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Deterrence

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Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 14:14

negi wrote:
The discussion about how much tonnage is sufficient for credible nuclear deterrence is a different matter all together and deserves a separate discussion.

JMTs.


Yes it does need a separate topic. I have made several posts detailing my views and I will cross post them here to try and kick start the discussion

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 14:14

I sometimes feel that deterrence is working in the world (so far) not because of "peer to peer" deterrence (i.e I am afraid of your nukes and you are afraid of mine) but deterrence has worked because of "What will my peer think if I use nukes" i.e Log kya kahenge" deterrence.

Everyone knows nukes are very destructive, and while we may be tempted to nuke someone or the other, nobody really wants to be nuked.

So here I am with my nukes feeling that I am scaring you with them, and in turn I am scared (or maybe not scared) of your nukes or fizzles. But you are not the only one in the neighborhood. There are a few others too with proven working nukes and i don't want them to nuke me either.

Now suppose I get into a war with you and decide that your stupid fizzles don't scare me, I could decide to nuke you and finish you off. But the problem is that all those guys around with proven nukes have so far imagined that I am scared of their nukes. Now when they see that I am not scared of nukes and I am willing to nuke you, they will understand that I may be insane enough to nuke them too.

That will make them more willing to nuke me - because they will be scared of the fact that I am a nuke user - rather than a person who fears nukes. I am such a danger to them that I will have to be nuked early and first in case or war - because I have proved my willingness to use nukes.

The point I am trying to make is that if China nukes India or India nukes China - it signals not just the breakdown of India-China deterrence - but it also signals the breakdown of global deterrence. Any nuclear war between any two parties indicates that both those parties are willing to use nukes. If any party survives with nukes after such a war - it will be seen as a "dangerous party" that will use nukes and will have to be punished and even nuked early on in any future war. That would be a real breakdown of deterrence.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 14:15

Nuclear deterrence is based on a game called "chicken"

Imagine two drivers heading towards each other on the same lane of a road at 100 kmph. To swerve is to "lose", and to "stay" is to win

The consequences of not swerving are very costly to both, so either both will swerve or one (the "chicken) will swerve first. If both don't swerve both are destroyed. The "points" for this game can be seen in this picture

Image

A policy of NFU changes the game from "chicken" to a much simpler and easily predictable game of tit for tat.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 14:15

NRao wrote:Actually what most people do not realize is that this entire topic of deterrence actually becomes a topic of stats at one level.


When the US desires that a power hostile to the US should not have nukes - is it because the US is a good and benevolent force that seeks to remove the evil of nuclear weapons, or is it because the US itself sees its own power threatened by even one nuke in the hands of a hostile power?

If you say "US is good and benevolent" then I have a domed white marble building to sell in Agra.

But what is the alternative? Are we able to force those words out of our mouths? The words that the US may actually fear nukes in an adversary's hands and is actually deterred? Oh how can that be? The US has done thousands of tests and has tens of thousands of proven working nukes. So the US cannot be deterred by a pipsqueak with nukes especially if he has not tested.

Therefore the US is a benevolent force seeking to reduce the evil of nukes.

There is a flawed argument that is being pushed on this forum that says that if you test and perfect thousands of bombs you will not yourself be deterred but will deter everyone else. I intend to push that argument to its logical limits to see how logical the conclusions turn out to be.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 14:16

NRao wrote:Shiv,

I think the two sides are separated by if a TN is needed for deterrence.


The www via Googla uncle has quite a few references to Chinese nuclear weapons.

I chose one at random - based on language that I can understand.

http://www.nti.org/db/china/wdepdat.htm

This source says China has 400 nuclear warheads. But another source - the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has revised that estimate to about 250 or so.

Also from the above source (which please see)

China has tested and deployed six nuclear warhead designs:
a 20-40 kiloton (kT) fission gravity bomb
a 20 kT missile warhead
a 3+ megaton (MT) thermonuclear missile warhead
a 4-5 MT warhead for the DF-5 ICBM
a 3+ MT thermonuclear gravity bomb;
a 200-300 kT warhead possibly for the for the DF-31 and DF-41 and JL-2 SLBM.


China apparently has about 300 gravity dropped bombs to be delivered by aircraft ranging from 10 kt to 3 MT

The same source says China has about 90 missiles capable of carrying one warhead each of 3.3 megatons, and 500 missiles capable of carrying 50-350 kt warheads.

All sources about this are Western and they tend to count only what is aimed at the US. Technically all can be aimed at india, although China IMO is likely to "reserve" some to be aimed at the US. China's biggest headache

The same source has tables that show China as possessing some 600 odd missiles of which 50 have ranges of 200 to 600 km. These would have to be fired from the border into India - and would have to be moved into Tibet - to target areas in India which are 200-400 km from the border China has about 150 missiles that can hit any part of India.

It also has 150 nuke capable bombers that can drop gravity bombs =- but in terms of hiting India they would have to take off from Tibet bases - or inland bbases and be refuelled.

From all this is is difficult to reach a precise estimate of megatonnage that can be used against India. For reasons that I have mentioned in earlier posts calculating area of damage by megaton bombs gives smaller values than if you use kiloton bombs - i.e Ten 100 kt bombs can take out a greater area than one 1 megaton bomb - so it would be worth the effort to calculate exactly what China may have to throw at India and exactly where it would hurt most.

Here are some stats

India total land area 3.3 million sq km. When I start looikng at the individual areas of 20 major cities I find that the total areas are huge with Delhi being listed as 1800 sq km and Greater Mumbai as 480 sq km. For ease I am assuming 20 biggest Indian cities to have a core central area of 200 sq km and that leaves 4,000 square km of area to be hit Using my own paradigm that only 25% of a city area needs to be hit to cause unbearable pain, China still needs to destroy 1,000 sq km of city area. Taking 1 megaton nuke as capable of destroying 120 sq km we get an estimate of about 40 x 1 megaton nukes to be aimed at 20 cities in India to take 25% of the central areas of those cities. To destroy completely the major central areas of 20 cities in India, China would need 4 times that number - i.e 160 x 1 megaton nukes - which is a number that puts China's total arsenal and long range missile force under some stress.

Note that all this destruction would leave central areas of 20 Indian cities totally destroyed even as China uses up much of its arsenal. Still only about 4,000 sq km of India would have been destroyed - representing less than 1% of India's land area. Assuming 100 million dead and injured India would still have 90% or more of its land area safe for inhabitation and 90% of its population alive. And none of India's retaliatory nuclear force will be based in the centers of cities - leaving them largely intact.Chances are that China will reserve only 25% of its force for cities and maybe another 25% or more to target Air bases ad missile sites. But each of those form smaller targets and using 1 MT bombs would be a waste and China would rapidly run out of bombs and still not be able to hit much. If India's retaliatory forces are dispersed in 150 different locations outside cities, China will have to hit all of them and would have to know their precise locations. Each hit with a nuke on the wrong location is one nuke less for them - because any Indian nuke that survives is destined only for the center of a Chinese city.

That begs the questions

1) Just how much damage can anyone hope to achieve with nukes?
2) Just how much damage does one need to achieve?
3) What does one need to deter?

The expression "Glass parking lot" is great rhetoric - just like "rolling thunder" and "carpet bombing". Interestingly all are imported from the US.

JMT in a hurriedly compiled post

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Re: Deterrence

Postby SSridhar » 27 Sep 2009 17:30

shiv wrote: That would be a real breakdown of deterrence.


Deterrence is a 'peacetime' phenomenon. At the boundary between deterrence and its breakdown, it is impossible to predict the behaviour of a NWS. Countries which had professed NFU may simply not follow them, for example.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Sanjay » 27 Sep 2009 17:49

Shiv - China has 46 ICBMs deployed and 35 IRBMs plus about 725 MRBMs of which about 225 are M-9s.

Most of the M-9s are conventionally tipped.

Base your caluclations with these things in mind.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 17:54

SSridhar wrote:Deterrence is a 'peacetime' phenomenon. At the boundary between deterrence and its breakdown, it is impossible to predict the behaviour of a NWS. Countries which had professed NFU may simply not follow them, for example.



"Deterrence is a 'peacetime' phenomenon." - That is a very interesting observation Sridhar.

I believe that deterrence can exist in peacetime only if the holders of nuclear weapons believe that they cannot win a war using nuclear weapons. If any party hopes to win a war by using nuclear weapons, or by imagining that the other side will not use them then deterrence has already broken down.

Kargil was an interesting case where Pakistani generals believed that its nuclear weapons would scare India enough to not attack Pakistan across the border like Lal Bahadur Shastri did in 1965 when Indian forces came under intense pressure in Kashmir.

And in fact India did not attack across the border and risk breakdown of deterrence. But Pakistan too did not escalate and up the ante when its forces started getting evicted. I would have thought that the idea of a military campaign would be to make some tangible gains other than scoring a point.

On the other hand reports say that Pakistan was readying its nukes with warheads as revealed to Nawaz Sharif by Clinton.

Does that mean that Pakistan was readying itself for attack by India while it remained willing to be defeated in its Kargil enterprise? The fact that Pakistan did not push a point and try and force the issue in Kargil suggests that India's deterrent, NFU notwithstanding, might have played on what passes for the minds of Pakistan generals.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 18:04

Sanjay wrote:Shiv - China has 46 ICBMs deployed and 35 IRBMs plus about 725 MRBMs of which about 225 are M-9s.

Most of the M-9s are conventionally tipped.

Base your caluclations with these things in mind.


Thanks for the info. My calculations have been very imprecise - - almost guesswork - but the point I wanted to make is that the general impression is that one country can make a glass parking lot of the other.

That thought needs to be replaced by reality of how small humans are. At 3 million sq km - it would need at least 25000 one megaton bombs distributed evenly all over India to do that ignoring the effect of fallout on the world. But China manages to deter India and the US with 1% of that number, and not all are 1 megaton or more.

The US and Russia actually built about 15000 warheads each before they decided that such huge numbers are unnecessary for deterrence.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby harbans » 27 Sep 2009 18:21

Just thinking a little out of the box..so apologies if something basic i missed out.

Why are we thinking of 'immediate' reactions to nuclear strikes? When someone nukes 20 major Indian cities, why are we thinking only the weapons we have in hand? Why are we thinking in terms of immediate return use? Why not after 2 years? After the nuking of 20 cities India should gather herself up, test 5 MT thermonuclear devices to perfection..manufacture them and detonate them in 20 major cities in return..

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Gerard » 27 Sep 2009 18:27

The Soviet arsenal peaked at 33 000 nukes in 1988. The US reached a peak of 32 000 in 1966.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby SSridhar » 27 Sep 2009 18:47

harbans wrote:Why are we thinking of 'immediate' reactions to nuclear strikes? When someone nukes 20 major Indian cities, why are we thinking only the weapons we have in hand? Why are we thinking in terms of immediate return use? Why not after 2 years? After the nuking of 20 cities India should gather herself up, test 5 MT thermonuclear devices to perfection..manufacture them and detonate them in 20 major cities in return..


There is a real danger that the retribution may never materialize either because of the damage suffered or because of the political intervention of other nations. They may give us all kinds of 'carrots and sticks' and induce us from retaliating. There could be enormous pressure brought to bear upon us from developing our arsenal because of the fear of further nuclear conflagration. We may simply succumb. We may also resist, but the interim period will be one of 'humiliation'. Even well-meaning sympathy for our plight will be humiliation.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 27 Sep 2009 18:58

harbans wrote:Just thinking a little out of the box..so apologies if something basic i missed out.

Why are we thinking of 'immediate' reactions to nuclear strikes? When someone nukes 20 major Indian cities, why are we thinking only the weapons we have in hand? Why are we thinking in terms of immediate return use? Why not after 2 years? After the nuking of 20 cities India should gather herself up, test 5 MT thermonuclear devices to perfection..manufacture them and detonate them in 20 major cities in return..


Harbans - a nuke attack on 20 cities will disrupt the economy and life in the country so much that we may no longer have a coherent nuclear industry left. There is no alternative to an immediate retaliation. Unless there is a threat of immediate retaliation nobody will be deterred.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby JimmyJ » 27 Sep 2009 19:02

When saying deterrence from Indian point of view, what exactly are we looking at?

For example, Pakistan does not have a NFU in its nuclear weapon doctrine and utilizes it Nuclear Weapons to deter India's powerful conventional military power from over running its military.

So what exactly are we deterring?

If someone says we are deterring Chinese nukes, I think a country with nuclear weapons at this time of the century would never have nuked a non nuclear weapon country. Also our military is being modernized, though at slower pace, to stand up to the might of the Chinese

IF WW-III is to begin some where down the time Indian nukes will have the value, otherwise it would not have made much difference for India [from deterrence perspective alone] plus Pakistan would not have got the tech from China. So I feel India's nukes are not to deter anybody at this point of time.

JMT

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Shameek » 27 Sep 2009 19:07

JimmyJ wrote:For example, Pakistan does not have a NFU in its nuclear weapon doctrine and utilizes it Nuclear Weapons to deter India's powerful conventional military power from over running its military.


However the fact that it has not actually used nuclear weapons against us is due to the fact that they are wary of retaliation by India and what it could do to their tiny country. That is what we are deterring.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Sanjay » 27 Sep 2009 19:10

Please remember - the USSR had arguably the most powerful nuclear force ever assembled and it vanished with a whimper.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby SSridhar » 27 Sep 2009 19:12

shiv wrote:That thought needs to be replaced by reality of how small humans are. At 3 million sq km - it would need at least 25000 one megaton bombs distributed evenly all over India to do that ignoring the effect of fallout on the world. But China manages to deter India and the US with 1% of that number, and not all are 1 megaton or more.


That leads to the question of what is 'unacceptable damage'. We need not and of course, cannot, lay the whole country to waste. That is countervalue targetting to its extreme. That kind of deterrence will not truly work when the adversary is capable of taking out our weaponry with a precise counterforce first strike. Especially if his doctrine already states First-Use. The fraction of the weaponry that survives the first strike will not deter the enemy.

There are also other considerations, for example, another NWS may come to the aid of the one being attacked, thereby increasing the number of weapons available. It would also impose a burden on the attacker to increase its targetting to a second country now. Besides, there would be always a need to preserve a percentage of weapons beyond the nuclear war for unexpected rearguard actions later on. You may never know when the nuclear exchange has stopped.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby harbans » 27 Sep 2009 19:17

Sridhar/ Shiv ji thanks. There's a book by an ex BBC reporter WW 3 and nuclear exchanges between Pakistan-China-India. It went city for city followed by spells of quiet IIRC. Logically if we wargame nuclear exchanges things tend to escalate very fast in time. If India loses sovereignity post the initial exchange of warheads, then one must cater to a massive survivable retaliatory unacceptable damage dose of radioactivity.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby negi » 28 Sep 2009 00:51

I assume we are talking about deterrence in Indian context . Now I would be very honest and agree that once any country crosses the N threshold and possess the most elementary of fission type bombs (for sake of discussion say a Hiroshima/Nagasaki class weapon) it has achieved a MCD of sorts against those which the former can target using its delivery platforms.

We need not bring in COLD WAR numbers here for times have changed and we all realize the futility of such craving for numbers from RU and US experience.And yes huge numbers come along with steward ship hassles .

In India's context so long as we have the capability of fielding mature and robust delivery platforms even a POK-I or S-2 class weapon is a credible deterrent against any potential adversary. Anyone who chooses to underestimate the kind of collateral dammage a S-2 class weapon can inflict and chooses to use the N option would have done it in any case.

We need to realize that what is PUBLIC or visible aspect of the deterrent is the kind of TESTED weapons one is capable of deploying and of course the maturity of the delivery platforms. What cannot be gauged is the exact NUMBER of these weapons as one can only draw estimates from PU or HEU stockpile , here again absence of any info on design of the weapon will need to be factored in that estimate.

In India's context as far as the TN weapon is concerned there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that it is a part of our N doctrine else there was no reason to test such a weapon under POK-II initiative.Its reliability and performance are being discussed in other dhaga. :mrgreen:

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shaardula » 28 Sep 2009 06:05

shiv you hinted on this before, or atleast i assumed you did. let me put it more directly. does india want to annihilate any population even if in response? to put it crudely, what does india believe in? naani yaad dilaadoonga, or khoon pee jaoonga approach to deterrence?

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 28 Sep 2009 06:31

The debate about whether thermonuclear bombs are required for better deterrence as opposed to a fission only arsenal is an offshoot of the technical thread about yields.

If you exclude the US and the former USSR who both had the ability to devastate physically every square meter of any medium sized country with nuclear bombs you are left with China as the third power that gets no "cover from allies nukes".

Forgetting (for the time being) that even the US and Russia have downgraded the size and megatonnage of their arsenals we find that China is a unique case compared to the other two. China is managing to deter a whole lot of countries with a pipsqueak sized arsenal of between 250 and 400 weapons. This hardly qualifies as enough to lay waste entire countries - unless you mean Taiwan and in fact not even Taiwan.

It appears that it is not just the number of weapons that deters.

When a nuclear weapon explodes the people within reach of its effects are unlikely to feel any different whether the bomb is a fission bomb or a thermonuclear bomb. If you can cause the same amount of damage using a larger number of fission bombs you are posing the same threat as a person with an equivalent damage causing number of thermonuclear bombs.

Outside of astrology I believe it is impossible to accurately predict how any nation and its leaders will behave but it is interesting to imagine different scenarios.

Let me use the China example - imagine China involved in a hostile stand off with some nation - say "nation X" which has nuclear weapons. Assume that China is the hostile party that seeks to either grab territory or punish nation X. What degree of nuclear damage would China be willing to accept to reach its goal of capturing say a 2000 square km area? (100 km wide, 20 km deep)

Would China accept just 2 X 20 kiloton nukes on Beijing as a fair trade off?

Would China accept 2 nukes each on Shanghai and Beijing as fair trade off?

Would China accept 2 nukes each on Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu?

We are talking a total of 6 successful 20 kt bursts on 3 Chinese cities perhaps causing 500,000 to 1.5 million casualties. In order to do this nation X plans for an arsenal of 20 weapons based on missiles of a type that China itself has proliferated. That nation threatens to nuke China as soon as China starts grabbing territory and hides its missiles for survivability.

China has to decide whether the war it has started and the border territorial gains it makes are worth it. Destroying nation X after China takes 6 nukes does not undo the damage. So I believe it is worth estimating the cost to China of the destruction of the central districts of one or two of its major cities. to arrive at some kind of ballpark estimate of "What's it worth to you and what's it worth to me"

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Re: Deterrence

Postby disha » 28 Sep 2009 09:24

shiv wrote:Would China accept just 2 X 20 kiloton nukes on Beijing as a fair trade off?

Would China accept 2 nukes each on Shanghai and Beijing as fair trade off?

Would China accept 2 nukes each on Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu?

We are talking a total of 6 successful 20 kt bursts on 3 Chinese cities perhaps causing 500,000 to 1.5 million casualties.


Just to cite an example, the 9/11 on US caused a sharp recession in the US economy and brought halt to the entire nation for almost 3 days. There was only one building destroyed in its financial capital. And the casualties were not even in very high thousands leave alone hundreds of thousands.

To add morbidity to the above fact, it is not just the "amount" of casualties, but the "quality" of casualties that is important. Important industrial and financial centers like Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing going off the map have rather large implications.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby SSridhar » 28 Sep 2009 11:11

shiv wrote:China has to decide whether the war it has started and the border territorial gains it makes are worth it. Destroying nation X after China takes 6 nukes does not undo the damage. So I believe it is worth estimating the cost to China of the destruction of the central districts of one or two of its major cities. to arrive at some kind of ballpark estimate of "What's it worth to you and what's it worth to me"

In any nuclear exchange, both nations will suffer unless one of the parties doesn't have the means to deliver its weapons over long distances like between the US & Iran. Those who are willing to use the weapon first

  1. Should therefore be confident that they can take out all or most of the potent weapons of the enemy in a first strike and hope that their missile shields will be capable of handling the left overs. (IMO, this is the thinking of China vis-a-vis India)
  2. Or, they are totally reckless like Pakistan which doesn't care about the damages it will suffer so long as it can inflict something on India

Today, India is the only country that offers meanigful NFU guarantee while China is somewhat ambiguous and the others do not make any pretence about that.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 28 Sep 2009 11:24

SSridhar wrote:
Today, India is the only country that offers meanigful NFU


I have taken the charitable view of this and stated that by doing this India has made decision making easier by saying "We will not decide to nuke you, but if you nuke us the response will be disproportionate"

It does put the onus of making the deterrent survivable for India.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 28 Sep 2009 11:33

shaardula wrote:shiv you hinted on this before, or atleast i assumed you did. let me put it more directly. does india want to annihilate any population even if in response? to put it crudely, what does india believe in? naani yaad dilaadoonga, or khoon pee jaoonga approach to deterrence?


shaardula - this is how I see it.

If any Indian is allowed to think about it then it will not happen.

The system needs to be set up such that it happens automatically at the lower levels, especially of there is a decapitating strike in which the PM and government are killed. The system shoudl take over and people down the line should stick to their training "Open box A, take key insert in slot Z" etc and the retaliation should be automatic.

What is less certain to me is what happens if only an airbase or advancing column is nuked. If the chain of command follows the NFU doctrine retaliation should be automatic and complete for reasons that I stated in an earlier post in the other thread

Quote:

The NFU mechanism is supposed to kick in to nuke anyone who nukes us - via the political leadership.

What would you want to see as an Indian:

Scenario A
1) China nukes an advancing column and waits for us to nuke them, daring us
2) We do nothing or nuke an airfield
3) China nukes 2 cities and waits for us to nuke them
4) We do nothing, or nuke 2 cities back
5) China kicks the hell out of all Indian cities and military infrastructure
6) We do nothing - or try and use the little we have left

China comes out with far less damage that we could have inflicted if we had not been a bunch of shivering Shivshankars

Scenario B
1) China nukes an advancing column and waits for us to nuke them, daring us
2) We nuke them back with all we have got- having lost nothing in a counter force strike
3) A badly injured China hits us back

We are royally screwed - but we have hit China with everything we have got.

I prefer B

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Re: Deterrence

Postby KiranM » 28 Sep 2009 12:57

disha wrote:Just to cite an example, the 9/11 on US caused a sharp recession in the US economy and brought halt to the entire nation for almost 3 days. There was only one building destroyed in its financial capital. And the casualties were not even in very high thousands leave alone hundreds of thousands.

To add morbidity to the above fact, it is not just the "amount" of casualties, but the "quality" of casualties that is important. Important industrial and financial centers like Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing going off the map have rather large implications.


My 2 cents, the bolded part should be realised by Chini or Paki Jernails with the nuclear button. They might see it more as a pissing match and ignore the non military impact.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby SSridhar » 28 Sep 2009 13:36

The Indian retaliatory strike cannot be automatic because today we have both DRDO & DAE, apart from the SFC, involved in nuclear weapons & missiles. Besides, the 'force-in-being' status adds complications. The Indian Nuclear Doctrine states:

The doctrine envisages assured capability to shift from peacetime deployment to fully employable forces in the shortest possible time, and the ability to retaliate effectively even in a case of significant degradation by hostile strikes.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 28 Sep 2009 15:29

SSridhar wrote:The Indian retaliatory strike cannot be automatic because today we have both DRDO & DAE, apart from the SFC, involved in nuclear weapons & missiles. Besides, the 'force-in-being' status adds complications. The Indian Nuclear Doctrine states:

The doctrine envisages assured capability to shift from peacetime deployment to fully employable forces in the shortest possible time, and the ability to retaliate effectively even in a case of significant degradation by hostile strikes.



Thanks for the clarification. What exactly does "force in being" mean btw?

I personally am of the opinion that a nation that follows an NFU doctrine should also promise prompt nuclear retaliation for any nuclear attack without waiting to weigh the ifs and buts and damage assessment etc.

The confounding factor of course is if Pakistan lobs a nuke in case of hostilities with China. I am beginning to veer around to the view that is at all there is nuclear war with China, Pakistan should be nuked simultaneously and China must get at least 4-5 nukes if Pakistan nukes India.

However - in the absence of a proven reliable thermonuclear warhead the ability to make large numbers of warheads with limited fissile material is a drawback.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Kailash » 28 Sep 2009 15:42

That thought needs to be replaced by reality of how small humans are. At 3 million sq km - it would need at least 25000 one megaton bombs distributed evenly all over India to do that ignoring the effect of fallout on the world.


We must take into account the effect of the fallout on India at the least. The radiation kills as many after the actual detonation if not more.

To add morbidity to the above fact, it is not just the "amount" of casualties, but the "quality" of casualties that is important. Important industrial and financial centers like Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing going off the map have rather large implications.


Totally agreed. Financial centers are not important, but imagine a nuke strike that kills a million folks down south to the prime minister and bunch of cabinet ministers in Delhi (a.k.a the policy makers). Indian response will be very different in these two scenarios.

Any nuclear war between any two parties indicates that both those parties are willing to use nukes. If any party survives with nukes after such a war - it will be seen as a "dangerous party" that will use nukes and will have to be punished and even nuked early on in any future war. That would be a real breakdown of deterrence.


Let us take the individual case of China nuking India. What can other countries do? Nuke China? All they can do is to re-assert doubts about China being willing to use her nukes first. Of course the world wont bomb each other to annihilation

Deterrence among nuclear armed rivals does not depend on the following.
- Number of nukes
- Destructiveness of the weapons possessed
- Political will or the absence of it to use the nukes

It depends on your ignorance of - (number of nukes, destructiveness and of will to use them) of your opponent. But if country A has already used its weapons on country B, all the world can do is to stop B from retaliating.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby SSridhar » 28 Sep 2009 16:43

shiv wrote:What exactly does "force in being" mean btw?

That's where the nuclear weapons & delivery systems are not mated and kept on hair trigger. This means that it will take some time for assembly of the nuke and then mating it to the missile. The delivery might need separate agencies (as in our case). All these are going to take time. That is why our Nuclear Doctrine says 'shortest possible time', not 'immediate'.
I personally am of the opinion that a nation that follows an NFU doctrine should also promise prompt nuclear retaliation for any nuclear attack without waiting to weigh the ifs and buts and damage assessment etc.

The Indian Nuclear Doctrine says
any nuclear attack on India and its forces shall result in punitive retaliation with nuclear weapons to inflict damage unacceptable to the aggressor.
which means that there will be no question of 'ifs and buts'. Any attack will and shall be retaliated with counter attack. It may take an hour or two because of our current posture but I expect that it will definitely happen.
The confounding factor of course is if Pakistan lobs a nuke in case of hostilities with China. I am beginning to veer around to the view that is at all there is nuclear war with China, Pakistan should be nuked simultaneously and China must get at least 4-5 nukes if Pakistan nukes India.

That's what I also said earlier. TSP will definitely take advantage of the situation. One of their eternal regrets is that they did not simultaneously attack in 1962. Besides, China may coordinate its attacks with Pakistan.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby ramana » 28 Sep 2009 23:06

This is the N+1 syndrome. PRC might think its US motivated only. A lot of diplomacy is to keep it quiet at lower level.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby ramana » 29 Sep 2009 01:06

NRI from Brown Uty, US

Why 25kt argument has no yield

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Re: Deterrence

Postby shiv » 29 Sep 2009 08:50

http://www.maritimeindia.org/pdfs/STRAT ... MAKING.pdf

By Adm Arun Prakash - who, unless I am mistaken flew in the 1971 war and was responsible for busting up Chuck Yeager's plane on the ground :)

But what he says is dead serious

The Organizational Gap
The detachment of the Service Headquarters (SHQ) from most aspects of
nuclear deterrence is well known. The army’s missile brigade, the navy’s
Prithvi-armed vessels, and the dual-tasked IAF units seem to form the only
interface between SHQ on one side, and SFC as well as DRDO/DAE, on
the other. There has, traditionally, been neither interest nor in-depth
knowledge of the doctrine or philosophy of nuclear deterrence in the armed
forces.


This is true all the way up to the top; and understandably so. The Service
Chiefs must dedicate all their time to dealing with operational and
administrative issues of their own Service, and since nuclear deterrence
has been kept out of their purview by the GoI, they see no need to spend
their valuable time on it. It is only when a Service Chief becomes the
Chairman COSC, and finds himself in the nuclear chain of command, that
he scurries around to learn the nuts and bolts of deterrence. Unfortunately,
in many cases, the Chairman’s tenure is a mere few months, and he finds
himself passing on the baton to his successor before he has quite
understood the nuances of this arcane subject.




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Re: Deterrence

Postby SSridhar » 29 Sep 2009 11:38

Shiv, that's how jealously the civilian side makes sure that there is not much participation by the military men & women in strategic affairs of the country. That's why the instant response to a first strike is an impossibility in our country.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Manish_Sharma » 29 Sep 2009 15:44

shiv wrote:I sometimes feel that deterrence is working in the world (so far) not because of "peer to peer" deterrence (i.e I am afraid of your nukes and you are afraid of mine) but deterrence has worked because of "What will my peer think if I use nukes" i.e Log kya kahenge" deterrence.

Everyone knows nukes are very destructive, and while we may be tempted to nuke someone or the other, nobody really wants to be nuked.

So here I am with my nukes feeling that I am scaring you with them, and in turn I am scared (or maybe not scared) of your nukes or fizzles. But you are not the only one in the neighborhood. There are a few others too with proven working nukes and i don't want them to nuke me either.

Now suppose I get into a war with you and decide that your stupid fizzles don't scare me, I could decide to nuke you and finish you off. But the problem is that all those guys around with proven nukes have so far imagined that I am scared of their nukes. Now when they see that I am not scared of nukes and I am willing to nuke you, they will understand that I may be insane enough to nuke them too.

That will make them more willing to nuke me - because they will be scared of the fact that I am a nuke user - rather than a person who fears nukes. I am such a danger to them that I will have to be nuked early and first in case or war - because I have proved my willingness to use nukes.

The point I am trying to make is that if China nukes India or India nukes China - it signals not just the breakdown of India-China deterrence - but it also signals the breakdown of global deterrence. Any nuclear war between any two parties indicates that both those parties are willing to use nukes. If any party survives with nukes after such a war - it will be seen as a "dangerous party" that will use nukes and will have to be punished and even nuked early on in any future war. That would be a real breakdown of deterrence.


But Shiv, didn't US break this rule in the very beginning with Hiroshima and Nagasaki? After that cold war started and continued for 40 years but didn't breakout in nuke exchange.
The same way Rus and US may rationalise that while China took out weaker India, but won't dare to do the same with regard to them.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Sanku » 29 Sep 2009 15:54

Manish_Sharma wrote:But Shiv, didn't US break this rule in the very beginning with Hiroshima and Nagasaki? After that cold war started and continued for 40 years but didn't breakout in nuke exchange.
The same way Rus and US may rationalise that while China took out weaker India, but won't dare to do the same with regard to them.


Yes, that is correct, but what remember Japan did not have Nukes, the new club of P5 and the new rules which were formed after NPT were with regard to the established nuclear order.

When US used the nuclear weapon, it was the only one country to possess it, now 5 do (not counting India etc) the balance of power is between them.

So what I see Shiv as saying is our deterrence is based on the rules of the game that 5 big boys play between themselves.

Our deterrence in other words is freeloading and we are nowhere near ready for the big league as some of us think we are.

We get crumbs because we deserve to happy with crumbs, period.

----------

Shiv, I know its an ask, but do you know of human development statistics for the time when the 5 got their TNs, may be we can compare to decide if we are worthy now?

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Manish_Sharma » 29 Sep 2009 16:40

harbans wrote:Just thinking a little out of the box..so apologies if something basic i missed out.

Why are we thinking of 'immediate' reactions to nuclear strikes? When someone nukes 20 major Indian cities, why are we thinking only the weapons we have in hand? Why are we thinking in terms of immediate return use? Why not after 2 years? After the nuking of 20 cities India should gather herself up, test 5 MT thermonuclear devices to perfection..manufacture them and detonate them in 20 major cities in return..


But why wait for 20 major cities to be nuked? Why not be proactive? Instead of testing 5 MT thermonuclear devices to perfection after destruction of 20 cities. Why wait for such calamity? Why not test 5 warheads of 200kt each with a little different design and weight category, just to make sure that they work. Surely whatever the sanctions come won't bring as much a calamity as the destruction of 20 indian cities. No I don't think these sanction would even be equal of destruction of a small sized indian city. Frankly after the destruction of 20 cities we won't have any resources and will left to test and weaponise and throw them back at the chinese.

The very secrecy surrounding the indian nuclear capability itself is anti deterrent. Deterrence means that enemy should be knowing about my capabilities cleary only then he is deterred. Let's say even the chinese, khan or rus find out about the design of indian warhead of 200kt. China still can't stop this warhead falling on shanghai or create a technology that would make it fizzle when it enters their space.

When chinese gave NWs to porkis they must have had a clear planning behind it. If they want to destroy india they would first want a nuke exchange between pakistan and india. This way some of indian warheads will be spent on porkis and some taken out. Then china attacks india taking out more nukes before we can fire at them. This way whatever pathetic inventory we have left some of it will be destroyed by ABM while flying to china. While some reaches.

The main reason for more TN tests and a reliability in making more TN weapons is:
1. If we have 1000kg fissile material and we can make 100 fission bombs of 20kt. each out of this. Then using TN technology we can make 2000 warheads of 150 kt each with the same amount of fissle material. *

2. If a 20kt fission warhead weighs 225-250 kg, then 150kt TN warhead weighs around the same. Harbans can you see the advantage of TNs. Now 5 warheads of 20kt do the same destruction as 1 warhead of 200kt.

The more warheads and the more dispersed they are. The more lighter they are the better it will deter the chinese.

*please understand these figures are only to make a point but factually not correct
Last edited by Manish_Sharma on 29 Sep 2009 17:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Manish_Sharma » 29 Sep 2009 16:46

Thanks Sanku, very clear!

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Re: Deterrence

Postby Sanku » 29 Sep 2009 16:58

Manish_Sharma wrote:Thanks Sanku, very clear!


Thanks Manish, the way I see it, something that Arun_S has been saying for a long time is a basic corollary of what Shiv says (and I agree) although they seem to be holding "hostile" POVs at present.

According to Arun_S, deterrence capability is never against A nation, but against an environment where a 360 deterrence capability is needed to be safe against any one given nation (including Pakistan)

Since I also hold faith the BRF adage that naming enemies is same as creating them, I will leave it at this point and although this may not be clear I hope you will be able to see what is meant by Arun_S and why I think those too statements are basically restatements of the same problem.

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Re: Deterrence

Postby harbans » 29 Sep 2009 17:20

Instead of testing 5 MT thermonuclear devices to perfection after destruction of 20 cities. Why wait for such calamity? Why not test 5 warheads of 200kt each with a little different design and weight category, just to make sure that they work. Surely whatever the sanctions come won't bring as much a calamity as the destruction of 20 indian cities.

No issues with that logic Manishji, if possessing 5 MT warheads do indeed deter an enemy. From what little i know about deterrence is in real conflict between 2 nuclear powers things will escalate to nuclear exchanges extremely fast irrespective of the warhead size. If there is excessive disparity between the 2 countries one may consider a winner in the exchange specially if sovereignity is lost by one. Just thinking aloud in these posts really..but maybe after a war with a nuclear exchange, one cannot leave sovereignity at the hands of the vanquished country. US did so with Japan too after WW2. Leaving sovereignity alone for a vanquished nation post nuclear exchanges will probably lead in time to another round of nuclear warfare till the time one nation actually loses sovereignity. I am not an expert here, and my knowledge of such is limited to reading books like Dragonfire.. :mrgreen:

Harbans can you see the advantage of TNs

I do see the advantages of TN. I never said anything against possessing them. No one really knows how a full scale nuclear exchange between countries will go. Most models show it escalates very rapidly to full scale exchanges. Hawksley in Dragon fire goes slow, each country is scared, takes pot shots with time. Indian leadership hesitates city devastation and hits military centers in China with 20kT nukes wiping out large sections of the PLA..while the Chinese take away population centers in Mumbia, Delhi, Bangalore..


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