Kanson, my point isn't with accuracy and CEPs, which form the conventional basis for asserting counterforce doctrines; I know we have accurate missiles. That sort of logic applied because both US and USSR had a large missile force. We do not. At least not, in relation to the Chinese. As Singha said, they have a fleet of silo-based, tunnel-protected , road and rail mobile DF-xx missiles pointed at us.
We are not in that league yet. The survivability of our deterrent isn't as assured as theirs (in comparison to us, not to US or Russia). Until such a time as we have the Arihant class going, canistered (i.e. mated) Tata/MAZ TELARs and IR covered canistered launchers with 100+ missiles operational, we cannot really assert an effective counterforce doctrine. Until then our position will remain 'how many cities are you willing to lose if you want to flatten us ?' In Mao's time that might actually not have worked because that madman was willing to lose half his population, but the current leadership is a little less unhinged...
You are welcome. The Crux of your passage as I read is that 1. we don't have enough missile to do CounterForce wrt China and 2. Even if we have, our CounterForce is not effective. Let put some numbers to see where we stand or can stand.
1. No. of missiles to do CounterForce:
China, as per open source, is considered to have, including MRBM to ICBM roughly between 1500 to 2000 missiles, further chances are that they could be adding more every year. It could be that real force China possesses could be higher by a factor of 2 or more. But lets work with available numbers, some rough calculation.
a. We know Agni V can take 3 to 10 MIRV as per official info. At 10 warhead per missile, it takes only 50 Agni V missile to destroy 500 missiles. Media speculated the cost of Agni V to be 60 to 80 Crores. For 50 missile it comes around by today exchange rates, ~750 million USD, not even a billion USD when you are purchasing ~100 aircraft for more than 10 billion USD. To take out 2000 missiles, you need ~ 3 billion USD; When we can start factories for producing thousands
of Nag and Akash, can't we produce few hundred Agni V missiles? Just a thought to ponder.
b. By one account, China assigns a launcher for 5 missiles. So if we can take out a single launcher, we can render unusable more than one missile in Chinese arsenal for immediate use.
c. Leaving out Brahmos and Shourya, we have, from Prithvi to Agni 3, some 200 - 300 odd missiles totally as per open source. How difficult to add few hundred more just for CounterForce?
So, how many missiles are needed to do CounterForce. Don't you see, we have the wherewithal to do CounterForce in terms of number of missiles required, atleast if not now but in immediate future?
2. Effective CounterForce
If you see from pure theoretical sense, effective CounterForce is one which can destroy 100% of your adversary missiles. CounterForce strategy couldn't fully succeed during Cold War becoz the initiator of N war can't guarantee such a high percentage close to 100% of destruction to avoid retaliation. Even to do that it requires such a large nuclear force that the after effects or the radiation fallout couldn't be confide to that locality and the Carnage going to be so huge & unacceptable to World polity defeating the purpose of CounterForce. By one account, to destroy Chinese missiles 100% by CounterForce, it need such a volume of N force that it amounts to destroying neighboring countries like Korea/Russia. You can see various writings from Western authors of Cold War era on how CounterForce is not a viable one, ie. you can't wage a N war and win without getting yourself destroyed typified by movies like The Hunt for Red October. But now
, accuracy of missiles has improved. Buker buster tech improved and improving. Pure conventional response is a possibility. Second, Anti ballistic missile defence is in our grasp. So, if you want you do CounterForce without fully aggravating your adversary, you can, by means of Conventional response. With ABM available, you don't need to target for 100% destruction, even a 10% destruction at initial stages of war will have huge impact on the course of War and amounts to that much less warhead that we need to tackle and further N war is indeed wage-able, you can scale back/ scale down N war against if it is a purely CounterValue response.
Let say, as Pak stated, it uses tactical N warhead on our force for a Cold Start like action. If there is no CounterForce capability with us, it leads to uncontrollable N war that leads to further more destruction. Indian Gov is by the people and for the people. Unlike autocrats like Mao who is willing to sacrifice half of their population just for the national pride and his ego, Indian Gov has the first priority to protect its people before going for punishing her adversary. So CounterForcce enables Indian Gov do its prime duty without losing face, economy and population.
NFU or any other doctrine is like 'Beware! Dogs Inside' sign board on the gate. Its utility ends once a intruder accepts the challenge and prepare to enter uninvited. After that it becomes usual game of waging a War. So there is no need to wrangle ourselves in the debate whether CouterForce means first strike or MAD or NFU. CounterForce can be part of Second Strike too. It take its own course once the War started.
Finally, counterforce can be viewed as sharpening your aim. It requires knowledge of how much the enemy has, and where it is (roughly). The SALT/START/XYZ agreements enabled those two participants to hone a counterforce approach through mutual understanding. Countervalue is easier and has readymade terror value. The Chinese can't pack up and move Beijing overnight to near Kashgar, like they can do with a bunch of DF-21 TELARs. The fact that the Chinese retain a policy of deliberate opacity regarding their arsenal with everyone essentially means that countervalue is the sole effective response to them.
You know, one of paradigms of winning in a N war is the ability to retain sizable warhead/missiles to do a second strike. By corollary, if you want to deny victory to your enemy in N war, you destroy considerable amount of N missiles she possess by doing CounterForce.
Edit: Corrected error.