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JUNE 2014 ISSUE

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Force Magazine
Guest Column - Force Magazine
Checks and Balances
A regular review and appraisal of the nuclear doctrine would help to fine tune it as per strategic requirements
 
Lt Gen. B.S. Nagal (retd)
By Lt Gen. B.S. Nagal (retd)

The only thing that is constant is change — Heraclitus

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often — Winston Churchill

Fifteen years ago India released its draft nuclear doctrine and 11 years ago, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) released the final doctrine on 3 January 2003. The salient points in the CCS approval were: Credible Minimum Deterrent (CMD); No First Use Policy (NFU); Massive Retaliation (MR); Non-use of nuclear weapons against Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS); and option of use of nuclear weapons in case of major attack by biological or chemical weapons.
Deterrence
The CCS release read in conjunction with the draft doctrine affirmed nuclear deterrence is related to ‘India’s strategic interests, deter use or threats of use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons’, the requirements of deterrence would weigh in the design of the nuclear forces and the strategy on the level of capability.

One can also infer the great powers equation in the calculus. The nuclear doctrine did not cater for conventional deterrence or the lower side of the spectrum of war/violence, on the other hand conventional deterrence was expected to raise the threshold for nuclear war. In the draft doctrine paragraph 2.7 stated ‘highly effective conventional military capabilities shall be maintained to raise the threshold of outbreak, both of conventional military conflict as well as that of threat or use of nuclear weapons’.

Checks and Balances

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