Since the Manhattan Project during World War 2 (WW2) the number of countries that have Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) stands at nine. This includes arch rivals Pakistan and India.
India was the first out of the two countries to test its nuclear warhead in 1974 but Pakistan had started research 2 years prior in 1972.
Over the decades, the South Asian rivals have steadily piled on nuclear weapons of varying caliber.
A comparison of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal with that of India’s shows that neither country has complete supremacy over the other.
Number of nuclear Weapons
Depending on the websites you visit India and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals vary from 110 to 150 and 130 to 160 respectively.
Obviously, military information like this is limited and hard to find but a constant is that Pakistani nuclear arsenal is 10 to 20 nukes more than India’s.
Types of warheads
Today we have two classes of warheads, which implement Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239 and these are called atomic and nuclear bombs. Atomic bombs only use a small percentage of their radioactive material. Thermonuclear bombs on the other hand combine start-off with the same fusion as atomic warheads but then use fusion of plutonium with hydrogen (thus the name H-bomb) which releases Neutrons that feed back into the fission chain reaction.
As of 2019, there are conflicting reports regarding their possession of said warheads.
India claims it does and they have conducted tests but a quote from an Indian officer regarding this claim goes as such that the tested Indian warhead had “completely failed to ignite.”
Pakistan is much more secretive and as to the best intelligence they might not have one but they likely have the capacity to construct one.
Range of warheads
Both Pakistan and India are in full range of each other’s warheads with India having the upper hand with their Agni missile which reaches up to 5000km compared to Pakistan’s 2,750km
Politically Pakistan doesn’t need to improve its range since its only immediate threat is India and vice versa.
Yield of nuclear weapons
The yield of a nuke means its destructive capability; it is measured in TNT.
“Little Boy,” the first atomic bomb that was dropped on Japan had a yield of 15 Kilotons (Kt) and it entirely decimated the city of Hiroshima.
According to the website NukeMap Pakistan’s largest yield is that of the Shaheen III, measuring in at 45Kt; only 15Kt short of India’s Agni II which comes with a decent 60Kt.
Possible advancements in the future
Right now international and national news outlets predict that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will surpass that of China to own the third largest arsenal in the world.
Pakistan and India are experiencing a thaw in their relationship after tensions spiked earlier in 2019. Here’s hoping that both the countries strive at the diplomatic level to ensure long-term peace in South Asia.