An advanced missile defense system, commonly called THAAD, is heading to South Korea, to counter threats from the DPRK. Neighboring China opposes the system.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Limited ballistic missile defense remains vital for India’s effort to maintain strategic stability.