India’s illusory nuclear gains

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by LETHALFORCE, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,543
    Likes Received:
    6,545
    India's illusory nuclear gains | The Japan Times


    This is the first of a two-part series on India’s nuclear weaponization.

    In May 1998, India conducted five nuclear tests. Even if one were to concede the tests were understandable, the question arises: What did India gain? The short answer, contrary to facile claims of strategic, military or political utility, and cost-effectiveness is: not much.

    Unilateral nuclear disarmament is unlikely by any of the nuclear-armed states, including India, and is thus unrealistic as a policy goal. However, a denuclearized world that includes the destruction of India’s nuclear stockpile would favorably affect the balance of India’s security and other interests like development and social welfare, national and international interests, and material interests and value goals.

    Although prospects for nuclear disarmament look dim, especially after the Ukraine crisis, the goal of an eventually denuclearized world is both necessary and feasible. For nuclear peace to hold, deterrence and fail-safe mechanisms must work every single time.

    For nuclear Armageddon, deterrence or fail-safe mechanisms need to break down only once. This is not a comforting equation. As long as any one country has nuclear weapons, others will want them. As long as nuclear weapons exist, they will be used again someday by design, miscalculation, rogue launch, human error or system malfunction. And any nuclear war fought by any set of nuclear-armed states could be catastrophic for the whole world.

    Nuclear weapons may be sought for (1) compellence, (2) defense, (3) deterrence and/or (4) status.

    “Compellence” means the use of coercion to force an adversary to stop or reverse something already being done, or to do something he would not otherwise do. There is no demonstrable instance of a nonnuclear state having been cowed into changing its behavior by the threat of being bombed with nuclear weapons. Indian doctrine, backed by deployment patterns, explicitly eschews any intent to use nuclear weapons as tools of coercion.

    It is hard to see any role for India’s nuclear armaments as instruments of defense. India’s no-first-use doctrine disavows use of nuclear weapons in response to conventional attacks. Nuclear weapons cannot be used for defense by nuclear-armed rivals whose mutual vulnerability to second-strike retaliatory capability guarantees that any escalation through the nuclear threshold would be mutual national suicide.

    India’s nuclear arsenal offers no defense against a major conventional attack by China, Russia or the U.S. — the only three countries with the capability to do so. As for intent, Russia is a diplomatic ally and friend of long standing. Relations with the U.S. have warmed to a remarkable degree, including a just concluded high-profile visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was remarkable for the fact that a person denied a U.S. visa from 2005 until May 2014 was hosted to a state dinner by President Barack Obama.

    Deepening and broadening bilateral Sino-Indian relations, and cooperation on several major international issues based on converging interests in forums like the group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), provide considerable substance, texture and ballast to that relationship today. During his recent visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed agreements to invest $20 billion to upgrade India’s woeful infrastructure.

    With nuclear weapons being unusable for defense, their sole operational purpose and role is mutual deterrence. Deterrence stability depends on rational decision-makers being always in office on all sides: a shaky precondition. It depends equally critically on there being no rogue launch, human error or system malfunction: an impossibly high bar. Nuclear weapons have failed to stop wars between nuclear and nonnuclear rivals (Korea, Afghanistan, Falklands, Vietnam, 1991 Persian Gulf War).

    To believe in deterrence is to argue that Iran should be encouraged, indeed facilitated in getting the bomb in order to contribute to the peace and stability of the Middle East where presently Israel is the only nuclear-armed state. Good luck and good night.

    The subcontinent’s history since 1998 gives the lie to the then-hopes and expectations, on both sides of the border, that nuclearization would prove to be a largely stabilizing factor.

    Powerful domestic constituencies have grown in both countries to identify multiple threats that justify a matching expansion of a highly elastic nuclear posture. The low-cost, low-risk covert war in the shadow of the subcontinent’s nuclearization had three attractions for Pakistan: It would weaken India by raising the human and economic costs of Kashmir’s occupation; the fear of nuclear escalation would raise the threshold for cross-border Indian retaliatory raids; and it would help internationalize the Kashmir dispute by highlighting the risk of nuclear escalation.

    Pakistan has invested in terrorist groups as part of its unconventional inventory against India. In responding to a terrorist attack, any deliberate escalation by India through the nuclear threshold would be extremely high-risk. The development of tactical missiles and battlefield nuclear weapons by the two sides, whose utility is contingent on proximity to battlefields, multiply the risks. India must also live with the nightmare possibility of jihadists getting their hands on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. While obviously more acute for Pakistan, the threat is grave for India also.

    Just what is a “credible minimum deterrent” — India’s official doctrine — that would dissuade nuclear blackmail and coercion and permit second-strike nuclear retaliation? China and Pakistan are incommensurate in their national power, strategic frames and military capabilities. The requirements of numbers, reach, deployment patterns and locations, and the distribution between land-based, air-launched and sea-borne platforms, are as mutually incompatible between them. That which is credible toward China cannot be the minimum toward Pakistan, and vice versa.

    Few analysts would take issue with the claim that currently nonnuclear-armed Germany has a higher status, weight and clout in Europe and the world than nuclear-armed Britain and France. Nuclear brinkmanship earns North Korea neither prestige, power nor friends; nonnuclear-armed South Korea fares better on all three counts.

    India does have a higher international profile today than in 1998. This is despite, not because of, nuclear weapons, and rests in its economic performance and information technology credentials.

    No serious Indian analyst is likely to claim that Pakistan’s profile has risen alongside India’s since 1998, despite Islamabad’s more focused efforts on expanding, deepening and broadening its nuclear weapons capability.

    If India’s economy stutters, its social pathologies intensify and multiply and its political system proves incapable of making and implementing hard decisions. The fact that India has nuclear weapons will add to international unease and worries rather than enhance its global stature and international prestige.

    If India’s economic future is mortgaged to bad governance rooted in populist politics pursued by corrupt politicians, other countries will return India to the basket of benign neglect while offering ritual but empty praise for its rich civilization and culture. Prime Minister Modi at least seems to get this.

    This article is based on Ramesh Thakur’s recent publication “The Inconsequential Gains and Lasting Insecurities of India’s Nuclear Weaponization,” International Affairs 90:5 (September 2014).
     
  2.  
  3. prohumanity

    prohumanity Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    548
    Location:
    USA
    This seems like the western preachers are out in full force. If nuclear weapons are not that great , why US needs 5000+ nukes, why Russia needs 2500+ nukes, Why China has 500+ nukes. I am tired of western pundits and their pawns preaching India what they do not practice themselves.
    Yes, Nuclear weapons are definitely a solid deterrent. This devaluation and undermining of a nation of 1.2 billion people has been going on for decades. It's not going to work anymore. This fear mongering that Nuclear weapons are not in interest of India and cause problems is bull*shit.
    This author may have got paid a good amount of money to spread this western bull*shit. Let the West destroy the Nukes first and then India should do it immediately afterwards. These paid western pimps can not succeed in DISARMING a self respecting,proud nation. Germany and Japan are slave nations to West and does not have their own voice. Imagine...if these same nations had Nuclear weapons...in 1940s..could anyone dare to destroy their cities ..Hiroshima or Nagasaki by Nuclear bombs? Who this author is trying to fool? Why they can not throw Nuclear bombs on Moscow or St Peters berg in spite of having conflict with Russia? Enough of this stupid preaching...India should do .."What Uncle does and not what Uncle says." and Uncle believes in Nuclear weapons and keeps piling up more and more of them. Just follow Uncle and don't be mislead by pimp writers.
     
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,640
    Likes Received:
    17,125
    Location:
    EST, USA
  5. prohumanity

    prohumanity Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    548
    Location:
    USA
    If any power can not accept democratic, peace-loving nation like India's right to defend itself..they are mistaken. India is a force for good and a stronger India is in the best interest of the World. With current patriotic leaders of India in power..no power in the World can ever disarm this nation.
    Indian civilization believes in carrying weapons and using these for the well being of World which they call "our human family". Only terrorists or their supporters should be afraid of a powerful India.
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,543
    Likes Received:
    6,545
    I disagree , it seems the author if it seems to be a Japanese view? Is saying if india
    Wants to be a nuclear power it should be a powerful one there is no halfway about it. @prohumanity
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  7. prohumanity

    prohumanity Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    548
    Location:
    USA
    There is no independent Japanese view...Japanese views are an extension of Western winner powers views..Japan can only sing what its masters ask her to sing. That's the reality....Weak can not have independent opinion..they just can't.
    Don't you know that India is a powerful nuclear power armed with all kinds of Prithvi, different kinds of Agni with range upto 7000 kms. and many more ...already enough stuff to deal with any attacker. Remember, only two nukes were needed to get Japan to surrender.
    BTW..Premier Shinjo Abe is trying to have Independent foreign policy but his hands are tied.
     
    Free Karma, sorcerer and LETHALFORCE like this.
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,543
    Likes Received:
    6,545
    Japan will never be free from us security umbrella. USA's policy for china has
    Japan in a central role.
     
  9. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,479
    Likes Received:
    961
    The cornerstone of security must be readiness of the country for war (and for peace). We must not put too much emphasis on deterrence. All weapons are for fighting war. If we have a strategy of using nuclear weapons in successfully winning war, we must produce. The concept of deterrence is illogical.

    India needs a much large military-industrial complex, a much larger part of the population with military training, and a mindset of fortitude and bravery.

    We must not put overdue emphasis on nuclear weapons.
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,543
    Likes Received:
    6,545
    India has large military fissile material reserves. The largest in Asia .third largest reported?
    The issue is not is there any lack of nuclear capability but it maintained as a last resort.
     
  11. prohumanity

    prohumanity Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    548
    Location:
    USA
    Well ..military power is not to just decorate and display. When India is attacked...it should be ready to retaliate with full force. Don't be scared of false scare tactics of other nations. India's Gandhian peaceful philosophy has been seen by west as its weakness. Those who know only the language of force
    you have to talk to them in their language. Preaching peace and harmony to warmonger, violent nations do not work. They want you believe in Gandhi but keep stockpiling more and more deadly weapons themselves to bully the weak nations.
    Lethal, when India tested Nukes, western pundits laughed and said.."they don't have methods of delivery" when India had plenty of methods of delivery..the same kings of denial are saying..."they can make Nukes but can't maintain them" We have a lot of such hollow fearmongering in past 6 decades.
    Its very hard for some in west to swallow their false pride and acknowledge other non western nation's achievements. BUT, time is coming soon for them to lower their ego and narcissism and accept new reality. Multi-polar world is inevitable...Mr Primokov and Mr Putin's dream will come true within a decade.
     
    LETHALFORCE likes this.
  12. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,479
    Likes Received:
    961
    Yes, we must build nuclear weapons if we plan to use these. We need to get rid of the illogical concept of deterrence.

    If we do not have the gumption to use nukes, then it is better to become a non-nuclear State.
     
  13. ezsasa

    ezsasa Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2014
    Messages:
    3,509
    Likes Received:
    3,044
    Location:
    Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
    Now that is the first time I have heard this argument. Hope you are kidding.
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,543
    Likes Received:
    6,545

    This is outrageous. Don't forget our loving neighbors. Political incompetence has
    Been the reason for slow progress?
     
  15. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,479
    Likes Received:
    961
    India's situation is very complicated. The economy remains dependent on foreign technology and capital. The industrial development and social development is inadequate.

    The proper development and deployment of nukes is very difficult in such situation.

    India has the manpower and potential to defend itself with conventional means. Nuclear is not necessary.

    We need not compete with China on nuclear weapons. A strong spiritual country like India who believes in Karma knows that killing non-combatants is sinful. Indiscriminate killing by nukes is illogical.
     
  16. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,479
    Likes Received:
    961
    However if India does want to keep its nukes, then it should remove the pretense and terms like "minimum deterrence" should be thrown in dustbin. A rational policy of deploying nukes on silo based and mobile missiles, aircrafts, submarines and ships will be necessary which adds to at least 400-500 warheads.
     
  17. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,114
    Location:
    India
    The economy is not dependent, its a requirement. World says that India is a fastest growing economy.
    Deployment of nukes are to protect the economy and hold investor confidence via deterrence capability. Most high -end technologies are a "HAVE" to prevent warfare,not to conduct warfafe.

    Ofcourse, we know the might of peace, thats exactly the reason we havent invaded another country for soooooooo long buddy. We Indians KNOW what we are doing and practice what we preach.

    For peace dipplomacy is important and the warfare is fought at diplomatic level before its levelled on the fields. So we should have a proven capability in many sectors of national security to ensure proper diplomacy and keep war at bay.
     
  18. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,114
    Location:
    India
    We dont have many enemies..do we?
     
  19. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,543
    Likes Received:
    6,545

    Disagree with almost everything.
     
  20. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,479
    Likes Received:
    961
    1. Nukes are NOT related to investor confidence. There are many countries (examples Japan and South Korea) which enjoy excellent investor confidence without having any nukes. Investor confidence relates to quality and quantity of manpower and conducive government setup.

    2. Nukes are absolutely unlikely to prevent warfare. China completely ignores India's nuclear capability. If you deploy one, it will deploy 3 against you. Pakistan is said to have more warheads compared to India now. India's stance has not capped warheads of adversaries.

    3. India/Pakistan situation is different from USA/USSR. they could maintain a "cold war" due to being separated geographically. India has long active borders.

    4. India's direct diplomacy with adversaries is rather ineffective.

    5. Not invading other countries despite other countries causing trouble in India cannot be called a virtue. Some people call it "weakness".
     
  21. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,479
    Likes Received:
    961
    You build weapons for fighting wars, not for show-off. Whatever weapons a State has ultimately get used in war. Please read Mahabharat carefully. This book is a must read by military enthusiasts.

    More and more destructive weapons ultimately lead to catastrophic war.

    If that is what you are planning for (a big war - with the attitude kill or be killed), then it does not make any sense in arbitrarily capping warheads at 100.
     

Share This Page