NUCLEAR TARGETING OPTIONS FOR INDIA

Narendar Singh

NS
Professional
Jan 31, 2018
103
336
Meerut
First Strike[1] is Eschewed
After conducting nuclear test, India declared its policy of ‘no first use’.[2]There is no question of nuclear war fighting as a preferred option as both the aggressor and India may suffer. There will be little satisfaction in the fact ‘they’ suffered more damage then ‘we’. For deterrence all that is needed is the ability to hit at the aggressors who made the first strike, in a guaranteed second strike and cause unacceptable damage.
A ‘no-first use’ doctrine does not take away from India or that matter from any power (France, Britain or Israel) the inherent right to defend itself with all means at its disposal when its very survival is at stake. All that doctrine denies is nuclear war-fighting or early first use of nuclear weapons in the event of conventional hostilities. This is also applicable to tactical nuclear weapons.
If we address the problem from the point of view of the interests of Indian security, in the long term it is obviously necessary to take into account the following circumstances. If only military and strategic aspects are taken into account, the determination and readiness for first use of nuclear weapons in response to any aggression makes nuclear deterrence most effective. Both from the point of view of warning a potential aggressor, as well as in the reliability of the use of nuclear weapons, for any hope of retaliation is obviously forfeited from the military point of view.
However, from the point of view of politics and the interests of global strategic security, the principle of first-use of nuclear weapons has essentially negative aspects.


First of all, in any aggravation of the international situation, the rush not to be last and the rush to use nuclear weapons will lead to dangerous competition, complicating the situation and provoking a preventive nuclear strike. Under such conditions it will be difficult to determine who used the nuclear weapon first and for what reason. It creates the premise for various sorts of risk taking, and for pulling a screen over aggressive actions. Preventive action can be undertaken and nuclear weapons used in ‘response’ to invalidate the aggressive ‘intentions’ of one or another state.[3]
Speaking realistically, who might be the target of India’s first-use of the nuclear weapon? In case of aggression by states surrounding India other then China, India will probably be able to solve defensive problems without using nuclear weapons. If we assume hypothetically that it will be necessary to use nuclear weapons against US, CIS and Russia, it can well result into global war. Then only China is left. But China has undertaken the obligation not to use nuclear weapons first. Besides, massive employment of nuclear weapons on the territory of India and China, threatens larger disasters than its application in say European theater.
Some analyst and military experts assume that the possibility of first use of nuclear weapons by US and Russia is proclaimed in order to intimidate. However, such an approach by India can result in mutual suspicion and hostility, complicating the maintenance of military security.
An intention to assume the strategic initiative, and other purely military principles are not applicable for the nuclear weapon. In this field the political approaches to the prevention of the use of nuclear weapons are especially important.
From the military and strategic point of view, an alternative to preemptive nuclear strike, and one of the ways to increase the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence, can be the provision of guarantee for reliable nuclear retaliation. A readiness to retaliate with nuclear weapons should be sustained only in the case of the use of nuclear weapons by the adversary.
Strategic Targets


India is going to strike only in a retaliatory mode and a first strike is not aimed at degrading adversaries strategic nuclear attack capability. This is a self imposed restraint/ restriction, derived from common sense: as even massive counter force strike cannot assure the attacker that no weapon would survive own attack to be employed as counter to our attack. This may not give the planner enough reassurance of success; but by the same token; it will not give the planner of the first strike any great reassurance of knocking out all the nuclear retaliatory means of the defender. So that the adversary would accept to receive the damage in the second strike and thus be deterred. Dreams of ‘disarming first strikes’ leading to the temptation to ‘go first’ and consequent instability in Indian equations are the think tanks myths. This entire means is that the very high accuracy demanded by surgical strikes against hardened counter force targets will not be required. By the same token weapons with very high yields to compensate for inaccuracies will also not be required.
Nuclear Targeting Philosophy
While working out the target list, Indian Government would have to evolve a nuclear targeting philosophy. The major points would form the basis of such philosophy would be to limit damage and to terminate the conflict or manage the conflict so that political objectives are achieved without use of large resources. The factors mentioned below would contribute to the choice of targeting philosophy:
The desire to terminate the conflict including nuclear exchange at the lowest level, with a view to negotiating the best peace that is politically acceptable.
The need for punitive element that might call for response at a level higher than that, which was received.
The need to minimize casualties.
Purpose of Employment
There has been no discussion or debate on the likely purpose of employment of Nuclear Biological and Chemical Weapons.
The primary purpose of employment of nuclear weapons could be to:
Limit escalation of conflict.
Terminate the nuclear exchange to the lowest level, with a view to negotiating peace that is politically acceptable (This may, for example, consists of minimal counter force targeting).
The other possible purpose of employment of nuclear weapons could be
The need for riposte to be commensurate with the strike received.
The need for punitive element that might call for response at a level higher than that which was received.
Reduce/ degrade enemy’s nuclear arsenal.
To preclude enemy from achieving his objectives.
Deter adversaries, so that conflict escalation is controlled.
In all cases, follow on strike should support the basic purpose of conflict termination in own favour.
While planning targets for nuclear strike, India has to consider environment as prevalent around her:


Immediate Threat (2020-2025). The threat as prevalent today is from conventional weapons, Low Intensity Conflict, and operations against armies technologically which are not very strong. The nuclear weapons although existing are not likely to play a dominant role on the tactical battlefield. The threat of use of tactical nuclear weapons by China would always be there, especially in the remote and sparsely populated Himalayan Region and territories under dispute.[4] However, these weapons would overshadow, all other weapons in the strategic role of deterrence.
Short Term (2025-2030). During the period Chinese modernization program would have completed a decade and would now be in place. The availability of Fissile Material would enable Pakistan to produce larger quantity of weapons. There would also be a qualitative improvement in the type of nuclear weapon available. Miniaturization leading to availability of sub kiloton devices.
Long Term (2040 onwards). It could be expected that there would be a wide range of nuclear weapons with multiple delivery systems available during this period.


One of the major drawbacks in determining targets is the lack of availability of data of the impact of the weapons in atmosphere.[5] All that has been possible is to interpolate data before determining the damage on the target.
Employment Policies
The object of war is always to terminate the violent conflict at the lowest level on terms acceptable to India. Due international abhorrence, it is expected that, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons employment would be coordinated by both military and diplomatic effort. The use of the weapons would be in consonance with the tactical plan. The spectrum of use of weapons may vary from limited to massive retaliation. What ever be the nature of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons, these weapons cannot be used in isolation, but would be integrated with the overall tactical plan.
Because of the potentially grave consequences the Indian Government may not permit the use of Nuclear Weapons until all lesser options are clearly perceived as inadequate to maintain the integrity of India and her allies. This implies that field commanders would be forced to conduct conventional operations under most adverse conditions, including the use of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons by the adversaries before release to use own nuclear weapons is granted. However, it would be the responsibility of the field commander to convey to the government the risk involved without delay of the delay in decision to release the nuclear weapons. In Indian context it would be the General Officer Commanding a Corps (Corps Commander) who would have to be responsible for conduct and planning of employment of Nuclear Weapons. Although the inputs would be made available by the units/ brigades and divisions would be incorporated in Corps Plan.
Targeting Strategy
What deters has been the main agenda for determining the target list of the known nuclear weapon states. The known nuclear weapons states had variety of targets to meet their peculiar requirements. India is no exception. In fact, three of the seven declared weapon states have their battlefields far away from their own homelands. Hence are able to use strategic weapons for targeting value targets. However, Indian situation is totally peculiar, her battle areas are along her borders and hence there is a need to have a mix of both counter value targets and counter force targets to meet her strategic need. In addition, India also has to identify targets in tactical battle area to limit/ deter Chinese employment of nuclear weapons in tactical battle area. Hence, focussing on one target would be hazardous. The target list could include:
Urban/ population centres.
Nuclear Installations.
Other military forces or war supporting infrastructures.
Industrial complexes.


Leadership.[6]
Who is India Deterring, From Doing What and What is the Role of India’s Nuclear Weapons
There is a broad agreement that the above question is fundamental. It is also very difficult to answer in a thoughtful, detailed way without getting lost in an immense web of issues, relationships, unstated assumptions and hidden values. Characterizing the association of resources to power and influence always has been challenging, and in the emerging world will be more challenging than ever.
The following discussions should not be viewed as a precise description of the role of India’s nuclear weapons. But an attempt to think through the likely paths and structures of the new world order, the abiding Indian interests, the challenges to those interests, and the role of nuclear weapons in mastering those challenges.
Methodology.


This discussion reflects an exercise in which number of people were asked to register their subjective reactions to various options, summarized in the Matrix.
The option in the Matrix were chosen by rephrasing the questions listed in the title of the sub paragraph, in terms of the following:
‘Who’ covers four major categories of actors; China, Pakistan, other nuclear weapon states and Non-Nuclear Weapon States.
‘From Doing What’ Covers several categories of actions: attack on Indian Homeland, on Indian Forces, allies and friends, or on others, with nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional weapons; or attempted coercion of the India, of friends or of others.
‘Indian Nuclear Weapons’ are divided into two groupings
Strategic Nuclear Forces
Tactical or Theatre Nuclear Forces.
To describe the results, the following descriptive phrases were chosen:
Significant Role. For options which consistently received value of 8-10.
(b) Will Play a material role. For options which consistently received a value of 5-7.
(c) Very Small Role. For options largely value below 5.
‘To what Extent’ by Indian Nuclear Forces is given in the tables it is in the PDF Format attached



[1] Doctrinal guidelines of United States and NATO stipulate first use of nuclear weapons in response to any aggression, even if it is undertaken with the use of conventional weapons only. Russia also has refused the principle of ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons in the new military doctrine. With the publication of new Russian doctrine both in Russia and in the West, it is observed, ‘Russia, contrary to the USSR does not exclude first use of nuclear weapons’. Russia has rejected the promise of no first use of nuclear weapons, that was declared under Brezhnev’.
I can hardly agree with references to the fact that obligations of no-first use of nuclear weapons have only a propagandistic importance. Such a stance it would be possible to announce as purely declarative even the guidelines of the military doctrine on non-use of the nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states, including any other agreements and obligations. History, knows many cases when contracts and agreements were treacherously broken, but it also reveals examples of their observance, including international regulations concerning non-use of Chemical Weapons during World War II.
If international control for planning and application of nuclear weapons would be established, and agreements directed at realization of this control concluded, it would add to guarantees for restraining the invitation of nuclear war.


[2] At on level the debate ‘on first use’ appears to be over the apparently empirical (but obviously untestable) question of whether nuclear war can be kept limited. Proponents of no first use will argue that it probably cannot be, but nevertheless, through miscalculation or other mischievous happenstance, nuclear war could happen anyway. Opponents of no-first-use insist that nuclear war can, in principle be kept limited.
With no specific scenario in mind, how one feels about no-first-use appears to depend ultimately upon general view of what India’s adversary’s objectives and perceptions might be. Will the adversaries of India perceive the adoption of ‘No first use’ policy declared by India as weakening of Indian resolve, or, to the contrary, could such a policy start despiraling of tension between the two great blocks? For the most part, discussion on the ‘no first use’, do not explicitly engage these questions. Indian perceptions appear too elusive and subject to challenge. It is easier and safer to pretend that one’s prescriptions are largely independent of adversary’s attitudes and behaviour. But, in fact, how one answers these questions informs a considerable part of debate on no-first use.


[3] Suffice it to recall, even the completely obvious aggression of Hitler against Russia in 1941 is still debated and doubted in some circles. The initiator of aggression can always find a pretext for, and conceive justification for, its actions.
[4] China is carrying out the ‘Four Modernization’. It is not expected that China would embark on an adventure into India till the modernization of her armed forces are complete. At present India enjoys technological superiority over Chinese Armed Forces.
[5] India has not conducted any nuclear test in atmosphere and is signatory Partial Test Ban Treaty.
[6] Targeting of adversaries political leadership in the modern battle conditions is not advisable. Due international interest in any conflict there is need to keep a channel of communication open for dialogue to terminate the conflict at the lowest level. Hence, it would be preferable not to target the adversaries leadership.

‘To what Extent’ by Indian Nuclear Forces is given in the tables below
NUMBER OF WEAPONS INDIA NEED
Targets
Having considered the deterrence as the main philosophy of the nation now let us just determine the possible targets. The scenario of possible use has been discussed in Chapter 2. At the present and in the given situation, the upkeep of nuclear parity and opportunity for retaliation has lost its former importance. In general, it is possible to say that nuclear weapons will act in the future as a means of strategic deterrence. India, however, has to cater for China, which has decided to retain tactical nuclear weapons and has been changing their concept of war, from total or major war to limited war. China has embraced the creation of operational and tactical nuclear weapons, which could give her the advantage over states that eliminate such nuclear weapons. India with limited number of nuclear weapons, with low accuracy and reliability would have to be prudent in selecting targets. Deterrence however, is not measured in terms of any equation of damages on each side can inflict on the
other and on this basis, the side which inflicts greater damage exercise greater deterrence. In my analysis deterrence is related to extent of punishment[1] a country is prepared to accept with reference to the stake it has in the outcome of the conflict.
Hence, what India needs is not numerical definition but an approach, which is wholesome? The chief characteristics would be :
Survivability.
Will to execute / retaliate.
What then is the number of targets and the nuclear arsenal required to accomplish the mission of deterrence. As noted above this chapter is designed to identify targets that India needs to engage and determine the probable situations when the nuclear weapons would be employed on the given targets. For the analysis I had divided the situations into four parts as discussed above.
China


United Kingdom, France and China have played it safe and exclusively targeted cities.[2] The limitations of number and options available, in a sense, simplify the choice of the targets. India is in the same boat as these three countries found themselves in, in the East-West, Sino-Soviet and Sino-US versus Soviet Union confrontations during the Cold War. India would have to target large cities. In the main to deter China, for instance India would have to target, for instance, Beijing and the commercial and industrial concentrations on the Eastern, South Eastern and Southern sea board, including Hongkong and Shanghai, suggests themselves as obvious targets.[3] A secondary list should include prominent Chinese military and weapon complexes, among them, the North West Nuclear Weapons Research and Development Academy (the so called Ninth Academy) inclusive of the testing site at Lop Nor in Xinjiang, the aircraft production complexes in Sichuan and Yunan, which are adjoining India, the naval bases on Hainan Island and the Bohai Shipyard in Huludao, Laoning province, constructed with Soviet help to manufacture nuclear submarines.[4]
The weapon delivery systems deployed today can reach anywhere in China. It is conceivable that some of the China’s nuclear delivery systems may be located within Indian weapon range. These counter force targets are the only ones that India can threaten.



[1] The United States casualties were 50,000 dead and 1,50,000 wounded in Vietnam, before US withdrew from Vietnam. While US evacuated from Lebanon and Somalia when only few casualties were suffered (200 and some 30 odd). The US states in Lebanon and Somalia was not high enough to make casualties acceptable. When we talk of deterrence between India and China, Will China risk Kunming, Chengdu at the present and Guangzu later- when and if India deploys Agni- for any conceivable political, military or strategic objective. Similarly, is Kashmir worth the loss of Lahore for Pakistan? The answer to these questions is just not there.
[2] Hopkins, John. C., and Weixing Hu. (eds), ‘Strategic View from The Second Tier’, (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publisher, 1995)
[3] Some useful information about the possible Chinese Targets is found in Brigadier Vijai K. Nair (Retd), ‘Nuclear India’, (New Delhi: Lancer International, 1992). See Tables 8.4 and 8.5, pp. 149-151
[4] The names and locations of the major Chines Nuclear and Conventional arms production centers may be found in John Wilson Lewis and Xue Litai, ‘Chinese Strategic Sea Power: The Politics of Force Modernization in the Nuclear Age’, (Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1994), pp. 80-81, 103.
 

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vstol Jockey

Professional
Dec 1, 2017
5,858
11,366
New Delhi
Sir, in 1998, we had conducted full spectrum of nuke deterrence tests including sub kiloton devices. We told the world that sub kiloton devices were to generate data for computer simulation. However we all know that the real purpose was far from it. Pakistan's development of TNW is a counter to our development and deployment of such devices. The stated nuke policy of India is massive retaliation to the extent of completely destroying the enemy who uses nukes against us. I agree with your POV that such a policy is best deterrence to stop use of nukes in case of real war especially for nations like Pakistan who do not have means to take out the first wave of nukes-BMD. For any person who uses such devices in war the biggest question he will have to answer will be-what if the first strike fails?????
And this question in itself is the answer and the deterrence.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: _Anonymous_

_Anonymous_

Senior Member
Dec 4, 2017
13,760
9,826
Mumbai
First Strike[1] is Eschewed
After conducting nuclear test, India declared its policy of ‘no first use’.[2]There is no question of nuclear war fighting as a preferred option as both the aggressor and India may suffer. There will be little satisfaction in the fact ‘they’ suffered more damage then ‘we’. For deterrence all that is needed is the ability to hit at the aggressors who made the first strike, in a guaranteed second strike and cause unacceptable damage.
A ‘no-first use’ doctrine does not take away from India or that matter from any power (France, Britain or Israel) the inherent right to defend itself with all means at its disposal when its very survival is at stake. All that doctrine denies is nuclear war-fighting or early first use of nuclear weapons in the event of conventional hostilities. This is also applicable to tactical nuclear weapons.
If we address the problem from the point of view of the interests of Indian security, in the long term it is obviously necessary to take into account the following circumstances. If only military and strategic aspects are taken into account, the determination and readiness for first use of nuclear weapons in response to any aggression makes nuclear deterrence most effective. Both from the point of view of warning a potential aggressor, as well as in the reliability of the use of nuclear weapons, for any hope of retaliation is obviously forfeited from the military point of view.
However, from the point of view of politics and the interests of global strategic security, the principle of first-use of nuclear weapons has essentially negative aspects.


First of all, in any aggravation of the international situation, the rush not to be last and the rush to use nuclear weapons will lead to dangerous competition, complicating the situation and provoking a preventive nuclear strike. Under such conditions it will be difficult to determine who used the nuclear weapon first and for what reason. It creates the premise for various sorts of risk taking, and for pulling a screen over aggressive actions. Preventive action can be undertaken and nuclear weapons used in ‘response’ to invalidate the aggressive ‘intentions’ of one or another state.[3]
Speaking realistically, who might be the target of India’s first-use of the nuclear weapon? In case of aggression by states surrounding India other then China, India will probably be able to solve defensive problems without using nuclear weapons. If we assume hypothetically that it will be necessary to use nuclear weapons against US, CIS and Russia, it can well result into global war. Then only China is left. But China has undertaken the obligation not to use nuclear weapons first. Besides, massive employment of nuclear weapons on the territory of India and China, threatens larger disasters than its application in say European theater.
Some analyst and military experts assume that the possibility of first use of nuclear weapons by US and Russia is proclaimed in order to intimidate. However, such an approach by India can result in mutual suspicion and hostility, complicating the maintenance of military security.
An intention to assume the strategic initiative, and other purely military principles are not applicable for the nuclear weapon. In this field the political approaches to the prevention of the use of nuclear weapons are especially important.
From the military and strategic point of view, an alternative to preemptive nuclear strike, and one of the ways to increase the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence, can be the provision of guarantee for reliable nuclear retaliation. A readiness to retaliate with nuclear weapons should be sustained only in the case of the use of nuclear weapons by the adversary.
Strategic Targets


India is going to strike only in a retaliatory mode and a first strike is not aimed at degrading adversaries strategic nuclear attack capability. This is a self imposed restraint/ restriction, derived from common sense: as even massive counter force strike cannot assure the attacker that no weapon would survive own attack to be employed as counter to our attack. This may not give the planner enough reassurance of success; but by the same token; it will not give the planner of the first strike any great reassurance of knocking out all the nuclear retaliatory means of the defender. So that the adversary would accept to receive the damage in the second strike and thus be deterred. Dreams of ‘disarming first strikes’ leading to the temptation to ‘go first’ and consequent instability in Indian equations are the think tanks myths. This entire means is that the very high accuracy demanded by surgical strikes against hardened counter force targets will not be required. By the same token weapons with very high yields to compensate for inaccuracies will also not be required.
Nuclear Targeting Philosophy
While working out the target list, Indian Government would have to evolve a nuclear targeting philosophy. The major points would form the basis of such philosophy would be to limit damage and to terminate the conflict or manage the conflict so that political objectives are achieved without use of large resources. The factors mentioned below would contribute to the choice of targeting philosophy:
The desire to terminate the conflict including nuclear exchange at the lowest level, with a view to negotiating the best peace that is politically acceptable.
The need for punitive element that might call for response at a level higher than that, which was received.
The need to minimize casualties.
Purpose of Employment
There has been no discussion or debate on the likely purpose of employment of Nuclear Biological and Chemical Weapons.
The primary purpose of employment of nuclear weapons could be to:
Limit escalation of conflict.
Terminate the nuclear exchange to the lowest level, with a view to negotiating peace that is politically acceptable (This may, for example, consists of minimal counter force targeting).
The other possible purpose of employment of nuclear weapons could be
The need for riposte to be commensurate with the strike received.
The need for punitive element that might call for response at a level higher than that which was received.
Reduce/ degrade enemy’s nuclear arsenal.
To preclude enemy from achieving his objectives.
Deter adversaries, so that conflict escalation is controlled.
In all cases, follow on strike should support the basic purpose of conflict termination in own favour.
While planning targets for nuclear strike, India has to consider environment as prevalent around her:


Immediate Threat (2020-2025). The threat as prevalent today is from conventional weapons, Low Intensity Conflict, and operations against armies technologically which are not very strong. The nuclear weapons although existing are not likely to play a dominant role on the tactical battlefield. The threat of use of tactical nuclear weapons by China would always be there, especially in the remote and sparsely populated Himalayan Region and territories under dispute.[4] However, these weapons would overshadow, all other weapons in the strategic role of deterrence.
Short Term (2025-2030). During the period Chinese modernization program would have completed a decade and would now be in place. The availability of Fissile Material would enable Pakistan to produce larger quantity of weapons. There would also be a qualitative improvement in the type of nuclear weapon available. Miniaturization leading to availability of sub kiloton devices.
Long Term (2040 onwards). It could be expected that there would be a wide range of nuclear weapons with multiple delivery systems available during this period.


One of the major drawbacks in determining targets is the lack of availability of data of the impact of the weapons in atmosphere.[5] All that has been possible is to interpolate data before determining the damage on the target.
Employment Policies
The object of war is always to terminate the violent conflict at the lowest level on terms acceptable to India. Due international abhorrence, it is expected that, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons employment would be coordinated by both military and diplomatic effort. The use of the weapons would be in consonance with the tactical plan. The spectrum of use of weapons may vary from limited to massive retaliation. What ever be the nature of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons, these weapons cannot be used in isolation, but would be integrated with the overall tactical plan.
Because of the potentially grave consequences the Indian Government may not permit the use of Nuclear Weapons until all lesser options are clearly perceived as inadequate to maintain the integrity of India and her allies. This implies that field commanders would be forced to conduct conventional operations under most adverse conditions, including the use of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons by the adversaries before release to use own nuclear weapons is granted. However, it would be the responsibility of the field commander to convey to the government the risk involved without delay of the delay in decision to release the nuclear weapons. In Indian context it would be the General Officer Commanding a Corps (Corps Commander) who would have to be responsible for conduct and planning of employment of Nuclear Weapons. Although the inputs would be made available by the units/ brigades and divisions would be incorporated in Corps Plan.
Targeting Strategy
What deters has been the main agenda for determining the target list of the known nuclear weapon states. The known nuclear weapons states had variety of targets to meet their peculiar requirements. India is no exception. In fact, three of the seven declared weapon states have their battlefields far away from their own homelands. Hence are able to use strategic weapons for targeting value targets. However, Indian situation is totally peculiar, her battle areas are along her borders and hence there is a need to have a mix of both counter value targets and counter force targets to meet her strategic need. In addition, India also has to identify targets in tactical battle area to limit/ deter Chinese employment of nuclear weapons in tactical battle area. Hence, focussing on one target would be hazardous. The target list could include:
Urban/ population centres.
Nuclear Installations.
Other military forces or war supporting infrastructures.
Industrial complexes.


Leadership.[6]
Who is India Deterring, From Doing What and What is the Role of India’s Nuclear Weapons
There is a broad agreement that the above question is fundamental. It is also very difficult to answer in a thoughtful, detailed way without getting lost in an immense web of issues, relationships, unstated assumptions and hidden values. Characterizing the association of resources to power and influence always has been challenging, and in the emerging world will be more challenging than ever.
The following discussions should not be viewed as a precise description of the role of India’s nuclear weapons. But an attempt to think through the likely paths and structures of the new world order, the abiding Indian interests, the challenges to those interests, and the role of nuclear weapons in mastering those challenges.
Methodology.


This discussion reflects an exercise in which number of people were asked to register their subjective reactions to various options, summarized in the Matrix.
The option in the Matrix were chosen by rephrasing the questions listed in the title of the sub paragraph, in terms of the following:
‘Who’ covers four major categories of actors; China, Pakistan, other nuclear weapon states and Non-Nuclear Weapon States.
‘From Doing What’ Covers several categories of actions: attack on Indian Homeland, on Indian Forces, allies and friends, or on others, with nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional weapons; or attempted coercion of the India, of friends or of others.
‘Indian Nuclear Weapons’ are divided into two groupings
Strategic Nuclear Forces
Tactical or Theatre Nuclear Forces.
To describe the results, the following descriptive phrases were chosen:
Significant Role. For options which consistently received value of 8-10.
(b) Will Play a material role. For options which consistently received a value of 5-7.
(c) Very Small Role. For options largely value below 5.
‘To what Extent’ by Indian Nuclear Forces is given in the tables it is in the PDF Format attached



[1] Doctrinal guidelines of United States and NATO stipulate first use of nuclear weapons in response to any aggression, even if it is undertaken with the use of conventional weapons only. Russia also has refused the principle of ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons in the new military doctrine. With the publication of new Russian doctrine both in Russia and in the West, it is observed, ‘Russia, contrary to the USSR does not exclude first use of nuclear weapons’. Russia has rejected the promise of no first use of nuclear weapons, that was declared under Brezhnev’.
I can hardly agree with references to the fact that obligations of no-first use of nuclear weapons have only a propagandistic importance. Such a stance it would be possible to announce as purely declarative even the guidelines of the military doctrine on non-use of the nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states, including any other agreements and obligations. History, knows many cases when contracts and agreements were treacherously broken, but it also reveals examples of their observance, including international regulations concerning non-use of Chemical Weapons during World War II.
If international control for planning and application of nuclear weapons would be established, and agreements directed at realization of this control concluded, it would add to guarantees for restraining the invitation of nuclear war.


[2] At on level the debate ‘on first use’ appears to be over the apparently empirical (but obviously untestable) question of whether nuclear war can be kept limited. Proponents of no first use will argue that it probably cannot be, but nevertheless, through miscalculation or other mischievous happenstance, nuclear war could happen anyway. Opponents of no-first-use insist that nuclear war can, in principle be kept limited.
With no specific scenario in mind, how one feels about no-first-use appears to depend ultimately upon general view of what India’s adversary’s objectives and perceptions might be. Will the adversaries of India perceive the adoption of ‘No first use’ policy declared by India as weakening of Indian resolve, or, to the contrary, could such a policy start despiraling of tension between the two great blocks? For the most part, discussion on the ‘no first use’, do not explicitly engage these questions. Indian perceptions appear too elusive and subject to challenge. It is easier and safer to pretend that one’s prescriptions are largely independent of adversary’s attitudes and behaviour. But, in fact, how one answers these questions informs a considerable part of debate on no-first use.


[3] Suffice it to recall, even the completely obvious aggression of Hitler against Russia in 1941 is still debated and doubted in some circles. The initiator of aggression can always find a pretext for, and conceive justification for, its actions.
[4] China is carrying out the ‘Four Modernization’. It is not expected that China would embark on an adventure into India till the modernization of her armed forces are complete. At present India enjoys technological superiority over Chinese Armed Forces.
[5] India has not conducted any nuclear test in atmosphere and is signatory Partial Test Ban Treaty.
[6] Targeting of adversaries political leadership in the modern battle conditions is not advisable. Due international interest in any conflict there is need to keep a channel of communication open for dialogue to terminate the conflict at the lowest level. Hence, it would be preferable not to target the adversaries leadership.

‘To what Extent’ by Indian Nuclear Forces is given in the tables below
NUMBER OF WEAPONS INDIA NEED
Targets
Having considered the deterrence as the main philosophy of the nation now let us just determine the possible targets. The scenario of possible use has been discussed in Chapter 2. At the present and in the given situation, the upkeep of nuclear parity and opportunity for retaliation has lost its former importance. In general, it is possible to say that nuclear weapons will act in the future as a means of strategic deterrence. India, however, has to cater for China, which has decided to retain tactical nuclear weapons and has been changing their concept of war, from total or major war to limited war. China has embraced the creation of operational and tactical nuclear weapons, which could give her the advantage over states that eliminate such nuclear weapons. India with limited number of nuclear weapons, with low accuracy and reliability would have to be prudent in selecting targets. Deterrence however, is not measured in terms of any equation of damages on each side can inflict on the
other and on this basis, the side which inflicts greater damage exercise greater deterrence. In my analysis deterrence is related to extent of punishment[1] a country is prepared to accept with reference to the stake it has in the outcome of the conflict.
Hence, what India needs is not numerical definition but an approach, which is wholesome? The chief characteristics would be :
Survivability.
Will to execute / retaliate.
What then is the number of targets and the nuclear arsenal required to accomplish the mission of deterrence. As noted above this chapter is designed to identify targets that India needs to engage and determine the probable situations when the nuclear weapons would be employed on the given targets. For the analysis I had divided the situations into four parts as discussed above.
China


United Kingdom, France and China have played it safe and exclusively targeted cities.[2] The limitations of number and options available, in a sense, simplify the choice of the targets. India is in the same boat as these three countries found themselves in, in the East-West, Sino-Soviet and Sino-US versus Soviet Union confrontations during the Cold War. India would have to target large cities. In the main to deter China, for instance India would have to target, for instance, Beijing and the commercial and industrial concentrations on the Eastern, South Eastern and Southern sea board, including Hongkong and Shanghai, suggests themselves as obvious targets.[3] A secondary list should include prominent Chinese military and weapon complexes, among them, the North West Nuclear Weapons Research and Development Academy (the so called Ninth Academy) inclusive of the testing site at Lop Nor in Xinjiang, the aircraft production complexes in Sichuan and Yunan, which are adjoining India, the naval bases on Hainan Island and the Bohai Shipyard in Huludao, Laoning province, constructed with Soviet help to manufacture nuclear submarines.[4]
The weapon delivery systems deployed today can reach anywhere in China. It is conceivable that some of the China’s nuclear delivery systems may be located within Indian weapon range. These counter force targets are the only ones that India can threaten.



[1] The United States casualties were 50,000 dead and 1,50,000 wounded in Vietnam, before US withdrew from Vietnam. While US evacuated from Lebanon and Somalia when only few casualties were suffered (200 and some 30 odd). The US states in Lebanon and Somalia was not high enough to make casualties acceptable. When we talk of deterrence between India and China, Will China risk Kunming, Chengdu at the present and Guangzu later- when and if India deploys Agni- for any conceivable political, military or strategic objective. Similarly, is Kashmir worth the loss of Lahore for Pakistan? The answer to these questions is just not there.
[2] Hopkins, John. C., and Weixing Hu. (eds), ‘Strategic View from The Second Tier’, (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publisher, 1995)
[3] Some useful information about the possible Chinese Targets is found in Brigadier Vijai K. Nair (Retd), ‘Nuclear India’, (New Delhi: Lancer International, 1992). See Tables 8.4 and 8.5, pp. 149-151
[4] The names and locations of the major Chines Nuclear and Conventional arms production centers may be found in John Wilson Lewis and Xue Litai, ‘Chinese Strategic Sea Power: The Politics of Force Modernization in the Nuclear Age’, (Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1994), pp. 80-81, 103.
Extremely well compiled, comprehensive & illuminating article. On a personal note, it shed a lot of light on grey areas w. r. t India & clarified a lot of doubts. Thanks once again.
 

Arvind

The PoKeMon
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Dec 1, 2017
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This article has left so many grey areas, perhaps on purpose.

Many a time I started a section, finding the headline a big question for me, just to end it with no clear answers provided.

:cautious:
 
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Narendar Singh

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Jan 31, 2018
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This article has left so many grey areas, perhaps on purpose.

Many a time I started a section, finding the headline a big question for me, just to end it with no clear answers provided.

:cautious:
Thanks. Would like to add the possible areas you would like to be discussed. Some answers are only with political leadership. I suggest if you could read
(a) Col Dr Narendar Singh (2007) Conduct of War (New Delhi: Manas Publications) Chapter 1 pp. 17-55. (ISBN 9788170493181)
(b) Col Dr Narendar Singh (2017) Security Policy of India- Modi Doctrine (New Delhi: Pentagon Press). (ISBN 9788182749399)
 

Shajida Khan

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Dec 27, 2017
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@Narendar Singh Sir, what measures are in place to ensure that India will carry out a punitive counter strike in case of first strike? I mean we have likes of Sushma Swaraj who always parrot "India is not looking for escalation" line. What if PM (may be owing to external political pressure) decides not to go for a counter strike after 4-5 nuclear strikes on important Indian cities, are there mechanisms in place that will ensure India retaliates?
 

nair

nair
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Nov 30, 2017
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Sushma Swaraj who always parrot "India is not looking for escalation" line
Please understand these messages are out for a reason.....Everyone plays their role as per the script decided.....Some time the messages are conveyed to create confusion..... Remember what did Modi say before the Surgical strike? He said let us together fight a war against poverty......
 

Narendar Singh

NS
Professional
Jan 31, 2018
103
336
Meerut
@Narendar Singh Sir, what measures are in place to ensure that India will carry out a punitive counter strike in case of first strike? I mean we have likes of Sushma Swaraj who always parrot "India is not looking for escalation" line. What if PM (may be owing to external political pressure) decides not to go for a counter strike after 4-5 nuclear strikes on important Indian cities, are there mechanisms in place that will ensure India retaliates?
One simple answer Yes.
 

Golden_Rule

Boundless Seeker
Dec 6, 2017
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Thanks. Would like to add the possible areas you would like to be discussed. Some answers are only with political leadership. I suggest if you could read
(a) Col Dr Narendar Singh (2007) Conduct of War (New Delhi: Manas Publications) Chapter 1 pp. 17-55. (ISBN 9788170493181)
(b) Col Dr Narendar Singh (2017) Security Policy of India- Modi Doctrine (New Delhi: Pentagon Press). (ISBN 9788182749399)

I had this - The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition by Narendar Singh Sarila
 
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