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Report said, after nearly two decades of nuclear competition with Pakistan, India with the several long-range ballistic missiles in development is seemingly now paying attention to its future strategic relationship with China, a think-tank.

“Now, with several long-range ballistic missiles in development, the Indian nuclear posture is entering an important and dynamic new phase. After nearly two decades of concentrating on competition with Pakistan, India’s nuclear outlook now seems to be focused more toward its future strategic relationship with China,” authors Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris said in a report for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists yesterday.

The country’s fighter-bombers still constitute the backbone of its operational nuclear strike force, but it has made considerable progress in developing credible land-based ballistic missiles as well, the report said.

“It will need more than that to arm new missiles it is developing. In addition to the Dhruva plutonium production reactor near Mumbai, India plans to construct a second reactor near Visakhapatnam, on the east coast,” it said.

“An unsafeguarded prototype fast breeder reactor is also under construction 650 kilometres south at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) near Kalpakkam, which will significantly increase India’s plutonium production capacity once it becomes operational,” the report said.

The original nuclear aircraft are ageing, and India may be searching for a modern fighter-bomber that could potentially take over the air-based nuclear strike role, it said.

Source: ndtv.com