NEW DELHI: India is gradually reorienting its nuclear deterrence posture and shifting the focus from Pakistan to China. A research paper published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists brings out that India is strengthening its nuclear triad and will increase its production of weapons- grade plutonium required to produce nuclear warheads.
The research paper jointly written by Hans M Kristensen and Matt Korda titled ‘Indian nuclear weapons for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ says while India’s primary deterrence relationship is with Pakistan, its nuclear modernization indicates that it is putting an increased emphasis on its future strategic relationship with China.
The paper quotes former CDS late General Bipin Rawat, saying “in November 2021, the then Indian Chief of Defence Staff stated in a press meet that China had become India’s biggest security threat.” “Additionally, nearly all of India’s new Agni missiles have ranges that suggest China is its main target. The posture is likely to have been reinforced after the Doklam standoff.
The expansion of India’s nuclear forces against a militarily superior China will result in significant new capabilities being deployed over the next decade, says the research paper. “This development could potentially also influence how India views the role of its nuclear weapons against Pakistan.” The research scholar quoted an analyst saying, “we may be witnessing what I call a ‘decoupling’ of Indian nuclear strategy between China and Pakistan.
The force requirements India needs in order 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”. Kristensen & Korda work at the Federation of American Scientists, which is a non-profit policy research organization.