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Keeping an eye on China's nuclear capabilities

12 Nov 2021

Category : Science and Technology

Topic: Keeping an eye on China's nuclear capabilities

A Pentagon report, which keeps an eye on China's nuclear capabilities, highlights changes in the quantity and quality of weapons that India must be aware of.
The only concrete and substantive result of the virtual summit between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping last week is unconfirmed that they have agreed to hold strategic nuclear negotiations soon, both from the United States and China. This development goes against the background of the Pentagon's recently released China Military Forces Report (CMPR), which is driven by the increased capabilities of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and its ambitions in various aspects of the military. It clearly emphasizes the challenges.
In particular, China's nuclear capabilities have changed significantly, and it seems that the quantity and quality of China's nuclear weapons have changed. Even before the announcement of the CMPR, there were significant global concerns about the development of China's strategic capabilities. Confirmation by CMPR reveals four specific areas of change:
quantitative intensity,
atomic yield,
supply capacity,
and attitude.
First, the size of China's nuclear weapons is estimated. So far, China's nuclear weapons have been moored at about 200 nuclear warheads, half of which target the United States.
By 2027, CMPR prisoners estimate that this number is likely to increase to 700 weapons consisting of rings of various strengths, which is 3.5 times the strength of current Chinese warheads. Both the superpowers are trying to accumulate a huge stock of Nuclear bomb.

Concerns about short-range weapons

China is likely to prefer to expand to short-range weapons. Short-range weapons like nuclear bomb is an area of ​​interest and development in China. These are weapons intended for use on the battlefields of traditional military operations and against traditional targets such as armour, artillery, and infantry concentration. Low-yield warheads help China avoid collateral damage. Prior to the announcement of CMPR, evidence that China had been testing devices at low yields for the past few years had regularly surfaced.

In April 2020, the U.S. Department of State's findings on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament agreements and commitment compliance showed China's intentional use and drilling of detonators in the limited range of the Lop Nur weapon testing facility. Attention was focused on the opacity and Beijing's refusal. Grant access to data from international surveillance systems.

The Mission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBT) station is under operational authority to the data centre. This type of action raises strategic concerns and is increasingly confirming that China's nuclear weapons consist of many nuclear bomb ideal for use on the battlefield.

These short-range warheads could also find a way to China's Dong Feng 26 (DF26) ballistic missile, an important transport capacity. The missile has already been deployed in Korla, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, western China. This is an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) launched by the Transporter Elector Launcher (TEL). The DF26 participates in extensive training exercises west of Jilantaizhen, Inner Mongolia. In addition to the DF26, China has also developed an IL2 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) with a range of 7,200 km that can reach the goals of the Asian continent.

Fundamental Changes Finally, China's move towards a nuclear stance on warning issuance (LoW) is fundamental to China's commitment to ensure that the enemy does not doubt its response in the event of a nuclear preemptive strike. It shows a change. Increasing vigilance not only risks lowering the threshold for nuclear use in the form of preemptive power but can also sow misjudgment and unintended nuclear use.

Delhi needs to be careful.

China's nuclear competition with the United States has a chain effect. For India, China's increasingly miniature nuclear military power has some profound implications. First, the size of China's nuclear weapons makes it difficult to carry out India's nuclear weapons. This is true, given that China is pursuing missile defence in the form of HQ19 interceptors.

Coupled with missile defence, very large China's nuclear weapons could limit damage to China and further threaten the feasibility of India's nuclear weapons. Strengthening this is Beijing's pursuit. Starting in the Launch of Warning (LOW) position, such an attitude shortens the time for India's nuclear retaliation amid war and crisis and pressures India to pursue it's Launch of Warning (LOW).

Third, if Beijing pursues a reversible no first use (NFU) of nuclear weapons like a nuclear bomb. Still, China chooses no first use (NFU) of nuclear weapons, China will significantly exacerbate India's retaliatory attacks and worsen the issue even more than what it already is. And worse, it completely defeated India's nuclear forces. India's strategic planners need to ponder the quantitative nuclear balance against China and India's nuclear stance.

China's Investigation

India needs to pay close attention to the underground parts of China's nuclear weapons. Despite the COVID19 pandemic, the Chinese have added two new SSBN / nuclear submarines with 094 (Jin-class) ballistic missiles to their existing fleet.
The maritime aspect of China's nuclear capabilities may not be a strategic challenge for the foreseeable future, but it could be a challenge for New Delhi in the coming years. The Chinese Navy conducted bathymetry and ocean mapping surveys in the Indian Ocean. This is important for conducting underground military operations. The Bay of Bengal, where the depth of the sea is very useful for nuclear submarine missions, will expose India to China's nuclear tongs from the maritime sector and the continental region. New Delhi needs to closely monitor the People Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) nuclear submarine deployment patterns and address its lack of nuclear weapon delivery capacity.