The world was shaken when the North Korean Central News Agency reported about the fourth nuclear testing in the country on January 6, 2016. The North Korean government claimed that the successful test “scientifically verified the power” of a small hydrogen bomb.
The early readings from seismic stations in the region strongly suggested a relatively low-yield underground nuclear test was conducted. According to the Vienna-based Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the “initial location estimate” of the seismic activity shows that the event took place in the area of North Korea’s nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, which is located in the northeast of the country.
If confirmed, the test would pose serious threats to international peace and security. The international community is called upon to take immediate action to reinforce the global taboo against nuclear testing.
Though the world is going bonkers over North Korea’s nuclear testing, this country is not alone in the list. The list goes way back to the first Nuclear Test done by the US in July 1945 and the signing of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. The US and other like-minded states negotiated this treaty to prevent nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further.
But the world is at risk till today. United States and Russia still deploy more than 1,500 strategic warheads on several hundred bombers and missiles. China, India, and Pakistan, in particular, are all pursuing new ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. In addition, Pakistan has dangerously lowered the threshold for nuclear weapons use by developing tactical nuclear weapons capabilities to counter perceived Indian conventional military threats. North Korea continues its nuclear pursuits in violation of its earlier denuclearization pledges.
What is more horrifying is that no definite count is available about their possessions, thanks to the secrecy every country manages to keep around its nuclear testing and policies.
The numbers published in the recent report by the Arms Control Association, ‘Nuclear Weapons: Who has What at a Glance’, will make you think if we really want to become a superpower at such a price. Let’s take you through a roller coaster ride through the Nuclear Weapons history of the world for it is time we addressed this with utmost importance. Hold your seatbelts tight and be prepared to be shocked!
Note: All data and images are obtained from reports published by the Arms Control Association.