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World

UK to increase nuclear stockpile: reports

  • "We don't want any more nuclear weapons. In fact, we don't want any," it added.
Published March 16, 2021
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LONDON: Britain is to announce an increase to its nuclear weapons stockpile as part of a wide-ranging review of security, defence and foreign policy, two newspapers said on Monday.

The Guardian and The Sun said in their online editions that the country would look to raise the number of warheads from 180 to 260 by the middle of the decade.

Both dailies said details were contained in a leak they had seen of the government's long-awaited Integrated Review, due to be published on Tuesday.

The review is also said to state clearly that Russia under President Vladimir Putin poses an "active threat" but describes China as providing a more "systemic challenge".

London has increasingly locked horns with both Moscow and Beijing in recent years, on issues ranging from espionage and cyber-attacks to human rights.

Britain's Trident nuclear programme is a thorny political issue domestically, with repeated calls for it to be scrapped, given global moves towards disarmament after the end of the Cold War.

Opponents for its abolition include the main opposition Labour party and the Scottish National Party (SNP). Britain's nuclear submarine fleet is based in the west of Scotland.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) called the reports "shocking" given the pressures of the global coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

"We don't want any more nuclear weapons. In fact, we don't want any," it added.

The executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Beatrice Fihn, accused Britain of "pushing for a dangerous new nuclear arms race".

She said it was "irresponsible, dangerous and violates international law", adding: "This is toxic masculinity on display."

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