RTD On Regional Nuclear Dynamics and India’s Strategic Environment

RTD On Regional Nuclear Dynamics and India’s Strategic Environment

RTD on Regional Nuclear Dynamics and
India’s Strategic Environment

 

A RTD on Regional Nuclear Dynamics and India’s Strategic Environment was organised by the USI on the 19 September 2014. The session was chaired by Vice Adm AK Singh, PVSM AVSM NM (Retd) and the speakers were Mr Abraham M Denmark, Vice President, Political and Security Affairs, National Bureau of Asian Studies, Rear Adm Raja Menon (Retd) and Amb Jayant Prasad, IFS (Retd). Mr Denmark spoke on “Western Perspective on Nuclear Environment in Asia”, Admiral Raja Menon highlighted the Role of Non-nuclear Weapons: Long Range Precision Strike and Missile Defence Systems in Asia”, and Amb Jayant Prasad, IFS (Retd) discussed “Role of Non-nuclear Weapons: Long Range Precision Strike and Missile Defence Systems in Asia”. Apart from these the concepts and issues deliberated ranged from deterrence, assurance, reassurance, delinking, nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.

The American concern was that the bilateral nuclear relations between the US and Russia   had changed since the new START treaty, and the Russians showed less enthusiasm as far as the second round of disarmament initiative were concerned. The US had also started to recognize the fact that China was also becoming a key factor and need to be considered in any future disarmament initiative because the Chinese were also modernizing their nuclear weapons and were seeking to achieve some parity. There were concerns in the western media regarding the destabilising nuclear relationship between India-Pakistan and India-China. 

 As far as Missile defense was concerned the Americans believed that it was a complicated issue. There was an American view that building a BMD would destabilize nuclear balance. At the same time there was a requirement to enhance investments in theatre missile defence systems to protect American armed forces in Western Pacific from conventional ballistic missile from China and from the missile launcher from Iran and North Korea.

The contradictory perceptions coming from the US and China in regard to Global Precession Strike weapons were also discussed. The major reason for its development was the possibility of a quick response to any attack.  It was stated that the US had 11 carrier battle groups deployed in various regions and to deliver ordinance it would take 96 hours, in contrast the Global Prompt Strike weapon makes the attack possible in nearly one hour. Such a quick response is essential to deal with terrorists.  In regard to the Asian nuclear environment, it was stated that it was diverse and multipolar, there were multiple triangles like China-Russia- USA or China-Pakistan-India etc which complicated the nuclear environment.  Nuclear doctrines have therefore become far more complex. Multiple triggers, unevenness in capabilities have led to multiplicity in its responses.

. Regarding the Chinese triad especially its naval wing, questions were raised regarding the operational feasibility of JL-2 missiles and also the Chinese SSBNs. However; it was stated that once they develop a credible sea base capabilities, it would be a threat at multiple levels. It was not clear whether the Command and Control was retained by Second Artillery hierarchy or delegated to fleets/flotillas or submarine force commanders. There were also Command and a Control problem as far as delegation of nuclear command was concerned.

Questions were also raised regarding the destabilising nuclear environment created by North Korea and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Both countries were potential source of nuclear terrorism. The dilemma of dual use (conventional and nuclear) of cruise missile was also discussed. Questions like what will happen if Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan go nuclear?, will it  bring stability or instability were also discussed. It was opined that the risk of nuclear conflict should not be seen from a narrow perspective of India-Pakistan but from a larger regional and global perspective

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