Tag Archives: Indian Nuclear Doctrine

Commentary: Pakistan’s Nasr/Hatf-IX Missile: Challenges for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Strategic Analysis, Vol. 38, No. 4, July 2014, pp. 444-448.

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

strat analysisOn November 5, 2013 Pakistan conducted its fourth test of the Hatf-IX (Nasr) short range battlefield ‘nuclear’ missile. To date there have been four flight tests of the missile system. After the first three tests (April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013) Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had put out identical press releases. These statements claimed that the missile had a range of 60km and carried ‘nuclear warheads (sic) of appropriate yield’. The ISPR statement following the fourth flight test of Nasr, a salvo firing of four missiles, was worded differently and did not repeat the claim that Nasr carried a nuclear warhead. Curiously, it referred to the missile’s nuclear capability in a roundabout sort of way. The statement claimed that the missile ‘contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios’.

This then begets three questions. First, what is Pakistan trying to signal by way of the Nasr and what is the significance of the change in wording of the ISPR statement following the fourth Nasr test flight? Secondly, can Pakistan actually fit a nuclear warhead into the Nasr? Thirdly, how credible would Nasr be in Indian eyes and how will it impact the Indo-Pak deterrence relationship.

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Battlefield Weapons and Missile Defense: Worrisome Developments in Nuclear South Asia

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2014

HATF-IX/NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Rajaram Nagappa, Arun Vishwanathan and Aditi Malhotra

An ISSSP Report titled ‘HATF-IX / NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence’ was quoted by Prof. R. Rajaraman in the  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Journal, March/April 2014 Vol. 70 No. 2, pp. 68-74.  The link of the article is given below.

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The study was undertaken by the authors at the ISSSP, NIAS carried out a technical analysis and sizing of the missile to see whether a nuclear warhead can fit into it. The study also highlighted the importance for nuclear stability in the Indian sub-continent and whether NASR is leading Pakistan into a ‘commitment trap.’ The study showed that a weapon system like NASR has more disadvantages than advantages from all considerations ranging from damage potential to impact on deterrence stability.

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India’s Missile Modernisation and Credible Minimum Deterrence

Generation Why: South Asian Voices, Stimson Center, December 5, 2013

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

gen whyIndia has been modernising its missile capabilities. It has successfully flight-tested its longer range missiles like Agni-IV and Agni-V. It has also made efforts at canisterising its missiles with statements from senior DRDO officials pointing to the development of missiles capable of carrying multiple warheads. These developments have resulted in analyses (here and here, among others) which argue that India is “moving away from its stated doctrine of minimum deterrence towards one with more war-fighting like capabilities.” Such arguments are a simplified understanding of a complex dynamic that underpins the relationship between China-Pakistan alliance and India. Also, such an understanding fails to take into account India’s unique geo-political situation where it shares borders and a troubled history with two nuclear armed neighbours in China and Pakistan. Given the dynamic nature of nuclear doctrine and postures, countries are likely to respond to changing security dynamics. Therefore, the ongoing modernisation of India’s missile programare in essence attempts by India to preserve such technological options for the future rather than for immediate deployment. As such, these efforts are nothing but natural responses from New Delhi to the changes in its security environment rather than any move away from its stated nuclear doctrine.

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Pakistan’s nukes-Playing Russian roulette?

Indian Review of Global Affairs, November 28, 2013

Ambassador Arundhati Ghose, Adjunct Faculty, National Institute of Advanced Studies

It is public knowledge that since April 2011, Pakistan has conducted three tests of its Hatf-IX (NASR) missile, the latest in February of this year. The introduction of battlefield nuclear weapons for use as a deterrent to conventional land based troops has been seen and reported as a reaction to the Indian Army’s doctrine of ‘Cold Start’ which in turn was drawn up as a possible response to another Mumbai-like terrorist attack. Apart from this fairly widely reported conclusion, it appears clear that the effort behind this development is to signal to both India and to the international community, Pakistan’s willingness to escalate any move by the Indian Army against it to a nuclear level. Indeed, the Indian strategic community has been discussing the implications of Pakistan’s move for some time – a comprehensive analysis available in the public domain is the one by the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme of NIAS. At the semi- official level, Ambassador Shyam Saran, Chairman of the National Security Advisory board pointed out that India’s nuclear doctrine made no difference in the categorisation of nuclear weapons. Any nuclear attack on India or on her troops anywhere would be responded to by the inflicting of ‘unacceptable damage’. 

In recent weeks, so many concerned western ‘experts’ to the capital, to discuss the abstruse-to the Indian public-subject of “strategic stability” in Asia/ in the sub-continent. While this is a perfectly legitimate activity, their concerns, and they are perhaps valid ones, should surely be addressed to Pakistan, which has nurtured terrorists and is signalling the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield. Efforts should concentrate on finding ways to persuade Pakistan to desist from what are obviously suicidal attempts.

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Pakistan’s HATF-IX / NASR : Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

HATF-IX / NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Authors: Rajaram Nagappa, Arun Vishwanathan and Aditi Malhotra

To read the complete report in pdf click here

NASR ImageOn April 19, 2011 Pakistan conducted the first test flight of Hatf-IX (NASR) missile. The Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) described the missile as a ‘Short Range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile’. Till date there have been three tests of the missile system on April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013.

Following the Pakistani tests and claims of NASR being a nuclear capable missile, there has been a lot of analysis pointing to the dangers it poses for Indo-Pak deterrence. However, despite the large amount of literature which has come out following the NASR test in April 2011, not much attention has been directed at carrying out a holistic assessment of the tactical nuclear weapons issue. It is this crucial gap that that this report seeks to address.

The NASR warhead section has been estimated to have a cylindrical section which is 361 mm in diameter and 940 mm long with a conical portion which is 660 mm long. Thus, the important question is whether (a) Pakistan has a miniaturized weapon warhead which will fit into this dimension, (b) whether it has been tested and (c) in the absence of tests, how reliable is the weapon system. Most importantly, in the absence of demonstrated reliability, how confident will Pakistan be in fielding it?

Pakistan’s gambit of using NASR to signal a lowering of its nuclear threshold to counter any conventional military operation by India is likely to pose challenges for robustness of nuclear deterrence between Pakistan and India. An important question to ponder over and one that holds some importance for nuclear stability in the Indian sub-continent is whether NASR is leading Pakistan into a ‘commitment trap.’ It would be wise to guard against a situation where Pakistan would be forced to follow through just because of its past assertions.

The study shows that a weapon system like NASR has more disadvantages than advantages from all considerations ranging from damage potential to impact on deterrence stability.

Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine

Report on the Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine, National Institute of Advanced Studies, 2001, pp x+45, ISBN: 81-87663-14-6.

Editor: Arvind Kumar

Nuclear DoctorineThe report is based on a workshop held (November 26-27 1999) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore shortly after the Government of India released the draft document on the Indian nuclear doctrine in August 1999 for public debate and discussion. The workshop provided a platform for the academics and members of the strategic community to exchange views on the draft doctrine.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Acknowledgement
  4. Introduction
  5. An Overview on the Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine
  6. India’s Strategic Thinking in the New Millennium
  7. Notions of Deterrence
  8. No First-use Policy: Its Genesis in the Indian Context and its Relevance
  9. Does India need a Triad?
  10. Impact of the Nuclear Doctrine on Conventional Conflicts
  11. Conclusions and Policy Options
  12. Annexure I: Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine
  13. Annexure II: The Triad: Concept and Features
  14. Annexure IIi: Discussion on Questions from an Indian Perspective
  15. Annexure IV: List of Participants
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