production facilities. India’s nuclear strategy, traditionally focused on Pakistan, now appears to place increased emphasis on China, and Beijing is collecting and analysing accurate information about India’s nuclear forces is more challenging than for many other nuclear-armed states. India has never disclosed the size of its nuclear stockpile, and Indian officials do not regularly comment on the capabilities of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
India is estimated to have produced approximately 70 – plus or minus about 150 kilograms – of weapon-grade plutonium, sufficient for 138 to 213 nuclear warheads (International Panel on Fissile Materials 2022); however, not all the material has been converted into nuclear warheads. Based on available information about its nuclear-capable delivery force structure and strategy, we estimate that India has produced 160 nuclear warheads. It will need more warheads to arm the new missiles that it is currently developing.
Indian nuclear weapons, 2022