From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Read the attached story
Mains level : India’s Nuclear Doctrine, Nuclear Proliferation
India had 160 nuclear warheads as on January 2022 and it appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a defense think tank.
What is the news?
- India’s nuclear stockpile increased from 156 in January 2021 to 160 in January 2022.
Nukes in thy neighbour
- Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile has remained at 165, SIPRI claimed.
- China is in the middle of a substantial expansion of its nuclear weapon arsenal, which satellite images indicate includes the construction of over 300 new missile silos.
- China had 350 nuclear warheads in January 2021 and 2022.
Why do countries proliferate nuclear weapons?
- Proliferation models centered on security concerns or dilemmas dominate nuclear literature.
- Nuclear weapons provide an overwhelmingly destructive force that increases a state’s relative power in comparison to its neighbors.
- It provides a powerful tool in an anarchic system where superpowers dominate other nation-states sovereignty.
- Hence weaponizing helps establish a deterrence to prevent war.
What is the Deterrence Theory?
- Deterrence is widely defined as any use of threats (implicit or explicit) or limited force intended to dissuade an actor from taking an action (i.e. maintain the status quo).
- The topic gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons.
- It is related to but distinct from the concept of mutual assured destruction, which models the preventative nature of full-scale nuclear attack that would devastate both parties in a nuclear war.
- The central problem of deterrence revolves around how to credibly threaten military action or nuclear punishment on the adversary despite its costs to the deterrer.
Issues in Nuclear Disarmament
- Notion of Nuclear ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’: The proponents of disarmaments are themselves nuclear armed countries thus creating a nuclear monopoly.
- Concept of Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE): conducted for non-military purposes such as mining.
India’s commitment for de-nuclearization
India has always batted for a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework.
- It has outlined a working paper on Nuclear Disarmament submitted to the UN General Assembly in 2006.
- India participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process and has regularly participated in the International Conferences on Nuclear Security organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
- India is also a member of the Nuclear Security Contact Group (but has signed off the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)).
- India has expressed its readiness to support the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
- India couldn’t join the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) due to several concerns raised by India.
- India has piloted an annual UNGA Resolution on “Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction” since 2002, which is adopted by consensus.
Back2Basics: India’s Nuclear Doctrine
- This was first articulated by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on May 27, 1998, days after India had undertaken a series of nuclear tests in Pokhran.
- It outlined various principles:
- Building and maintaining a Credible Minimum Deterrence
- Posture of ‘No First Use’– nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian Territory or on Indian forces anywhere
- Massive Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be designed to inflict unacceptable damage
- Non-use against non-nuclear states
- In response to biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons