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After a Pakistani TNW strike, India can go for Pakistan's nuclear arsenal: Former NSA Shivshankar Me

Discussion in 'Indian Military Doctrine' started by nik141993, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. nik141993

    nik141993 FULL MEMBER

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    Former NSA says “massive response” provides counter force option (Above: an Indian Agni-4 IRBM)

    By Ajai Shukla
    Business Standard, 18th March 17

    Former national security advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon has shed new light on an especially worrying aspect of India’s nuclear doctrine --- New Delhi’s barely credible promise of automatic, “massive” nuclear retaliation against any adversary that targets India, or Indian forces anywhere, with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

    The credibility gap in this strategy of “massive retaliation”, as pointed out by critics worldwide, is that it would cause carnage in the adversary’s towns and cities but leave intact much of his nuclear arsenal. With those surviving nukes (second-strike capability), the adversary would then wreak havoc on Indian towns and cities.

    It is hard for New Delhi, globally regarded as a restrained power, to convince analysts and adversaries that it would knowingly trigger the catastrophic deaths of millions of civilians on both sides by responding “massively” to a far smaller attack --- even, a single Pakistani Tactical Nuclear Weapon (TNW) that killed perhaps a hundred Indian soldiers deep inside Pakistani territory.

    Yet, India’s nuclear doctrine, promulgated on January 4, 2003, undertakes that “Nuclear retaliation to a first strike [by an adversary] will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.”

    Now Menon, in his recent book entitled “Choices: Inside the making of Indian foreign policy”, indicates that India’s threat of “massive retaliation” need not involve nuclear strikes against Pakistani urban centres (“counter-value”, or CV strikes). Instead, India’s “massive response” could take the form of targeting Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal (“counter-force”, or CF strikes), leaving that adversary with a greatly diminished capability of striking back at India.

    In a key paragraph in his book, Menon --- who, as NSA, oversaw nuclear targeting policy --- analyses the meaning of a “massive” strike. He says: “There would be little incentive, once Pakistan had taken hostilities to the nuclear level, for India to limit its response, since that would only invite further escalation by Pakistan. India would hardly risk giving Pakistan the chance to carry out a massive nuclear strike after the Indian response to Pakistan using tactical nuclear weapons. In other worlds, Pakistani tactical nuclear weapon use would effectively free India to undertake a comprehensive first strike against Pakistan.”

    Menon carefully differentiates between “first use” (which Indian nuclear doctrine forbids) and “first strike”, which --- in widely-accepted nuclear vocabulary --- refers to a disarming CF strike aimed at leaving an adversary without nuclear recourse.

    Menon clearly enunciates the logic of a disarming CF strike: “India would hardly risk giving Pakistan the chance to carry out a massive nuclear strike after the Indian response…” In other words, India’s “second strike” (in response to a TNW against its forces) must leave Pakistan with little or no “third strike” capability.

    But does a disarming counter-force strike (which Menon terms a “comprehensive first strike”) amount to a “massive” response, which Indian doctrine mandates? A senior Indian official asks: “Who says a “massive” response must necessarily be directed at CV targets?

    Menon’s insights extend the focus of India’s second-strike well beyond counter-value targets to counter-force targets.

    Contacted by Business Standard, Menon declined to elaborate, stating only: “India’s nuclear doctrine has far greater flexibility than it gets credit for.”

    Menon’s book has been in print since November, but only now has this nuance been noted by Vipin Narang, a highly regarded nuclear strategist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This week, Narang tweeted: “Indian strategy following Pak tacnuke (tactical nuclear) use is neither proportional response nor massive retaliation. But [rather, it is a] disarming counterforce strike.”

    Even so, serious question marks remain over how effectively, or whether at all, India can actually execute a disarming CF strike that takes out most of Pakistan’s nukes. Partly because of the possibility of Indian attack, Pakistan is building up its nuclear arsenal faster than any other country, running its Khushab nuclear reactor at full tilt to produce plutonium. It is currently estimated to have 120-130 nuclear warheads.

    Especially difficult for India to target are Pakistan’s small, highly mobile TNWs that are basically truck-mounted, tube-launched artillery.

    Furthermore, any impression in Pakistan of Indian counterforce strikes, or the fear that the nukes might soon be lost, would incentivize their early use --- the “use them or lose them” dilemma.

    Indian public debate has traditionally focused on another aspect of our doctrine --- the commitment of “No First Use” (NFU) of nuclear weapons. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioned NFU in its pre-2014 election manifesto, before backing off quickly. Then, last year, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar raised questions over the need for NFU, before the BJP dismissed that as his “personal view”.


    However, given Pakistan’s conventional military weakness in the face of a sudden Indian offensive under the “Cold Start” doctrine, Rawalpindi’s operationalization of TNWs, and its declared plan to use them early in a conflict, make India’s response a matter of life and death for millions.

    http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2017/03/after-pakistani-tnw-strike-india-will.html?m=1

    @PARIKRAMA @Abingdonboy @AbRaj @Ankit Kumar 001 @Lion of Rajputana @indu
     
  2. A_poster

    A_poster Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Why not before?
     
    PARIKRAMA likes this.
  3. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    If i remember correctly and what i had discussed with my good friends and collaborated to @Hellfire , i believe if India sees the strategic strike package moving out of its regular storage area, then there is a chain of process which gets initiated.. irrespective of whether Pakistan fires the Nuke or not, the credible threat of moving out involves a grid and under a risk adjudged higher, India will fire a opening strike to take them out even before the nukes actually are fired against us.

    This kind of puts us not as first use but definitely its a first strike based on the heightened risk. TBH NFU thus becomes just a paper piece..

    @Hellfire correct me if i am wrong in any manner...
    Also tagging one of the very informed person on this @NS52 - Sir would love to hear your comments on this.
     
  4. Hellfire

    Hellfire Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Adding on to what @PARIKRAMA has said above.

    The Indian Doctrine has defined itself on the line "the use or threat of use of any WMD against Indian Forces and/or Indian territory".

    In an ongoing hostility, for example a conventional war between India and Pakistan, any move by Pakistan to deploy their assets, may invite a pre-emptive strike for neutralisation, limited to the particular threat, thereby 'managing' the conflict.

    Notwithstanding, since threat assessment and response formulation is a realtime and continuous process (it occurs even on a mundane day when the biggest news is of Kohli knocking a century) the level or scale of strike can be upgraded/expanded depending on the assessment of the time.

    The Indian doctrine also lets out a fact that the choice of weapon is not fixed. The 'neutralisation' may be carried out using munitions of both conventional/non-conventional or limited to conventional.

    I would not take Ajai Shukla too seriously. He was a proponent of Siachen Pullout, and was part of a group of 'experts' who undertook a massive campaign to underscore the 'tremendous costs India is paying'.

    This may be a red herring/attempt to pry exact details from Indian establishment over it's current posturing as the ambiguity of Indian Doctrine and posture leaves limited flexibility to any enemy nation's planning parameters and forces it to factor in contingencies which may be needless, but nevertheless, due to ambiguity, need to be factored in and thus, impose significant costs in terms of economic and technological input.
     
  5. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Meanwhile pakistani ISPR studio churning out videos like this


    :biggthumpup:

    Both military ( in some weird camo ) and poor 'kashmiri' talking in typical Punjabi.
    " vaedio bena rahe ho"

    watch and enjoy
    @Levina@Abingdonboy@nair@MilSpec @Gessler,@Robinhood Pandey ,@randomradio,@vstol jockey,@Hellfire @NS52@BlackOpsIndia @Rain Man @Grevion ,@Nilgiri @GSLV Mk III @SrNair @dadeechi @Ankit Kumar 001@kaku1@Golden_Rule@IndiranChandiran @Lion of Rajputana@thesolar65 @Sathya@Butter Chicken @AbRaj @Agent_47@bharathp @Aqwoyk@GuardianRED @PeegooFeng41@Indx TechStyle @Ved Mishra@ni8mare @A_poster@Kalmuahlaunda @zebra7@Marqueur @PARIKRAMA
    PS: @Hellfire BTW they are getting serious with their propaganda . look at this ISIS style video its completely new even in past history of conflict.
    Also I've seen some foreign looking propaganda news sites mimicking Russian and western media houses churning out a lot of propaganda articls about India.
    Govt should take it seriously and plan counter strategy IMO
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  6. Hellfire

    Hellfire Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    What an exaggerated way of beating by policeman. Can make out the farce in a second
     
  7. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    They should have hired actors from POK instead:mrgreen:
     

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