Nuclear Deterrence and Diplomacy in Indian Context



1. Nuclear diplomacy worldwide is in a state of flux. Nuclear deterrence is being overhauled to accommodate missile defence and arms control is facing a precedent challenge. The contemporary situation is very different from what the world faced two decades ago. As a non nuclear nation India had certain perspective on issues related to nuclear deterrence and arms control. It was not infatuated with nuclear deterrence since it was deemed integral to the existence and perpetuation of nuclear weapons, a reality that India abhorred and strove to change. India had come to realise in a few decades after independence that world wide arms control measures under the guise of non proliferation were meant to deny, restrain and limit its ability to move towards acquisition of nuclear weapons technology, material and arsenal. Indian diplomacy worked on this perspective to negate the impact of these controls to the extent possible and to further India’s interests at various international forums. It tried to reduce the negative impact of arms control measures directed to deny its legitimate capabilities for its security, while searching for more durable, universally accepted solutions to challenges posed by nuclear weapons. 2. On May 11 1998, India altered its formal nuclear status. This requires the country to cast a fresh look at both the operational and diplomatic dimensions of nuclear issue. As India is building a credible nuclear deterrent, its viewpoint and diplomacy on various issues of nuclear deterrence and diplomacy has changed over the years. After Pokhran II there was a need for nuclear India to project itself on the issues of deterrence strategy, arms control and disarmament in a coherent manner. The diplomatic projection however is critical since it plays an important role in enhancing the credibility of nuclear deterrence. Given the fact that India perceives a political role for its nuclear weapons and that deterrence is a mind game, the importance of this dimension cannot be undermined. 3. Indian nuclear diplomacy is tasked with the challenging responsibility of rationalising an operational nuclear deterrent with arms control en route to universal nuclear disarmament. It has become necessary to make an introspection of not the just the moral high ground but also the practical and security related issues of nuclearisation of the south east Asia, as well as the role India has to play in safeguarding its own interests while moving towards global nuclear disarmament. 4. This paper is an attempt to examine the factors responsible for changing India’s stance in finding greater prudence in accepting nuclear deterrence. This paper tries to search for the type of deterrence that would suit our aims and objectives over short and long term.

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Statement of the problem

5. The paper seeks to prove that with nuclearisation of India, Pakistan and China in South East Asia, credible nuclear deterrence complimented by diplomacy are going to be key ingredients in maintaining India’s sovereignty and integrity.


6. The following hypotheses are being made before the study of this topic: 7. It is hypothesised that India will maintain the deterrence regulations of nuclearisation. 8. Indian sovereignty and integrity will get adversely affected with this deterrence on nuclear power. 9. India intends to use this nuclear power for useful purposes. 10. The nuclearisation of India would be a potential threat to Pakistan and vice versa.


11. Indian nuclear diplomacy is tasked with the challenging responsibility of rationalising an operational nuclear deterrent with arms control en route to universal nuclear disarmament. It is important for India to be diplomatic and accept the deterrence rules. At the same time it has to maintain its integrity. 12. It has become necessary to make an introspection of not the just the moral high ground but also the practical and security related issues of nuclearisation of the south east Asia, as well as the role India has to play in safeguarding its own interests while moving towards global nuclear disarmament. This research is aimed at the factor which India will have to study while accepting the disarmament act for nuclearisation. It also analyses whether or not India should do so. Critical factors like threat from Pakistan and the effect of Pakistan getting nuclearisation have also been studied in depth.

Justification of the study

1. The study is quite relevant and justified as on May 11 1998, India altered its formal nuclear status. This changed the security paradigm in the South Asian region. Pakistan is the only country in the region that has challenged this nuclear superiority of India. It conducted nuclear tests immediately after Indian nuclear explosions of 1998 and has made the South Asian region one of the most volatile regions of the world. However, this nuclearisation has brought Deterrence stability. Since the acquisition of nuclear capability, the two countries have not been engaged in a full Scale war, though, India and Pakistan are still enmeshed in Low Intensity Conflicts. Pakistan developed nuclear competence not indigenously but with the support of China and United States. Their motive was to use Pakistan as an outpost to prevent the rise of India as a regional power. 13. This requires the country to cast a fresh look at both the operational and diplomatic dimensions of nuclear issue. As India is building a credible nuclear deterrent, its viewpoint and diplomacy on various issues of nuclear deterrence and diplomacy has changed over the years. After Pokhran II there was a need for nuclear India to project itself on the issues of deterrence strategy, arms control and disarmament in a coherent manner. This is not only a technical but also a political issue. It contains with it the issue of the heritage and integrity of India. Nuclearisation however is very important for India development. Also the global standards for safety and the assurance that this technology will not be pursued by India for arms is critical. 14. The diplomatic projection however is critical since it plays an important role in enhancing the credibility of nuclear deterrence. Given the fact that India perceives a political role for its nuclear weapons and that deterrence is a mind game, the importance of this dimension cannot be undermined. This research is justified as this issue is a hot topic and need attraction form the Asian as well as the global point of view. It is a very major external affairs issue for India. Also the threat of other Asian countries like Pakistan and China getting nuclearised is critical to India. Their respective effects on Indian security are a major concern which the study has analysed.

Methods of Data Collection

15. The following methods/ sources are proposed to be used for conduct of research and finalization of the dissertation:- (a) Library books. (b) Periodicals. (c) Internet Websites. (d) Newspaper articles. (e) Statements by important personalities Organisation of the dissertation

16. The subject has been researched under the following chapters:

(a) Chapter I Introduction (b) Chapter II Methodology (b) Chapter III India’s nuclear power program and doctrine (c) Chapter IV Pakistan’s nuclear power program and doctrine (d) Chapter V China’s nuclear power program and doctrine . (e) Chapter VI Deterrence. (f) Chapter VII Diplomacy (g) Chapter VIII Road ahead for India and conclusion



“We must develop this atomic energy quite apart from war – indeed I think we must develop it for the purpose of using it for peaceful purposes. … Of course, if we are compelled as a nation to use it for other purposes, possibly no pious sentiments of any of us will stop the nation from using it that way” Jawaharlal Nehru.

History of Indian Nuclear Program

2. Indian nuclear program can be broadly classified into five distinct phases, which made the May 1998 tests possible. (a) Establishment of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission in 1948. (b) Chinese nuclear tests in 1964. (c) Nuclear explosion for peaceful purposes in 1974. (d) Aftermath of the 1974 tests. (e) End of Cold War and the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991.

Phase I

1. Indian nuclear program was greatly influenced by the external factors and the attitude of the Super Powers towards India. India’s indigenous nuclear program started even before Independence and was initiated by Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha. Dr Bhabha persuaded one of India’s industrial giants, the Tata family, to contribute money toward the creation of a centre for the study of nuclear physics. The Tata Institute for Fundamental Research opened in Bombay in 1945. After India’s independence, Dr Dr Bhabha convinced India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, of the singular importance of atomic energy research in enabling India to build an industrial base and to tackle the overwhelming problems of entrenched poverty.[1] 3. Department of Atomic Energy, was created on August 3, 1954, under the Department of Scientific Research, and, in accordance with India’s strategy of economic self-reliance, every effort was made to keep the program indigenous. Perforce India had to obtain some assistance in reactor design from the United Kingdom and from Canada.[2] 4. Publicly, Nehru opposed the development of nuclear weapons, a position that accorded with his deep-seated opposition to the use of force to resolve international disputes. This conviction, in part, stemmed from the Gandhian legacy of the Indian nationalist movement. Nehru’s aversion to nuclear weapons also drew from his fundamental fear of the militarization of Indian society. Additionally, his opposition was an outgrowth of his firm beliefs about the role of the use of military force in world affairs. Nehru believed that military spending was, at best, a necessary evil. Despite his public opposition to nuclear weapons, Nehru granted Dr Bhabha a free hand in the development of India’s nuclear infrastructure. Meanwhile, he sought to lay the necessary foundations should a political decision to acquire nuclear weapons be made. In pursuit of this end, Dr Bhabha worked inexorably toward a complete mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle and toward a completely indigenous production process.[3] 5. A turning point in the Indian foreign policy establishment’s attitude toward defence spending came in the aftermath of the Sino-Indian border war of October 1962. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army routed the ill-equipped and ill-prepared Indian army and came to occupy some 14,000 square miles of Indian territory. Worse still, the Chinese declared a unilateral cease-fire after achieving their territorial objectives, thereby humiliating Nehru and the Indian political leadership. The significance of this war on India’s foreign and security policymakers cannot be underestimated. The Chinese attack fundamentally called into question Nehru’s varied attempts to court the Chinese and to bring China into the comity of nations: he had expressed the mildest condemnation of the harsh Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950; had readily ceded India’s extraterritorial privileges in Tibet, inherited from the British colonial period, in 1952; and had championed China’s entry into the United Nations (UN). Through these measures Nehru had hoped to avoid a conflict with China, which he knew would compel him to increase defence spending. The border war forced Nehru to reappraise his strategy and his most cherished ideals.[4] After Nehru in May 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri took office and followed the Gandhian philosophy and was opposed to the nuclear weapons program.

Phase II

6. The second phase of India’s nuclear program started shortly after the first Chinese nuclear test at Lop Nor on October 16, 1964. By this time Dr Bhabha had begun to articulate the politico-military significance of nuclear weapons: “Nuclear weapons coupled with an adequate delivery system can enable a State to destroy more or less totally the cities, industry, and all-important targets in another State. It is then largely irrelevant whether the State so attacked has greater destructive power at its command. With the help of nuclear weapons, therefore, a State can acquire what we may call a position of absolute deterrence even against another having a many times greater destructive power under its control.”[5] 7. The news of the test released a firestorm of controversy across India. China’s acquisition of nuclear weapons in the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian border war dealt a further blow to India’s national security. Sisir Gupta, one of India’s ablest diplomats, spelled out the concerns of most Indian strategists: “… without using its nuclear weapons and without unleashing the kind of war which would be regarded in the West as the crossing of the provocation-threshold, China may subject a non-nuclear India to periodic blackmail, weaken its people’s spirit of resistance and self-confidence, and thus achieve without a war its major political and military objectives in Asia.” Minoo Masani, a leader of the small, pro-Western Swatantra Party, expressed the fears of many of India’s leaders: “The Chinese explosion cannot be ignored; it cannot be written off; it cannot be played down; it is of major significance. We are the country for which it has the most immediate importance.” [6] 8. Masani and other opposition members rebuked the government for not undertaking a more thorough review of the changed security situation on the subcontinent following the Chinese test and for not developing an appropriate response. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (the forerunner to the BJP) condemned India’s policy of nuclear abstinence. Even normally pro-government newspapers questioned the leadership’s seeming complacency in the wake of the Chinese nuclear tests. [7] 9. Thus, Shastri had to change from the “No-Bomb” policy to a vigorous nuclear policy due to the domestic political pressures. The nuclear policy was on the lines of peaceful uses. This served a dual purpose. It strengthened Shastri’s position in the party, which was under attack. Secondly, it was a rejection of the nuclear policy, which he believed in. However, the advancement of the nuclear program would pull back the Indian economy, which was to be a priority. Ironically, the Indian military was always excluded in the decision making process.

Phase III

10. The third phase of India’s nuclear program began with its first nuclear test, in May 1974. Both structural and proximate factors led up to this decision. The repeated failure of the great powers to address India’s security concerns and the emergence of a different brand of political leadership within India caused important, if subtle, shifts in its nuclear policies. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, while repeating the platitudes of nonalignment, reoriented India’s foreign policy, basing it less on adherence to moral principles and more on the imperatives of statecraft. In place of her predecessors’ carefully forged equidistance from the superpowers, she steadily tilted in a pro-Soviet direction, especially after significant policy differences with the United States arose in 1967 on trade, investment, and foreign aid issues. Furthermore, some Indian analysts argue that U.S. pressure on India during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War also convinced Indira Gandhi of the singular importance of developing India’s military nuclear capabilities. India’s failure to influence the creation of a global regime that would address its security concerns pushed the country further down the nuclear path. Subsequent events bolstered the Indian elite’s commitment to acquire nuclear weapons.[8] 11. During this period the two Super Powers, Soviet Union and United States, came out with the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to stop the further acquisition of nuclear weapons by the countries. The fundamental reason for Indian refusal to the Treaty was the threat to the Indian National Security from China. India feared that China might possess the ability to “Blackmail” India in some future Diplomatic confrontation. Thus, India accelerated the development of nuclear weapons in the aftermath of the Border dispute with China. Therefore it wanted to “retain the option to make nuclear weapons”. Refusal to sign the treaty gave India that freedom and would enable India to continue the import of nuclear materials and equipment for its civilian nuclear program subject to bilateral controls. 12. India was against controls over its nuclear establishments, as this would authorize the external authority to check these areas. It was against the creation of IAEA as India viewed it technical and economic colonialism. Thus, India never accepted controls on imported equipment and fuel. Rather, it became the first developing country to indigenously build the first experimental research reactor, Apsara, in Asia. The Indian Government refused to International controls on the grounds of being discriminatory for the Non-Nuclear States. Indian negation to the treaty was officially announced on May 14 1968 at the special session of the General Assembly convened to debate the final treaty draft. 13. By 1972 the basic design for India’s first nuclear device was complete. India carried out its first nuclear test on May 18, 1974. Billed as a “peaceful nuclear explosion,” the test had a 15-kiloton yield. Subsequently, Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram argued that the test had few or no military implications and was simply part of India’s ongoing attempts to harness the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. [9] It became the first country to explode a bomb for peaceful nuclear purposes. The primary motive was not security concerns but the scientific ambition and the desire to prove Indian proficiency in the global politics in comparison to china. Hence, India did exhibit its nuclear capability; its technological might and demonstrated that it could become a major military power. But its nuclear explosion was done without a doctrine except for the fact that it will be for peaceful purposes. 14. International reaction was mixed. France was the only country that congratulated India. China and the Soviet Union were quiet but critical of the tests. United States and Canada cut of all nuclear help to India. They felt that India had misused the help provided to produce a bomb.[10] 15. In 1977.the Janta Party came to power. Morarji Desai followed the Gandhian principles and was opposed to the nuclear weapons. He had a strong aversion towards nuclear weapons. He reinforced the idea that India would not sign the NPT on the grounds of being unfair. This was a clear reflection of Indian image against the cold war politics and pursuing an independent foreign policy. 16. After the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi in 1984, Rajiv Gandhi’s nuclear policies were contradictory. The increasing Pakistani nuclear activity compelled Rajiv Gandhi to restart the nuclear weaponisation in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organization. During his term India and Pakistan reached an accord of not attacking each other’s nuclear facilities, which was ratified in 1991. 17. After a couple of short lived governments Narsimha Rao emerged as the Prime Minister and took the reigns of the nuclear policy in his hands. He gave precedence to economic development over nuclear development. The collapse of Soviet Union, the emergence of United States as the global super power, change from bipolarity to unipolarity, led to a change in the Indian Foreign Policy. Chinese economy was on the rise, which meant the growth of its military, economic and political strength. To prevent China from becoming the Asian giant India had to advance economically. Rao was of the opinion that the Indian economy was strong enough to conduct another nuclear test and bear the inflationary effects of International sanctions. According to him inflation was more important than nuclear weapons testing. 18. The Pro- Bomb BJP was pushing India towards a more robust nuclear policy. BJP based its argument on the fact that nuclear capability will facilitate India to be recognized as a strong power by the P-5. After being sworn in the as the new Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ordered Rajagopala Chidambaram and Kalam to proceed towards nuclear testing. But the tests had to be halted on the account of lack of vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha for Vajpayee. His successors, Deve Gowda and I.K.Gujral following the footsteps of Rao, believed in the Economic strength rather than nuclear testing. Regardless of this, expansion of the ballistic missiles continued. 19. But again due to the internal politics, Vajpayee as the new Prime Minister replaced him and Bhartya Janta Party became the ruling party. BJP election manifesto had emphasized on the country’s nuclear policy. Acquisition of nuclear weapons would not only counter threat of Pakistan and China, but are also necessary to deter United States. Prime Minister Vajpayee viewed United States base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean as a threat. 20. He embarked on the nuclear weapons program. Pakistan’s quick advancement in the missile technology made it imperative for India to conduct the nuclear tests. Their rationale for the nuclear weapons was not the security threat from Pakistan or China but to make India ‘strong’. Finally, the tests were conducted in May 1998, which was followed by Pakistani nuclear testing. The BJP government have always been in favour of the nuclear bomb, whether in power or not. 21. After the nuclear tests India announced that it had tested three nuclear devices: a fission device with a yield of 12kt, a thermonuclear device with a yield of 43kt, two sub kiloton devices with yields of 0.2 and 0.6. It possesses three different kinds of nuclear weapons a simple fission design, a thermonuclear bomb and a tactical nuclear weapon. TEST DEVICE DATE YIELD claimed YIELD reported Fission device 18 May 1974 12-15 kiloton 4-6 kiloton Shakti 1 Thermonuclear device 11 May 1998 43-60 kiloton 12-25 kiloton Shakti 2 Fission device 11 May 1998 12 kiloton ?? Shakti 3 Low-yield device 11 May 1998 0.2 kiloton low Shakti 4 Low-yield device 13 May 1998 0.5 kiloton low Shakti 5 Low-yield device 13 May 1998 0.3 kiloton low 22. The Indian nuclear tests put forth two objectives. (a) First, to gain confidence about developing nuclear weapons. (b) Second, to convey to the enemies the technological prowess of India. 23. This changed the security paradigm in South Asia. Immediately after the tests, both India and Pakistan, decided not to engage in a nuclear arms race. Through the Lahore declaration it was decided to maintain good neighbourly relations, stop cross border terrorism, and maintain peace and stability in the region. In spite of these Confidence-building measures, Pakistani infiltrators entered the Indian controlled part of Kashmir in the Kargil sector. Many scholars are of the view that it was an attempt by the Pakistani side to make India aware of its nuclear capability. It was one of the major crises after the nuclear tests, which broke the myth that nuclear weapons capability would promote stability. Indian officials did not know how the Pakistanis were managing their nuclear weapons. The International community appreciated Indian response of maintaining restraint and caution during the crisis. This reaction by the Indian government prevented the escalation of war into a nuclear warfare.

India’s Nuclear Doctrine

24. Another major event in the aftermath of the nuclear tests was the National Security Advisory Board’s Draft Report on the Nuclear Doctrine issued on the August 17. The nuclear Doctrine was based on four principles namely- no-first use policy, minimum deterrence, civilian control of the weapons and commitment to nuclear disarmament. India will never initiate the use of nuclear weapons but will do so only in retaliation.[11] India firmly believes in nuclear disarmament despite possessing them itself. India developed nuclear capability as a result of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan with the Chinese help.



If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, but we will get one of our own. We have no other choice -?Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto

History Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program

1. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is the result of regional factors coupled with Domestic issues and International influences and search for National Identity. It perceives India as a major threat and desires to achieve parity with India in nuclear weapons. Its nuclear program is India-Centric. It became the first Islamic country to acquire nuclear bomb. Unlike India’s nuclear weapons program, that traces back to an early but indefinite time, actual initiation of Pakistan’s program can be assigned a very definite date – 24 January 1972. On this date President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto committed Pakistan to acquiring nuclear weapons at a secret meeting held in Multan in the wake of the country’s devastating defeat in the 1971 Bangladesh war.[12] 2. In the 1960, Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto as minister of minerals and natural resources pushed Pakistan towards the development of nuclear program. This was a reaction to the rapid growth of Indian nuclear infrastructure. In 1963 Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto became the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and was determined to build up Pakistan’s nuclear capability. This aspiration became stronger after the Chinese nuclear testing and growing Indian agitation to develop nuclear weapons. Bhutto was of the opinion that a nuclear capable Pakistan would be able to deter and stand against an armed India. 3. The 1965 war on the Rann of Kuchch was crucial in the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. It brought the conventional weapons disparity between India and Pakistan to the forefront. Pakistan was losing significance for the West in the wake of US-Soviet Union D©tente. Consequently, Pakistan moved closer to china for the expansion of its nuclear weapons capability. 4. On the International front, the nuclear powers came out with the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was a step by the super powers to prevent arms race in the international system. It stratified the nation states as “Nuclear weapon” and “Non-Nuclear weapon” states. This treaty failed to manage the nuclear aspirations of the nation states. Following the Indian suit, Pakistan refused to sign the treaty. India’s refusal to become a signatory to the treaty signalled to Pakistan the growing nuclear might of India. Indian nuclear capability would be a direct to Pakistan. Therefore any nuclear moves of India would be responded to by Pakistan. For Pakistan it was a question of security against India, which depended on the development of nuclear weapons. 5. Despite the support of China, Pakistan faced a crushing defeat from India in 1971. This was the turning point in the Pakistani nuclear development It proved the military superiority of India and questioned the very existence of Pakistan as a nation. It broke the myth about the formation of a nation on religious basis. It triggered the Pakistani decision to embark on a nuclear weapons program. 6. Immediately after the war, Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan held a meeting at Multan in 1972. The main agenda of the meeting was to inspire these scientists to commit themselves towards the advancement of Pakistani nuclear weapons program.[13] By now it was clear to Pakistan that New Delhi was manufacturing nuclear weapons. Bhutto felt that in such an environment, nuclear weapons were the only guarantee for the survival of Islamabad. Thus, Pakistan embarked on the nuclear weapons program due to the security reasons vis-à-vis India. 7. Politically, the nuclear weapons development was looked at as gaining equivalence with India. It would prevent the domination of India in the South Asian region. The shift from civilian to military regimes and from military to civilian did not come in the way of the nuclear weapons program. An independent nuclear weapons program will enhance Pakistan’s prestige among the Islamic nations. It will place Pakistan on a higher platform among the various Third world countries. In the South Asian context, Indian nuclear weapons capability has been major influence. Pakistan fears being engulfed by India. However, the main motivation for its nuclear weapons development is the security threat, which it faces from India. Indian superiority in conventional weapons, development of its nuclear weapons convinced the Pakistani policymakers to develop an Islamic Bomb. 8. To meet these challenges, Pakistan decided to expand its nuclear program. The Pakistani Government planned to start one reactor every two years until the end of century starting from 1980. There were growing concerns about the progressing Indian nuclear weapons capability. 9. This apprehension was strengthened after the Indian nuclear tests of 1974. This heightened Pakistan concerns about Indian nuclear intentions and Pakistan became aware of its military inferiority. Acquisition of nuclear weapons would compensate for this limitation against India. Through the late 1970s, Pakistan’s program acquired sensitive uranium enrichment technology and expertise. The 1975 arrival of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan considerably advanced these efforts. Dr. Khan is a German-trained metallurgist who brought with him knowledge of gas centrifuge technologies that he had acquired through his position at the classified URENCO uranium enrichment plant in the Netherlands. Dr. Khan also reportedly brought with him stolen uranium enrichment technologies from Europe. He was put in charge of building, equipping and operating Pakistan’s Kahuta facility, which was established in 1976. Under Khan’s direction, Pakistan employed an extensive clandestine network in order to obtain the necessary materials and technology for its developing uranium enrichment capabilities.[14] 10. The military coup led by Mohamed Zia- ul-Haq ousted Bhutto and brought the nuclear weapons program under the control of the army. The civil bureaucracy was a part of it through the scientific community. Zia established relations with the countries of Western Europe, particularly Germany and Netherlands, to obtain the Uranium enrichment technology. 11. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan marked another turning point in the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. US lifted the sanctions imposed on Pakistan. This was important for the US containment policy towards Soviet Union. It strategic location made Pakistan an important player for the US in the South Asian region. Pakistan was declared a “Frontline State” and became the US outpost in the South Asian region. Soon the Zia ruled Pakistan began serving the US interests in Afghanistan. This resulted in the substantial flow of economic aid, military assistance. This served a dual purpose for Pakistan. Firstly, it gave an impetus to the nuclear weapons program and strengthened the military. Secondly, it enabled Pakistan to overcome the domestic opponents. In 1985, Pakistan crossed the threshold of weapons-grade uranium production, and by 1986 it is thought to have produced enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Pakistan continued advancing its uranium enrichment program, and according to Pakistani sources, the nation acquired the ability to carry out a nuclear explosion in 1987.[15]

Role of Military in the Nuclearisation of Pakistan

12. Since the formation of the state of Pakistan, the country has been oscillating between democracy and authoritarian regimes. Pakistani army has dominated the political framework of Pakistan since its inception. The army considers itself the true representative of the people of Pakistan and of the Islamic sentiments. It considers the civilian government incapable of representing the demands of the people. The military in Pakistan believes that it truly understands the national interest of the country rather than the democratic forces. The relationship between the army and the civilian government can be described as the five step dance. (a) The failure of the institutions and civilian norms and legislations leads to the crisis in the country requiring military intervention. (b) The army straightens out the matter and takes the political reign in its hands. (c) Dissatisfaction among the people with army rule brings democracy back to power. (d) But the army reasserts itself to power and the cycle repeats. 13. The army has always followed the “Offensive defence” doctrine. Though the nuclear weapons program was a political initiative, military has been a part of the nuclear decision making from the start. Political leadership could not challenge the army control over the nuclear weapons program, which was completely contrary to Indian state of affairs. The democratic leadership with no military intervention guided the Indian nuclear weapons program. The army in Pakistan is linked with the Islamic norms and practices. Under the military regime of Zia, Islam was used as a motivating force and to solidify the national identity of the country. This further gave impetus to the nuclear weapons program to keep the Islamic identity intact against the secularity of India.

Nuclear Tests

14. On May 28, 1998 Pakistan announced that it had successfully conducted five nuclear tests. The Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission reported that the five nuclear tests conducted on May 28 generated a seismic signal of 5.0 on the Richter scale, with a total yield of up to 40 KT (equivalent TNT). Dr. A.Q. Khan claimed that one device was a boosted fission device and that the other four were sub-kiloton nuclear devices. On May 30, 1998 Pakistan tested one more nuclear warhead with a reported yield of 12 kilotons. The tests were conducted at Baluchistan, bringing the total number of claimed tests to six. It has also been claimed by Pakistani sources that at least one additional device, initially planned for detonation on 30 May 1998, remained emplaced underground ready for detonation.[16]

Nuclear Arsenal

15. The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) estimates that Pakistan has built 24-48 HEU-based nuclear warheads, and Carnegie reports that they have produced 585-800 kg of HEU, enough for 30-55 weapons. Pakistan’s nuclear warheads are based on an implosion design that uses a solid core of highly enriched uranium and requires an estimated 15-20 kg of material per warhead. According to Carnegie, Pakistan has also produced a small but unknown quantity of weapons grade plutonium, which is sufficient for estimated 3-5 nuclear weapons.[17] 16. Pakistani authorities claim that their nuclear weapons are not assembled. They maintain that the fissile cores are stored separately from the non-nuclear explosives packages, and that the warheads are stored separately from the delivery systems. In a 2001 report, the Defence Department contends that “Islamabad’s nuclear weapons are probably stored in component form” and that “Pakistan probably could assemble the weapons fairly quickly.” However, no one has been able to ascertain the validity of Pakistan’s assurances about their nuclear weapons security.[18]

Sino-Pak Nuclear Collaborations

17. The very genesis of this relationship lies in Pakistan’s search for a nuclear deterrent after its military defeat in December 1971 by a conventionally superior India. It was in this new context that, following President Bhutto’s three visits to China in February 1972, September 1974 and April 1976, China had agreed to sign an agreement which President Bhutto later described as “my greatest achievement and contribution to the survival of our people and our nation” and most probably, it is this very agreement that had laid the foundations of Sino-Pak nuclear cooperation.[19] 18. The death of President Bhutto did temporarily slow down China’s assistance, but Soviet intervention in Afghanistan conferred on Pakistan a unique role of the front-line conduit for supporting the resistance which made China once again active in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. Before the Soviets finally withdrew forces from Afghanistan, China had successfully propped an operational de facto client nuclear weapon state on India’s western frontiers. 19. In the 1990s, China designed and supplied the heavy water Khusab reactor, which plays a key role in Pakistan’s production of plutonium. A subsidiary of the China National Nuclear Corporation also contributed to Pakistan’s efforts to expand its uranium enrichment capabilities by providing 5,000 custom made ring magnets, which are a key component of the bearings that facilitate the high-speed rotation of centrifuges. According to Anthony Cordesman of CSIS, China is also reported to have provided Pakistan with the design of one of its warheads, which is relatively sophisticated in design and lighter than U.S. and Soviet designed first generation warheads. China also provided technical and material support in the completion of the Chasma nuclear power reactor and plutonium reprocessing facility, which was built in the mid 1990s. The project had been initiated as a cooperative program with France, but Pakistan’s failure to sign the NPT and unwillingness to accept IAEA safeguards on its entire nuclear program caused France to terminate assistance.[20]

Pakistan’s Nuclear Doctrine

20. Several sources, such as Jane’s Intelligence Review and Defence Department reports maintain that Pakistan’s motive for pursuing a nuclear weapons program is to counter the threat posed by its principal rival, India, which has superior conventional forces and nuclear weapons. 21. Pakistan has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). According to the Defense Department report cited above, “Pakistan remains steadfast in its refusal to sign the NPT, stating that it would do so only after India joined the Treaty. Consequently, not all of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities are under IAEA safeguards. Pakistani officials have stated that signature on the CTBT is in Pakistan’s best interest, but that Pakistan will do so only after developing a domestic consensus on the issue, and have disavowed any connection with India’s decision.” 22. Pakistan does not abide by a no-first-use doctrine, as evidenced by President Pervez Musharraf’s statements in May, 2002. Musharraf said that Pakistan did not want a conflict with India but that if it came to war between the nuclear-armed rivals, he would “respond with full might.” These statements were interpreted to mean that if pressed by an overwhelming conventional attack from India, which has superior conventional forces, Pakistan might use its nuclear weapons. 23. Aside from these public declarations, Pakistan has not issued an official nuclear doctrine. The organization authorised to make decisions about Pakistan’s nuclear posturing is the National Command Authority (NCA) established in Februrary 2000. The NCA is composed of two committees that advise on the development and employment of nuclear weapons; it is also responsible for wartime command and control. In 2001, Pakistan further consolidated its nuclear infrastructure by placing the Khan Research Laboratories and the Pakistan Atomic Research Corporation under the control on of one Nuclear Defense Complex. [21]



1. The New China’s experiences in Korea, Indochina, and Taiwan Straits during the early 1950s are generally cited as reasons that seem to have galvanised China’s leaders into launching their crash-course for strategic weapons development which resulted in their first atomic explosion on October 16, 1964, thus making China the fifth nuclear weapons power. Going by the inherent ethos of China’s Communist revolution as also various other factors—like their class-struggle thesis, their memories of civil war, their continued fears of foreign aggression, followed by the Soviets’ intransigence to share their nuclear weapons with China—these nuclear threats from Washington may have only hastened China’s search for the atomic bomb. The essence of Communist China’s emergence as a nuclear weapon power lay in the very nature of China’s Communist revolution which was anti-­hegemonic at its core. 2. China wanted nuclear weapons as early as 1949. The Chinese government authorised physicist Qian Sanquiang to procure nuclear instruments from Europe. [22] China began developing nuclear weapons in the late 1950s with substantial Soviet assistance. By 1953 the Chinese, under the guise of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, had initiated research leading to the development of nuclear weapons. The decision to develop an independent strategic nuclear force was made no later than early 1956 and was to be implemented within the Twelve-Year Science Plan presented in September 1956 to the Eighth Congress of the CCP. The decision to enter into a development program designed to produce nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems was, in large part, a function of the 1953 technology transfer agreements initiated with the USSR. 3. In 1951 Peking signed a secret agreement with Moscow through which China provided uranium ores in exchange for Soviet assistance in the nuclear field. In mid-October 1957 the Chinese and Soviets signed an agreement on new technology for national defence that included provision for additional Soviet nuclear assistance as well as the furnishing of some surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles. The USSR also agreed to supply a sample atomic bomb and to provide technical assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. The Soviets provided the Chinese with assistance in building a major gaseous diffusion facility for production of enriched uranium. Subsequently the Chinese accused Moscow of having abrogated this agreement in 1959, and having “refused to supply a simple atomic bomb and technical data concerning its manufacture.”[23] Soon after Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) completely took over the nuclear weapons program. 4. China made remarkable progress in the 1960s in developing nuclear weapons. In a thirty-two-month period, China successfully exploded its first atomic bomb (October 16, 1964), launched its first nuclear missile (October 25, 1966), and detonated its first hydrogen bomb (June 14, 1967). The successes achieved in nuclear research and experimental design work permitted China to begin series production of nuclear (since 1968) and thermonuclear (since 1974) warheads. 5. The PRC’s nuclear weapons intelligence collection efforts began after the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, when the PRC assessed its weaknesses in physics and the deteriorating status of its nuclear weapons programs. The PRC’s warhead designs of the late 1970s were large, multi-megaton thermonuclear weapons that could only be carried on large ballistic missiles and aircraft. The PRC’s warheads were roughly equivalent to US warheads designed in the 1950s. From 1979 onwards China discontinued its conventional research and development programs, but retained a strong emphasis on its nuclear weapons modernisation. [24] The PRC may have decided as early as that time to pursue more advanced thermonuclear warheads for its new generation of ballistic missiles. 6. China began considering the development of tactical nuclear weapons. During the l990s, the PRC was working to complete testing of its modern thermonuclear weapons before it signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996. The PRC conducted a series of nuclear tests from 1992 to 1996. Based on what is known about PRC nuclear testing practices, combined with data on PRC warhead yield and on PRC missile development, it is clear that the purpose of the 1992 to 1996 test series was to develop small, light warheads for the PRC’s new nuclear forces. 7. One of the objectives of the final series of Chinese nuclear tests was to miniaturize China’s nuclear warheads, dropping their weight from 2200 kgs to 700 kgs in order to accommodate the next generation of solid-fueled missile systems. There is considerable uncertainly in published estimates of the size of the Chinese nunclear weapons stockpile. In the late 1980s it was generally held that China was the world’s third-largest nuclear power, possessing a small but credible nuclear deterrent force of 225 to 300 nuclear weapons. Other estimates of the country’s production capacities suggested that by the end of 1970 China had fabricated around 200 nuclear weapons, a number which could have increased to 875 by 1980. With an average annual production of 75 nuclear weapons during the 1980s, some estimates suggest that by the mid-1990s the Chinese nuclear industry had produced around 2,000 nuclear weapons for ballistic missiles, bombers, artillery projectiles and landmines. 8. China’s nuclear forces, in combination with the PLA’s conventional forces, served to deter both nuclear and conventional attack.. The combination of China’s few nuclear weapons and technological factors such as range, accuracy, and response time might further limit the effectiveness of nuclear strikes against counterforce targets. China is seeking to increase the credibility of its nuclear retaliatory capability by dispersing and concealing its nuclear forces in difficult terrain, improving their mobility, and hardening its missile silos.

China’s Strategic U-Turn on its Nuclear Policies

9. Starting from China’s disarmament policies, the four decades of disarmament debates have witnessed Beijing shift from describing various arms control regimes as “an indenture” imposed on the non-nuclear weapon states, to justifying them as a step towards “halting the arms race” before carrying out genuine and general disarmament. The 1990s have witnessed China’s leaders shifting their position on their policies about nuclear disarmament. While earlier China had promised to consider reduction in its nuclear arsenal once Moscow and Washington- reduced-their weapons by 50 per cent, during early 1992, in view of START I and START II becoming an actual possibility, Beijing revised its policy and declared that it will not participate in any disarmament until these two have reduced their arsenals by 90 per cent each. And the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) during March 1996 perhaps marked completion of China strategic U-turn making it, now an integral part amongst the managers of global nuclear non-­proliferation. 10. Similarly, from Mao describing his nuclear weapons development as a project in support of the world’s “oppressed people” and advocating the thesis that “the more countries develop their own nuclear weapons, the more possible it is to prohibit nuclear weapons, and the more possible it is to delay the war,” the 1990s have witnessed China profess the exact opposite by joining all the non-proliferation regimes that are dedicated to stopping only the horizontal and not vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons.[25] From the early 1960s, Chairman Mao had repeatedly laid stress on what is known today as “minimum deterrence” saying that “a few atomic bombs are enough, six is enough.” But this doctrine had begun to be undermined following the transfer of power to Deng Xiaoping who believed, “We (must) have, what others have.”[26] In the same way, during the first three decades of its atomic research programme, for example, China had decided to build _only strategic nuclear weapons and to forgo tactical nuclear bombs, but this _principle has been completely ignored since the early 1980s.[27] 11. The PLA has obviously drawn lessons from this broad-based transformation and they have already initiated some basic changes in their nuclear strategies and operational doctrines. Accordingly, they have, over the years, shifted their nuclear targeting priorities from “counter-value” to “counter-strike” which partly explains the PLA’s preoccupation with miniaturisation of their nuclear warheads and with developing mobile, solid-fuel, missile systems. This may very well be a step towards evolving capabilities which will eventually enable China to move from “second-strike” to “graduated response” and finally to: Offensive “first strike” nuclear doctrine. To start with, the Chinese conventional war ­fighting doctrine has already moved from the “passive defence” and “luring the enemy” of the people’s war years to “active defence” and “limited war” under modern high-tech conditions. The same also seems to be true of their nuclear doctrine of no-first use (NFU) which has been regarded as China’s single most important contribution to the international thinking on nuclear strategies.

China’s No-First Use Doctrine

12. Chinese leaders repeatedly have pledged never to be the first to use nuclear weapons, and they have accompanied the no first -use pledge with a promise of certain nuclear counterattack if nuclear weapons are used against China. China envisioned retaliation against strategic and tactical attacks and would probably strike countervalue rather than counterforce targets. In the very first official statement announcing the successful detonation of their first atomic bomb on October 16, 1964, the Chinese had pledged themselves to the NFU doc-trine which includes a pledge for non-use of .nuclear weapons against-non nuclear weapons powers…and nuclear-weapon-free-zones. Nevertheless, things have changed in this case as well and despite its repeated enunciation by China’s leaders, their NFU doctrine has remained unclear on more than one count, thus raising doubts about its efficacy in an actual crisis. First of all, China’s military strategists do not consider the use of nuclear weapons in their own territory as violating their NFU doctrine.[28]


13. Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh which Beijing claims are part of China’s sovereign existence. From May 1998, this has to be read along with India’s legally uncertain nuclear status which provides China the option to withdraw its non-use pledge during any crisis. As regards being the first or second to use nuclear weapons, China’s tactical anti-demolition mines may not be very easy to detect during the heat and dust of a conventional war. And going by the precedence, when the two had fought with relatively antiquated weapons, for the last 35 years, the two sides have continued to accuse each other of initiating the 1962 border war. This has also to be seen in the context of repeated statements by China’s leaders contradicting their NFU doctrine that only further strengthened such scepticism. And to cap it all the recent policy change in India has completely altered the situation for the Chinese policy-makers. According to a senior foreign policy expert of China’s State Security Minister’s think-tank, Yan Xuetong, “If there is a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, China will be naturally dragged into it.” [29] 14. The continued modernisation of China arsenals, continuous revision of its doctrines and strategies and “above all the miracle of its continued economic growth during the last two decades have all made China today a most important determining factor in the nuclear thinking and policies of all major powers around the world. Surely, India as no exception to this trend. What makes China’s nuclear weapons and doctrine so critical for India’s nuclear debate is the fact that India happens to share its largest land borders with this emerging superpower on-the-horizon: that these borders happen to be disputed, involving clash of claims to the order of 130,000 sq km; that the two have actually fought a shooting war on this issue; and that India’s asylum to the Dalai Lama remains a great sore on the body-politic of Communist China’s sovereign existence. The important question to ask is not Why Now? or Why At All? but whether even now India has the potential to build a credible deterrence which should ensure that India does not become vulnerable to China’s nuclear coercion ever, either from the Chinese mainland or by their supplies to India’s neighbours like Pakistan. And finally, let it not be misunderstood that. China is the only nuclear weapon power that has fought wars against both the nuclear superpowers and, therefore, what it will take to deter the Chinese may not be the same as what it takes to deter most other countries.



1. In simple terms deterrence means threatening punitive retaliation to prevent a foe from attacking. It differs fundamentally from defence, which means threatening to fight back if attacked and deny an attacker its objectives. The heart of the distinction is whether it would make sense to carry out the threat. 2. In military parlance the proven ability to exact rapid retribution, strike deep into hostile territory and deny a potential aggressor the assurance that his home land can be safe from attack, by any means against it, is by any measure a strong and explicit deterrence. In other words deterrence forces an adversary to change its conduct anticipating massive retaliation. 3. Prior to Nuclear Age. There is a difference in deterrence before and during the nuclear age. Prior to nuclear age, a state’s armed forces had to be defeated before the state and its population centres could be held hostage or destroyed at will. This was slightly modified with the introduction of aircraft. Aircrafts could penetrate the target country even before its army had been defeated, attacked and damaged. 4. Nuclear Age. Nuclear deterrence is essentially a mind game. A potential aggressor will be deterred if he is persuaded that the nuclear retaliation that will be delivered by the survivable nuclear force of the victim will cause unacceptable damage, totally incommensurate with any strategic, political, economic or any other objective that drives him to go for the first strike.[30] 5. “It is important to understand that assured destruction is the very essence of the whole deterrence concept. We must possess an actual assured-destruction capability, and that capability also must be credible. The point is that a potential aggressor must believe that our assured-destruction capability is in fact actual, and that our will to use it in retaliation to an attack is in fact unwavering. The conclusion, then, is clear: if the United States is to deter a nuclear attack on itself or its allies, it must possess an actual and a credible assured-destruction capability.”[31] 6. The logic of deterrence is inherently paradoxical. To deter nuclear attack, it is deemed necessary to threaten nuclear retaliation. Retaliation makes no sense unless the second strike could eliminate the other side’s nuclear forces and prevent it from launching another strike of its own. Traditional nuclear deterrence was directed at states already armed with nuclear weapons and was aimed at deterring their use in time of crisis or war; it was not enlisted as a means deterring the acquisition of nuclear weapons. 7. Nuclear deterrence in both its strong (e.g. MAD, Assured Destruction) and weak (Massive Retaliation, Minimal Deterrence) forms, relies on roducing deterrence of the First Use of nuclear weapons through the promise of a devastating counterattack. This strategy rests on the mathematics of game theory. This game was originally conceived as a two-player Nash Equilibrium game (my behavior in the game will determine your future behavior). Is what is ‘striking against all historical precedent’ not that deterrence doctrine based on nuclear weapons works, but that humanity still survives on earth despite assuming that possessing nuclear weapons produces deterrence? Technological positivism presumes that the ‘correct number’ of nuclear weapons analytically derived will achieve deterrence and extended deterrence objectives.[32]

Concept of Deterrence

8. Traditional nuclear deterrence was directed at states already armed with nuclear weapons and was aimed at deterring their use in time of crisis or war; it was not enlisted as a means deterring the acquisition of nuclear weapons. [33] Deterrence as a strategic concept evolved during the Cold War; during that period, deterrence strategy was aimed mainly at preventing nuclear aggression against the US by the hostile Communist powers of USSR, China and North Korea as strategic nuclear arms were the weapons of choice in the stand-off between the superpowers. 9. Deterrence assumes that a potential aggressor is rational and will compare the expected costs and benefits of alternative courses of action and based on the results of that comparison, will choose one that maximizes benefits or minimizes costs. Rational deterrence theory recognizes three essential determinants for successful deterrence:- (a) Communication. Effective deterrence relies on the ability to communicate unmistakably to the potential aggressor what actions are considered unacceptable. (b) Capability. Effective deterrence also encompasses the ability to carry out the threat. Deterrence can only be effective if the threat on which it is based is technically capable of execution and the threat is sufficiently large to deter. The amount of force required to provide a sufficiently large deterrent threat will depend on the adversary and the interest being threatened. The military force invoked as part of the deterrence action must be clearly capable of achieving the promised military objectives (c) Credibility. Credibility refers to an aggressor’s perception of the commitment of the nation to use the force that constitutes the deterrent threat. For deterrence to be effective, the aggressor must be beyond reasonable doubt that the deterrent threat will be carried out. This requires efforts such as demonstrated political will, willingness to sustain economic costs and to endure human casualties, and to take risks in support of the deterrence efforts.

Problems With Deterrence

10. Deterrence was successful during the Cold War period in containing the two superpowers but the concept of deterrence has certain inherent problems and shortcomings:- (a) Firstly, to assume that the aggressor is rational is too simplistic as it omits crucial variables that may affect the decision-making. Tension, fear, fatigue and other thought-inhibiting processes may distort the decision-making process. In some situations, there might be overwhelming circumstances such as those that revolve around issues of national, racial or religious pride, and hostilities may not be deterred by rational calculations. (b) Secondly, deterrence can be self-defeating, leading to reduced stability as the threats that are issued can provoke as well as restrain. The deterrent capability should not be so great that an adversary sees itself as being threatened; an arms race could be sparked, leading to conflict spirals and heightened tensions. If the adversary feels that his national security is at stake, it might carry out a pre-emptive strike. (c) Thirdly, while conventional deterrence is generally more credible than threats based on nuclear weapons, it is inherently contestable as the costs involved are more bearable and the outcome of any conflict is difficult to predict. As such, conventional deterrence might not be able to raise the stakes in a conflict to levels high enough to forestall the outbreak of hostilities and the enemy might still be tempted to get involved in a limited war. (d) The weaker state may be highly motivated due in whole or part to a strong commitment to particular values or to a psychopathological leader. (e) The weaker state may perceive that its allies would come to its aid and underestimated the costs that would be involved in challenging an opponent. 11. In the post-Cold War era, the US experienced great difficulty in making threats that were credible and potent enough to deter adversaries although it possessed overwhelmingly superior military capabilities. In first gulf war Saddam Hussein refused to comply with the demand to remove his troops from Kuwait and had to be expelled by force. It would appear that he was insufficiently impressed with the credibility or the potency of the US threats of force.

Relevance of Deterrence in the twenty-first century

12. Although the concept of deterrence has some shortcomings, deterrence as a basis for state security still has an important role to play and is not outdated in the twenty-first century. The critical task for policy-makers is to find a sensible balance between deterrence and reassurance. Too great a stress on the latter could undermine deterrence where it is needed and thus encourage aggression; too great an emphasis on the former may increase the risk of an inadvertent war. The effectiveness of deterrence can be increased if parallel strategies of reassurance and positive inducements are also adopted to make the status quo more attractive. 13. In the twenty-first century, the only guarantor of state security is still the state itself. It is foolhardy for a state to assume that another country will come to its aid in times of crisis unless some vital interests are involved. Unless the major security interests of the leading nations are directly threatened, substantial military involvement by the international community will be rare beyond peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations. The world’s current superpower, the United States will not and is unable to intervene in every one of the many crises around the globe. American interests do not require them to do so, and the international community itself is overwhelmed with such crises and cannot respond to all of them. 14. A state is unwise to depend on any other state for its security in times of crises, as it is not uncommon for policy shifts to occur due to changes in government leaders and the mood of the people. A country’s approach towards the security of another country can be one of engagement, isolation, unilateralism or multilateralism, depending on the government and the people of the country. Leaders of countries might change or the people might exert pressures on their governments to change their policies. 15. Prior to nuclearisation, chief purpose of the military establishment had been to win wars. Thus, with the new world order its chief purpose must be to avert wars.



The Evolution of Diplomacy

1. Diplomacy refers to the conduct of international relations by persons who are official agents of the states. It also refers to the conduct of relations between states and other non-state actors in the international system through peaceful means. Diplomacy is an old activity, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. It was organized on a largely bilateral basis and was usually undertaken in secrecy and characterized by distinctive rules and procedures. The agenda was narrow, consisting mainly of the issue of sovereignty and issues of war and peace. 2. After WWI, diplomacy evolved to what is known as ‘new’ diplomacy. In the new diplomacy, States continued to negotiate bilaterally with each other on a state-to-state basis, but groups of states typically negotiated multi-laterally through the auspices of intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations. The agenda expanded to include economic, social and welfare issues, and has a distinctive emphasis on military security. 3. During the Cold War, when world politics was dominated by the ideological confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, new forms of diplomacy emerged. There was nuclear diplomacy which was the interaction among states possessing nuclear weapons, where one or more states would threaten to use them to dissuade an opponent from undertaking an action. During that period, summit diplomacy was also conducted, a direct form of communication between heads of government or state. The end of the Cold War represented a dramatic change in the international context within which diplomacy is conducted. Diplomacy can now be genuinely global in scope, as the ideological division has disappeared.

Functions of Diplomacy

4. Diplomacy serves a number of purposes, all of which are concerned with the implementation of a state’s policy towards other states. Diplomacy facilitates communication between the political leaders of states and other entities in world politics. The negotiation of agreements is important for advancing relationships and achieving mutual benefits. Information and intelligence gathering is an important contribution to the formulation of a state’s coherent and intelligent foreign policy. As policy is not formulated in a vacuum, knowledge and information about the particular state towards which the policy is formulated is essential for peaceful inter-state relations. Diplomacy is important for minimizing friction, which is inevitable in inter-state relationships. Friction is a source of tension and discord that may be unrelated to the true interests of the parties and must be minimized to avoid hostilities and to maintain peaceful relationships. Diplomacy also functions as a symbolic representation of a society of states. The presence of diplomats in states is a visible manifestation of a certain set of rules to which states and non-state actors in the international system follow, establishing some degree of international order. Diplomacy helps states to interact with minimal friction and tension.

The Relevance of Diplomacy in the twenty-first century

5. From the evolution of diplomacy, it can be seen that diplomacy has been adapting and changing with the requirements of international politics. The functions of diplomacy have constantly found new meaning to the prevailing conditions of the world. It has been argued that since WWI, The role of the resident ambassador and his mission has declined in relation to that of other channels of international business. Heads of government and other ministers, who meet frequently in direct encounters, have bypassed the resident ambassador, as it is sometimes more effective and efficient to discuss matters directly with their counterparts. Due to the increasingly technical nature of key issues in areas such as in the military; and in economic, social, educational, scientific, ecological areas etc., the diplomats do not have such specialized knowledge and need to rely on the respective experts for negotiations. In the 21st century, bilateral diplomacy has also declined in relation to multilateral diplomacy, as a consequence of the proliferation of international organizations. Many important issues are dealt with at least in part in a multilateral context such as diplomatic issues through the United Nations and defence issues in the framework of NATO or ARF. 6. A decline in the role of professional diplomacy or a change in its character as shown above does not mean that diplomacy has ceased to make a central contribution to international order. The various functions of diplomacy, all of which have contributed greatly to state security, remain important .in the 21 st century. The contributions that diplomacy makes to the security of nation-states cannot be quantified easily as skilful diplomacy enhances the survival of nation-states. Diplomacy remains a key instrument for peacefully managing problems in the world community, contributing to international order and nation-states’ security.

Post-Cold War Security Environment

7. In the twenty-first century, due to the increasing pace of globalisation and the economic interdependence of nation-states, the security agenda has expanded beyond just military security. The security agenda has expanded to include human, environmental, social and economic security, collectively known as ‘non-traditional security issues’. Although a proliferation of international organisations, globalization and non-traditional security issues especially human security will force nation-states to give up some of their sovereignty, it is also very clear that the state is still the dominant player in international relations and domestic politics. As international organisations are created by and for states, the prerogatives of the nation-state will not easily yield to them having an equal position in global governance. The sovereign states also retain a near monopoly on the use of coercive force in international politics and they continue to shape the trans-national interactions of non-state actors. The most important non-state actor is the United Nations (UN). 8. The UN Security Council’s rigid adherence to the concept of impartiality has also limited UN options and has circumscribed active intervention by the international community in deadly conflicts. As such, non-state actors have done little to discourage belligerents from hostilities and it is unlikely that interventions from the international community will be prompt in the event of any crisis. Thus, the country still needs to ensure its own security and cannot depend on non-state actors. Liberals feel that there is less likelihood of conflicts between nation-states due to the increasingly interdependent global economy. However, despite growing global economic interdependence, war remains a common feature of the international landscape, occurring among different national, ethnic, and religious communities unwilling to live together and settle their disputes peacefully.



Credible nuclear deterrence and robust diplomacy. 1. Doctrines do not have deterrence it is nuclear weapons that deterrence have power.[34] For the safety of the country India has been supportive about the fact that it ensures effective deterrence. It does say through the nuclear doctrine that it will follow the policy of ‘no first use’. At the same time the world has to recognize that India does have a capability of technology by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in which at a given time , test-firing of the intermediate range 3000-km surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-III can be done successfully. There is but the ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons and non-use of these weapons against non-nuclear weapon states which India does agree to internationally .It has also been confirmed that India does have an understanding with its neighbouring countries in which it agrees to share information on missile test-firing. 2. Nuclear Deterrence is now an issue in India. It has to face the international world on it too. The major disclosure made by the known scientist of India Mr. Santhanam about the Pokharan tests in 1998 that the thermonuclear tests recorded a low yield than what was officially stated at that time has been more of a problem to India.[35] India does face problems of credibility of nuclear weapons as it cannot fight it its immediate neighbours China and Pakistan on this issue. More so this issue of nuclear deterrence is not only provocative to US but also China and Pakistan. India cannot deny that it does have security threats from these two states. The credibility of India’s nuclear deterrence is questionable and it requires a careful judgement including a fresh thermonuclear test. 3. In the hot debate of nuclear deterrence and the fact that Indian claims on their nuclear power are untrue India has to be diplomatic in explaining its point to the world. Here again the India’s National Security Adviser Mr. Brajesh Mishra did disagree to the claim of Mr. Santhanam. However, at the same time many former Atomic Energy Commission heads did agree to the scientific data released by international monitoring bodies. Here again India has to be careful that no such discrepancy arise in front of the International world. It can bring India in suspicious eyes in from of the world. India has been a diplomatic and peace loving country. It has been involved in no other major warfare except in its own soil. Also India has always practised a no first attack policy even for its violent and trust breaching neighbours. .Even the Indian political leadership should not be deterred by any external pressures to conduct fresh thermonuclear tests. It is but the Indian security which has to be given prime importance in future. 4. Also India’s Nuclear Doctrine which was agreed upon year ago needs a change or up gradation in view of China’s nuclear arsenal and it’s the use of nuclear weapons in Tibet targeted at India. Another threat to India in future is the fact that Pakistan as stated US reports has gone in for a massive growth of its nuclear arsenal and fine-tuning its nuclear warfare capabilities. 5. Many an experts to do suggest that India withdraw form its ‘No First Use’ policy from its doctrine. This is quite reasonable in future if the neighbours like Pakistan are already preparing and improving their warfare. Also in case they see a threat to Pakistan in any form of nuclear attacks foreseen, India would not deter to attack Pakistan first or in other words take on the first one to attack policy for nuclear weapons. 6. There are many a policies that India has been following as a democratic country toward the argument of the nuclear deterrent policy. They are as follows: (a) Manage effectively the Driving and Restraining forces. An effective moral leader like does not get carried away by any of the two forces to bring in stress to him for the nuclear deterrent. The management of these two forces will lead the future negotiation to be happy with their dealings with India. (b) Focus on task. Be a problem Solver: Focusing on the task by planning, organizing and prioritizing the nuclear operations in an effective way of managing task-related problems is the basis of India. Frequently defining and clarifying expectations of the international world on nuclear option in India and maintaining a project schedule, and completing tasks ahead of deadline area few areas India lay emphasis on.[36] This is one of the Enactive strategies to manage moral leadership in the world. Goal setting and working effectively towards nuclear operation can help the future generation in India to be involved morally in good use of the same. (c) Make a positive support group. India has made sure to have a support group in place that is helping India positively cope with ethics and moral problems of nuclear reactions. This diverse group is made up of the supportive countries. India is clear about its goals around managing stress related to the disputes of nuclear reactions and has help to stay on track.. India has support from international groups that have been helpful in the past. Managing morale leadership of nuclear reactions through collaboration by being polite to the members of the world has helped the world in understanding ethics and moral leadership better. (d) Increase emotional intelligence. India has been working on the emotional intelligence of the world partners .It is empathetic to people of the international community on the argument of nuclear reactions and thus they are empathetic to it. India has effectively been able to deal with moral reliability of nuclear reactions today. (e) India is always satisfied with small wins. Meanwhile it does not leave aspiring for big dreams. India is all ready to set an example of the future generations which should be morally right.


7. It is known to the world through International agencies that India does have a small stockpile of nuclear weapon components and could assemble and deploy a few nuclear weapons at any pint of time be it for civil or military use. In a study by an expert in this area Ashley Tellis he states that India does not have or seek to deploy a ready nuclear arsenal. 8. Here again the international image of India is he activity of nuclearisation which is “strategically active but operationally dormant”. But as far as the security of India is concerned the world know that India can very well prepare for its retaliatory capability “within a matter of hours to weeks. At the same time it can also help the other countries to restraint through this capability. However, the report also maintains that, in the future, India may face increasing institutional pressure to shift its nuclear arsenal to a fully deployed status. 9. India has diplomatically promised that it will not be the first one to use its nuclear power for war purposes. India has a declared nuclear no-first-use policy and also proposes to give in the “credible minimum deterrence.” This draft of doctrine was floated by the government of India in August 1999. It promises to state that the nuclear weapons are primarily for deterrence and that India will use them only for “retaliation only.” The document state that as far as India is concerned it “will not be the first to initiate a nuclear first strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail”. The decision of use of the nuclear weapon would be that of the Prime Minister or his designated successor. 10. India also has to be aware of security from Pakistan. Pakistan’s nuclear tests went on to give birth to the Lahore Agreements in 1999 between Prime Ministers Vajpayee and Sharif. These agreement were a milestone for the relationship of India and Pakistan as they included confidence building measures like advance notice of ballistic missile testing and a continuation of their unilateral moratoria on nuclear testing by both the countries. But the attack of Kargil actually showed the ugly face of Pakistan and the credibility of the agreement as zero. There was a US diplomatic pressure, because of which Pakistan had to withdraw its troop. This but was another question mark for Indian safety and the use of nuclear force by India. As compared to Pakistan, China has been a better neighbour. China but has the moral compass or the measurement of doing things with moral responsibility and ethics which is good. It has tried to inculcate in the country all the moral values that are necessary to be done in a good world citizen. The code of conduct or Code of nuclear Social Responsibility is also good in China. 11. Nuclear deterrence had many an issues in India. India has been a country which has always been in threat from its neighbour Pakistan. Thus it becomes very important for India to be able to use its nuclear power at any time if need be, this may not happen in nuclear deterrence treaty. India has diplomatically promised that it will not be the first one to use its nuclear power for war purposes. India has a declared nuclear no-first-use policy and also proposes to give in the “credible minimum deterrence.” This draft of doctrine was floated by the government of India in August 1999.It promises to state that the nuclear weapons are primarily for deterrence and that India will use them only for “retaliation only.” The document state that as far as India is concerned it “will not be the first to initiate a nuclear first strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail”. The decision of use of the nuclear weapon would be that of the Prime Minister or his designated successor. 12. Many an experts to do suggest that India withdraw form its ‘No First Use’ policy from its doctrine. This is quite reasonable in future if the neighbors like Pakistan are already preparing and improving their warfare. Also in case they see a threat to Pakistan in any form of nuclear attacks foreseen, India would not deter to attack Pakistan first or in other words take on the first one to attack policy for nuclear weapons. 13. India has to see that a conflict with these known countries or power of the world do not land up in a globalised to an un-globalised country. Thus it becomes crucial for India to follow diplomacy. India has been doing so in the past. At the same time, India reputation in terms of its integrity and sovereignty is also crucial. The fact that India is a peace loving country and still needs economic help from the world powers does not mean that we have to be compelled to follow the nuclear deterrence doctrine for sure. It is entirely to the discretion of India to follow the deterrence or not. However it should be diplomatic enough to tell to the world the policy of its nuclear operations which is being build up for its safety. 14. In the 21st century, although there is increased globalisation, co-operation and a proliferation of international organizations, the nature of the international system basically remains an anarchical society. For their security, nation-states need to make effective use of the complementary realist tools of deterrence and diplomacy. Due to its shortcomings, deterrence alone is not sufficient to ensure nation-states’ security. Deterrence has a fundamental role, not as the sole basis of a state’s security strategy but as a vital element of a complex interaction of military, diplomatic and political activities. To maximize the prospects for stability, parallel strategies of reassurance and cooperation, as well as a range of diplomatic and political measures will be required. 15. On the other hand, history has shown that efforts to deal with conflicts between states solely by means of peaceful diplomacy do not always succeed and may result in substantial damage to one’s national interests. The use of force to deal with violence is still necessary, as the international community may not always be able to predict and prevent the outbreak of violence. Nation-states must therefore develop the capability of deterrence to prevent violence. 16. In the 21st century, diplomacy and deterrence are still necessary instruments of any state’s security policies. The security of nation-states is best achieved through a suitable combination of these two instruments. [1] INDIA’S PATHWAY TO POKHRAN II , By: Ganguly, Sumit, International Security, 01622889, Spring99, Vol. 23, Issue 4 [2] British assisted in constructing India’s first research reactor, Apsara.. Canada also supplied India with a powerful research reactor which came to be known as Cirus and became operative in 1960. It was not under any scrutiny and safeguards under any authority. It enabled India to produce Plutonium, which was used in the nuclear explosion of 1974. Cirus provided the design prototype for India’s more powerful Dhruva plutonium production “research” reactor. The technical effort was Indian but the raw material help was came from abroad, on the promise that these reactors will used for “peaceful purposes”. Nuclearisation of South Asia: A Case study of India and Pakistan – Dissertation submitted to Stella Maris College (Autonomous) Chennai By Devna Rastogi -April 2008. [3] ibid [4] ibid [5] INDIA’S PATHWAY TO POKHRAN II , By: Ganguly, Sumit, International Security, 01622889, Spring99, Vol. 23, Issue 4. [6] ibid [7] ibid [8] INDIA’S PATHWAY TO POKHRAN II , By: Ganguly, Sumit, International Security, 01622889, Spring99, Vol. 23, Issue 4. [9] INDIA’S PATHWAY TO POKHRAN II , By: Ganguly, Sumit, International Security, 01622889, Spring99, Vol. 23, Issue 4. [10] Ibid. The U.S. reaction, however, was the most severe: in 1976 Congress introduced the Symington amendment to the foreign aid bill, thereby cutting off certain forms of economic and military assistance to countries that received enrichment or reprocessing equipment, materials, or technology without full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.Further restrictions soon followed under the Carter administration, which had made nonproliferation one of the key elements of its foreign policy platform. Most important, the Carter administration introduced and passed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, omnibus legislation designed to severely curb nuclear sales to recalcitrant nations. The United States also undertook significant efforts to limit proliferation at the multilateral level, taking the lead in the formation of the London Suppliers Group, which sought to coordinate and limit the sales of sensitive and dual-use technologies to countries outside the ambit of the NPT. [11] Nuclear Policy – Draft Report of National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine-Aug 17, 1999_http_www.fas.org_nuke_guide_india_doctrine_990817-indnucld [12] [13] [14] [15] ibid [16] [17] ibid [18] Ibid [19] China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 141-as part of Nuclear India by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh. [20] [21] [22] China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 141-as part of Nuclear India by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh. [23] [24] Eric Arnett, “Military Technology: The Case of China,” in SEPRI Yearbook 1995: Armament, Disarmament and International Security, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 375-77. As quoted in China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 148-as part of Nuclear India by air Cmde Jasjit Singh. [25] Mao Zedong Wayiao Wenxuan (Selected Works of Mao Zeclong on Foreign Affairs), (Beijing: Foreign Laguage Press, 1994), p.420; also Guanyu Guoji Gongchan Zhuyi Yundong Zonglxian de Bianlurn (Debate on the General Line on the International Communist Movement). (Beijing: Foreign Language Press. 1965), p.264-5; Wang Ling, “Whither Arms Control,” Contemporary International Relations, vol. 7, no. 3, March 1997. p. 13. As quoted in China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 151-as part of Nuclear India by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh. [26] Xue Litai, “China’s Military Modernisation and Security Policy,” The. Korean Journal of International Studies, vol. xxxiv, no. 4, April 1993, pp. 486, 495. As quoted in China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 151-as part of Nuclear India by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh. [27] US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). Handbook of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, DDB-2680-32-84, November 1984, p. 69. As quoted in China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 151-as part of Nuclear India by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh. [28] Tai Ming Chong, “New Bomb Makers,” Far Eastern Economic Review, March 16, 1989, p. 27. Starting from 1978, the PLA regularly carries out excercises involving tactical nuclear weapons. As quoted in China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 151-as part of Nuclear India by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh. [29] Charles Hutzler, (of Reuters) “Nuclear Power PRC Mulls Nuclear-Empowered India,” The China Post, May 27, 1998, p. 4. As quoted in China’s Nuclear weapons and Doctrine by Swaran Singh- page 151-as part of Nuclear India by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh [30] Deterrence and explosive yield by K. Subrahmanyam, VS Arunachalam in the Hindu dated 20 Sep 09 [31] “Mutual Deterrence” Speech by Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara, San Francisco, September 18, 1967 [32] The Game Strategy of Nuclear Deterrence by Lyle Brecht- Capital Markets Research -Friday, October 9 , 2009 DRAFT V. 5 . 1 [33] 13673173–Nuclear-Deterrence-Preventive-War-and-Counterproliferation-Cato-Policy-Analysis-No-519- [34] Mr Bharat Karnard during a lecture in Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. [35] Times of India dated….. [36] David Mutimer – – 2000 The weapons state: proliferation and the framing of security – Page 122

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Nuclear deterrence and diplomacy in Indian context. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved January 30, 2023 , from

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