China to expand nuclear warheads to 1,500 by 2035, says Pentagon report
A report by the Pentagon has revealed that China is likely to field a stockpile of about 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035. The figure highlights mounting US concerns about China's intentions for its expanding nuclear arsenal.
- China is likely to field a stockpile of about 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035, report says
- The report comes at a time when China is seeing its most widespread anti-Covid-19 protests
- China is also developing space and counterspace weapons, the Pentagon report said
China has developed 400 nuclear warheads and is on course to expand its arsenal to 1,500 weapons by the middle of the next decade, a major Pentagon report has revealed. China is on pace to more than triple its nuclear warhead stockpiles by 2035 as it seeks to challenge the US as the world's top super power, CNN reported.
Furnishing details on the Chinese military, the Pentagon, in its annual report, said the People's Liberation Army plans to basically complete modernisation of its national defence and armed forces by 2035.
"They've got a rapid buildup that is kind of too substantial to keep under wraps," a senior US defence official was quoted by Reuters as saying during a news briefing on the Pentagon's annual report on China's military.
"It does raise questions about whether they are kind of shifting away from a strategy that was premised on what they referred to as a lean and effective deterrent," the official further said.
The report comes at a time when China is seeing its most widespread anti-Covid-19 protests in decades.
WHAT DOES THE REPORT SAY?
According to the Pentagon report, China is also developing space and counterspace weapons. China has a standing army of nearly 1 million soldiers, the largest navy in the world by number of ships, and the third largest air force in the world, CNN said in a report.
The report suggests that China is rapidly increasing its military as one of its tools to create an international system that favours the world view to pose the 'most consequential and systemic challenge to US national security.
The Pentagon said China was developing electronic warfare capabilities, in addition to offensive cyberspace capabilities and directed-energy weapons.
“Everything related to the Chinese nuclear expansion has been in some way surprising. They’ve moved at a pretty rapid pace,” a senior US official was quoted by the Financial Times as saying.
A senior defence official added, "Beijing was probably expanding its arsenal because of a range of factors, including its view that the US was trying to contain China, but also owing to tensions with other countries. They’re also thinking probably about India when they take into account the requirements for their nuclear force." (sic)
The United States has a stockpile of about 3,700 nuclear warheads, of which roughly 1,740 were deployed, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think-tank.
Even though China claims that it has a decades-long policy of having 'lean and efficient' nuclear deterrent, the Washington believes that under the regime of President Xi Jinping, Beijing is gradually moving away from it.'Lean and efficient' policy means using a limited number of nuclear weapons that Beijing believes are required to respond to any nuclear attack on its territory. China's amassing of nuclear warheads is a cause of concern for Washington.
Furthermore, the report also expressed concern about Beijing exerting more pressure on self-ruled Taiwan, which China sees as a breakaway region. The US official said Washington did not see an invasion of Taiwan as imminent.
Courtesy: India Today