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Force Magazine
Guest Column - Force Magazine
Arms and the Men
Instead of an arms race, India should focus on strategic and nuclear force restructuring
Lt Gen. Balraj Nagal (retd)
By Lt Gen. Balraj Nagal (retd)

The five pre-1998 nuclear powers have matured their Nuclear Command and Control Structures, and Nuclear Forces Structures (NFS) over a period ranging from 70 years for the US to 50 years for China.

The Cold War arms race created thousands of systems for command and control or functioning of military forces. The C4ISR systems deployed or under development provide 24 hours continuous surveillance of each other’s areas/offensive weapons, detect movement of strategic systems or change of deployment patterns and allied/linked systems. The command and control of these powers are well developed, with state-of-the-art electronic systems to function under NBC conditions. The command centres are located in deep underground hardened shelters, capable of withstanding nuclear attacks, functioning 24x7.

Today, the US, Russia and China deploy Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with ranges of 10,000 km or more, the US and Russia operate SSBNs with missiles with ranges of 10,000 km and China is in the process of operationalising a SSBN with missiles of 7,000-8,000 km range; the UK and France operate SSBNs with ranges of 10,000 km, the air element of the triad has bombers with air launched cruise missile (ALCM). In addition, it merits mention that China today deploys missile systems of 600 km, 1,100 km, 2,150 km and cruise missiles of 1,500 km range to cater for Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, India and US naval forces operating in the Pacific Ocean/seas in the proximity of the Chinese coast.

Pakistan deploys missiles with ranges of 180 km, 290 km, 450 km, 700 km, 1200 km and 2,000 km, besides cruise missiles of 350 and 700 km. The US has fielded missile defence at select areas and will also provide coverage to allies. All strategic nuclear forces have matured to fulfil the needs of strategic deterrence. During the Cold War, NATO and Warsaw Pact in addition to strategic deterrence adopted nuclear war fighting strategy, and during this period the arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons dominated the inventory and reached thousands of weapons.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Badami Bagh cantt in Srinagar

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