India's Emerging Nuclear Posture: Between Recessed Deterrent and Ready Arsenalby Ashley J. Tellis
After a hiatus of almost 24 years, India startled the international community by resuming nuclear testing in May 1998. Pakistan responded later the same month with five nuclear tests of its own. The belief that the nuclear tests in South Asia have not only altered the strategic environment in the region but also transformed New Delhi into a nuclear weapons power recurs constantly in Indian strategic and political analyses. This book will address these issues in the context of a broader understanding of India's strategic interests, its institutional structures, and its security goals. The author argues that the truth of the matter is much more complex than most Indian analysts believe and that despite demonstrating and ability to successfully undertake nuclear explosions, India still has some way to go before it can acquire the capabilties that would make it a consequential nuclear power.
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India's Emerging Nuclear PostureBetween Recessed Deterrent and Ready Arsenal
By Ashley J. Tellis
Rand CorporationCopyright © 2001 Ashley J. Tellis
All right reserved.
PrefaceThe resumption of nuclear testing in South Asia in May 1998 came as a surprise to many in the United States. In the aftermath of these tests, India declared itself to be a "nuclear weapon state" and formally announced its intention to develop a nuclear deterrent. These events have significant implications both for regional security and for the future of the evolving international order. In particular, they require that American policymakers and defense planners understand the motivations behind India's decisions as well as the nature of Indian thinking about nuclear weaponry and the character of the evolving Indian deterrent-especially insofar as these issues affect U.S. diplomatic initiatives, nonproliferation policy, and regional strategy.
This book describes India's emerging nuclear posture in the context of a broader assessment of its strategic interests, institutional structures, and security goals. It seeks to explicate the prevailing attitudes toward nuclear weaponry among Indian security managers because such attitudes, more than anything else, will ultimately determine New Delhi's future decisions with regard to its doctrine, capabilities, and force posture. Since the principal objective of this book is to prepare U.S. policymakers in particular and the American strategic community in general for prospective developments in these three issue areas, a critical understanding, reconstruction, and synthesis of the "official mind" on key questions pertaining to nuclearization remain the most appropriate methodological device for assessing New Delhi's strategic choices.
Toward that end, the book draws deeply from the best of the vast number of Indian writings available on issues surrounding nuclear weaponry. In fact, all the data and information pertaining to the Indian nuclear program have been drawn from open sources, primarily Indian and Western newspapers, books, and journal articles. The author also benefited greatly from extensive interviews with important Indian political figures (both in the current government and in the opposition) as well as with high-ranking officials in the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministries of External Affairs and Defence (including the Defence Research and Development Organization), and senior Indian military officers, both current and retired. This exclusive reliance on open-source and interview materials implies that some factual information appearing in this book may be imperfect but does not fundamentally compromise either the principal analytical conclusions drawn or the policy implications for the United States. The writing of this book was substantially completed by October 2000.
This study is part of an ongoing analysis of emerging strategic trends in Asia and their implications for the U.S. Air Force. This research is conducted in the Strategy and Doctrine Program of Project AIR FORCE under the sponsorship of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, U.S. Air Force (AF/XO), and the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF/CC). This book should be of interest to the U.S. national security community, regional military and intelligence analysts, the nonproliferation establishment, and academics in general.
PROJECT AIR FORCE
Project AIR FORCE, a division of RAND, is the Air Force federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for studies and analyses. It provides the Air Force with independent analyses of policy alternatives affecting the development, employment, combat readiness, and support of current and future aerospace forces. Research is performed in four programs: Aerospace Force Development; Manpower, Personnel, and Training; Resource Management; and Strategy and Doctrine.
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