Nuclear

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  • India’s ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Doctrine

    The Defence Minister’s recent statement on ‘no first use’ basically underlines the fact that India’s current nuclear doctrine is working well.

    September 16, 2019

    ‘No First Use’ is Not Sacrosanct: Need a Theatre-Specific Posture for Flexible Options

    Nuclear doctrines and postures are dynamic processes that evolve with the security environment. Twenty years after India’s nuclear doctrine was first drafted, the time is ripe for a comprehensive review and suitable revisions.

    August 27, 2019

    India and the Nuclear High Road: Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with Japan and Australia

    Apart from the United States, India's nuclear cooperation agreements with Japan and Australia have been the most contentious domestically within those countries. The 'slow embrace' of India's civil nuclear credentials by Japan — given the four years for negotiations to begin (after the December 2006 Joint Statement which talked about discussions regarding such an agreement with India) in addition to the six years it took for negotiations to bear fruit — took place despite the strategic context of increasingly closer economic, political, and security ties.

    2019

    In Awe of the Atom: Proliferation, Threats, and Costs of Nuclear Management

    ince the time of their invention and the first-and-only use on 6 and 9 August 1945 on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, nuclear weapons have been seen by the states that possess them, or the ones that seek them, as the ultimate guarantors of their security.1 It is believed that these weapons are key to achieving victory in a war that otherwise may go on for a long time or may end in defeat if fought in conventional ways by a weaker country; in other words, nuclear weapons are believed to act as instruments of deterrence.

    April-June 2019

    Sowmya Sai asked: Why is Pakistan's lowering of nuclear threshold a problem for India and its doctrine?

    A. Vinod Kumar replies: Unlike India’s declaration of a nuclear doctrine centered on a no-first-use (NFU) posture, Pakistan has not publicly shared a similar doctrinal document but has repeatedly declared its intention to use nuclear weapons first, citing India’s conventional superiority. Yet, there has been no formally declared threshold for such nuclear use though Pakistan has exploited this ambiguity to engage in brinkmanship in the years after overt nuclearisation.

    Bharath asked: How is it that India has woefully performed in indigenous defence manufacturing while it has excelled in space and nuclear technology?

    G. Balachandran replies: There were many reasons. But the primary reason was that in the space and the nuclear sector the developers and users were the same. Secondly, they could proceed at their pace. If there were delays or targets not met, there was no question of the users importing since that option was not available.

    Rinkesh Garg asked: What are the chances of proliferation of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal or knowhow to non-state actors and what is India's preparedness in this regard?

    A. Vinod Kumar replies: Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme is assumed to have come through proliferation channels that were harnessed and promoted by A.Q. Khan, the supposed architect of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Subsequently, Khan was investigated for his role in running a nuclear black market that directly or indirectly benefited some countries that clandestinely sought resources to develop nuclear bombs.

    Bharath asked: In what way does importing light water reactors (LWR) from US and France mesh with India's three-stage nuclear programme aimed at utilising its thorium reserves?

    G. Balachandran replies: The third stage of India's nuclear power programme envisages the use of thorium, which India has in abundance, and plutonium, which is a man-made metal not available in nature.

    Plutonium is obtained from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power reactors using either natural uranium or low enriched uranium (LEU). Light Water Reactors (LWRs) use LEU.

    Rohit Mule asked: Why major powers were successful in stalling Iran’s nuclear programme but not that of North Korea?

    A Vinod Kumar replies: North Korea and Iran were two notable cases of nuclear deviance in the past two decades as both were alleged to have misused their access to nuclear energy resources for peaceful purposes, which they gained as non-nuclear weapon states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, since their deviance from non-proliferation norms were considerably different, negotiations pertaining to their respective nuclear programmes have had varied outcomes.

    Indian Nuclear Policy—1964–98 (A Personal Recollection)

    This is a personal recollection of the author on the evolution of the Indian nuclear policy and developments leading to the Shakti tests. Since it draws solely upon the author’s memory there could be errors and discrepancies in the account. This has been written in an effort to present a coherent and comprehensive account of the Indian nuclear policy, since, in the absence of an authoritative official document, there are considerable dissensions and misperceptions in the country.

    May 2018

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