Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by 1.44, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Likes Received:


    Over the past decade, India has pursued an active missile defence option with the help of the United States, Israel and Russia, in the shape of Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC), the Arrow, and S-300 missile defence systems. It has also considered developing a system of its own. In a region which has seen four wars over the last 59 years, and where in the last few years nuclear armed adversaries – India and Pakistan – have fought one limited war and seen a tense period of force mobilisation, the introduction of missile defence is likely to adversely impact the fragile security and strategic balance in the region. Moreover, China, which provides the declared rationale behind the maintenance of an Indian nuclear arsenal1 would also be affected. China’s deterrence, which is based on a modest deployed nuclear arsenal, would also be affected with the introduction of missile defence by its neighbour. The nuclear deterrent of Pakistan, and to some extent, that of China, would be in danger of becoming destabilised. These countries might respond by either increasing their nuclear arsenals or by trying to acquire missile defence systems of their own, among other defensive options. In either case, the net effect is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race, as well as a costly race for better and effective defence systems.

    Since the pursuit of missile defence in South Asia is a relatively recent development, little analytical attention has been paid to India’s ballistic missile defence plans, its costs and implications for India itself, and for its neighbours – Pakistan and China – in terms of security and stability of the region. This study aims at analysing the net effect of missile defence on the deterrent capabilities of Pakistan and China and their likely responses.

    Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD): The Concept

    The United States is the pioneer of the concept of developing and deploying nationwide missile defences. The idea of a nationwide US anti-missile system goes back to the 1980s when President Reagan envisioned a missile defence shield for continental America, named Star Wars, and laid down plans to build the shield to protect mainland America against ballistic missile attacks. It was George W. Bush Jr’s Administration that decided to give it a new impetus. President Bush decided, in December 2002, to field initial elements of a limited missile defence system by September 2004. At the same time, the US abrogated the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in December 2002. Although US plans have faced many problems with a number of failed intercepts, it marked a change in the US policy from a focus on deterrence to a shift towards a mix of offence and defence. The US also decided to bring on board its allies and others facing growing ballistic missile threats from their adversaries in order to build a network of missile defences. Japan, a key ally, facing a missile threat from North Korea, immediately supported the plan.

    While the reactions from Europe, Russia and China ranged from lukewarm to strongly critical, India showed overwhelming support for the concept, surprising even the Indian analysts2 since India had opposed the US BMD plans in early 2000.3 Many argued that it represented a fundamental shift in India’s policy. Discussing the possible motives for such a response, Rajesh Basrur points out three possible motives: the desire to obtain military and technical assistance from the US, as well as support for its drive for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, which could pave the way for its rise to a superpower status; the desire to gain access to US surveillance data, especially on Chinese and Pakistani missile sites; and a possible consideration for a strategic tie up with the US against China.4

    The increasing Indo-US strategic cooperation in recent years, ranging from defence and military cooperation to joint production of civilian satellites and transfer of high and dual use technology items culminating in the Indo-US deal of March 2006 for supply of civil nuclear technology and equipment does seem to support some of the possible motives pointed out by Basrur. This provides the broader perspective on Indian motives and must be kept in mind while tackling the issue of Indian pursuit of missile defences.

    India’s Pursuit of Missile Defences

    India, in its pursuit of ballistic missile defence, has taken two fundamental routes: one to acquire missile defence systems from abroad; and, second, to develop the system indigenously. India’s missile defence acquisition efforts have revolved around variants of Russian S-300 BMD system, the Israeli Arrow BMD and the American Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). India’s indigenous efforts have centred on the domestically designed, Akash, a long range surface-to-air missile (SAM).

    India’s pursuit of missile defence dates back to the 1990s. As early as 1995, there were reports that India was negotiating to acquire air defence missile systems from Russia – the S-300 PMU-1, or later versions like S-300.5 Russian Deputy Defence Minister, Kokoshin, offered to sell S-300 missiles during his trip to India in 1995.6 Subsequently, in August 1995, the Indian Defence Secretary, Nambiar, went to Russia to observe tests of the missiles near Moscow. Reportedly, in June 1996, the deal was finalised, and 27 S-300 missiles were delivered to India.7 The $1 billion purchase was said to include six S-300 systems, with each combat system consisting of 48 missiles.8 These anti-missile batteries are reportedly already in operation.

    According to other reports, Russia has already provided India with the ABM Antey battalion module.9 The Antey Corporation’s S-300V, also known by its NATO designation, SA-12, is an advanced Russian surface-to-air missile system comprising two missile systems - the Gladiator for destroying ballistic missiles, and the Giant for use against aircraft and cruise missiles. In 1998, Antey unveiled a modification of the S-300V, nicknamed the “Antey-2500.”10 The Antey-2500 module operating within an integrated air defence system can simultaneously engage up to eight Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) from a distance of 2500 km, or sixteen Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBM) launched from a distance of 3000 km.11 As recently as in February 2006, it was reported in the Russian press that Russia has offered India to “create a comprehensive air defence system using different air defences, including S-300 missile systems of various modifications.”12 If the reports about Indian acquisition of Russian missile defence systems prove to be true, it would bring a qualitative improvement in the deterrence potential of India vis-à-vis China and Pakistan.

    India has also shown interest in the Israeli Arrow ballistic missile defence system. Indo-Israeli relations improved considerably in the 1990s. Israel assumed the role of becoming the second biggest seller of weapons to India after Russia.13 India has acquired a number of weapons systems from Israel. The Arrow was jointly developed by Israel and the US. Arrow 2, an advanced version of Arrow, is designed to intercept short and medium-range ballistic missiles, and can detect and track up to 14 missiles simultaneously at distances as far a 500 km away.14 The Arrow system could potentially be used by India to counter Pakistan's nuclear-capable Ghauri and Shaheen missiles.15 Although Tel Aviv seems keen on selling Arrow system to New Delhi, the sale requires the approval of the US, since Arrow was a joint project and was partly funded by Washington. To date the US has not given approval for the sale of Arrow.

    However, Israel has already sold India the Green Pine radar system, a component of the Arrow system, which tracks incoming missiles and transmits data to Arrow’s management systems and interceptors. The radar can detect targets at ranges up to about 500 km. It can simultaneously track dozens of TBM, and can discriminate between TBMs, aircraft and other missiles, as well as distinguish between real threats and decoys. Green Pine is transportable and is capable of predicting impact points of incoming tactical ballistic missiles. Out of the two Green Pine radars ordered by India, the first was delivered in 2001, and the system has been reportedly deployed in India.16

    The Green Pine radar's deployment along the Indian-Pakistani border potentially provides India with strategic advantage. Reportedly, the system covers all of Pakistan's military command centres and bases between Islamabad, the capital, and the Indian frontier and also provides India with surveillance of Pakistan's nuclear centres and missile sites.17 The Green Pine combined with the Russian S-300 or Antey ABM systems would provide India with missile defence cover over key parts of its territory against Pakistan and China’s IRBMs.

    In March 2004, Israel signed a $1.1 billion deal to sell three Phalcon Airborne Early Warning Command and Control Systems (AWACS) to India. The United States had given Israel the green light to sell the Phalcons to India which will be mounted on Russian Ilyushin aircraft.18 The Phalcon system, expected to be delivered within 44 months, can pick up aircraft, including at low altitude, hundreds of kilometres away in any weather, day or night. Once deployed, the Phalcon system would provide India surveillance over much of Pakistan’s territory. Combined with missile defence systems, Phalcon would enhance India’s ability to counter a first strike by Pakistan.

    Discussions have also been underway since 2002, for the sale of the US PAC-2/PAC-3 missile defence system to India. In February 2005, a US team, headed by Edward Ross from the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, had briefed New Delhi on technical details of PAC-2.19 Moreover, India has attended several BMD workshops, conferences, and missile defence exercises over the past few years.20 The Bush Administration has been giving signals that it is keen on selling the PAC system to New Delhi. In June 2005, the US cleared the sale of the (PAC-3) system to India on the eve of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the US.21 Again in September 2005, a high-level US defence team held detailed classified briefings of Indian officials on the PAC-3 system.22

    PAC-3 is a surface-to-air guided missile defence system that provides advanced capability against cruise missiles, aircraft, and short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The PAC-3 system has four main components – radar, command centre, launcher, and interceptor missiles.23 The system is capable of targeting and destroying multiple targets while evading countermeasures and decoys. The PAC-3, unlike previous models, relies on hit-to-kill technology to eliminate short- and medium-range missiles.24 The PAC-3 interceptors are mounted on mobile launchers which can hold up to 16 interceptors each. The launchers are arranged to provide overlapping coverage, allowing PAC-3 to respond rapidly to attacks from all directions.

    Other reports suggest that India has also been working on developing a missile defence system of its own. India’s Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has reportedly been engaged in efforts since 1993 to modify its Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) into an interceptor capable of engaging ballistic missiles.25 Akash’s range is approximately 27 km. According to India’s DRDO, its range will be increased to 60 km and eventually to 120 km.26 One of its important features is the Rajendra phased array radar27 which is capable of multi-target tracking and engagement. It can reportedly track up to 64 targets at a range of 50 km. The stated goal of the eventual upgrade project is to intercept missiles with ranges up to 2000 km.28 This goal may be a little too ambitious and unrealistic given the difficulties the US has experienced developing the Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) designed to intercept missiles with ranges up to 3500 km.29 Moreover, so far there have been no reports of Akash tests against ballistic missiles. However, it would be of great concern to both China and Pakistan if the US decides to transfer missile defence technologies to India since missile defences erode their nuclear deterrents vis-à-vis India.

    In early 2005, there were reports that India was working on another missile defence system on the basis of Prithvi missile and the Israeli Green Pine radar. According to these reports, the DRDO intended to integrate this system into a missile defence system within a five-to-seven-year timeframe. The head of DRDO’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, V. K. Saraswat, confirmed the ballistic missile defence programme, saying that the system was intended to provide a missile defence cover in a radius of over 200 km.30 Again, in July 2005, Indian Defence Minister Pranab Makherjee said that there was no question of accepting a missile shield from anyone and that India was developing its own.

    Space satellites are an integral component of missile defence systems. India also has some satellite potential to complement its missile defence efforts. These can be used for early warning to detect a ballistic missile from its launch, its approximate flight course, etc. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been developing defence support programme satellites and their space-based infrared system. The Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) series of satellites are in orbit31, which can be used for missile defence purposes.32

    India’s likely missile defence choices are, however, not clear so far. Although the DRDO and leading Indian defence technocrats have repeatedly asserted that the country has the capability to build missile defences,33 these claims need to be treated with care. Many experts are sceptical of Indian claims to be able to build a truly indigenous BMD system, at least in the short to medium term.34 In the past, many Indian initiatives termed as indigenous have faced critical snags or lagged far behind schedule. These include: the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA); the Trishul short-range SAM; and the Nag anti-tank guided missile.35 There are also recent, though unconfirmed, reports of possible abolition of the Akash missile programme,36 which would indicate that the project was not technically successful. Even a technologically advanced state like the US has discovered that developing and integrating missile defence systems present unique challenges. India’s capability to develop such complicated technologies37 is questionable in the short term since these require a high degree of technological expertise, and decades of research and testing.

    Therefore, in the short to medium term, India’s option could be to acquire the systems from abroad or go for a mix of imported systems and indigenous ones. Given the size of the country, a national BMD system is unlikely. Since BMD systems cost billions of dollars, from an economic point of view India cannot afford a nation-wide missile defence. This would suggest a limited point defence system to protect targets such as Nuclear Command Authority and other nuclear and missile establishments.38

    The architecture of such a system is also unclear. One possibility is deployment of a layered system with imported systems such as S-300, Arrow or PAC-3 providing the first layer of defence architecture while modified Akash providing a second layer of defence. While a near foolproof BMD system would require several layers of defences, the exorbitant costs of BMD systems would make any complex missile defence deployments unviable. Moreover, it seems unlikely that the US would allow the sale of Arrow system to India. The sale of the US PAC-3 systems might materialise in the next few years and provide India with limited missile defence cover. However, at present, India’s most likely option seems to be the deployment of a variant of Russian S-300 system. India also has the option to integrate the Green Pine radar with Russian ABMs or its own systems.

    However, there are a lot of other related issues that confront India as far as deployment of missile defences is concerned. There is some opposition within India against the wisdom of going for missile defences. Even if India managed to deploy missile defences, there is a question mark about its effectiveness against a ballistic missile attack.39 Moreover, the astronomical costs of BMD systems weighed against the dubious gains from such a system are one of the major concerns of the opponents of missile defences.

    Some analysts question India’s decision to acquire missile defences in the light of the country’s perspective on nuclear weapons and deterrence. India’s nuclear doctrine emphasises the political utility of nuclear weapons i.e. the potential of nuclear weapons to deter a nuclear war rather than winning one. Rajesh Rajagopalan states, “There could be no clearer indicator that BMDs do not fit well within Indian strategic thought than the fact that no Indian doctrinal statements – neither the Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) nor the official statement about India’s nuclear doctrine that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) released in early January 2003 – even hint at the need for BMDs. In fact, I would go further: a decision to acquire such an ABM system directly contradicts the basis of the Indian nuclear doctrine.”40

    Moreover, the Indian government has yet to explain to public the decision to acquire missile defences. Whatever the shape and size of Indian missile defence system are, its purpose seems neutralisation of a first strike by the adversary and having an assured second strike capability.

    In addition to the pursuit of missile defences, India already has a well-developed ballistic missile programme, as well as nuclear warheads to arm its missiles. For the government of India, ballistic missiles serve as a potential delivery system for nuclear weapons, as part of a strategic deterrence posture directed against Pakistan and China. While Pakistan’s nuclear programme is security driven, India’s has wider objectives: it serves an important status function in support of India’s long-standing quest for global or at least Asian great power stature. India has developed a short- and medium-range missile capability, which includes the Prithvi and Agni series. The Prithvi missiles have ranges under 500 km and are liquid-fuelled. Its Agni missiles have ranges from 700 to 2,000 km.41 India is also developing versions of the Agni with 3,000 km range and ranges over 5,000 km. It is also working on Sagarika SLBM with 350 km range.42 India is also likely to develop a global positioning system to upgrade its missile guidance systems.

    India has declared that it will pursue a doctrine of minimum nuclear deterrence combined with a “no-first-use” approach to nuclear weapons.43 India’s nuclear doctrine also envisages a triad of nuclear forces – mobile, land-based missiles and sea-based forces. India is working on enhancing its sea-based nuclear capability, but presently it can deliver nuclear weapons only by missile or aircraft. Such an extensive development of India’s nuclear capabilities with a proposed triad of nuclear forces, however, belies India’s claim of minimum nuclear deterrence.

    At present, India has a missile capability which can target all of Pakistan’s territory and parts of China. But with the IRBM and eventually ICBM development, India will be able to target all of Chinese territory and beyond. To date deterrence seems to have worked between India and Pakistan, and India and China. However, India’s pursuit of missile defences promises to upset and change the deterrence calculations of Pakistan and China.
  3. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Missile Defences and Pakistan’s Deterrent

    Pakistan has a well-developed ballistic missile programme. Since Pakistan’s main security threat comes from India, the primary purpose of Pakistan’s ballistic missile force is to provide reliable delivery systems for its nuclear warheads in order to deter an Indian conventional or WMD attack. Pakistan relies on a doctrine of minimum deterrence which is a dynamic concept, since credible minimum deterrence is determined to some extent by the adversary’s nuclear numbers,44 the state of their deployment, and also the presence of missile defences. Following the 1998 nuclear tests, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN Munir Akram stated at the Conference on Disarmament that Pakistan had established a deterrent relationship with India but that the level would be determined in accordance with any escalatory steps taken by India. The concept of minimum deterrence, therefore, is not an absolute concept but is to be determined in relation to India’s nuclear capability45 and also the presence of missile defences. Pakistan relies heavily on its nuclear weapons capability and the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrent as a hedge against a conventionally superior India – a ratio of 4:1 (and in some cases 5:1).46 Therefore, from Pakistan’s point of view, maintaining the credibility of its nuclear deterrence is imperative. India’s pursuit of missile defences threatens to disturb Pakistan’s deterrence equation.

    Pakistan’s ballistic missile force plays an increasingly important role in Pakistan’s deterrence strategy. The mainstay of Pakistan’s first strike and deterrent capability is based on its Hatf, Ghauri and Shaheen series. The short-range Hatf I is a simple solid propellant missile with a range of 80-100 km. The Hatf III is a single-stage, solid propellant missile with a range of at least 300 km. Pakistan also has its Ghauri series where Ghauri I has a range of 1,500 km.47 Pakistan is developing and testing Ghauri II and Ghauri III missiles with reported ranges of 2,000 and 3,000 km, respectively. Pakistan is also developing the road-mobile IRBM Shaheen II with a reported range of 2,500 km.48 With the possible exception of the Hatf-I, Pakistan’s ballistic missile force is designed to deliver nuclear warheads. The Indian S-300 and Akash systems could intercept Pakistan’s SRBM and MRBM – the Hatf and Ghauri series – while the Antey-2500 could effectively intercept Pakistan’s IRBMs.
    The specific size, configuration, disposition, and possible deployment of Pakistan’s ballistic missile force are not entirely known at present. According to one estimate, India’s superiority to Pakistan is probably a 2 to 1 ratio in nuclear warheads and a 3 to 1 ratio in ballistic missiles.49 In nuclear-capable aircraft, the ratio is 3 to 1 in favour of India.50 Pakistan is estimated to have 30 to 50 nuclear warheads.51

    In a deployment scenario, Pakistan’s Ghauri and Shaheen can target all the major cities of India, while the same is true of Indian ballistic missiles, the Prithvi and Agni, in relation to Pakistan. The Indian Green Pine radars, when deployed, will have the capability to pick up the deployment of Pakistani missiles 300 km within the country’s territory. This would effectively provide India surveillance over the entire territory of Pakistan.52 Deployment of missile defence systems by India, like the Arrow, PAC-3, or Russian systems, combined with India’s superiority in nuclear warheads and missile numbers, could neutralise Pakistan’s Ghauri and Shaheen missiles. Since these systems also have the capability to intercept aircraft and cruise missiles, these would also seriously affect Pakistan Air Force’s ability to act as first strike force.

    While the missile defence systems do not have a hundred percent success rate, and may be only effective against short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles, and somewhat against IRBMs, and aircraft, it will give India limited capability to neutralise a first strike by Pakistan. India’s missile defence capability alongside its pursuit of a nuclear triad can seriously affect Pakistan’s ability to maintain a minimum level of deterrence.

    Many experts agree that the direct impact of BMD can undermine of the credibility of Pakistan’s deterrence, increasing the possibility of Indian interest in pre-emption. Maria Sultan, a Pakistani expert on South Asian nuclear arms control and disarmament issues, writes that BMD capability “would allow India to launch pre-emptive strikes, rendering Pakistan’s limited ballistic missile capability ineffective.”53 Khalid Banuri, Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs, Strategic Plans Division, Chaklala, also believes that BMD capability would “provide an elated sense of security and prompt pre-emptive impulses from India.”54 The Congressional study by Feickert and Kronstadt says that Indian ABM capability can break the current state of deterrence between India and Pakistan.55 Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, a Pakistani WMD expert, says the Indian BMD systems pose challenges to Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence capability by eroding strategic equilibrium and shifting balance of power in India’s favour. He says that according to real politic calculus, India is more likely to adopt adventurous policies against Pakistan behind the safety of missile shield.56

    At present, India and Pakistan’s nuclear deterrents are based on non-deployed nuclear capable missiles, a number of unassembled nuclear weapons, and capability to build additional nuclear weapons at a short notice. This non-weaponised deterrence has worked so far. However, an Indian ABM system has the potential to destabilise this nuclear balance by depriving Pakistan of an assured strike capability. In a crisis situation, India could launch a first strike on Pakistan and rely on its ABM systems to intercept any remaining missiles launched by Pakistan. Concern for such a situation could cause Pakistan to lower the nuclear threshold and adapt a “use it or lose it” strategy, calling for the early use of its nuclear forces in a conflict in order to penetrate India’s defences.57 While such a scenario might be an exaggeration, Pakistan will reassess its options and go for correcting the imbalance.

    Pakistan’s Options

    With an Indian BMD system, Pakistan would be forced to respond in some way in order to ensure the integrity of its nuclear deterrent. Although it is difficult to gauge Pakistan’s response, it would depend on the type, size and shape of an Indian BMD. There are a number of options that Pakistan could possibly pursue. Pakistan could either go for its own defence systems or build up its offensive forces to overwhelm India’s defences.

    Pakistan’s ability to produce its own missile defence systems is extremely limited both from technological point of view as well as from an economic one. Its prospects for acquiring the systems are also not very bright. The US, while showing eagerness to provide India with PAC-3 systems, has not shown any such inclination towards Pakistan. Russia is unlikely to provide its ABM systems to Pakistan since Indo-Russia relations have been strong for the past several decades, and Russia’s relations with Pakistan have been minimal. Since Pakistan does not recognise Israel nor has any diplomatic relations with it, acquisition of BMD systems from Israel is not an option for Pakistan. China is perhaps the only country that could provide Pakistan with such systems since the two countries have a history of defence cooperation, and Beijing is believed to be working on its own ABM capability.58 However, the high cost of such systems may prevent Pakistan from going for this option.

    A less costly and more effective option for Pakistan could be a qualitative and quantitative improvement in its nuclear and missile forces and its strategy. The simplest solution for Pakistan would be to go for a larger number of nuclear warheads and delivery systems, especially ballistic missiles. This would entail an increase in the number of missiles both Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV-ed) and single warheads. Pakistan would also have to increase its fissile material production in order to have more warheads.59 The purpose of the numbers approach would be to saturate Indian defences. This would mean, for example, if India has the capability to intercept twenty-five missiles, Pakistan should have thirty.

    Pakistan can also go for development of cruise missiles which are harder to defeat by missile defence systems. Pakistan has already taken steps in this direction by developing its Babar cruise missile. Babar is capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear warhead and has a range of 500 km. It can reportedly hit its target with pinpoint accuracy and can be fired from warships, submarines and aircrafts.60 Most important of all, it is designed to avoid radar detection and penetrate undetected through a defensive system. If all these claims prove to be true, Babar could be an invaluable asset against Indian missile defence systems.

    Pakistan can opt for strategies like mobility, dispersion and concealment to enhance survivability of its nuclear force in case of pre-emptive strike. This can be done through mobile launchers, using different systems, and by introducing simultaneous launches under combat conditions from dispersed sites. Pakistan could disperse and store its missiles in hardened silos, could build dummy missile silos, and deploy dummy missiles as well.61

    Another option for Pakistan could be deployment. This could entail maintaining assembled form of missiles to reduce the reaction time. This could be taken a step further to the level of actually deploying the assembled missiles tipped with nuclear warheads. However, this approach has many inherent dangers and should be a last resort option. India may also go for deployment of nuclear-tipped missiles in response, which would increase the risk of nuclear war. Maintaining missiles on hair-trigger alert would also increase the chances of accidental war. An extremely short missile flight time of 3-11 minutes between India and Pakistan62 combined with conflict-prone history of South Asia could give rise to an extremely dangerous and unstable situation. This option would, therefore, be counter-productive and should only be adopted as a last resort.

    Pakistan can also go for a triad of nuclear forces. At present, Pakistan has land- and air-based nuclear forces but no sea-based one. Although this approach would diversify Pakistan’s nuclear forces and may ensure survivability of nuclear capability, it would be too costly for Pakistan and not viable in the short term.

    The drawback of the quantitative approach is that it would be costly and would engage Pakistan in an arms race with India. Pakistan can also pursue a qualitative approach to increase deterrence stability. This would include technological improve-ments in its offensive and defensive capabilities. These options could include improvements in the technical base of the delivery systems and associated technologies. Certain technologies can be developed to fog the enemy ABM systems and also to improve the penetration capacity of Pakistan’s delivery systems. Some of these technologies can be improvement in electronic warfare capacity to confuse and defeat Indian radar ability to home-in on incoming targets; manoeuvrings warheads to create problems for the interceptors; and adding decoys to the delivery systems.63

    In the short term, a mix of qualitative and quantitative improvements in Pakistan’s offensive capabilities might be a more viable solution for Pakistan. In the long term, Pakistan needs to acquire advance technologies, like perfecting cruise missile technology, reducing the conventional asymmetry between India and Pakistan, to neutralise the effects of Indian missile defence systems.

    Moreover, Pakistan can also pursue a diplomatic course by suggesting an ABM treaty between India and Pakistan, or by negotiating a zero missile regime between the two countries. However, Pakistan’s proposal for a zero missile regime, along with many other nuclear restraint proposals has been rejected by India in the past.64 Still the diplomatic option needs to be simultaneously pursued. The success of this option would depend on the willingness of both the states to cooperate..

    Missile Defences and China’s Deterrent

    Although China has never publicly discussed its nuclear doctrine since it became a nuclear power in 1964, Chinese leaders often stated that China decided to acquire nuclear weapons only as a response to repeated US and Soviet attempts to blackmail China with the possibility of nuclear attack in the 1950s and 1960s.65 This defensive philosophy underpins the Chinese approach to nuclear planning and force structure. China sees its policy as purely defensive and seeks to convey this with its promise never to attack another state first with nuclear weapons. This no-first-use policy means that its nuclear forces are to be used in retaliation only, and is a core tenet of China’s nuclear strategy.66 China pursues a policy of minimum deterrence.67 Uncertainty about the size and placement of China’s nuclear arsenal is considered critical to the effectiveness of this retaliatory policy.

    China has a well-developed ballistic missile programme to support its minimum nuclear deterrence policy. Chinese ballistic missiles are seen as both conventional and nuclear delivery systems. China’s relatively small MRBM, IRBM, and ICBM forces serve as the primary delivery system for China’s nuclear arsenal developed solely for deterrence purposes against the powerful states like the US and Russia, and to caution other nuclear powers such as India against contemplating the threat or use of WMD against China.

    China’s ballistic missiles range from 150 km SRBM to 8000 km ICBM, as well as SLBMs with 1000 km range.68 Although estimates of China’s nuclear arsenal vary from 180 to over 400 warheads, Jeffery Lewis, based upon US intelligence reports and other sources, places “a realistic estimate of China's nuclear arsenal at a total force of 30 nuclear warheads operationally deployed on ICBMs and another 50-100 on medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs), for a total force of 80-130 nuclear weapons.”69 China is thought to possess 18 DF-5 ICBMs and 12 DF-4 ICBMs, and 50-100 DF-3 and DF-21 medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs). These deployed missiles are un-fueled and not mated with their warheads.70
  4. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    In the context of deterrence vis-à-vis India, China’s deployed nuclear arsenal of 50-100 MRBMs comprising its DF-3 and DF-21 missiles would be more than a match for India’s Prithvi and Agni missiles. India’s estimated nuclear arsenal of 45-9571 warheads would be far inferior to China’s 130-180 warhead estimate. China is a large country with strategic depth, any missiles deployed well within its territory would fall out of range of any missile defences India might deploy. Moreover, even if India does have a limited intercept capability against Chinese missiles, China’s missile numbers would be adequate to saturate any missile defence. China is also developing sea-based nuclear capability. A Chinese triad of nuclear forces and superiority in nuclear numbers vis-à-vis India means Delhi could not hope to have a second strike capability against China in the near future. It means that even with deployment of missiles defences India would not contemplate a first strike against China, neither would there be any temptation for military adventurism unlike in the case of India versus Pakistan. Therefore, in the short- to medium-term an Indian missile defence is not likely to affect Chinese deterrence.

    However, China might see an Indian missile defence as a threat if it is seen as part of the network of missile defence that the US is promoting among its allies. China has already voiced opposition to the US missile defence plans, and many analysts see China’s strategic force modernisation programme as linked to US missile defence plans.72

    China’s Response

    In the short to medium term, China might respond to Indian missile defences by changing its deployment strategy, by increasing the readiness of its missiles, and by producing more tactical nuclear weapons. China may respond by tripling or even quadrupling of its deployed missiles against India. China could enhance its targeting capability against India through the proposed MIRV/MRV capability that it is developing. However, placing multiple warheads on China's ballistic missiles would probably require Beijing to design and test a new warhead, which is currently prohibited by China's signature on the CTBT. China would also go for countermeasure technologies to defeat an Indian missile defence.

    In the long term, China may even respond by increasing the number of nuclear warheads and by deploying missile defences of its own. In the past, China has shown interest in having missile defences of its own. In 1993, China was reported to have acquired over a hundred Russian S-300 and S-300V systems which included technology transfer as well. There were also some reports of Chinese acquisition of Patriot missile technology from Israel in early 1990s.73 China is also thought to have several defence research and development efforts underway.74 This means that in future China could develop and field limited missile defences of its own.

    Implications for the Region

    An Indian BMD system – whatever its shape and size, whatever its operational shortcomings – will have a major political and psychological impact on both Pakistan and China. Both Pakistan and China would respond to an Indian BMD by bringing quantitative and qualitative changes in their nuclear forces, deployment postures, and perhaps go for missile defences of their own. India would in turn be affected by a buildup of offensive weapons and technologies by Pakistan and China, and would have to enhance its own capabilities in response. This action-reaction spiral is likely to give rise to a regional arms race.

    China, India and Pakistan are enmeshed in a complex three-cornered interaction with great potential for instability. Each member of the nuclear-armed triangle has mounted a war on at least one of the others - China and India fought over their disputed Himalayan boundaries in 1962, and India and Pakistan have gone to war three times, in 1948, 1965 and 1971 and a limited war in 1999. All three states share “lines of actual control” apart from the international borders. In this scenario, the introduction of missile defences will play a destabilising role, disturbing existing patterns of deterrence. Although all three states pledge to minimum deterrence, leaders in all three capitals have also said that deterrence is not a static concept; the requirements of each state would, therefore, depend on what the others are doing or might seek to do.75

    The pursuit of missile defences by India would increase the chances of conflict between India and Pakistan. The deployment of missile defences, irrespective of whether they are effective or not, could create a false sense of security among political and military leadership of India and invite military adventurism or even a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan particularly.76 India and Pakistan have already fought over the issue of Kashmir. In a region where even small incidents like a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 can become the reason for a massive buildup on Pakistani borders (since Pakistan was falsely accused of involvement in the attack), introduction of missile defences would increase India’s inclination towards a more aggressive posture with possible disastrous consequences for the security and stability of the region. Missile defence would also put Pakistan at a disadvantage in a conventional conflict, since it can easily intercept airplanes while surveillance and radar components of missile defence systems would put India at an advantage. Thus, missile defences would also accentuate the conventional imbalance between India and Pakistan.

    Moreover, possible changes in the deployment posture of China and an actual deployment of Pakistani nuclear arsenal would decrease the nuclear threshold between the three nuclear powers in the region. With less escalation ladders and even less decision making time, the chances of miscalculation and accidental nuclear war would increase. The chances of a calculated nuclear exchange would also increase.

    Missile defences will also have a negative impact on arms control efforts. Transfer of BMD technologies from Washington to New Delhi or from Tel Aviv to New Delhi would violate Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).77 Missile defence would undermine regional and global nuclear arms control initiatives and reverse the process of reducing the number of MIRVed warheads in nuclear stockpiles. It would generally weaken China’s support for the CTBT, the MTCR, and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) negotiations. India and Pakistan would also reconsider their support for FMCT in their pursuit of increased number of nuclear weapons. Improvement of warhead designs by Pakistan might necessitate nuclear testing, disturbing the nuclear test ban in effect between India and Pakistan,78 and would also lessen the chances of either India or Pakistan supporting the CTBT. China’s efforts to develop MIRVed warheads would also require testing. The net effect would weaken support for non-proliferation efforts in the region.

    The effect of these developments would be to fuel an arms race between the three nuclear powers in the region. Perhaps not an arms race in the real sense of the word, but it would mean having definitely more offensive arms and technologies in the region.

    Moreover, New Delhi’s deployment of missile defences is likely to jeopardise improved relations between India and China. It would have a negative impact on the peace process between India and Pakistan. India’s move to counter Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent could also make the resolution of the Kashmir dispute more remote and greatly increase the chances of conflict over the issue.

    The social and economic development of the region would also be affected. A region that has high rate of poverty and is underdeveloped, increased spending on offensive and defensive weapons would further retard development and increase poverty. In addition, India’s social and economic development might be adversely affected if funding for missile defences is added to military expenditures. Pakistan would also have to increase its defence expenditure to compensate for qualitative and quantitative changes in its nuclear arsenal and forces. This would amount to unnecessary burden on economies of India and Pakistan, and diversion of resources from much-needed development.


    The idea of missile defences negates the very basis of deterrence. Deterrence works on the assumption that both sides remain vulnerable to nuclear attack and would, therefore, refrain from attacking the other side for fear of retaliation. If one adversary seeks to secure itself from attack through missile defences, the other side is bound to be left vulnerable and would try to pursue countermeasures to neutralise the defences. This scenario is also very much true in the context of India, Pakistan and China. Indian deployment of missile defences would affect Pakistan’s deterrence calculations to a large degree, and China’s to a lesser degree.

    The introduction of missile defences in South Asia by India will not take place in a vacuum. China and Pakistan will respond and reassess their minimum nuclear deterrence requirements. Pursuit of missile defences is only going to give rise to an unnecessary and expensive arms race. In an already conflict prone region, missile defences are only going to bring more insecurity and instability, not only for Pakistan and China, but also for India itself.

    Pakistan and China need to make a concerted diplomatic effort to prevent India from acquiring the missile defence systems. Failing this, both China and Pakistan need to calculate the minimum qualitative and quantitative requirements in order to restore the credibility of their nuclear deterrents. Islamabad and Beijing must not fall prey to an unchecked arms race of the type that ensued between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War and led to the eventual collapse of the latter. Elements within India itself need to realise that pursuit of missile defences would be a costly affair, for systems with no proven capability of providing credible defence against ballistic missiles. Once the existing deterrence equations are disturbed, the possible outcomes cannot be entirely foreseen, or controlled, with possibly disastrous consequences for the region.
  5. Tamil

    Tamil Regular Member

    Jul 23, 2009
    Likes Received:
    We need Full 3 layer Missile defense stysten with in 2020
  6. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

    Feb 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    This reflect more of Pakistani concern, what it does not reflect is true chines concern about the missile defence of India. India has taken over china in that department despite the fact that China conducted the ASAT test, which ofcourse had protest from India and other countries and India's responce to which was to make new agency to look after our space assets.

    China has its own high ambitions in world, China cannot bear the sight of India to be shown as some one which can compete with China in Asia and on world stage.

    their is no doubt in any one that China has huge arsonal of missile which can target all parts of India and present BMD is insufficent to deal with such a threat, but it is also true that China itself does not possess any such system which is true, BMD. What china has at present are Russian S 300 systems, for which sorce code is Russia, more so India also operates S 300 systems therefor Indians have knowledge as to how that perticular systems operates. HQ9 which is illegal copy of S-300 system is not that efficent.

    In comming years what we will see is China conducting BMD tests and tranfereing the tech to Pakistan for soft credit so that they can spoil the advantage to India.
  7. SammyCheung

    SammyCheung Guest

    China has no concern about Indian missile defense. It is no threat to our advanced missiles.

    I wouldn't regard India as being "ahead" here. It's like being ahead in a race going nowhere.

    HQ-9 is the backbone of China's air defense. It is as capable as S-300 PMU-1. This is why China stopped importing S-300 in the 90's, while India continues to import S-300.

  8. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

    Feb 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    ina had some 100-120 battries of S300 system in 2008, they dont rely carbon copy HQ series due to their reliability, as far as India is concern India purchase only 6 battries of S 300 system in 1995, those were found to be inadequite for Indian needs therefore no further orders were place.


    China did not find any buyer for HQ series, later on Pakistan which was close to bankruptcy was pursuded for buy those system for free so that some one my eventually buy those system.
  9. SammyCheung

    SammyCheung Guest

    Which HQ series are you are talking about? All SAM systems in China are HQ series.

    China does not need to be a large arms exporter. The only customer that matters is the PLA itself.
  10. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

    Mar 21, 2009
    Likes Received:
    he is reffering 2 HQ-9.
    so he clamied S-300. which were inidicate for India.

Share This Page