Voices this Week draws together published material on an important strategic issue in South Asia.  This week: new analysis and debate on nuclear issues and trends in South Asia.

Continuing a long-running debate on Indian nuclear doctrine, R. Rajaraman arguesin the Hindu that there is no need for any “radical change” of Indian nuclear doctrine, but that certain features should be “clarified” and others “underlined.” He concludes that a show of determination and toughness on non-nuclear fronts such as terrorism is more important than stockpiling nuclear weapons.”

Also addressing India’s nuclear program, Benjamin Weiss asserts that “there is one crucial topic on which the new prime minister has not been making much noise at all: India’s nuclear deterrent.” He presents: “Modi’s Nukes: Five Questions He Should Be Asking.”

  1. Is “credible minimum deterrent” still an appropriate characterization of India’s nuclear posture?
  2. Is India willing to more explicitly demonstrate the survivability of its arsenal?
  3. How would India respond to a WMD attack carried out by terrorists?
  4. Can India offer clearer, more centralized messaging around its capabilities and deployment status in order to both deter and reassure adversaries?
  5. Will India more energetically and creatively engage with multilateral arms control bodies? 

He contends that “in answering each of the above questions, new and fitting formulations for India’s nuclear posture may begin to emerge, serving to better deter, reassure and promote global nonproliferation—or to put it another way, on the nuclear doctrine front at least, Narendra Modi will be ‘making all the right noises.’”

A new collection of papers, Nuclear Learning in South Asia: The Next Decade, edited by Feroz Hassan Khan, Ryan Jacobs, and Emily Burke at the Naval Postgraduate School, explores the factors that have shaped but also inhibited nuclear learning in South Asia.

Essays in the volume address: the Indian and Pakistani nuclear learning experiences, technological trends and strategic modernization, the evolution of Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, the relationship between nuclear learning and doctrinal thinking, command and control and nuclear “unlearning,arms control and CBMs, and the impact of ballistic missile defense in South Asia.


Image: Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Flickr

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