Eminent Person’s Lecture by Dr (Mrs) Manpreet Sethi on India’s Nuclear Doctrine
India is now 22 years old as a state with nuclear weapons. It gave itself a draft nuclear doctrine in August 1999 and then a Press Note by the Cabinet Committee on Security marked a review of the operationalization of the doctrine in January 2003. This is the document from where the major attributes of India’s nuclear doctrine are derived.
Over the last decade or so, the regional and global nuclear landscape has changed dramatically. India’s two nuclear adversaries, Pakistan and China, have acquired new capabilities. Pakistan’s nuclear strategy of full spectrum deterrence allows it a projection of brinkmanship. China’s rapid nuclear modernization has led to a swagger in its inter-state relations. Meanwhile, at the global level there has not only been the emergence of new technologies that are likely to intersect with nuclear deterrence strategies in new ways, but also a re-emergence of old concepts of nuclear use inclined towards fighting ‘limited nuclear wars’. Also, the world is witnessing a breakdown of the existing nuclear arms control structures that had been built through the Cold War period. What do all these developments mean for India’s nuclear doctrine and deterrence strategy? Is there a need to revise the doctrine? What needs to change and what does not? What should be India’s capability trajectory in order to signal credibility of its nuclear deterrence?
The Eminent Person Lecture (EPL) series involves presentations by persons with strong domain-specific experience and established reputations for sagacious expertise. This EPL by Dr Manpreet Sethi, will answer the above mentioned questions and more through an appraisal of India’s nuclear doctrine in the context of contemporary developments and future trends.