Indian Nuclear Doctrine
The Big Question
- Is it time to rethink India’s nuclear policy?
- China is modernising and expanding its nuclear arsenal as part of the general military transformation.
- Estimates say China’s arsenal could grow to 1,000 warheads by 2030 from about 350 now.
- China has taken a more muscular approach to its territorial disputes, including with India and Japan. China’s tactics of salami slicing and coercive diplomacy have come into sharp view in the Himalayan frontier with India.
- The Ukraine crisis has revealed that if a nuclear weapon power invades and seizes the territory of a neighbour, the rest of the world is reluctant to directly confront the aggression for fear of an escalation to the nuclear level.
- India and Japan have long presented themselves as champions of nuclear disarmament.
- Both Indian and Japanese positions are imbued with deep ambivalence. Despite its call for total nuclear disarmament, India never agreed to give up its own nuclear weapons.
- The real issue is not the gap between the disarmament rhetoric and the importance of nuclear weapons for the security of India and Japan but expanding Chinese nuclear arsenal and its growing sophistication which will be threat to both.
- C Raja Mohan:
- The big question is whether conservatism in India’s nuclear posture should be sustained in the face of China’s military modernisation, nuclear expansion and strategic assertiveness.
Food for Thought