To better understand the implications of the continuing growth in size and complexity of the nuclear capabilities in Southern Asia, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation, undertook this study of the prospects for nuclear deterrence stability among China, India, and Pakistan over the next decade.
China’s nuclear deterrence thinking comes from its classic military thought, which will be still the driving force for the theory and practice of its nuclear deterrence in the future.
At present, there are ongoing debates in China about the future of China’s nuclear doctrine. The way these debates are eventually resolved will have important consequences for the future of China’s doctrine and arsenal.
Given the substantial tensions concerning the unresolved Sino-Indian border issue, China’s perception of India as a nuclear weapons power is important not only for the future evolution of the international nuclear regime but also for the ongoing Sino-Indian security situation.
China has a choice to make to ensure that its sea-based nuclear capability can be a helpful addition to its existing nuclear deterrent without destabilizing regional security.
Unless India’s conventional and nuclear commands closely coordinate their operations planning, an Indian nuclear response threatens either to be unsuccessful or to escalate out of control.
India’s nuclear deterrence policy should work in parallel along twin tracks: continuing to enhance the quality of India’s nuclear deterrence while simultaneously working to achieve total nuclear disarmament in the shortest possible time frame.
Limited ballistic missile defense remains vital for India’s effort to maintain strategic stability.
Though there continue to be significant disagreements within the Indian strategic community about many elements of nuclear doctrine, the debate no longer produces new ideas about how to deal with the most pressing dilemma that New Delhi faces: countering Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons.
In the current environment, the introduction of tactical nuclear weapons by Pakistan in response to India’s limited war strategy is only a means of reinforcing deterrence and enhancing stability at the higher level of conflict by inducing instability at the lower levels.
Although military security is no doubt essential for Pakistan, it is high time for the state to assign a high priority to investing in human capital, lest the country’s miserable state of human development continue indefinitely.
Pakistan’s nuclear posture and the size of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal have been subjects of considerable speculation and debate since Pakistan first tested nuclear weapons, and increasingly so in recent years.
A close look at official statements, interviews, and developments related to nuclear weapons provide substantive clues about the contours of Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine in practice.