Pakistan, Indian must resolve their differences - SAARC

Indian Nukes – Pakistan and China in the line of fire

India’s nuclear weapons program is a cornerstone of New Delhi’s security strategy for the 21st century. For most of the post-war period, India badly trailed the established nuclear powers in weapon quality, quantity, and the sophistication of delivery systems.  In recent years, however, India has indicated a willingness to take the steps necessary to becoming a first rate nuclear power.

This article examines the development of the nuclear program over history, the current state of the program and its associated delivery system projects, the strategic rationale of India’s nuclear efforts, and the likely future contours of the program.  The current balance of nuclear power in South and East Asia is unstable, and likely to result in a nuclear arms race involving Pakistan, India, and China.

History of the Program:

Indian work on nuclear technology began even prior to independence from the United Kingdom, but a period of instability and insecurity beginning in 1960 accelerated development. Indian defeat in the Sino-Indian War demonstrated conventional vulnerability, which the inconclusive 1965 Indo-Pakistani exacerbated. US efforts to intimidate New Delhi during the 1971 war with Pakistan also played a role.

India detonated its first nuclear device in 1974, in a “peaceful” nuclear demonstration. Yielding between 6 and 15 kilotons, the test drew widespread international criticism.  Indian nuclear development progressed through fits and starts over the next two decades, with New Delhi reaching an uneasy accommodation with the world’s nuclear community to keep the program in the shadows.  Ballistic missile development continued alongside the nuclear program.

This accommodation broke down in May, 1998, when India tested five devices (four fission, and one thermonuclear device that likely failed). Driven by domestic politics and deteriorating relations with Pakistan, the tests strained India’s relations with the United States, and with the international non-proliferation community. However, they did indicate India’s commitment to a future nuclear defense profile, and confirmed India’s progress with weapons design over the previous two decades.

How Many Nukes Does India Have?

According to the Arms Control Association, India likely possesses around 100 nuclear weapons, mostly of a low yield fission variety.  However, reports indicate that India has stepped up its production of fissile material, in conjunction with its nuclear submarine program.  This could give India the ability to produce more and larger weapons in a relatively short time frame. It is certainly within India’s means to vastly increase the size of its arsenal, and plans to construct four ballistic missile submarines (each carrying twelve missiles) almost certainly indicates an intention to expand.

The National Interest

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  • My Take

    Indian since independence has a
    hegemonic designs in South Asia. Off course Indian conventional aggressive
    attitude is creating threat for regional stability and aggressions exist in its
    instincts. No one knows why India is competing for the title of a rouge state.
    India’s past actions, current stature and future plans are all the depiction of
    its cruel intentions. In sum, this Indo-US deal is a bad proposal that should be scrapped.

  • Riya

    India since its inception has longer been in efforts of developing its nuclear program and bringing it to a point where a deliberate nuclear arms race involving China and Pakistan could be started thus giving the signal of regional instability while maintaining its status of being a regional hegemon. The very nuclear activities of India seem to be appreciated by the external power US which is in fact playing the role of igniting a fire in the region.

  • Eshel Dapez

    If India really feels uncomfortable
    or let say threatened from the Pak-China nexus then how it would address its
    own love for US and Russia at the same time. India is the very first one who actually
    introduced ‘nuclear’ to the region. Under the disguise of Atoms for Peace it
    tested nuclear weapons and made South Asia a nuclear weapon region. How India
    addresses its own nuclear proliferation and even many violations it made under the
    support of big country USA. It’s even not a member to NPT. If India really
    wants peace and security then it should first stop its own nuclear ambitious plans.

  • Florentina J.

    India is driving a nuclear and missiles arms race in one of the world’s most volatile and poorest regions, marked by persistent strategic hostility and a hot-cold war between India and Pakistan since 1947. There is very little clarity about India’s nuclear deterrence doctrine. This is likely to add to regional insecurity and instability. The recent and speedy developments in the nuclear domain or defense sector on part of India actually make someone wonders that why India is so much obsessed about its nuclear credentials where it has put the lives of its people at stake. As long as it is trying to meeting the pitch of increasing defense credentials, it is making itself away from the very reality of safety concerns related to this dangerous technology.

  • Limpkisar

    Indian policy makers have been trying to convince global powers that such military modernization is directed to check Chinese influence in South East Asia as well as in Indian Ocean. Even Washington sees India as a balancer in South Asian fragile environment. But critical analysis of the given rationale shows that India never desires to pose a military challenge to gigantic China rather, 70% of its military have been deployed on western sides and certainly during era of crisis the accumulated arms will be used against Pakistan.

  • Limpkisar

    Although, Pakistan is facing number of issues at national, regional and international level that ranges from military operations in tribal areas to hostile border skirmishes on eastern and western borders. Pakistani troops have been fighting against insurgents since a decade. The price each and every Pakistani soldiers pay in the struggle against insurgents is real and high that should be recognized internationally.

    Under these grave circumstances, however, Pakistan being nuclear power has successfully maintains balance of power. Regional adversaries with accelerative military strength and offensive military doctrines always pose serious threats for the survivability of Pakistan. By looking at the changing international and regional security environment it is essential for Pakistan to secure its territorial integrity, sovereignty both internally and externally. Nuclear weapons in this regard, play a vital role.

  • Sam Gross

    India has declared its nuclear program as status quo driven and the given history of Indian policies also clearly shows that Indian greed of implementing hegemony in the region by bullying its neighbors has no end. If India continues with the arms development and covert expansion of nuclear weapons then the possibility of Indian aggression by using nukes on other major powers is high.