Counterforce doctrines require sufficiently accurate and established deterrent capability. Nukes have only ever been used as a countervalue weapon, and their primary MAD potential was the threat of catastrophic countervalue destruction. India's relatively weaker deterrent would imply that NFU+countervalue retaliation is our position against PRC - effectively in response to their 'our deterrent is much more capable' statement, our statement is 'yes, but how many cities are you willing to lose when you use it ?'
1. There is a misplaced notion that CounterForce has to be only through N response. Pure Conventional option exists for such strike. In India, comments of ex- SFC guys dropped heavy hints in this direction. Conventional response is valid and part of steps in N war escalation.
2. Coming to the accuracy, our missile force has established sufficient accuracy to carryout CounterForce strike. In media we hear of near Zerro CEP as well as single digit accuracy for our missiles from Prithvi to Agni 3. Accuracy of Agni V is a classified information. Others will envy us if they come to know.
Further in coming days and months, we are only going to work on such systems to further increase the accuracy and dependability.
How it translates?
Size of the missiles with the adversaries is between 1 to 2 m dia or higher, enclosed in the silo of thickness much higher and its covering lid size further higher. For 2 m dia missile, we are talking about the lid size of 4- 6 m or higher. If Brahmos with Zero CEP can do a bunker buster role on these silos, it is an effective *Conventional* CounterForce strike weapon. Even less than 10kt yield is more that sufficient to destroy these silos as N response through other missiles with the accuracy we achieved taking into account all other adverse events that we may encounter.
Definitely India do have valid deterrent in these area. 10 kt test weapon success in PoK2 is accepted by everyone including many detractors.
3. >> Nukes have only ever been used as a countervalue weapon, and their primary MAD potential was the threat of catastrophic countervalue destruction.
That's becoz, in those days, accuracy of missiles is very less ( accuracy of Ghauri missile with Pak is few KM
s) so Nuke has to be big so the collateral damage and more appealing to advertise as City busters as it can kill several thousand/millions of people. So we heard more about MAD potential.
Sub KT nukes are available now with India. If we want to formulate a N response we can do that in whichever fashion we like, from Sub-KT to several hundred KT.
CounterForce response is definitely possible for India. It is a reality.
PS: Weapon yield of Minuteman missile is chosen in accordance with the accuracy the missile it can achieve and the strength of the Soviet Silos it needs to destroy at that time. So CounterForce option was retained even with missile having MAD potential. (CEP of Minuteman is higher than that of Trident as per open source)