Preparing For World War 3 (Revelation 15)

World War 3: India-Pakistan Nuclear War In The Near Future Is PossibleWORLD WAR 3: INDIA-PAKISTAN NUCLEAR WAR IN THE NEAR FUTURE IS POSSIBLE

Could India and Pakistan really go to nuclear war? After all, both countries have long been nuclear powers, a restraint that encloses the lives of a combined 1.4 billion people. Both the nations have roughly 120-130 nuclear warheads each and enough delivery systems to deploy these warheads.


India has a clearly larger military with access to more defence reserves, budgets and resources than Pakistan.


Pakistan has historically had US and China support them in all three wars fought in 1965, 1971 and 1999. US will most likely either take a neutral stand or try to get the UN involved to arbitrate. India can always expect support from Russia and Israel in getting appropriate weapons and intel to combat the enemy. Also, India will have a strategic geographic advantage of having an Ally in Afghanistan.


India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world in the last decade. India’s economic stability will help them sustain the cost of war for much longer than Pakistan.


India has been a stable democracy pretty much since the independence and partition. Unlike Pakistan, there has never been a tug of war between the Government, Military and the Intelligence Agency.


India has a policy of “No First Attack” if the situation ever boils down to a Nuclear War.
At the end, there is no immediate threat, but along with a strong Indian response guaranteed in the event of cross-border terror adventurism, factors like non-state actors and the rising pitch of rhetoric can lead to disaster.

Prelude To A Nuclear Storm (Revelation 8)

Agni-11Storm in a teacup

The writer is a foreign policy expert based in Washington, DC
Last month, Indian-American scholar Vipin Narang stirred a storm by casting doubt on the sanctity of India’s No-First-Use (NFU) pledge on nuclear weapons and positing the possibility of Indian pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan. Since, the Pakistani state and several experts have pointed to the Indian hypocrisy of claiming an NFU that they no longer plan to honour.
I would have usually dismissed the response as business as usual. Worryingly, there is more, it seems. In the past few weeks, I have heard regular references to Narang’s comments in Pakistani policy circles, and even discussions suggesting that Pakistan must consider its implications seriously. The talk continues.
I am alarmed because I found some of these conversations to be strikingly similar to what I heard a decade ago when the Indian army floated its Cold Start doctrine — a Pakistan-specific limited war strategy conceived by the Indian army after the 2001-02 crisis with Pakistan.
In that crisis, India not only discovered that its nuclear weapons have no bearing on the ability of terrorists to strike inside India, but also that its ability to leverage its superior conventional might was neutralised by Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent. Cold Start offered India an option to wage limited war that would punish Pakistan selectively, without bringing Pakistani nuclear use in response into play.
In 2007, three years after Cold Start was floated, I, along with several other scholars, analysed this Indian doctrine threadbare. The question posed to me was why Pakistan had not reacted to the doctrine in any visible way. I argued that Pakistan hadn’t and wouldn’t because Cold Start did not alter the military’s Order of Battle, or its ability to neutralise India’s conventional aggression, given that its short lines of communication and forward bases already secured it against such an Indian adventure. I was wrong.

The state has never believed in the sanctity of the Indian NFU.

Pakistan reacted, in fact overreacted, by developing a fresh tactical nuclear weapon capability. Most objective analysts agree that Cold Start is simply not executable, and even if it were, Pakistan’s conventional forces could easily tackle it. Moreover, the Nasr missile defies decades of experience during the Cold War that confirms the exorbitant risks attached to fielding battlefield nuclear weapons.
For now, Nasr has offered the latest reason for the world to question the dangers posed by Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
The NFU saga is also a storm in a teacup, no more. Vipin Narang is a well-respected Indian-American scholar who neither speaks for the Indian establishment, nor claims to have any clout over it. He made these remarks while speaking on a conference panel that specifically focused on envisioning hypothetical scenarios that entailed nuclear weapons use.
As scholars often do in such gatherings, Narang went for a counterintuitive scenario rather than the run-of-the-mill one that would have envisioned a Pakistani first use, probably of its tactical nuclear weapon against invading Indian conventional forces. Basing his observations on the statements of senior Indian ex-officials, he posited Indian pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Narang clearly wished to provoke an analytical debate on the sanctity of India’s NFU.
But he wasn’t claiming anything had happened in the days preceding his talk that had made such an Indian first-use likelier than before.
I am not arguing that the concern about India’s loosening NFU is made up. Indeed, this has been an ongoing debate in India and several serious voices have hinted that the posture may not be as sacrosanct after all. It is also true that a country’s shift from NFU to first-use is no trivial development. Under certain contexts, it could require the rival to consider significant changes in force planning, postures, deployment protocols, etc.
Luckily, this isn’t the case for Pakistan.
The reality is that the Pakistani nuclear est­a­bl­­ishment and experts alike have never believed in the sanctity of the Indian NFU to begin with. No Pakistani nuclear or conventional choices assume a credible Indian NFU; in fact, all discount it.
This isn’t surprising. After all, even though an NFU directly impacts force requirements and postures, at its heart, it is a declaratory commitment that can never be fully verified. When rivals are as mutually distrusting as India and Pakistan, scepticism about such declarations is only natural.
But this also implies that Pakistan needn’t worry about an Indian shift away from the NFU, much less a fanciful scenario (according to Narang himself) of an Indian pre-emptive strike. This is the time to exhibit the psychological security that behooves a nuclear power confident of its capability. To the contrary, reacting to an independent scholar’s academic analysis in this manner suggests exactly the opposite.
The development of Nasr has already shown the kind of decisions such insecurity can produce. Pakistan must not fall in this trap again.
The writer is a foreign policy expert based in Washington, DC

India Ready To Play Nuclear Hardball (Revelation 8)

india-test-fires-supersonic-land-attack-cruise-missile-1446905094-9954Nuclear scholars infer India may be jettisoning no-first-use of nukes against Pakistan
Chidanand Rajghatta | TNN |
WASHINGTON: Nuclear doctrines have come a long way from the time Ronald Reagan declared in 1984 that ”a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Forced to counter Pakistan’s persistent use of terrorism under a nuclear cover and the slippery slope that introduced to the region, India may be re-interpreting its no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy to allow pre-emptive strikes against its neighbor, the nuclear pundits community is deducing, based among other things on cryptic statements from the Indian establishment.
The purported evolution of India’s nuclear doctrine towards pre-emptive first use is primarily based on throwaway remarks made by former defense minister Manohar Parrikar last November wondering why New Delhi should bind itself to a no-first use policy, instead of saying more cryptically that it is a responsible nuclear power and will not use nuclear weapons irresponsibly. Those remarks (which Parrikar immediately clarified were his personal views), taken together with a more deliberative narration in former Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon’s memoir that ”There is a potential gray area as to when India would use nuclear weapons first’‘ against a nuclear-armed adversary, has led some nuclear scholars to infer that New Delhi is moving its nuclear doctrine in a new direction.
Some of the conjecture was articulated by Vipin Narang, an MIT nuclear proliferation scholar, at a Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC, attracting attention of domain experts across the world. Outlining developments in the subcontinent that had led India to conceive of its Cold Start doctrine (a punitive conventional strike) only to have it countered by Pakistan’s development of tactical battlefield nuclear weapons, Narang said it looked increasingly likely that India may abandon its no-first use police and launch a preemptive strike if it believed Pakistan was going to use any kind of nuclear weapons first.
”India’s opening salvo may not be conventional strikes trying to pick off just Nasr batteries in the theatre, but a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction,” Narang said. ”There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first.”
Narang’s presentation caught the attention of nuclear pundits and geo-political scholars both in the subcontinent and the U.S, and on Friday, the New York Times highlighted it with the additional speculation that India could be emboldened to evolve its posture by President Trump’s softer stance on nuclear proliferation.
”This (allowing a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan) would not formally change India’s nuclear doctrine, which bars it from launching a first strike, but would loosen its interpretation to deem pre-emptive strikes as defensive,” the paper said. ”It would also change India’s likely targets, in the event of a war, to make a nuclear exchange more winnable and, therefore, more thinkable.”
Narang’s inference about a possible change in India’s nuclear posture vis-a-vis Pakistan brought a more visceral reaction from Islamabad.
”For Pakistan, these disclosures do not come as a surprise since Indian NFU is really a sham and political rhetoric. Besides, no responsible defence planners any where would accept political assertions from the opponent, especially since these are non-verifiable. By spilling the beans, Narang has only validated Pakistan’s deterrence policy,” former Pakistani diplomat and nuclear negotiator Zamir Akram wrote, outlining and rationalizing Pakistan full-spectrum deterrence, including a second-strike capability, while warning that ”for every move there is a counter move.”

India Becomes A Nuckear Threat

This first strike, however, will not be aimed at urban centres and conventional targets but against Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal. The strategic assessment is in clear contrast to New Delhi’s ‘no-first strike’ policy of 2003.
“There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first,” Vipin Narang, a nuclear strategist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said at a conference on nuclear policy hosted by Carnegie, a think tank, on Monday, according to the Hindustan Times.
India would launch “a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons,” Dr Narang said.
He explained that policy-makers in New Delhi decided to go for the nuclear option to ensure that “India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction”.
New Delhi declared the ‘no-first strike’ policy, undertaking not to start a nuclear war in a neighbourhood packed with nuclear actors such as China and Pakistan.
Narang said he was not basing the assessment on fringe extreme voices such as those of Bharat Karnad or retired Indian Army officers frustrated by the lack of resolve they believe their government had shown in multiple provocations.
This assessment, he said, was based on what he learned from no less than a former Strategic Forces Command C-in-C Lt Gen B.S. Nagal and from the highly respected and influential former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.
“We may be witnessing … a ‘decoupling’ of Indian nuclear strategy between China and Pakistan. The force requirements India needs to credibly threaten assured retaliation against China may allow it to pursue more aggressive strategies — such as escalation dominance or a ‘splendid first strike’— against Pakistan,” Dr Narang said.
The MIT expert argued that the conventional wisdom that a nuclear war in South Asia could start with a terrorist attack from Pakistan may no longer be valid.
Relations between the neighbours are at the lowest ebb since the attack on Indian military base of Uri in occupied Kashmir last year. Following the attack, India claimed to have carried out ‘surgical strikes’ against militant launch pads in Kashmir, which were denied by the government, as well as the military.
However, in February, both countries extended a bilateral pact, dealing with reducing the risk of nuclear weapon-related accidents including a war, for a period of five years.

India Will Change Its No First Nuke Policy (Revelation 8)

India may abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy: Expert

During the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Narang said, “There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first”.
The remarks by Vipin Narang, an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before a Washington audience was though a negation of India’s stated policy of ‘no first use’.
During the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Narang said, “There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first”.
But, he pointed out, India’s preemptive strike may not be conventional strikes and would also be aimed at Pakistan’s missiles launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads.
“India’s opening salvo may not be conventional strikes trying to pick off just Nasr batteries in the theatre, but a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction,” Narang said.
He said this thinking surfaces not from fringe extreme voices or retired Indian Army officers frustrated by the lack of resolve they believe their government has shown in multiple provocations, but from no less than a former Commander of India’s Strategic Forces, Lt Gen BS Nagal.
It also comes perhaps more importantly and authoritatively, from the highly-respected and influential former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon in his 2016 book ‘Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy’, the nuclear strategist said.
“So our conventional understanding of South Asia’s nuclear dynamics and who, in fact, might use nuclear weapons first and in what mode may need a hard rethink given these emerging authoritative voices in India who are not content to cede the nuclear initiative to Pakistan,” he said, adding that this would mark a major shift in Indian strategy if implemented.
Sameer Lalwani, senior associate and deputy director South Asia at the Stimson Center, an American think-tank, said Narang’s remarks challenged the conventional wisdom of South Asia’s strategic stability problem.

India Nuclear Horn Goes Supersonic

India test-fires supersonic cruise missile
Pakistan has already urges world to check Indian conventional, nuclear arms build-up
India on Saturday test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is ‘capable’ of carrying a warhead of 300kg, from a test range along the Odisha coast, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
The cruise missile was test fired from a mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha at about 11.33am, the news service quoted unnamed officials of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as saying. “It was an ‘excellent’ launch and a great success,” they said.
The PTI reported that the supersonic missile was capable of carrying a warhead of 300kg. “The two-stage missile, one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the army and navy, while the air force version is in final stage of trial,” the officials said. The Indian Army is already equipped with three regiments of Block III version of Brahmos missiles.
On Thursday, Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said in Islamabad that India’s massive arms build-up and testing of inter-continental ballistic missiles was a source of concern for the region. However, Pakistan would not indulge in the arms race, he said. “Pakistan will maintain minimum deterrence capability to safeguard its national security,” he said.
“India’s massive arms buying spree, making it one of the top arms importers in the world, was driven by its desire for regional hegemony and global power status,” he said. On the other hand, Pakistan had been compelled to acquire and maintain a deterrent capability to ensure its national security, he said, adding that Pakistan never wanted to engage in any kind of arms race, nuclear or conventional.
Several international reports and independent observers had drawn attention to the rapid expansion in India’s capability to produce fissile material for military use, which had been made possible by the 2008 NSG waiver granted to India without appropriate non-proliferation safeguards and the subsequent nuclear deals struck with different countries.
In February, the Foreign Office urged the international community to check Indian conventional and nuclear arms build-up that had caused strategic anxiety in the region. “With conventional weapons balance already disturbed, India’s nuclear weapons build-up has dangerous proportions to tip the strategic balance and endanger peace of the region and beyond,” he said.

The Nuclear Horns of South Asia

By Beenish Altaf
The emanating threat to peace of Indian Ocean is mainly due to the nuclearization initiated by Indians. Out of which, the chief elements or the challenges to peace in the ocean that could be counted among are listed as its militarization, increased missile capabilities, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and power projection by foreign militaries, in addition to piracy, illegal fishing, human, drugs and arms smuggling, maritime pollution and climate change.
The Indian Ocean, geo-strategically is present at the world’s most fundamental part. It is the third largest oceanic division of the world and commands strategically important sea lanes of communication (SLOCs) that link the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia with Europe, East Asia, and the US. Around 80 percent of the world’s energy trade passes through the choke points of this region.
Pakistan is concerned with the alarming modernization of India’s exasperated capabilities with regards to its missile and nuclear weapons. It would be pertinent to mention here that with the demonstration of the test launch of the K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on March 31, 2016, India’s movement towards fielding an undersea deterrent is well taken. It was an indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Arihant.
Due to the India’s ‘unrestrained behavior’, it became necessary for Pakistan to take a step forward towards a sea-based deterrent. Therefore, for this reason, Pakistan decided over an equivalent measure and successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile, Babur-III on January 9, 2017, that is considered a compelled step.
Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz while speaking at an international forum in Pakistan said that this trend is likely to intensify in the coming years. And that “we are aware of our national interests and every effort will be made to strengthen our capacity to ensure that we remain ready to meet the emerging maritime security challenges. For us, to remain oblivious of the developments taking place in the Indian Ocean region is not an option.”
A statement issued by the Foreign Office states, “The reported Indian tests of a submarine-launched ballistic missile and development of a nuclear submarine fleet are serious developments, which impact the delicate strategic balance in the region. It has resulted in the nuclearization of the Indian Ocean.” India wants to exercise its supremacy in the whole region by its nuclearization of Indian Ocean. It will certainly exacerbate the already fragile strategic balance in South Asia.
There is another concern gaining hype nowadays regarding the un-demarcated borders in the Sir Creek. Pakistan has to be more careful about defending its borders, land or sea routes because if the communication link with the vessel is disrupted, it could prove to be extremely risky. Consequently, a good amount of naval pressure is necessary to keep our sea lanes open and safe. Nevertheless, the Sir Creek border issue has a potential to cast a shadow on the maritime security.
Projection of military and nuclear power into the seas will grip the region into an arms race and inevitably place it at the risk of a nuclear showdown. Mr. Aziz said that the Indian navy’s substantial expansion was a cause for concern for Pakistan and that Pakistan has a strategic stake in the peaceful navigation and security of the Indian Ocean region.
The Indian Ocean region is being taken with a sense of war whereas it is not all about war it has a potential of economic growth as well. It is a catalyst for peace and prosperity, cooperation, collaboration, connectivity, regional stability, and security. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah emphasized the substantial role being played by the Pakistan Navy in the sustenance of peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region that operationalisation of the CPEC and the Gwadar Port would lead to an exponential increase in maritime activities of the country’s coast. “Consequently, responsibilities of Pakistan Navy for maintaining a secure maritime environment will also increase manifold. The Recent establishment of the Task Force-88 is also a step forward in this regard.”
Ironically, India is heading day by day towards boosting massively its missile, conventional and unconventional capabilities. Pakistan has declared its intention of highlighting the dangerous implications of India’s plans to nuclearize the Indian Ocean at all relevant international fora through a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Last but not the least, India is playing a dangerous game in pursuit of achieving the status of a great power and regional hegemony. As a result, it is the collective responsibility of all the involving states to share the burden to maintain security in the region keeping and acknowledging it as a common goal.

India Prepares For Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

India gears up to fight nuclear attacks

Published : Mar 5, 2017, 6:34 am IST
Updated : Mar 5, 2017, 6:49 am IST
DRDO hands over to Army recce vehicle to counter chemical, biological hits too.
New Delhi: The strong possibility that chemical weapons were used in Wednesday’s attacks in Afghanistan has brought the dangerous reality to India’s doorsteps. Pakistan’s growing arsenal of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and the declared intent of terror outfits like Al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS to acquire non-conventional weapons, including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, has resonated very strongly in India and rapid steps are already underway to combat such attacks, be it from state or non-state actors.
“We have not faced nuclear or chemical attacks, but we will have to be prepared at every moment to deal with the issue,” defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursd-ay. Alluding to reports of chemical attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan on Wednesday, he said: “While these reports are yet to be confirmed, I have seen photographs of the local population suffering from blisters and burns and they are quite distressing.”
Significantly on Thursd-ay itself, the state-owned Defence Research and De-velopment Organisation (DRDO) handed over to the Army the NBC (nuc-lear, biological and chemical) Recce Vehicle which is all set to be deployed.
Resembling a battle tank and equipped with GPS navigation, meteorological sensors and radiation sensors, the NBC Recce Vehicle is capable of conducting effective reconnaissance of radiological and chemically contaminated areas, demarcation of contaminated zones, real-time communication of digital data after analysing the solid and liquid samples to the supported formation.
“The utility of the NBC Recce Vehicle goes beyond warfare and will prove to be indispensable in any NBC disaster situation too,” said a source who has worked on the development of the vehicle.
In a nuclear disaster, a person is exposed to gam-ma radiations. In high dos-es, radiation syndromes can kill in hours to days to a few months, while in low doses, genetic and cancer disorders may result.
Radio-protectors and radio-mitigator drugs are required to reduce the effects of gamma irradiation substantially. The drugs have been put to Drug Controller General for special approvals, while provisioning to Indian armed forces has already started as these are life-saving drugs.
“The DRDO has also provided a NBC kit to the Indian defence forces although it has been segregated into elements for field use and in the hospital on the advice of the Army authorities,” said a top DRDO official on condition of anonymity.

MIRV: The New Age Nuclear Weapons



AUGUST 23, 2016

Some 18 years ago, India and Pakistan conducted successive nuclear tests, joining China as Southern Asia’s three overt nuclear powers and transforming the region into a nuclear trilemma. Both India and Pakistan have developed their arsenals at a measured pace, at least compared to historical standards. Today, however, there are concerns that we could be witnessing a potential slow-moving, but cascading, arms competition in the region following China’s deployment of multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), or multiple-warhead missiles, in 2015. In contrast to city-busting nuclear payloads sufficient to hold population centers at risk, MIRVs enable a single missile to carry several nuclear warheads, potentially to strike several distinct targets. MIRVs are particularly destabilizing because they enable the possessor state to target an adversary’s nuclear assets in a preemptive first strike.

Between the late 1960s and mid-1970s, the United States and the Soviet Union inducted MIRVs into their nuclear arsenals, moves that encouraged massive growth in warhead stockpiles and led both sides to entertain counterforce targeting and nuclear warfighting scenarios. If the Cold War competition is any guide, the reemergence of MIRVs could put strategic stability in Southern Asia to the test. Indeed, a recently released Stimson Center book — The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVS: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age — concludes that India and Pakistan may follow China in deploying multiple-warhead missiles just as the Soviet Union sought to match U.S. capabilities during the Cold War.

Such technical discussions often remain confined to the nuclear security community, but the second coming of MIRVs contains broader implications for international security. Whether MIRV developments escalate into arms races over the next decade will depend on the influence of five critical variables: perceptions, doctrine, management, deliberations, and costs.

States care about how others perceive nuclear platforms as much as they care about their actual usefulness. Theories of international politics expect material interests to trump non-material preferences under conditions of intense security pressure, but the Cold War experience demonstrates that states sometimes make foreign policy choices independent of objective military utility.
In our new book, Brendan Rittenhouse Green and Austin Long show how the desire to influence perceptions of geopolitical value or the arms balance drove U.S. policymakers to field MIRVs during the Cold War, rather than “objective military significance.” In essence, the United States believed that maintaining the nuclear balance in terms of capabilities mattered because it militated the Soviet willingness to enter into a war with the United States while strengthening American alliances in Europe. Deterrence and reassurance hinged as much on perceptions as material realities.

Second nuclear age powers may employ similar logic and discount the notion that fixed numbers of weapons are sufficient for deterrence. Rising powers like India may acquire advanced capabilities to affect adversary calculations, augment international prestige, or achieve broader diplomatic goals. Rajesh Basrur and Jaganath Sankaran aver that Indian leaders are determined to obtain MIRVs not so much for military purposes, but because the mere possession of such capabilities confers a currency of prestige and might prod China to recognize India as a major power with a better bargaining position in future engagements.

Understanding these perception- and prestige-based motives is critical, though dissuading states’ pursuit of MIRVs and other counterforce capabilities will be challenging to say the least.


Development of new military technologies does not necessarily mean shifts in strategic doctrine, but adversaries may misread this since nuclear capabilities often have offensive and defensive uses that are difficult to differentiate. This hazard is present with MIRVs because affixing multiple warheads to missiles could mean a state is either seeking a first-strike capability or reinforcing its ability to conduct a retaliatory second strike, which has come under duress. In short, the meaning of MIRV developments is still quite open to debate.

The most common interpretation of Chinese MIRVs is that they might imply the adoption of a more offensive doctrine. However, Jeffrey Lewis suggests in our new book that the Chinese may have embraced some technologies associated with counterforce without thinking through the strategic implications or altering their existing nuclear strategy of deterrence by punishment, which emphasizes countervalue retaliation against cities. Others have argued that MIRVs, penetration aids, and related technologies are intended to shore up assured retaliation, which some Chinese scholars worry is currently an uncertain retaliation posture lacking credibility. From this vantage point, MIRVs indicate that China wants to overcome nascent U.S. missile defenses and bolster perceptions that it possesses a modern arsenal, which Chinese leaders believe enhances the credibility of its deterrent.
The point is that new platforms are not imbued with any inherent meaning. This is especially the case with MIRVs, which enable offensive and defensive nuclear options. The danger of misconstruing new military technologies is particularly high in a strategic environment prone to inter-state wars, crises, and hyperbolic threat inflation. Appreciation of new technology’s multiple meanings along with transparent discussion can help to reduce misinterpretation of intentions.


Political leaders’ supervision of strategic establishments can have far-reaching implications for nuclear doctrine and regional stability. Poor management of strategic architectures and nuclear portfolios can incentivize institutions within a state to pursue their own prerogatives while jeopardizing national security. Organizational pathologies can create principal-agent problems that undermine leadership intentions or nuclear doctrine. These could send confused or even dangerous signals to an adversary.

Some argue that the Indian civilian leadership’s mismanagement of the strategic portfolio and exclusion of the military from nuclear decisionmaking leaves the research and development agency — the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) — unchecked to pursue missiles and weapons systems without concern for strategic and geopolitical consequences. Indeed, DRDO is working on MIRVs and other strategic technologies even though Indian prime ministers have not weighed in on whether such capabilities should be designed, tested, and deployed. DRDO’s semi-autonomous moves have raised questions about India’s commitment to a restrained nuclear doctrine and provoked Pakistani fears over survivability of its strategic forces.

Political leaders in Pakistan are also deferential in managing nuclear affairs and weapons development matters. In the book, Feroz Khan and Mansoor Ahmed contend that Pakistan’s political leaders are unwilling to challenge the military-scientific consensus on strategic capabilities let alone debate these issues in public, potentially rendering Pakistan’s nuclear strategists and force planners less sensitive to other states’ concerns and threat perceptions.

Despite a different civil-military architecture, Soviet policymakers also ceded weapons procurement and development decisions to other entities. According to Alexei Arbatov and Vladimir Dvorkin, this was because the political-military leadership dealt almost exclusively with “big picture” issues related to nuclear weapons employment. Consequently, Soviet force planners were able to push forward with launch-on-warning technologies despite the fact that the leadership had not considered whether these systems altered nuclear doctrine or increased the likelihood of an accidental nuclear exchange.
Proactive management to check dangerous signals inherent in certain technologies could help stabilize the strategic competition in Southern Asia today.


Internal and external exchanges on security tradeoffs and arms control may dampen the pernicious effects of strategic competition. A broad and inclusive internal deliberation on the development and employment of new technologies like MIRVs can force states to weigh the costs, risks, and negative externalities. The historical record suggests that the United States engaged in vigorous strategic debates inclusive of civilian leadership, the military, and the intelligence community over the relative merits of multiple-warhead missiles. Arbatov and Dvorkin argue, by contrast, that the Soviet government dismissed risks and brooked no discussion of the possibility that MIRVing could trigger security dilemmas and arms race spirals.

Under certain conditions, external dialogues on strategic issues can provide a valuable forcing function for a state to seriously grapple with, prioritize, and clarify its interests amongst competing internal factions often operating on distinct agendas. China may be reluctant to engage in such conversations with the outside world at present, but that should not stop the United States from trying. Lewis points out that China’s participation in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiations in the 1990s proved valuable because it functioned as a mechanism for internal resolution of disputes within the state.

The indirect clarifying effect of dialogue can help avoid unintended competition among adversaries. A non-traditional approach to resolving inter-state conflict might embrace arms control not as a constraint, but as a tool to manage weapons systems, reconcile tradeoffs, and enhance national defenses.


States may be forced to choose between robust nuclear arsenals and sustained economic growth. MIRVing at any level demands costly investments up front to master re-entry technology and produce fissile material, warheads, and delivery vehicles. A move down the path of counterforce encounters an infinite number of military targets and requires the development of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms for discrete targeting. It is these ISR costs in particular that may prove most prohibitive for states. Basrur and Sankaran estimate that the cost of a satellite array for 24/7 observation of a single missile base could cost $6.4 billion, more than half of what the Indian budget has allocated for procurement this year.

As it did to the Soviet Union, the fiscal costs of intense arms competition could pose significant economic challenges for second nuclear age powers. Though difficult to compare different economies across decades, available data normalized across all countries to 1990 dollars reveals the conundrum. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2010 ($8,032) is half of what the United States’ was when it began fielding these weapons in the 1970s ($15,030) while India’s ($3,372) and Pakistan’s ($2,494) are even lower today than the USSR’s GDP per capita in 1970 ($5,575). As the USSR sought to compete with the United States over MIRV deployments around 1970, its GDP per capita growth slowed to a quarter of its rate from the previous 20 years and half the rate of U.S. growth from 1970-1990 until it ultimately collapsed.

The economic tradeoffs tell an important story. The second nuclear age states—already contending with major conventional force modernization projects and internal security challenges—would likely have to siphon resources from their economic development agenda in order to compete in counterforce capabilities.

Lessons for Strategic Observers

MIRVs undoubtedly up the ante in Southern Asia — and China, India, and Pakistan must take these risks seriously and adjust course to avoid a destabilizing arms race. That being said, all strategic observers must be cognizant of states’ complex motives in pursuing such capabilities while acknowledging the difficulty interpreting the meaning for doctrine and posture. Threat assessments benefit from considering the effects variables such as management, deliberations, and fiscal tradeoffs could have on the spread of MIRVs and broader security outcomes in a complex, evolving international environment.

Sameer Lalwani (@splalwani) is Deputy Director of the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center. Travis Wheeler (@travisdwheeler), a Research Associate in Stimson’s South Asia Program, was co-editor of The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs.

Mr. Obama Needs Nuclear Focus (Ezekiel 17)

Republicans say White House dangerously unfocused on true nuclear threat

The Obama administration has failed to combat worrisome nuclear proliferation, especially in Russia, North Korea, Iran and Pakistan, Republican senators said Thursday, countering State Department officials who contended the bigger and more immediate threat is nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists.

In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the administration’s nuclear policies, Rose E. Gottemoeller, undersecretary for arms control and international security at the State Department, and Thomas M. Countryman, assistant secretary for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, focused on the threat of nuclear terrorism rather than  the state of arms control.
Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he was “disappointed that there’s not an acknowledgement of the dangers that we face around the world.”

Republican senators were interested in the specific nuclear behaviors of Russia, which has violated the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and Iran and North Korea, which have tested ballistic missiles.

Corker said the United States’ efforts to combat nuclear proliferation are in bad shape, its partners no longer respect treaties and he’s worried about the state of U.S. national security.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that today there’s more potential for nuclear conflict than there was in 2009,” Corker said. “The potential for a military miscalculation with regard to nuclear proliferation is higher by far — by far — by orders of magnitude than it was in 2009.”

Gottemoeller and Countryman cited the diplomatic successes of the Nuclear Security Summit held every two years since 2010, with a fourth scheduled in two weeks, and treaties like the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty as successes in reducing nuclear threats from other countries.

Corker didn’t buy that there has been progress toward President Obama’s commitment in 2009 to “take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.”

He criticized the administration’s approach to Russia as too nonconfrontational, noting Russia will not attend the upcoming summit.

Gottemoeller  acknowledged the difficulty of negotiating with the Russians over their violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. They argue the U.S. is in violation of the treaty and not them, she  said.

“In my diplomatic career,” she said, “it has been one of the most difficult issues that I have ever had to deal with … It’s quite typical Soviet-style negotiation tactics — that is, the best defense is a good offense.”

Also raising questions about Russia was Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who returned to the Foreign Relations Committee for the first time since dropping out of the U.S. presidential race.

Sen. Ben Cardin, the committee’s top Democrat, said the nuclear reductions over the past several decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations have been admirable. He blamed nations like North Korea and Iran for the increasing danger rather than America’s actions.