Monday, March 29, 2010

India's nuclear policy

It has been more than a decade since India tested its nuclear capabilities and let the world know that of its desire to enter the elite club of the Nuclear Weapons States. India is still unwelcome there. Not surprisingly, Pakistan immediately imported a nuclear bomb from China and conducted a "test" of its own less than a week later. So there you go, two of the most quarrelsome neighbours in world were armed with nuclear arsenal in a matter of a few days. Not a welcome development for world peace.

However, my point is -- was India's move to go nuclear a strategic blunder?

Well, that's left to one's own opinion. But, in hindsight, I think what India did was indeed a strategic blunder. Till the day India tested those nuclear weapons (the yield is still disputed, another issue), India had a very significant upper hand over Pakistan in the conventional armament department. With an air force (sans Pakis' f16s), army (more than double theirs) and navy (though we have a ten times larger coast to guard), so advanced, everyone in the world would say then that we can run over Pakistan multiple times in no time. But then what happened when we tested and they "tested in response"? It was back to square one. India undid its hard work that it had put in in the conventional armaments department for the previous 5 decades, in one shot. Blown to bits. Now, both were nuclear armed nations. Would you strike a nuclear armed nation and risk being blown by another nuclear bomb yourselves? Can there be a war between India and Pakistan now? Who would win, who would lose? Both would lose. We might annihilate Pakistan, but if they succeed in dropping an A-bomb on say a couple of western Indian cities, can we afford that? Perhaps Bombay is more valued than the whole of Pakistan. So, with this logic, we would still lose even with a completely ravaged Pakistan.

Now, it's back to square one. No matter how strong our military is, we will still lose a war if there's one between us and the Pakis. If we had maintained a covert or no nuclear weapons at all, we would still be a nation one up on the conventional front.

It's all history now. But while I write this, I think going nuclear has advantaged us on another front. While we lost ground to Pak, we've gained the same with China. They were to us what we were to Pak on the conventional plane. Now, we are same. We both are nuclear. Can they afford a bomb on Shanghai? Nope. It's back to square one there too !! Wow !!

Well, there were some good brains working out India's strategic policy during those times, perhaps. I think Pak was a decoy while our main target was China. Masterstroke, if it actually is what I think it is. Don't know.

Good day !!