Emerging Shifts in India’s Nuclear Policy: Implications for Minimum Deterrence in South Asia

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Abstract:

A decade and a half after the testing of its nuclear weapons in 1998, India is gradually transforming its nuclear policy. This consistent shift in India’s policy-making is taking place in almost all the major areas related to its deterrent forces. There appears to be a reappraisal in India’s credible minimum deterrence. This paper explores areas of India’s nuclear policy which are undergoing a gradual shift. In light of the essentials of minimum deterrence- as part of a theoretical explanation- the argument put forth traces out whether India’s emerging policy transformation, formulation, and their execution are in accordance with the spirit of minimum deterrence conceived in principle. The paper concludes that India’s nuclear policy transformation in most areas and sub-areas is not quite consistent with the minimum deterrence criteria set here. In so doing, these inconsistencies could have dire implications for minimum deterrence in South Asia in general, and the non-proliferation regime in particular.

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