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Nov 02

Nuclear powers plan weapons spending spree, report finds

US to spend £700bn in next decade while Russia and Pakistan among those assigning roles to weapons beyond deterrence

North Korea nuclear weapons test

A 2009 nuclear missile test in North Korea: the country’s latest Musudan missile is capable of reaching targets in Japan and Guam. Photograph: Kcna/AFP/Getty Images

The world’s nuclear powers are planning to spend hundreds of billions of pounds modernising and upgrading weapons warheads and delivery systems over the next decade, according to an authoritative report published on Monday.

Despite government budget pressures and international rhetoric about disarmament, evidence points to a new and dangerous “era of nuclear weapons“, the report for the British American Security Information Council (Basic) warns. It says the US will spend $700bn (£434bn) on the nuclear weapons industry over the next decade, while Russia will spend at least $70bn on delivery systems alone. Other countries including China, India, Israel, France and Pakistan are expected to devote formidable sums on tactical and strategic missile systems.

For several countries, including Russia, Pakistan, Israel and France, nuclear weapons are being assigned roles that go well beyond deterrence, says the report. In Russia and Pakistan, it warns, nuclear weapons are assigned “war-fighting roles in military planning”.

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