Rudradev wrote:If India's policymakers honestly believe that the Chinese have been "deterred" for 30 years by our arsenal of 25-kt weapons, they may be in for a rude shock, because it seems that calculations in Beijing are changing.
Rudradev - apologies. I do read your views but since i believe that you are a coherent thinker I am going to challenge you on a couple of points
You seem to be quite confident about how the "calculatons in Beijing" work and change. Can I ask you to say what degree of confidence you have that India has only 25kt weapons? There is a BRF disease that started with Santhanam and his forum support from he who must not be named to assume 25 kt.
Suppose you heard it from some other figure of authority that India actually has - say 250 kt weapons (OK perhaps tested designs stolen from someone), how would that change your calculus. I see a lot of scenario building that assumes whatever yield/thought process that is convenient (for the argument) for the Chinese or other adversaries, but restricts India to a 25 kt box.
Ok, first of all, I am not going to comment on the epic squabble between you and the One who must not be named, and the Other one who went off and started a blog where a running commentary on BRF is kept up etc. As far as I am concerned none of you possesses or has shared enough information to be convincing about your respective points of view. Sort it out between yourselves, or don't... it's of no consequence to me.
Dr. Santhanam, IMO, has far more locus standi than any internet squabblers to comment on the state of India's deterrent... because of his qualifications, and the extent of his involvement with the nuclear program.
That he has made a shocking claim... one which, in the act of being made, has done untold damage to India's credibility which is an essential component of India's deterrent... is obvious.
I simply cannot imagine that a person such as he, who has devoted his entire life's work to strengthening the defense of India, would make such a public claim that damages India to such an extent... unless he honestly believed that silence would be even more damaging in the long run.
Of course one could put forward the conjecture that Dr. Santhanam is motivated by evil personal gain; that he has received secret payoffs in exchange for turning traitor and damaging the credibility of India's nuclear deterrent. It could be that he is the visible hand of a dark hidden agency trying to undermine India. But then, one would have to say that Brahma Chellaney and Bharat Karnad, and others who support his shocking contention, are also tools of that dark and hidden agency. Postulating the involvement of all these people in a heinous plot, makes the hypothesis by definition a conspiracy theory.
I don't see why such a conspiracy theory should be any better than an alternative conspiracy theory which says that Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are in fact keen to roll back and give up our nuclear weapons, that they are actively engaged in defanging and enervating the nation of India so that we can become a client state of Western powers and our people easy prey for the "Christist/MNC" (copyright Rahul Mehta) cabal.
No evidence exists for either of those viewpoints even though hundreds of pages on BRF and elsewhere were used to broadcast them with increasing shrillness.
What we are left with, is the fact that like it or not, the strength Indian nuclear arsenal has been called into *doubt*. Like it or not, Santhanam has sufficient authority to cast reasonable doubt given his position and the implications of his statement.
The only way to erase this doubt and replace it with certitude is for the GOI to test what it has. There are obvious reasons why GOI cannot undertake a test trivially, and I do understand that. Nonetheless, until we see for ourselves that Santhanam is wrong, we cannot be sure he is not right. At least, I cannot be.
So I find myself in the position of someone who is informed that his bank account may have been hacked; that he may not actually have $200 in it, as per his passbook, but in fact only $25.
In that situation of course, I would strive mightily to contact the bank and demand an explanation from a person in authority. If the person in authority did not answer my questions but only blustered and obfuscated I would be more certain than ever that something was black in the lentils.
But supposing I simply could not contact a responsible person in the bank (because it was the weekend or whatever).
You know what I absolutely would not do? I would not count on being able to make a purchase of more than $25 on my debit card. Not till the matter was entirely resolved to my satisfaction. If it turned out that I did in fact have $200, that would be a happy surprise... but an error in the other direction could ruin my credit.
In this case an error in the other direction could amount to suicide on a national level. Thanks but no thanks.
Also: it is unfortunate that you are forced to distort opposing arguments to a maximal level of absurdity in order to counter them... rather than countering them in their original form.
shiv wrote:All this talk of China making "B country unlivable" in India etc is technically unsound rhetoric considering that they do not have more than 400 weapons (probably fewer) and not more than 50 (perhaps less) are in the multimegaton range.
I haven't heard anyone say that China could make all of India's B country unlivable. It is well understood that only the US and USSR, with arsenals more than an order of magnitude larger than China's, ever had the capacity to nuke every square inch of the other's B country.
What I have pointed out is the asymmetry in B Country between India and China. Not only is China's B Country better developed with infrastructure in the first place. But China also has a given capacity to damage India's B Country while India has no capacity whatsoever to target China's B Country.
Why is the B Country important in nuclear war? Because it is vitally critical for
1) Storing food and medical supplies that will be needed in cities that get nuked
2) Housing populations of cities who survive the initial nuclear strike, to get them out of a region where they would develop radiation poisoning. Failing to do this would multiply your eventual casualties by a huge factor.
3) Containing the infrastructure that allows you to transport the survivors out of the cities, and food and medical supplies to the survivors.
4) In the longer term, containing the farms that will grow food and prevent people from starving.
5) In the longer term, containing the mineral, lumber etc. resources that must be harvested for rebuilding the cities.
5) In the longer term, containing the industries that will manufacture tools and machinery to rebuild the cities.
India cannot do jack to China's B-Country (which is anyway better developed than India's B-Country), because India has only 25 kt weapons which are only useful if you airburst them over cities to kill populations.
China cannot make India's entire B-Country unlivable. But consider what they can do. Their megaton groundbursts (whether aimed at our industries, infrastructure or military targets) will irradiate tons of material from the earth's crust, which will be hurled upwards into the atmosphere as heat from the blast rises. That radioactive material over the following months and years will spread out based on prevailing weather patterns, and then fall to the ground over a much wider area. That's what is known as fallout.
Groundstrikes that result in fallout over our bread-basket territories, such as Punjab, will be disastrous to our ability to grow food. This is true wherever the groundstrike might initially have occurred... over an airbase or a suspected missile depot or whatever. The Chinese can create fallout over our most valuable territories without a huge number of megaton nukes, if they plan with prevailing weather patterns in mind.
Fallout is just a side-effect of the primary effect of megaton groundstrikes, which will be to take out our industries, our infrastructural hubs and our logistical storage sites.
If the Chinese nuke Delhi, and then use megaton groundstrikes on
1) Military storage sites where reserves of food, medicines and emergency supplies (besides war-fighting materiel) are kept
2) Railway yards that would be critical in our ability to bring those supplies and emergency workers to Delhi (or ferry survivors away from Delhi)
Far more people will die in Delhi than if they had simply airbursted a 50-kT weapon over Delhi. It could mean the difference between being able to save and rebuild the city eventually or losing it entirely. Note the Chinese would not necessarily be "wasting" their megaton devices on groundstrikes against the military storage sites and railway yards. Those might be on their target list anyway in order to restrict our conventional warfighting capability.
Meanwhile, we cannot carry out groundstrikes on Chinese military storage sites or railway yards. None of our kiloton devices will send irradiated earth into the atmosphere over China, to eventually create fallout in China.
China does not have to be able to make our B-Country "unlivable". Neither do we have to develop a capacity so great as to make China's B-Country "unlivable". What must be recognized is that the quantum of damage China is capable of doing to us, far exceeds what we are capable of doing to them.
And again, no amount of piskological hand-waving will affect that reality.