Saturday, May 14, 2005

india's nuclear policy ....

i had a post last week - about India completing 7 years as a declared nuclear power. Niket had a compelling point to make:
If the scientists feel we need more tests, we should have more tests. The world be damned.
It essentially comes down to a basic issue: do we need the nukes? we need the deterrent IMO ... and given the world we live in, we should have 'em. if we need to do tests to develop them,
then we must test as many as needed! the big issue about the '98 tests was that they were the 'coming out of the closet' tests!

and while we have a 'no first use' nuclear policy in place: one of the questions that comes to mind based on that is at what point in a conventional conflict does a country like india decide to resort to nukes (God forbid the situation never arises) but it is not a straightforward question to answer. based on the policy as i know it, it will probably mean we will deal with whatever onslaught is launched against us with conventional weapons, and no nukes unless someone strikes against us with a nuke. pakistan on the other hand makes no such claims - according to the pakis, they will not desist from using nukes in a conventional weapons conflict if they feel national interests are threatened. there is a story in 'Yes Prime Minister' called 'The Grand Design' - where PM Hacker tries to implement a unique plan to strengthen conventional forces, based on discussions with his CHief SCientific Advisor - who points out the 'salami tactics' that the Soviets (story dates back to the height of the cold war ofcourse) would use if they decided to invade western europe .... it is pointed out to Hacker (and very rationally to) that the Russians would almost come all the way to the western edge of europe, and there would be no use of nukes by the Brits (ie Hacker, as CEO of the govt!). i suspect a very similar situation is likely to occur in the case of India, they would be perceived as the nuclear power who probably does not have the guts to use em .... while a 'no first use' policy will earn brownie points in world diplomacy, is it the best policy to have in order to safeguard our national interests/?

i believe the indian diplomatic missions in the US have statements of the policy on their website - or atleast thw Indian embassy in washington DC has it on their website. would be worth cheking out in a little more detail this weekend. ofcourse, the policy is made by the so-called experts in public-policy. but how many times have we seen kinks in that armor?i have not seen anyone questioning india's no first use policy and i am not a trigger happy by any stretch of imagination either ..... but i am still not convinced that we should have such a policy. hopefully thee will be some ansers forthcoming

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