Comparison Of Capabilities Of
The World's Nuclear Powers

LONDON (Reuters) - India and Pakistan are massing troops and weapons along their volatile border in the biggest military build-up the region has seen in almost 15 years, stoking fears of war between the world's newest nuclear powers.
The world has five "official" nuclear powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.
Other countries -- including Pakistan and India -- are known to be nuclear-capable. However, this could mean possession of a few nuclear devices that could be packed on to warplanes and dropped as "dirty bombs" rather than sophisticated warheads deployed on missiles.
Estimates of the global nuclear stockpile range from 24,700 to 33,300 weapons. Following is a summary of the estimated capabilities of declared and undeclared nuclear powers.
- UNITED STATES: The United States has more than 7,000 strategic nuclear warheads; with some 1,670 tactical warheads and stocks, the arsenal numbers about 10,000-12,000. The United States is the only country to station land-based nuclear weapons outside its borders.
- RUSSIA: Russia has roughly 6,000 deployed strategic nuclear warheads but the arsenal jumps to some 20,000 when stored and tactical warheads are added in. Like the United States, it keeps some 2,000-2,500 weapons on high-alert status.
- FRANCE: France has an estimated 400-482 strategic and 20 non-strategic nuclear warheads.
- BRITAIN: Britain has an estimated 160 strategic and 100 non-strategic nuclear warheads. Its Trident submarines, one of which is continuously on submerged patrol, are capable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.
- CHINA: China has an estimated 140-290 strategic and 120-150 non-strategic nuclear warheads. It has only one working ballistic missile submarine.
- PAKISTAN: Pakistan says its "minimum nuclear deterrent" includes ballistic missiles that can hit deep inside India. Analysts put the Pakistani arsenal at between 10 bombs at the time of its May 1998 nuclear tests and up to 48 now.
- INDIA: Scientific and arms monitoring groups around the world estimate India has between 55 and 110 bombs. Most analysts believe the figure is towards the lower end.
- NORTH KOREA: The West suspects that Pyongyang might already have a small number of warheads, perhaps as many as 10, and two devices that could be carried by truck, boat or aircraft. Despite a 1994 accord that froze its nuclear programme, it has made no move to work with international inspectors trying to analyse its past atomic arms programme.
- ISRAEL: Israel is generally regarded as having nuclear weapons in its arsenal. Experts say it may have produced as many as 200 nuclear weapons. Others say it has enough estimated weapons-grade fissile material to produce 100 weapons.
- IRAQ: Iraq's nuclear programme was dismantled after its defeat in the 1991 Gulf War. Western experts say the country had been about two or three years away from producing a crude bomb. It is trying to reconstitute its nuclear programme.
- IRAN: Iran is widely suspected by military experts of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme but it not considered to have capability.
NOTE - Figures have been compiled from estimates of independent analysts, Abolition 2000, the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Nuclear states do not declare figures for tactical nuclear weapons, which include a broad range of devices from landmines and artillery shells to air-dropped or missile-launched warheads.
(additional reporting by John Chalmers in Brussels)
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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