What is going on with these endless ballistic missile tests of late?

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India’s 5000 km range Agni-5 ballistic missile

Recently, Nirmala Sitharaman, the current defence minister of India congratulated the Armed Forces and Defence Industry for the successful flight test of the long range ballistic missile Agni-V.

If you have been following the news, you are probably wondering why so many countries are testing nuclear missiles.

Let us give you some history:

The US was the first country to develop a nuclear weapon. The weapon was created using a tennis ball sized sphere of plutonium. Plutonium is a radioactive, silver metal and is highly toxic. They tested this weapon in New Mexico in July 1945. This date marks the day the world entered into the nuclear age.

Then began the nuclear arms race.

Soon after that, in August 1945, towards the end of World War II, the US detonated powerful nuclear bombs over the Japanese city’s of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This caused a lot of destruction and death.

The Russians followed suit and tested their first nuclear weapon. They became the second nation to develop and successfully test a nuclear device. Other countries said ‘Me too!’ and here we are – seventy two years on, tens of thousands of tonnes of plutonium and enriched uranium have been used to create nuclear weapons in different countries around the world. The UK, France, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea have all joined in the nuclear arms race. The spread of nuclear know-how has increased the risk that more nations will develop the bomb so that they can defend themselves in case they are attacked by another nation that has these capabilities.

There has been a lot of opposition to this stockpiling of nuclear weapons, but no one has been able to stop it so far. Everyone stands prepared to defend themselves in the event of danger. 

Infographic: Who's Got the Biggest Nuclear Button? | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

The global nuclear arsenal stands at approximately 15,000 warheads. Nine countries very probably possess nuclear weapons, while 35 others have access to the materials and technology to make them.

 


Stay tuned next week to read about global efforts to eliminate nuclear arsenals.

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