Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India is expanding its nuclear arsenal: SIPRI


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:
  1. Building and maintaining a Credible Minimum Deterrence
  2. 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
  3. Massive Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be designed to inflict unacceptable damage
  4. Non-use against non-nuclear states
  5. In response to biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons

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