THE CONTEST OF NUCLEAR MUSCLE: South Asia
Introduction. Pakistan and India are the two arch rivals in South Asia. Both are historically and customarily enemies. Paradoxically they have grown while engaged in cut throat competition with each other. They are nuclear powers; Pakistan following the Indian Smiling Buddha, 1974, became a nuclear power. A comparative inventory-cum-nuclear capability is presented here. (Khan and Waseem, 2016) and (CSIS, White Paper, 2015).
Strategy. Before moving further a bit of elaboration of the phrases used with reference to strategy. The phrase â€˜strategyâ€™ carries wide and vast meanings. The understanding and its implications become further complex when stipulated with different pre-fixes and post-fixes; for instance grand strategy, geo-strategy, strategic stability/instability, strategic space etc. Strategy is â€œâ€¦[A] word stemming from the ancient Greek term for a general and general ship, refers to the relating of military power to the political purposeâ€ (Gray, 1982, p. 4). Strategy by this definition makes specific reference to military power; however, the concept of grand strategy is above it, and encompasses, higher strategies. â€˜Grand Strategyâ€™ would relate and pertain to all assets of the state for the achievement of political goals. (Gray, 1982). And it has not been an easy task to co-relate military power to political purpose. The National Security Council must be in this a fix, following the policy statement by Trump on 21st August 2017.
a. Geostrategic Environment. The phrase strategic environment will comprise terms and concepts like, strategic space, strategic stability and instability equation, threats to strategic stability and its implications in Indian Ocean Region. The scope of strategic environment includes tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) (Pattanaik, 2016). While all countries try and maintain and secure Sea Lanes of Communications, the real goal is â€˜strategic balanceâ€™. And though word balance has been used it actually implies to dominate, or at least not allowing other powers to dominate.
b. Strategic Stability. Strategic stability implies that likelihood of a conventional war turning into a nuclear conflict is very low. Strategic stability implies a dynamic phenomenon between two (or more) states or state level representatives to agree to inventories, methods and procedures (check and balances) for keeping the scope and level of potential threat known to each other; and thus stabilising the nuclear posturing.
A Comparative Brief
a. Has nuclear weapons stockpile of 90-110 warheads. Pakistan achieved a decade earlier, than what was guessed (Norris and Kristensen, 2009).
b. Apr 2011, Short-range Cruise Missile Nasr- 60 km. It was most suited for non-strategic battlefield.
c. Has three operational nuclear capable missiles; Short-range Ghaznavi (Hatf -3), Shaheen I (Hatf-4), and medium-range Ghauri (Hatf-5), Shaheen II (Hatf-6), and short-range Abdali (Hatf-7), and Raad (Hatf-8). Babar and Raad both have stealth capability and pin-point accuracy. These are low-altitude terrain hugging missiles, with high manoeuvrability.
d. Two new plutonium production reactors are being built. New delivery systems are also being developed. a. Estimated to have produced 520 kg of weapon-grade plutonium. It is sufficient for 100-130 nuclear warheads.
b. India has produced 80-100 nuclear warheads.
c. India has three land-based missile; Prithvi I, (Agni I, and medium range Agni II. Agni I and II have reliability issues. Trying to develop four more Agni versions. Prithvi I is their mainstay. Agni II can be launched from road or rail, it has 2000 km range.
d. Agni V is long range, with a range greater than 5,000 km, it can reach any spot in China.
e. Currently developing Dhurva plutonium production reactor. Plans to build another near Visakapatnam.
f. India is building an unsafeguarded reactor at Indra Gandhi near Kalpakkam.
g. Jul 2011, test fired mobile short-range solid fuel missile, Prahaar. Could reach to almost all population centres, of Pakistan, in Sindh and Punjab.
Soon after the end of Kargil War, India revealed itâ€™s Draft Nuclear Doctrine. Later, a Limited War Doctrine was officially adopted in 2000. In fact serious debate ensued among the Indian strategists to infer and establish â€œâ€¦ [T]hat there is plenty of strategic space available between a low-intensity war and a nuclear thresholdâ€ (Khan and Waseem, 2016, p. 10). Indians believed that superiority in limited and conventional war would give them a great deal of advantage. However, a dictum must not be forgotten that it takes one to initiate the war, but require both or all parties to keep it down, and below the nuclear threshold. Such a strategic environment led India to formulate a Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) in 2004.
Both these states have to have rational restraints, to affect deterrence. However, the history does not support an optimistic future.
Gray, C. S. (1982). Strategic studies: A critical analysis. Connecticut. Greenwood Press.
Khan, Z., & Waseem, R. (2015). South Asian Strategic Paradox: India-Pakistan Nuclear Flux. Strategic Studies,35 (2), 1-28.
Pattanaik, S. S. (2016). Indian Ocean in the emerging geo-strategic context: Examining Indiaâ€™s relations with its maritime South Asian neighbours. Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, 12(2), 126â€“142.http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19480881.2016.1226750
Norris, R.S., & Kristensen, H.M. - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2009. Nuclear notebook: Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2009