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India has 75-125 nuclear weapons: US report

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Washington: Suggesting that India has a sizeable nuclear weapons effort, a US think tank estimated India’s nuclear arsenal at around 75-125 weapons made from weapon-grade plutonium and perhaps some thermonuclear weapons.

India has a substantial stock of nuclear weapons made from weapon-grade plutonium, and perhaps some thermonuclear weapons that rely on both weapon-grade plutonium and weapon-grade uranium,” according to the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

“An estimate of India’s nuclear arsenal can be derived by considering its weapon-grade plutonium stock,” it said. “The resulting estimate has a median of 138 nuclear weapons equivalent with a range of 110 to 175 weapons equivalent.”

However, the actual number of nuclear weapons India built from its stocks of weapon-grade plutonium must be less, ISIS said.

“When accounting for the amount of plutonium in the weapons production pipelines and in reserves, it is reasonable to assume that only about 70 percent of the estimated stock of weapon-grade uranium is in nuclear weapons,” it said.

Thus, the predicted number of weapons made from its weapon-grade plutonium at the end of 2014 is about 97 with a range of 77-123,” ISIS said. “These values are rounded to 100 nuclear weapons with a range of 75-125 nuclear weapons.”

The think tank also noted that India has one of the largest nuclear power programmess among developing nations.

Utilising plutonium produced in these power reactors and discharged in irradiated or spent fuel, India has developed a relatively large civil plutonium separation programme and an associated fast breeder reactor programme that is using that separated plutonium, the report said.

For its “sizeable nuclear weapons effort”, ISIS said, India uses “separated plutonium produced primarily in a set of small, dedicated reactors and a smaller amount produced in nuclear power reactors.”

“It has a growing gas centrifuge programme able to produce significant amounts of highly enriched uranium (HEU) mostly for naval reactor fuel and perhaps for nuclear weapons, including thermonuclear weapons,” it said.

Despite many obstacles, India has managed over several decades to put in place a relatively large nuclear weapons production complex, the report said.

“Its current complex can produce plutonium and highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and nuclear powered submarines,” ISIS said. “It has a sophisticated missile production complex that provides the delivery systems for its nuclear weapons.”

Indian nuclear weapons use weapon-grade plutonium,” the report said. “The bulk of this plutonium for nuclear weapons has come from the Cirus and Dhruva heavy water reactors, both located at the Bhabba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai.”

ISIS cited an unnamed senior US official as saying that “after the 1998 tests, India used its civil power reactors to ‘surge’ weapon-grade plutonium production for its nuclear weapons programme.”

India explained to US officials at that time that it needed to build up its weapons plutonium stock after the 1998 tests before it engaged in negotiations for a Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), negotiations which have still not come to fruition,” the report said.

It may have subsequently produced additional weapon-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons in its civil power reactors, it said

“Although generally India is not believed to use reactor-grade plutonium in nuclear weapons, Indian nuclear experts are reported to have evaluated this plutonium’s use in nuclear weapons and India may have decided to create a reserve stock of reactor-grade plutonium for possible use in nuclear weapons,” the report suggested.

(By Arun Kumar,IANS)

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U.S. President Donald Trump Announces Withdraw Of Almost All The Troops From Syria

Meanwhile, U.S. military officials, as well as members of the coalition actively fighting the terror group, have been reluctant to predict when final victory will be declared.

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President Donald Trump shows maps of Syria and Iraq depicting the size of the "ISIS physical caliphate" as he speaks to workers at the country's only remaining tank manufacturing plant, in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. VOA

In late 2018, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw almost all of its troops from Syria, saying the Islamic State terror group had been defeated and there was no longer a reason to deploy U.S. forces in the war-torn nation.

The announcement led to the resignation of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who reportedly felt the drawdown was premature.

In the months since Trump announced the defeat of IS, he has wavered on whether the group has been vanquished. Sometimes he predicted that total victory would come in hours or days, while other times he has doubled down on the claim that the IS threat has been eliminated.

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Trump declared, “We have won against ISIS,” in a video released by the White House, to explain why the U.S. was pulling most of its troops out of Syria. VOA

Here’s a chronology of claims concerning the demise of Islamic State.

Dec. 19, 2018 — Trump declared, “We have won against ISIS,” in a video released by the White House, to explain why the U.S. was pulling most of its troops out of Syria.

Dec. 22, 2018 — Trump tweets that “ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains.”

Jan. 16, 2019 — Vice President Mike Pence declares in a speech at the State Department that “the caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated.” Earlier that day, four Americans were killed in Syria by an IS suicide bomber.

Jan. 30, 2019 — Trump tweets about the “tremendous progress” made in Syria and that the IS “Caliphate will soon be destroyed.”

Feb. 1, 2019 — Trump repeats that “We will soon have destroyed 100 percent of the Caliphate.”

Feb. 3, 2019 — Trump tells CBS News, “We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent of the caliphate, which is the area — the land, the area — 100. We’re at 99 percent right now, we’ll be at 100.”

Feb. 6, 2019 — Trump predicts that the declaration that the coalition has captured all IS holdings “should be formally announced sometime, probably next week.”

Feb. 10, 2019 — Trump tweets that the U.S. will control all former IS territory in Syria “soon.”

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Feb. 16, 2019 — Trump tweets, “We are pulling back after 100 percent Caliphate victory!” Pixabay

Feb. 11, 2019 — At a rally in El Paso, Texas, Trump says the announcement that 100 percent of Islamic State territory has been captured will be coming “maybe over the next week, maybe less.”

Feb. 15, 2019 — At a news conference Trump says a statement about “our success with the eradication of the caliphate … will be announced over the next 24 hours.”

Feb. 16, 2019 — Trump tweets, “We are pulling back after 100 percent Caliphate victory!”

Feb. 22, 2019 — Trump tells reporters “In another short period of time, like hours — you’ll be hearing hours and days — you’ll be hearing about the caliphate. It will — it’s 100 percent defeated.”

Donald Trump
March 2, 2019 — At a conference, Trump tells attendees, “As of probably today or tomorrow, we will actually have 100 percent of the caliphate in Syria.” VOA

Feb. 28, 2019 — In a speech to U.S. troops in Alaska, Trump says, “We just took over, you know, you kept hearing it was 90 percent, 92 percent, the caliphate in Syria. Now it’s 100 percent we just took over, 100 percent caliphate.”

March 2, 2019 — At a conference, Trump tells attendees, “As of probably today or tomorrow, we will actually have 100 percent of the caliphate in Syria.”

Also Read:Now Collectively Achieve Complex Tasks: Scientists Develop Robotic System For Medical Use

March 20, 2019 — Trump shows reporters a map that plots the territory still held by the Islamic State in Syria and promises that area “will be gone by tonight.”

Meanwhile, U.S. military officials, as well as members of the coalition actively fighting the terror group, have been reluctant to predict when final victory will be declared. Some also note that even when IS no longer controls any territory, fighters who escaped capture and are hiding within civilian populations could still pose a security threat. (VOA)