A new report estimates that the number of nuclear weapons throughout the world has fallen by more than 300. There is, however, a catch: the warheads that remain are those most ready for deployment.
The report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that Russia and the US have reduced their number of warheads by 120 and 250 respectively since January 2020. But against this trend, the UK, China, India and Pakistan have all either increased their overall stocks, or, in the case of Britain, increased their ceiling of stocks.
SIPRI warns that despite the reduction in global nuclear weapons, the number of warheads deployed with operational forces – in essence, those ready for use at a moment’s notice – has increased, from 3,720 in January 2020 to 3,825 in January 2021.
“Both Russia and the US appear to be increasing the importance they attribute to nuclear weapons in their national security strategies,” said Hans Kristensen, associate senior fellow at the institute. “The prospects for additional bilateral nuclear arms control between the nuclear superpowers remain poor.”