STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Deconstructing India’s Doctrinal Response

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  • November 2015
    Volume: 
    39
    Issue: 
    6
    Articles

    The military and scientific leadership of Pakistan has given clear signals that tactical nuclear weapons have a vital role in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons policy. Developed to lower Pakistan’s nuclear threshold, these weapons may further deter India from launching a conventional strike to punish Pakistan for its sub-conventional war against India. This has led to a debate on the possible doctrinal responses that India could adopt to counter Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons. India could either make its current doctrine of massive retaliation more credible by appropriate signalling or it could revise the doctrine and develop its options of proportionate retaliation. Considering the limitations of both these options, the article argues for developing a doctrinal response that prescribes neither proportionate nor massively disproportionate retaliation.

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