The global nuclear arsenal has slightly decreased in the past twelve months, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), but the risk of nuclear conflict has risen.
“There is a new type of arms race, not about the quantity of warheads but about technologies,” Hans M. Kristensen, an associate senior fellow with the SIPRI Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation programme, told Euronews.
The global security thinktank estimates in its latest report released on Monday that the nine states with nuclear arsenals — the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possessed a collective 13,865 nuclear weapons at the beginning of 2019, down from 14,465 a year before.
This is partly due to nuclear weapon-possessing states’ efforts to modernise their arsenal due to a shift in strategy.
“We are no longer in the classic strategy of deterrence by the accumulation of nuclear warheads,” said Kristensen.
“Now they have embarked on a tactical war”, he added, whereby the different states “set out new scenarios” to develop technologies and weapons.
For instance, Russia is developing weapons capable of circumventing the US anti-missile shield, while the United States is working on developing new short-range tactical nuclear weapons to respond to Russian challenges.
“It’s a whole new dynamic. We have seen these “tactical threats” before, during the Cold War,” Kristensen explained, highlighting however that “it’s…