First Use of Nuclear Weapons

Rudradev
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First Use of Nuclear Weapons

Postby Rudradev » 29 Oct 2006 04:13

As you’re all well aware, the Government of India advocates a “No First Useâ€

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Postby Anoop » 29 Oct 2006 05:21

Rudradev,

In your third scenario, it wouldn't be a First Use on India's part, would it? The DND declares that the use of nuclear weapons on our forces even on foreign soil amounts to a nuclear attack on India.

A couple of minor nitpicks on this scenario - the chances of Indian forces being deep in Pakistani territory is not very high, both due to logistical difficulties and due to the danger of inviting a nuclear response. Also, a nationwide activation of ISI sleeper cells during a time of war with Pakistan is unlikely to cause the same kind of breakdown of law and order on a national scale as it would in peace time; the psyche of the people is different during a war.

Nevertheless, an interesting scenario.

My question, when thinking about a nuclear exchange with Pak is - would India be able to dictate terms for the unilateral disarmament of Pakistan at the end of the war? If not, what is a satisfactory end game? I am assuming that we do not have the necessary weapons/desire to kill all 140 million Pakistanis.

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Postby Anoop » 29 Oct 2006 22:50

Rudradev,

In the second scenario - Three Front War - is it better to threaten the non-nuclear weapons state with a nuclear retaliation or to use nuclear weapons on a state which has vastly larger nuclear stockpiles and longer delivery systems? If the original threat had been the detachment of our NE states (which I believe is not likely for various reasons), what about the certain destruction of our major cities and economic zones in a Chinese retaliation?

The wild card with readying nuclear weapons for use/threat is the possibility that the PRC take it to mean that it is directed at them and pre-empt us with a use of their own. However, consider the fall-out from the use of nuclear weapons on Bangladesh - after the dust has settled, it is an invitation for the PRC to proliferate nuclear weapons to Bangladesh, which would certainly withdraw from the NPT at that juncture.

P.S. Are you suggesting actual first use or a doctrine that gradually shifts to first use? If it is the latter, does the PRC currently believe (given India's NFU policy) that India will countenance the break-up of its territory without resorting to nuclear weapons use? Is the PRC willing to push India to the point of that decision? What is the PRC's calculation that will justify that risk?

I am not including the other two players in this scenario because they do not have either the strength to force India to this choice or the enormous prospect of loss (assuming our delivery systems can hit PRC's economic zones) if India were to be forced to choose the use of nuclear weapons or the marginal gains that would accrue even if India did not use nuclear weapons.

P.P.S. How come this thread is so inactive? I'd have thought that with the vast number of people who rail at the foolishness of the NFU doctrine would come up with many scenarios that would justify a FU.

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Postby Rye » 29 Oct 2006 23:03

Anoop wrote:
If it is the latter, does the PRC currently believe (given India's NFU policy) that India will countenance the break-up of its territory without resorting to nuclear weapons use? Is the PRC willing to push India to the point of that decision? What is the PRC's calculation that will justify that risk?


PRC has experience fighting India, and draws its conclusions based on that experience. They have seen how India handles pakistan, even though Pakistan is a mortal threat to India...such behavior empowers even non entities like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to consider actions that will screw Indian interests, as we can see right now. China knows it can outspend India in the military arena and seems to be keen on doing exactly that.

Another card that china holds is its influence in the internal politics of India -- the CPI(M) in the ruling coalition is on China's payroll and they don't even bother to hide that anymore. What are the chances of India fighting China if the Indian communists are allowed just one shot at power? All they have to do is find willing coalition partners that will allow the CPI(M) to hold key portfolios like defence and foreign policy. What are the chances that they will destroy central institutions and weaken India significantly by the time they are done? Let us not forget that the Indian communists have argued against Indian nukes and supported chinese nukes? India is on a very weak wicket if we consider that China has India by the throat when it comes to their enormous influence in local Indian politics (the chinese lackey Somnath Chatterjee is the speaker of the Lok Sabha), and India has no leverage on china whatsoever, to force it change its behavior. However, I guess the real question that is being asked here is: Will removing NFU force a change in chinese behaviour?
Last edited by Rye on 29 Oct 2006 23:12, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Calvin » 29 Oct 2006 23:04

http://www.indianembassy.org/policy/CTB ... _1999.html

2.7. Highly effective conventional military capabilities shall be maintained to raise the threshold of outbreak both of conventional military conflict as well as that of threat or use of nuclear weapons.


Ultimately, NFU/FU posture is intended to create stable deterrence. Once there is a war, and a war that threatens the survival of the state (which would be the way a 3-front war would have to be viewed), there is no doubt (in my mind) that the posture will change. However, there is no reason to go to an inherently destabilizing posture before then.

In such a scenario, it would be more likely that the threat (of FU) would be ambiguous intended to deter the non-nuclear parties to the conflict to stand-down. Ultimately, though, it is likely that a nuclear attack by India would be on Pakistan rather than on China or Bangladesh.

(We all know that PRC's NFU does not extend to states with which it has a border conflict).

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Postby Anoop » 29 Oct 2006 23:20

Granted that the PRC believes India is weak and can be pushed around. My specific objection is with PRC's need for and ability to separate India's NE to take India down a notch - and hence push India to the point of choosing nuclear weapons.

What conditions would have to obtain for India's hold on the NE to disappear?

- Even if the lines of communications (the Siliguri corridor) have been cut, will India formally surrender its territory? Or will it wait to re-open those lines of communication by going through northern Bangladesh?

- Who will take on the responsibility of preventing a continuing Indian campaign to recover lost territory? Who will have enough troops in India's NE to dissuade this Indian effort?

- In the absence of a formal surrender of its NE by India, who will undertake day to day governance of these regions? Who else has the civil administration capability to do so? Who else is interested in taking on this task? If no one else has, how will the war formally end?

- Has the PRC's style of campaigning involved climbing up a mountain without figuring out how to get down - a la Pakistan? Does the PRC have a habit of taking on the responsibility of governing conquered land? Or have they been content to declare victories in border skirmishes - India and Vietnam, for example.

- Why does the PRC need to provoke India into this situation when it already believes that India is definitely a second rung power in Asia - as evidenced by our handling of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka? What additional advantages does the PRC get with this action?

- Why should the PRC stand to lose being India's second largest trading partner for what are marginal gains in a hot war?

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Postby Calvin » 30 Oct 2006 00:01

I don't think the discussion is about the probability or eventuality of such a 3-front conflict, as it is about what should be done if that scenario should come to pass.

Even if the lines of communications (the Siliguri corridor) have been cut, will India formally surrender its territory? Or will it wait to re-open those lines of communication by going through northern Bangladesh?


I think India has made it clear that if Siliguri were lost, India would move into BD. I don't remember who said this (i.e., political or military), but it was reiterated again in the 1980s, probably around the time of Sumdorong Chu. I don't think anyone in BD doubts this, nor in ND.

Does the PRC have a habit of taking on the responsibility of governing conquered land?


I think other than Tibet, PRC has chosen to punish, and then withdraw.

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Postby Rudradev » 30 Oct 2006 05:09

Ok, Anoop has thrown a lot at me here, so I'll do my best to muddle through with some answers :)

On the scenario "Dresden II": what I wanted to get folks thinking about is whether it might ever be in India's interest to use nuclear weapons on foreign soil, in order to accomplish a strictly tactical/operational goal... in this case, forestalling a Pakistani counterattack and preventing Pakistani encirclement of our units inside TSP by choking transportation arteries with refugees.

As opposed to the way we usually think about our nuclear weapons... they are there to scare other countries away from the option of nuking us, a pure deterrent, period. The first two scenarios tend to that perception. In the first one, I'm talking about a pre-emptive nuclear strike to stop doomed Pakistani generals from trying to take us down with them; in the second, about an existential threat to the Indian union. The third was an attempt to explore whether we might be in a situation where nukes were the best *offensive* option we had.

My implicit conclusion is that such a thing would not be diplomatically possible, even if we scrapped the NFU, unless Pakistan at least used a nuke on our forces on their own soil (though I'm aware that, under the DND, this does not constitute "first use" on our part).

The more important question is whether, in the event of a Dresden II becoming necessary, it would be advantageous to have such an option? That is, given a Pakistani nuclear attack on our advancing columns, plus a concerted effort by ISI sleeper cells all over the country (both non-conventional actions that might severely curtail our ability to reinforce our strike corps), is there anything else we could do that would serve us better? Or can we say that having a NFU policy is a severe liability in such an instance?

I realize there are valid holes which serious military-strat analysts could poke in my Dresden II scenario, as you have. This isn't Dresden, where the USAF/RAF firebombing was useful only in the context of easing the way for a Soviet advance from the east. However, I was hoping that more mil-tech savvy people than myself would respond with more likely scenario where nukes might present themselves as the best offensive option, tactically speaking.

On the subject of ISI sleeper cells not being effective in the context of a wartime psyche, I'm not sure I agree with you. Nobody here really KNOWS the extent of jihadi penetration of Indian Muslim communities. Looking at a sprawling, dyed-in-the-wool Muslim mohalla like Mumbra, for example... do we know if the ISI has indoctrinated two people willing to become fidayeens... or twenty, or two hundred, or two thousand? I don't want to get into the lakhs and lakhs of Indian Muslims in Mumbra who would only become more intensely patriotic in the event of a war. Two people with the right equipment can do a lot of damage... and two hundred motivated, organized and armed individuals could bring about a complete disruption of law and order in Mumbai for a while. To the extent that BMCC and the Maharashtra Government would be demanding that the army be sent in. My opinion... we're a lot more vulnerable to this kind of warfare than anyone in the GOI would care to admit.

On the broader question of a desirable endgame that could be brought about by using nukes on Pakistan (first strike or response)... I can only think of the following goals:
1) Completely and permanently end any nuclear/missile threat to India from Pakistan.

2) Completely decimate the Pakistani armed forces, their ability to wage war, defend their territory or govern anything. Leaving a power vacuum that collapses the Pakistani state, which various armed factions will then compete violently to fill, bringing about disintegration into smaller political entities.

The main problem with a collapse of the Pakistani state as envisioned today, if WE do not control what happens to Pakistan's nukes FIRST, is the possibility of a jihadi takeover of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Our strike must be calibrated to ensure that they will inherit no such arsenal (see (1)). In that context, if such a thing can be ensured... I would argue that an ungovernable and openly jihadi Pakistan without nukes is preferable, even if it stays together somehow, to a TSPA-controlled and nuclear armed Pakistan.

3) Reduce the economic, social, political and living standards of the Pakistani population to a state of such complete misery that survival takes precedence over jihad as a motivating factor for most people.

It is often argued by the western liberal intelligensia (the same ones who entertain romantic notions of egalitarian Islam as the original Marxist revolution) that poverty is a root cause of Jihad in Islamic states. Nothing could be further from the truth. Saudi, Pakistani and other sponsors of Jihad are not poor... they are the elite in whose interest it is to ensure that the masses are distracted from economic disparity with grandiose religious fanaticism. In a state where the rich and middle classes are no longer in control, and it is every man for himself, the social architecture that encourages and sustains jihadi tendencies among the masses will collapse. The Mullahs who incite Jihad will lose their sponsors, and will remain interested only in grabbing what they can while it lasts.

Given a sufficiently large power vacuum, and a sufficient paucity of resources for anyone to sustain themselves, I predict that Jihadi groups, absent a controlling organization (the ISI) with the muscle to back up their authority (TSPA) will turn on each other in a violent struggle for control of what is left of the Pakistani state (see Iraq). In Iraq, of course, this has come about as a failure of American nation-building exercises. In Pakistan, it will be precisely what we want. We will destroy, withdraw, mine the border thoroughly to keep out refugees, and watch the dissolution of Pakistan. Our own nation-building activities if any should be concentrated in areas of high potential return, such as Baluchistan.


The Three-Front War Scenario: I had initially concluded that perhaps the best thing to do when confronted with that situation would be to nuke Shanghai. Given your input, I've revised that position. Faced with aggression on three fronts that we are unable to confront with conventional means, we should nuke neither PRC nor Bangladesh first, but Pakistan.

This might work to our benefit in a number of ways:

1) A calibrated strike as envisioned in my discussion of an "endgame" above, would achieve those goals with respect to Pakistan, ending their nuclear and conventional threat once and for all, and precipitating their collapse.

2)This would be achieved at a minimal cost in troop deployments, ending the threat on the Western front so that we could commit more resources to the East.

3) In the near term it might very well scare BD into withdrawing and surrendering altogether, ending the threat across a second front. In the longer term it might result in BD relinquishing the NPT and openly receiving nuclear weapons proliferated from Beijing... but that can be negotiated in the diplomatic aftermath, balanced against the possibility of our proliferating nuclear weapons to Taiwan or Vietnam in retaliation.

4) It would fall short of a direct nuclear strike against Chinese soil (and the disastrous exchange that is likely to follow), but it would demonstrate our willingness to use nuclear weapons when faced with an existential threat to our territory, and in that sense it might be more effective in pressuring the Chinese to withdraw. It would end any perception of Indian weakness in that regard.

However, for it to fully achieve such a purpose it would have to be backed up with a substantial buildup in our strategic arsenal, including number and range of warheads and delivery systems, assured second-strike capability, sea-based platforms etc. The way I see it, the rise of China absolutely demands the establishment of a credible Mutually Assured Destruction paradigm vis-a-vis Beijing, to forestall the eventuality of a three-front-war or any other sort of expansionist adventurism.


Finally, as Calvin says I wasn't about to explore WHY China might want to push India into a three-front war in the first place. Any number of reasons could develop over the next decade, and with Beijing's political structure being as opaque as it is, we might not see it coming until it is far too late for comfort.

Questions of whether PRC generally tends to occupy territory vs. punish-and-withdraw, depend entirely on what Beijing perceives as their political objective in any given situation. They stayed in Tibet because controlling that territory was the whole object of the exercise. Not so with India (except Aksai Chin) and Vietnam, where all they wanted to achieve was punitive invasion and withdrawal.

Depending on how competition between the US and PRC for energy resources shapes up over the next decade, Beijing's hankering for a direct corridor to the Indian ocean might increase tremendously as a dire need to insure its energy security emerges. At that point, what if Gwadar is no longer an option for various reasons (full-blown Baluch insurgency, American actions?) What's the next-best hunk of territory that would give them such access through a friendly nation? Given the political situation in India at the time, the extent to which Sino-Indian trade has developed (or not), the state of our border issues, and many other things... PRC might very well decide to inflict a three-front war on India. I'm really more concerned with what we might be able to do about it.

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Postby Calvin » 30 Oct 2006 05:24

Rudradev: When we think of using nukes as warfighting options, as opposed to weapons of deterrent, it will likely necessitate a massive build-up in nuclear weapons. It is likely that this is a scenario which we neither want, nor can afford. This is probably why the GOI has opted to circumscribe the strategic import of Nukes to NFU.

I think we have chosen to not discuss existential threats to the nation quite deliberately (would you be a great power, if you suffered conventional existential threats?) - but that if such a scenario came to pass, NFU would no longer remain in force.

That is, given a Pakistani nuclear attack on our advancing columns, plus a concerted effort by ISI sleeper cells all over the country (both non-conventional actions that might severely curtail our ability to reinforce our strike corps), is there anything else we could do that would serve us better? Or can we say that having a NFU policy is a severe liability in such an instance?


I am not sure I completely understand what you are suggesting, R. Could you explain in more detail? It seems to me that the NFU policy is specifically targetting such a scenario. You are positing the government's will is weak, and we can assume that I'bad is relying on this. However, if there is no nuke attack on ND, and the C&C is intact, I don't think there is any doubt of an Indian riposte. Parakram didn't happen because the politicos couldn't guarantee C&C would remain intact following a nuke attack on ND. The Nuke COmmand Center should have taken care of this.

So, I am not sure specifically what you are getting at in this scenario.

I would argue that an ungovernable and openly jihadi Pakistan without nukes is preferable, even if it stays together


I don't think the GOI quite agrees with this position. A big part of that is the strategy that the GOI is comfortable implementing in the face of such failed states. Twenty years ago, I might have agreed with you, but a review of failed states in the region (Afghanistan, Iraq, and to some extent Bangladesh and Burma being cases in point) have demonstrated the havoc they can wreak on their neighbours can be greater than when there is a sovereign (enemy) government, still somewhat responsive to conventional diplomatic and political pressure.

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Postby shiv » 30 Oct 2006 05:40

Rudradev wrote:2) Completely decimate the Pakistani armed forces, their ability to wage war, defend their territory or govern anything. Leaving a power vacuum that collapses the Pakistani state, which various armed factions will then compete violently to fill, bringing about disintegration into smaller political entities.

The main problem with a collapse of the Pakistani state as envisioned today, if WE do not control what happens to Pakistan's nukes FIRST, is the possibility of a jihadi takeover of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Our strike must be calibrated to ensure that they will inherit no such arsenal (see (1)). In that context, if such a thing can be ensured... I would argue that an ungovernable and openly jihadi Pakistan without nukes is preferable, even if it stays together somehow, to a TSPA-controlled and nuclear armed Pakistan.


Rudradev - I have serious issues with this goal. Not in terms of its desirability - but I am asking you to flesh out and say why passage quoted is not unrealistic, if not improbable.

Can a nuclear strike "completely decimate" that Pakistan armed forces? How? A decapitation of a certain percentage is possible. as is the complete decimation of a percentage. The armed forces' ability to fight may well collapse (as in Bangladesh and Iraq). But what happens a short while later can equally well be seen by both those examples - Bangladesh and Iraq.

I am also a little concerned about the statement " if WE do not control what happens to Pakistan's nukes FIRST, is the possibility of a jihadi takeover of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. "

These are words used by US authorities who see the Paki army as a a bulwark against "jihadi nuke takeover". On what basis are you in such total and complete agreement with the US State Dept? The Pakistani army itself is a jihadi force - with conventional elements and religious elements. It is plain blinkers to think that teh Paki army is a single, homogenouous conventional/nuclear apolitical and secular fighting force such as the US or Indian armed forces.

By virtue of being in Pakistani hands, nukes are ALREADY in jihadi hands. India IMO should not bother trying to disarm jihadis. India should do everything to ensure that the jihadis nuke everyone else as well - including the US, Europe and China.

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Postby Calvin » 30 Oct 2006 06:11

The word decimate, IIRC, represents the destruction of one-tenth. Is this the sense you re using this this, Rudradev?

Shiv: I think Rudra still holds on to (as I do) the belief that the Pakistanis are still somewhat rational actors, whereas the jihadis are not. Perhaps the reality is that the jihadis are also rational actors, and therefore there is no distinction between them.

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Postby Alok_N » 30 Oct 2006 06:35

has BRF also bought into this business of distinction between Jehadis and TSPA? ... :shock:

Also, "decimate" is not enough ... to be 400% sure, we will need quadromate ... if one takes Gola's 9 lives into consideration, novomate will do the job ...

another point to ponder: if jehadis are not TSPA, then which genius Jehadi will know how to assemble and detonate a nuke device ... if some TSPA type helps the jehadis do it, then why is he different from the jehadi ...

ancient indian wisdom ... follow Advaita Packee instead of Dvaita Packee ... 8)
Last edited by Alok_N on 30 Oct 2006 06:39, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby shiv » 30 Oct 2006 06:36

Calvin wrote:The word decimate, IIRC, represents the destruction of one-tenth. Is this the sense you re using this this, Rudradev?

Shiv: I think Rudra still holds on to (as I do) the belief that the Pakistanis are still somewhat rational actors, whereas the jihadis are not. Perhaps the reality is that the jihadis are also rational actors, and therefore there is no distinction between them.


Calvin if I was a devout Islamic thinking general with love for Pakistan, I would insure against defeat by creating a wide base of militant but non military people willling to take up arms for Islam, while I continued my professional commitment of running a modern army. Defeat of the army would not end the fight. Pakistan has done exactly that.

The fact that a population group can hold a (self described) superpower by the colllar (or balls) and pin it down shows how effective this tactic is against defeat. Vietnam, Afghanistan are all examples. Pakistan can become one too.

Nuclear arms have been (thus far) deemed to be useless in this kind of fight. But nobody has tried yet. One must lob nukes into such a conflict before we can genuinely say whether they are effective or ineffective.

Our definition of "rationality" is based on non-use of nukes. How about shifting the definition of "rationaliy" to the use of "one or two" nukes to achieve a specific aim? After all the most rational nation on earth - the US, found that to be a rational decision very recently.

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Postby Alok_N » 30 Oct 2006 06:45

Alok_N wrote:has BRF also bought into this business of distinction between Jehadis and TSPA? ... :shock:


oops, I wrote that before reading carefully through the posts ...

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Postby Anoop » 30 Oct 2006 06:56

Rudradev,

Thanks for elaborating. While the details of how we might find ourselves in a soup can be up for debate, it does not absolve us of thinking what we ought to do under that situation - so I am all for fleshing out our response.

Let's focus on the Dresden-II scenario. Is that enough or does that have to coincide with the elimination of all known Pakistani nuclear and missile sites? Is that possible without taking a hit on our major cities? Let's assume that we cannot avoid a hit on our major cities - say New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore if it comes to a nuclear exchange. Is that worth the destruction of the Pakistani military? Who would be the international arbitrers that would press for (a weakened) India's interests vis-a-vis a defeated Pakistan?

Here's another question I've wondered about - why does the GoI not signal its preparedness to have those cities become targets? I don't mean in a sacrificial way, but in terms of building up civil emergency response to simulate a recovery from a nuclear attack. This is no mean task in terms of scope and expenditure, and will likely cause panic in the population that believes an attack is imminent, but that can be handled in a gradual and phased manner. Now, let's think about the signal it sends out to Pakistan - that we are prepared to "lose" our cities. Would this paradoxically lower Pakistani red-lines and reduce deterrence, being a weaker state that sees its stronger adversary preparing for the worst and believing it (India) is serious about nuclear warfare? Or would it give it pause? I bring this up in the context of our current doctrine and posture - declaring an NFU allows the GoI to forgo such steps (which to my mind is of very limited practical utility in a full-blown nuclear exchange) and increase the space of conventional conflict.

Sorry, I have no answers, only questions!!

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Postby shiv » 30 Oct 2006 07:43

Anoop wrote:Here's another question I've wondered about - why does the GoI not signal its preparedness to have those cities become targets? I don't mean in a sacrificial way, but in terms of building up civil emergency response to simulate a recovery from a nuclear attack. This is no mean task in terms of scope and expenditure, and will likely cause panic in the population that believes an attack is imminent, but that can be handled in a gradual and phased manner. Now, let's think about the signal it sends out to Pakistan - that we are prepared to "lose" our cities. Would this paradoxically lower Pakistani red-lines and reduce deterrence, being a weaker state that sees its stronger adversary preparing for the worst and believing it (India) is serious about nuclear warfare? Or would it give it pause? I bring this up in the context of our current doctrine and posture - declaring an NFU allows the GoI to forgo such steps (which to my mind is of very limited practical utility in a full-blown nuclear exchange) and increase the space of conventional conflict.


Excellent question.

Yes. If we are talking nuclear attack and NFU, then there should really be a clear signal that we are expecting to have a few big cities "taken out"

The fact that such debate may "cause panic" is not really an excuse for not bringing out uncomfortable questions into the open.

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Postby Calvin » 30 Oct 2006 07:43

Civil defense is generally admitted to have no deterrent effect.

Shiv may be onto something though, which is the use of nukes to break the will of the *people*. Unless Uncle does this first, somewhere else, it is unlikely that the GOI will adopt this.

However, there is an interesting political play here, where a *discussion* of this possibility (ipso facto) can change the strategic calculus.

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Postby Vijay J » 30 Oct 2006 07:52

No First Use can be stabilising idea only if we can establish that they are committed to a First Use with clearly defined red lines.

If we cannot determine what their red lines are, then the No First Use declaration ceases to be a stabilising influence.

Any situation where we cannot know exactly what is on their minds on the nuclear issue invites a departure from our NFU posture. Any number of specific scenarios can be created for this, detailing various ways in which there is a departure from rational thought on their side.

Are we vulnerable to a grand strategic deception, perhaps, but given that it is impossible to tell the difference between a First Strike platform and a chain of Guarenteed Second Strike systems, so are the Pakistanis. This might be described as an equilibrium of ambiguities.

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Postby SaiK » 30 Oct 2006 08:49

there are two angles to NFU.

1. keeping up our second strike doctrine that ensures our technology and systems are kept to NFU specifications, and continuation of the program., thus there by ensuring a permanent nuclear deterrent sphere where our second strike is more guarantee since, we feel the security system is upto date.
-cons: strategic weakness, in the sense, we can't use nukes as first strike weapons., thus terrorists and evil axis nations, have the means to trigger events just that it would fall a tad bit below our thresholds, so that cause humoungous anger and destruct our civil and social lives.

2. keeping the first striker at guess and add a huge fear that would make the striker to think twice to lead to anything that would cross our threshold.
-cons: the unclear threshold definition or those border cases where, we can consider the second strike, including political pressures. And, more importantly, NFU systems would add tremendous infrastructure and the cost of such systems would strain a developing nation.

imho, we chose NFU not because of the cons, but that the advantages were the priorities (circumstantial and due to bad decisions not taken in time by our fathers) and that were not by choice.

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Postby Drevin » 30 Oct 2006 10:28

Vijay relax. NFU is a good thing. Its a rational process to make sure our integrity is clear in case of war. You are basically afraid the US will twist it around against us by arming pakistan with conventional superiority .... Just relax. NFU is a good thing man. :)

Let them get erieye/falcons ... we can always strike back if attacked. The IAF will be good enuf for whatever they have in a conventional conflict.

NFU is a statement of restraint not an opportunity for rogue Pakistan ..... did I echo what you were thinkin? I think the bigger problem here is the unstoppable growth of terrorism inside Pakistan. NFU is a fundamentally sound policy ... as long as Pakistan doesn't fall into anarchy NFU will be a stabilizing factor.
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Postby Johann » 30 Oct 2006 13:32

Realistically, the Pakistanis would hit the strike corps, not just the pivot corps for a number of reasons.

If that ocurred, Indian retaliation could take a number of forms

- nuke the PA's own strike corps and concentrations of forces to clear the way for follow-on Indian forces to advance, and issue a warning to the Pakistanis to stop.

- escalate and hit one of Pakistan's second tier cities like Peshawar as well. Present them with the opportunity to accept Indian peace terms and halt further escalation, or reap the whirlwind.

- go straight to nuking the centres of Pakistani power - their nuclear facilities, all of the PA corps and their cantonments (the better part of Pakistan's cities), Mangla dam, the military industry concentration at Taxila, etc.

That's what the choice would really be. My bet is on option 2.

The IA would probably continue offensive operations until the GoI decided and executed its response.

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Postby Drevin » 30 Oct 2006 15:07

Hi Johann ... summarizing what you just said .... It is impossible for any country to guarantee that India won't strike back against her attacker. The NFU policy amplifies that belief. The repercussions of nuclear conflict are so enormous its not worth considering a nuclear war.

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Postby negi » 30 Oct 2006 15:29

Indias foreign policy and matters relating to national security have always been influenced with GOI's intentions of projecting a 'Goodie Goodie' image and NFU policy wrt to WMD's is another manifestation of the same.

IMHO in todays world specially when we see many Islamic rogue states are on the verge of developing a N-bomb, India needs to be on her toes and should consider a pre-emtive strike as a practical and most effective way to safegaurd her people and herself.(Do consider the fact that our neighbours have access to not 1 or 2 but nearly a hundred Nukes and in event of a Nuke strike we wont be alive to pull the trigger).

To sum it up we face a duel(as in olden days where the person who shoots first wins of-course he should hit the target).NFU becomes useless all the more because of the fact that unlike olden days today the person who pulls the trigger first will never miss.
:evil:

between Rudra your take on Photochor was simply superb
but due to some reasons it is not accessible on the link(it is deleted from Rapid share as well) would you please upload it on youtube.

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Postby Anoop » 30 Oct 2006 18:33

Johann wrote:- escalate and hit one of Pakistan's second tier cities like Peshawar as well. Present them with the opportunity to accept Indian peace terms and halt further escalation, or reap the whirlwind.
---
The IA would probably continue offensive operations until the GoI decided and executed its response.


The above option would be consistent with our promise of disproportionate retaliation to a first use. It would also leave the Pakistani Army with the prospect of inheriting a functioning state (as opposed to destroying Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad), thus giving them an incentive not to destroy our major population and economic centers.

The bulk of our NBC preparedness has been geared towards our military surviving a first strike and continuining operations (although the last part seems rather optimistic) as opposed to preparing our cities for a fallout. This appears to be a signal to Pakistan that we expect them to use their nuclear weapons on our troops, not on our cities and that they would still be left with a functioning entity at the end of our retaliation.

While this may have a stabilizing influence, it falls short of our legitimate desire to rid Pakistan of its nuclear weapons at the end of the war, because paradoxically we would have proved that the war terminated because Pakistanis used (and later abstained from using) nuclear weapons in a rational manner, thereby legitimizing their arsenal.

What posture can India take to de-legitimize the Pakistani nuclear arsenal? Current Indian discourse accepts the Pakistani nuclear arsenal as a stabilizing (via reassurance to the weaker adversary) force. However, we need to chip away at that foundation that justifies the Pakistani arsenal because, in contrast to ours, theirs is a first use doctrine.

It will be interesting to see how the Western nuclear debate moves away from MAD to the mechanics of deterring a substantially weaker, paranoid and dead-end foe (North Korea). Perhaps we can use that evolving paradigm to delegitimize the Pakistani arsenal. I may be faulted for attempting to piggy-back on the West in this matter rather than evolving an indigenous response, but there is something to be said for the power of numbers acting in concert. Wouldn't it be a delicious irony if the NPAs actually were to serve some useful purpose to India? :)

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Postby SaiK » 30 Oct 2006 19:17

One should also look at certain strategic orbat systems that we are (have already) keeping it for conventional use rather nukes (prithvi is perfect example).. we have also kept kkkklassssified weapon systems like brahmos, etc that are only N-capable. As a disadvantage of NFU, we are also forced to go for smart weapons and low yield weapons for strategic use.

why is this important?... ans: We also need systems that makes the "first strikers" think of first use, but under tremendous pressure that their lives are numbered by the seconds knowing clear of the second strikes.

I think NFU was an "evolved" doctrine... if we don't focus on second strike weapon systems, we are at a big risk in the near and far future. To put in one line, its like "Matsya Avatar Ship" or "Noah's Ship" for our future.

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Postby Vijay J » 30 Oct 2006 19:56

akramas,

I am relaxed.

I think we need to move away from this static language of stability and instability. It assumes that both these are somewhat stationary states, it does not cover the vast range of dynamics that can occur between these states. Stability or Instability are interlinked, so the basic premise of this thread is sound, what apparent stability will actually invite instability? that is the question that in my opinion is being asked here. I think it is a challenging question.

In return I ask another question: Are conventional arms sales harmless?

Do conventional arms sales help stabilse the situation?

Say Musharraf says his red line is on a conventional attack by India. Okay for the moment lets pretend I am Government of India. I tell Musharraf, I am going to respect this red line. So we have stability, Pakistan FU is balanced by India's NFU, we are all safe from escalation.

Now the US government tells Musharraf that he can't really trust me, and then proceeds to offer him conventional arms. Musharraf eager to boost his 1 Billion Dollar swiss bank balance approves a sale of US arms. The US also demands that Musharraf not get any ideas and not treat the arms sales as US support for Pakistan's sub-conventional jihad strategy with India. Also because US has given Musharraf such a big reward, he becomes stronger in Pakistan and appoints himself lord dictator, army chief and president for life. Children run in the streets of Pakistan shouting praises of Musharraf and as a result of this arms sales, Musharraf's name is inserted into the khutba jumma and all Taliban sheltering in Waziristan are rounded up the local tribals and killed. As a result of this arms sale America is seen as Pakistan's greatest friend and all opposition to America in Pakistan simply melts away as Pakistan's mullahs embrace Musharraf's idea of enlightened moderation. The sales of kufi caps drop and everyone in Pakistan sports an American baseball cap.

So do we in India now assume that a red line has been removed? or do we assume that Musharraf is going to expand his red line to include anything that a damages his political status?

A maximalist interpretation of the situation would say that once Musharraf recieves his arms, he will shift the red line again, this time to cover attrition to his newly acquired arms.

Think about it, Musharraf will now say, yes I have a new red line, I will use the nuke if India does something to my AWACS, my AWACS is the key to denying India air-superiority, and if India disables my AWACS, I will be placed in a position where a conventional attack by India will push me towards an existing red line. So I will preempt this possibility by saying that I will use the nuke to cover the elimination of my AWACS.

What is wrong with this picture?

Hasn't Musharraf just moved the goalpost? Isn't he using his FU to arm Pakistan?

Ofcourse now that Musharraf has moved his red line to cover his latest shiny toys. India has to respond by upping the level of its systems to cover the changed posture?

I ask again, are arms sales to Pakistan really stabilsing?

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Postby Lalmohan » 30 Oct 2006 20:39

conventional arms sales to pakistan are not stabilising and they never have been, however the US seems to always think so. the problem is that the logic used in DC is rarely the one in operation in Pindi. whenever pakistan has sensed any sort of military advantage it has belligerently staked its various claims. it will continue to do so as long as military governments are at the helm... which means for ever

herein lies a fundamental flaw in the US-Pakistan relationship

however, there has been a sea-change. pakistan has moved from an "offensive offense" to an "offensive defence" mindset over the past decade or so. even the nukes and nodongs only shore up their defensive mindset, fuelled by a paranoia that India remains on hair trigger alert to invade them and they must be stopped by any means possible, and damn the consequences

similary, hereing lies a fundamental flaw in the Pakistani-Indian relationship

we talked about this before on BRF, but there is really no understanding within pakistan of what the side effects of nuclear warfare are. there is growing realisation and debate in india, but in pakistan... absolutely none. that makes them more dangerous

on Indian first use - I am sure that all Indian PM's continue to have a 'moral repugnance' towards nuclear weapons and a NFU policy remains consistent with our moral stand on these weapons. the assured retalliation option has been around for some time, we must ensure that it becomes a really credible threat

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Postby Rye » 30 Oct 2006 21:22

Vijay J. wrote:
What is wrong with this picture?

Hasn't Musharraf just moved the goalpost? Isn't he using his FU to arm Pakistan?



Brilliant point, Vijay J., and very well explained. I believe Musharraf is using exactly this tactic to keep India on the defensive, with the GoI trying not "destabilize" what has always been an unstable situation, and he is being assisted by the USA in exactly the manner you have described.

I believe he has used this strategy you describe to claim that "breakup of pakistan is a nuclear redline" and "crossing over the LoC is a nuclear redline".

All the hullaballoo the paki army created with the "Babar" missile tests and the subsequent threats made about pakistan's FU threat being more credible, also point to Pakistan following such a strategy.

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Postby Rye » 30 Oct 2006 21:45

Lalmohan wrote:
conventional arms sales to pakistan are not stabilising and they never have been, however the US seems to always think so. the problem is that the logic used in DC is rarely the one in operation in Pindi.


Lalmohaji, I am pretty sure that Washington is neither ignorant nor innocent that we can put all the blame on the pakis -- we know that pakis work for the highest bidder, as that seems to be a cornerstone of their foreign policy.

Why should Indians talk about which Indian metropolis is going to suffer mass casualties, not to mention the biggest economic disaster India will face since its inception? Why not "go crazy" so that the other party steps back? Why act reasonable in the face of insanity?

If we start with this assumption that Washington DC carefully calibrates paki behavior, then another very real possibility can be considered: the US completely understands paki paranoia with respect to India, and then whenever India gets a little too uppity, feeds the paki paranoia with conventional arms and weapons and increases the pressure on India. Then, when Pakistan's paranoia hardens the Indian reaction, thereby reducing the usefulness of paki paranoia, the pressure is put on Pakistan to "be nice to India" (as is happening right now).

This game can be played forever between India and Pakistan, unless one of these countries breaks out of this rut..however, breaking out of this rut is now seemingly "not an option" because of nukes, according to the GoI.

I posit that there may be a flaw in this mindset, which is that the GoI believes these nukes will be used on India alone, but we know that the jihadis in Pakistan hate the west more than they hate India, and that the Pakistani nukes are an India-specific threat only because the Pakistani army/RAPE is in control, and will continue to control pakistan as long as that country exists.

Thus, India needs to hand the jihadis the nukes by ensuring that the paki army loses control of Pakistan, and make it "the international community's" problem -- do we think DC and London will be so sanguine about pakistan's program if they are facing an existentialist threat from the Pakis?

If India signs up with the "non proliferation"/"disarmament" agenda of the world powers in the mistaken belief that "it is the only way to a better future", it will continue to be stymied by the blackmailing tactics of less powerful proxies of China and the USA.

If we are given a choice between making the world a "less dangerous" place at India's expense, or making the world a "more dangerous" place for India's benefit? What should India's choice be? I will just note that every world power today follows the latter option.
Last edited by Rye on 30 Oct 2006 23:19, edited 5 times in total.

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Postby Lalmohan » 30 Oct 2006 21:49

Rye sahib, no doubt a few monitors sitting in their DC offices are spitting out their coffee and wiping up the mess right now as they read your post! :)

I have no problem with your hypothesis, however I would consider it to be one of several possible ones

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Postby Rye » 30 Oct 2006 22:00

Lalmohan wrote:
I have no problem with your hypothesis, however I would consider it to be one of several possible ones


Lalmohan saar,

Absolutely agreed that I have presented one of a 1000 possible scenarios. I am just saying that India may have to make a more fundamental choice in its mindset on how to deal with the world, before we start discussing whether the nuking of Mumbai or Chennai is acceptable. Besides, China wins all of Asia if India is ever nuked.

Of course, I will readily accept that the biggest hole in my hypothesis is that it presumes that the GOTUS has a level of competence and coordination that they can carry out such an act -- I think their demonstrated incompetence in handlng NoKo, Afghanisthan, and Iraq makes assumptions that they are super-competent laughable.

Added later: Another way to spin this paki-jihadis-getting-control-of-nukes is that such an event will automatically cause a "convergence of common interests" between the "international community" and India. We are currently battling Pakistan with the "international community" siding with the pakis for their own agenda, which is one of the reasons the GoI has to worry now about the possibility of Mumbai or Chennai getting nuked. Why not force the "international community" to be on board with India's interests in the region by assisting the pakijihadis acquire anti-western nukes? Besides, such an event will give India the perfect excuse for a first use policy.

Also, with the emergence of non-state actors as a nuclear threat to nation states, it would appear that traditional theories on deterrence are outdated and also impossible to replace, since non-state actors do not have to be rational about nukes. Of course, I may just be ignorant of such work post cold-war and post-9-11 (have been looking and have not found much).
Last edited by Rye on 31 Oct 2006 00:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Lalmohan » 31 Oct 2006 00:00

too often on this thread and elsewhere we ascribe almost superhuman powers of intellect and comprehension and competence to the powers that be. i have a simpler theorem - humans, particularly those in power are relatively dumb and no one's brain is big enough to deal with the total complexity of world events. on the whole we stumble through a series of semi random events with a specific flavour of the month. there are no grand conspiracy theories, since the only conspirators are surfing the internet and not sitting in darkened board rooms, sipping scotch, stroking persian cats and being attended to by svelte blondes in mini and skin tight nurses uniforms...

muaahhaahhaaahaaaaa!!!

(well thats enough about my daily routine...)

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Postby Rye » 31 Oct 2006 00:09

Lalmohan wrote:
i have a simpler theorem - humans, particularly those in power are relatively dumb and no one's brain is big enough to deal with the total complexity of world events.


This is correct. However, when we are talking about an organization, like the US SD or the MEA, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, given the assumption of a certain minimal level of competence on the average. As long as the scope of the goal is not too broad, like "dominate the world and control all the countries" or "control all the oil in the planet" or some endeavor that would clearly require a level of coordination that is impossible to achieve in a world marred by time delays, miscommunication, screwups, incompetence, etc.

But, clearly, certain goals may be achievable even in the face of all these organizational weaknesses -- hard to tell without looking at specific instances up close. Sorry for this OT post.

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Postby ramana » 31 Oct 2006 00:09

VijayJ & Rye, Can you envisage a modern version of Talikota with modern players? Can it remain conventional?

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Postby KLNMurthy » 31 Oct 2006 00:44

Anoop wrote:Rudradev,

Thanks for elaborating. While the details of how we might find ourselves in a soup can be up for debate, it does not absolve us of thinking what we ought to do under that situation - so I am all for fleshing out our response.

Let's focus on the Dresden-II scenario. Is that enough or does that have to coincide with the elimination of all known Pakistani nuclear and missile sites? Is that possible without taking a hit on our major cities? Let's assume that we cannot avoid a hit on our major cities - say New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore if it comes to a nuclear exchange. Is that worth the destruction of the Pakistani military? Who would be the international arbitrers that would press for (a weakened) India's interests vis-a-vis a defeated Pakistan?

Here's another question I've wondered about - why does the GoI not signal its preparedness to have those cities become targets? I don't mean in a sacrificial way, but in terms of building up civil emergency response to simulate a recovery from a nuclear attack. This is no mean task in terms of scope and expenditure, and will likely cause panic in the population that believes an attack is imminent, but that can be handled in a gradual and phased manner. Now, let's think about the signal it sends out to Pakistan - that we are prepared to "lose" our cities. Would this paradoxically lower Pakistani red-lines and reduce deterrence, being a weaker state that sees its stronger adversary preparing for the worst and believing it (India) is serious about nuclear warfare? Or would it give it pause? I bring this up in the context of our current doctrine and posture - declaring an NFU allows the GoI to forgo such steps (which to my mind is of very limited practical utility in a full-blown nuclear exchange) and increase the space of conventional conflict.

Sorry, I have no answers, only questions!!


Anoop,

Ever since '98 I have been advocate of exactly this kind of 'signaling preparedness' that you are talking about.

I believe that the current pathetic state of our public services and civil defence infrastructure can actually be an advantage in this situation. If a government make a serious commitment to upgrade these systems then nuclear defences (such as they might be) can be folded into the upgradation project without arousing too much comment. In other words, we say we are upgrading for the 21st century, and not that we are upgrading for nuclear defense.

Similarly with a national Id system that allows us to weed out illegal aliens--this can be under the guise of electoral roll reform, but national security can ride piggyback on the upgraded systems.

Despite what we say openly, I imagine that some thinking minds on the other side will take away the correct message.

We need to plan today for post-nuclear survival. Now that Pakistan has the bomb, I am very much afraid that it is a matter of when, not if, there will be a nuclear attack on India. What our stated doctrines are matters very little IMO.

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Postby Sunoor Singh » 31 Oct 2006 01:08

Calvin:
decimate = 1/10th


Surely you jest Calvin.
While it may literally represent 1/10th, I' ve always taken it to mean almost fully, if not fully. To check whether I was wrong or right, I looked at www.m-w.com and found that one of the meanings is:
3 a : to reduce drastically especially in number <cholera decimated the population> b : to cause great destruction or harm to <firebombs decimated the city> <an industry decimated by recession>


At http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/decimate,
1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: The population was decimated by a plague.
2. to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.
3. Obsolete. to take a tenth of or from.

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Postby KLNMurthy » 31 Oct 2006 01:17

Calvin wrote:The word decimate, IIRC, represents the destruction of one-tenth. Is this the sense you re using this this, Rudradev?

Shiv: I think Rudra still holds on to (as I do) the belief that the Pakistanis are still somewhat rational actors, whereas the jihadis are not. Perhaps the reality is that the jihadis are also rational actors, and therefore there is no distinction between them.


I have been reading Ahmad Rashid's books "Taliban" and "Jihad" that date back to pre-911. What I took away from the books is a slightly better sense of this distinction between Pakistan and the 'Jihadi' actors--the former has a sense of Islamic imperial history (therefore are more Chankiyan if you will), and the later are largely ignorant and illiterate, and substitute commitment to doctrine and principle for a broad imperialistic historical vision.

I think that, even from the time of the Prophet Mohammed, the grand imperialistic visionaries of Islamism always exploited the energy and vigor of the ignorant hoi-polloi Jihadis to further the ends of empire. Pakistan, both in its Iqbalian vision and today's manifestation, is exactly this imperialistic vision in progress--their version of the thousand-year reich if you will.

I think it is time we recognized that in Pakistan, we are not dealing with a worthless fleabag wannabe country (though it is useful if we can make their elite believe this) but a dangerously ambitioius imperialistic enemy power, and focused our minds on eliminating this threat. Let's not be like Prithviraj Chohan and his Rajput Confederacy who kept beating back Ghori Mohammed's sallies one after the other, but passively kept waiting for the next one.

To bring this back to the topic of FU/NFU introduced by Rudradev, I'd like to see the scenarios include not just reactive ones where we are cornered into making the nuke choice by the enemy's initiative, but ones where we would use nuclear threat / actual use to proactively break the enemy's belief in their goal of a reich and the will to fight for it.

Problem is, I can't think of any actual scenario of nuclear weapons use which will come out good for India.

I can only think of a long-term strategy of gradual encirclement, demonization and strangling of Pakistan, perhaps waiting for the right moment to strike a devastating blow.

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Postby John Snow » 31 Oct 2006 01:22

If Pakistan is afraid of India's superiority in conventional arms and also Nuclear response, then why is it not afraid to wage aun conventional Jihadi style low intensity warfare?

It does so in my opinion that India will not execute a robust response at any provocation.

In case of teriitory grab (a la Kargil) India's response has always been very limited and so much restrained that it could not be a deterent to attack or proxy war or low intensity war at all.

Therfore the TSp leadership is convinced there will never be a robust conventional or otherwise response from India and they have past data to prove their point.

Say in near future TSP attacks and significantly damage the economic and infrastructure of India do you think India will respond? I doubt it as it will under the international pressure wilt and start reconstruction again the same.

This is the green line for TSP to do what it does and will continue to for a long time to come, till our leadership exhibits some spine...

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Postby John Snow » 31 Oct 2006 01:28

Problem is, I can't think of any actual scenario of nuclear weapons use which will come out good for India.


That brings us back To Dr. Tims observation dating back to 1997 prior to India going Nuclear (way before BR was UBB format).

How can India use a Nuke when the fall out is going to be on India too. therefore India should not make Nukes was his astute contention. :wink:

Further he said the wind blows west to east, therefore all residue of Nuke fall out will spread into Punjab Hariyana J&K and HP

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Postby Prem » 31 Oct 2006 02:31

John Snow wrote:
Problem is, I can't think of any actual scenario of nuclear weapons use which will come out good for India.


That brings us back To Dr. Tims observation dating back to 1997 prior to India going Nuclear (way before BR was UBB format).

How can India use a Nuke when the fall out is going to be on India too. therefore India should not make Nukes was his astute contention. :wink:

Further he said the wind blows west to east, therefore all residue of Nuke fall out will spread into Punjab Hariyana J&K and HP


JS, there are 2 months in summer when the wind patterns are different.
Kargil in summer had the potential of frying the Baki Butt.


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