India’s nuclear strategy appears to place greater emphasis on China
As India continues to modernise its atomic arsenal and the country’s nuclear strategy which focused on Pakistan appears to place greater emphasis on China, two leading nuclear experts have said. An article printed in the issue of the electronic journal – After Midnight – has claimed that India is developing a missile which could target all of China from its foundations in South India.
“At least four more systems are in development. The development program is in a dynamic phase, with long-range land-and sea-based missiles emerging for possible deployment within the next decade…”
India is estimated to have produced enough plutonium for 150-200 nuclear warheads but has likely produced only 120-130, wrote Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris from the post Indian nuclear forces 2017. India’s nuclear strategy, which has traditionally focused on Pakistan, now appears to place greater emphasis on China, both experts claimed.
“While India has traditionally been focused on deterring Pakistan, its nuclear modernisation suggests it is putting increased emphasis on its future strategic relationship with China,” they wrote. “That adjustment will lead to significant new capabilities being deployed over the next decade which may influence how India views nuclear weapons’ role against Pakistan,” they said.
Noting that India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal with the growth of new nuclear weapon systems, both experts estimate that New Delhi currently operates seven nuclear-capable systems: two aircraft, four land-based ballistic missiles, and one ballistic missile. “At least four more systems are in development. The development program is in a dynamic phase, with long-range land-and sea-based missiles emerging for possible deployment within the next decade,” it said.
India is estimated to have produced approximately 600 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, sufficient for warheads; however, not all the material was converted to nuclear warheads. Based on available information regarding its nuclear-capable shipping force, structure and strategy, we estimate that India has produced 120-130 nuclear warheads, the article said, adding that the nation will need more warheads to equip the missiles India is currently developing.
“The excess range will permit the Indian military to set up Agni-5 bases in central and southern India, further away from China”
Kristensen and Norris said that an improvement on the Agni-1, the two-stage, solid-fuel, rail-mobile Agni-2, which can deliver a nuclear or conventional warhead more than 2,000 kilometers is probably targeted on western, central, and southern China. Even though the Agni-4 will be capable of striking targets in almost all of China from northeastern India (including Beijing and Shanghai), India is also developing the longer-range Agni-5, a three-stage, solid-fuel, rail-mobile, near-intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a warhead more than 5,000 kilometres (3,100-plus miles), it said.
“The excess range will permit the Indian military to set up Agni-5 bases in central and southern India, further away from China,” the research article said. This move by the Government certainly comes as a blow on the faces of those who have been claiming that Narendra Modi is bowing down to Chinese diplomacy!
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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