America's 2018 Nuclear Posture Review dictated U.S. nuclear policy makers to return as a great power and suggested the development of two new nuclear weapons in addition to other expensive nuclear modernisation programs.

But these were not the only events that impacted the global nuclear balance.

A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows that the U.S. and Russia decreased the number of nuclear warheads in their stockpiles in 2017, however smaller nuclear powers like China, India, North Korea and Pakistan took steps to expand their arsenals.

According to the report China increased its total number of warheads by 10, from 270 to 280. India was believed to have between 120 to 130 warheads in 2017, and is estimated to have added 10 more warheads as well, for a 2018 total between 130 and 140. Pakistan also increased its arsenal by 10, bringing their approximate warhead stockpile to between 140 and 150. SIPRI also estimates that North Korea has anywhere between 10 and 20 warheads.

China, India and Pakistan expanded their nuclear weapons delivery systems, India had a busy year testing various nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Both countries continued to develop land, air and sea-launched missiles. China in Nov 2017 tested its new DF-41 ICBM, its largest and most potent nuclear-capable delivery system which could enter service in the first half of 2018.

However, the overall number of nuclear warheads in the world decreased due to reductions made by Russia and United States in line with the 2010 New START Treaty.

The U.S. reduced its total number of warheads by 350, from 6,800 to 6,450. Of these 6,450 warheads, approximately 3,800 are maintained in military stockpiles. Russia removed 150 warheads, bringing their total to 6,850.

The world’s other three nuclear powers — France, the United Kingdom and Israel — all retained the same number of warheads: 300, 215 and 80, respectively.

It is worthy to note that 92 percent of all global nuclear weapons are accounted for by the U.S. and Russia.

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