India's nuclear deterrence lacks capability: Analyst
NEW DELHI: India's nuclear deterrence lacks capability and the country needs to build up its stockpile of fissile material to correct this, a leading defence analyst said Monday.
"We need to build up our fissile material stockpiles because our deterrence lacks capability," Brig. (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal said at a seminar here on "Nuclear Arsenals post 2010" organised by the Indian Navy-funded National Maritime Foundation.
Kanwal noted in this context that India lacked nuclear submarines capable of launching SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) that are considered the most credible form of deterrence in case of a nuclear attack.
As Rear Admiral (retd) K. Raja Menon put it, an SLBM "is the most stabilising element of a second strike capability" in case of a nuclear attack.
India has repeatedly said that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in case of a war with Pakistan but experts point out that given its limited delivery capabilities of delivering these from the air or from the ground, this would make the country vulnerable in case of war.
Urging greater transparency in the decision making process on building a credible deterrence against a nuclear attack, he deprecated the fact that the armed forces were kept out of the process.
"The armed forces stay out of the discussions because they take their lead from their political masters. Transparency leads to greater credibility," maintained Kanwal, who heads the Indian Army-funded think tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).
Bharat Karnad, another analyst, concurred with Kanwal.
"Much of the strategising (on countering a nuclear threat) is done outside of the armed forces. But then, the Indian military mirrors the political confusion in the country," he said.
"There is too much of nuancing rather than getting about making a deterrent a deterrent," he added.