Nuclear Deterrence: What's all the fuss about?

Sunil
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Postby Sunil » 30 Aug 2005 06:20

continued from previous post.

Oh!!.. so its all completely safe to do as long as we can communicate properly..!!


Not exactly. As I said earlier - once you have stable deterrence - then the excursions - the escalation games begin. The key to victory in these games is that our side should achieve escalation dominance. The way to achieve dominance is to completely understand the escalation ladder and then jump to a point where the enemy cannot possibly follow you - this forces the enemy to accept a very public loss of face.

If you are not a complete idiot - the only way that you completely mess that up - is if there is a sudden change in the escalation landscape. This occurs when there is sudden proliferation.

Aha- so proliferation is the real devil!!.. what is this sudden proliferation?


Yes - in some ways it is the only devil. Most nations would not be able to sustain any form of escalation without some kind of proliferation.

Some amount of proliferation - i.e. spread/growth of technology is natural given that nations will pursue scientific and technological development and that will generate new weapons. These weapons in turn will create an impetus towards leaving stable deterrence. But most weapons development cycles are in the decades - and the enemy can see it coming - despite all the secrecy.

The real trouble however comes from nations that short-circuit weapons development cycles by clandestine technology transfers from more powerful allies. This makes it completely impossible for their opponents to determine the exact steps in the ladder of escalation. This is the main problem between India and Pakistan.

This is the core of the China-Pak nexus and the Pakistani nuclear smuggling network. These two things have routinely altered the escalation landscape between India and Pakistan and that has created a sense of confidence in Pakistan to attempt all sorts of escalatory measures. Proliferation is not uniquely an Indian problem. All P5 states will eventually have to take into account the proliferation when they think of the world.

It is said that WWI & WWII were caused due to the large number of secret alliances between nations in Europe. A parallel in the modern world is that secret proliferation agreements will someday create an unmanageable global escalation sequence as the landscape will have rapidly and significantly altered by nations seeking to pursue limited national aims.

Our visitors from the PRC may please take note of that last point.

Ali - IMHO - it is "proliferation" (as opposed to deterrence) that saves Pakistan's posterior each time around it does something phenomenally stupid with India.

How does one stop proliferation?


You can't - atleast not all of it.

There are technology development limiting treaties that are largely ineffective eg. CTBT, NPT, PTBT. There are technology transfer limiting treaties and agreements eg. MTCR, these are often observed more in breach.

You can attempt to set up and then keep a close eye on the blackmarket - by keeping a tab on major operators but that puts enormous strain on your ability to maintain surveillance and there will always be gaps in intelligence gathering. There are also counterproliferation initiatives that you can undertake. These too are limited by the scope of your intelligence gathering abilities. Quite possibly the stupidest thing you can do is have people making money off the blackmarket. (BTW... now you can take a guess at why AQK wasn't caught). It becomes very hard to keep track of proliferation if there is an unaudited sector to the economy - eg. the drug trade in Pakistan.

Lastly you can deliberately undertake periodic escalations to forcibly determine the status of your enemy's arsenal. Again - this is a favorite of our Pak and Chinese buddies. What amazes me is that they actually believe that they are being subtle about this. This incidently is what I feel the Babur test was about from the PRC view.

to be continued.


Ananth,

I will respond to your query in a separate thread. please give me a week to finish this thread and then if I forget just start a separate thread titled -
The Narcotics Trade: Problems and Prospects.

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Postby shiv » 30 Aug 2005 09:48

Sunil wrote:we aren't going to jump into an escalation ladder shouting..."we are going to use a nuke!!!". We leave that kind of posturing to the aggression junkies next door. [/b]


Actually this is a useful posture to maintain with regard to Pakistan.

It puts the onus on deciding about first use on them. Thay have to judge, at every step, whether the time has come to nuke India. In this game - you lose by using your nuke - so using it means ending the game. Pakistan can talk about sustained victory only by not using its nukes.

Pakistan with its emphasis on being "martial" has occupied the entire "bravado and bluster" space for itself. It leaves the entire "meek and cowardly" space for India to occupy and play games with Pakistan, and egg Pakistani leaders to climb the escalatory ladder. So they climb the ladder to a situation in which they can only lose.

So Pakistan's "deterrent" is in many ways boxed in between Pakistan's first use rhetoric and the end point of using a nuke.

It is actually quite easy to "needle" Pakistani leaders in this scenario.

"You want Kashmir? Balls. You're not getting it. What are you going to do? Nuke us?"

"You want water? Balls. We will build a dam. What are you going to do? Nuke us?"

Pakistan's response is to sponsor Islamist terrorism as much as it can and when asked to stop Pakistan denies everything, and says that India cannot stop Pakistan from doing any of that because Pakistani nukes are holding India at bay.

The nuclear "debate" is a stalemate, as it should be. Pakistan's ability to be a military threat to India has gradually reduced over the years - so Pakistan's "Courageous martial bravado and bluster space" is reduced. In the meantime India's economic and cultural "threat" to Pakistan has increased - increasing India's room for maneuver in the "meek and cowardly" space the Pakistan has vacated for India.

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Postby ramana » 30 Aug 2005 19:08

AnandK, Its not a recent phenomena. Dont forget the Opium Wars. Its part of Anglo-Dutch modus operandi. The Mumbai syndicates cut their teeth in WWII smuggling networks setup by SOE. Early work was in smuggling gold soveriegns and later biscuits. Post war they branched into imported goods. From there to drugs during the Afghan jihad.

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Postby Sunil » 30 Aug 2005 20:53

Hi,

Could we continue this drug stuff in the new thread? Thank you.

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Postby Omar » 30 Aug 2005 21:09

It is the ability to project into the mind of the enemy that an act of aggression is assured to produce an unacceptable retaliation. "Deterrence" can be psychologically beneficial if it produces a sense of confidence that erodes the effectiveness of threats of aggression. Deterrence will not offer peace of mind to people who are prone to a national paranoia.

What "deterrence" is NOT -

1) It is not an "End To War". It is merely a bulwark against certain forms of aggression.

2) It is not a tool of perenial leverage in matters of national security.

3) It is not a "strategic life-jacket" that will save a government from drowning in a sea of political misjudgement.


Iranians have seemingly managed to avoid aggression from the US by maintaining an active nuclear weapons program that would be very difficult to destroy. By your definition, would this be deterrence?

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Postby Sunil » 30 Aug 2005 21:30

continued from previous post

Err... btw what is this escalation landscape ?


When thinking about this stuff I find it useful to keep the following analogy in mind. Think about a small bowl of land, i.e. a relatively flat plain surrounded by a ring of mountains. We shall call the flat part - the valley of stability. (with apologies to the nuclear physicists on this board). The mountains we shall call the "escalation landscape". In our mythical land we worship a terrible and awesome God and our God said unto us...

Live happily in the valley of stability and do not venture into the escalation landscape because my wrath shall be upon you... and you will lose forever the way back to the valley of stability and hence forsake all happiness.

Ofcourse no one actually took God seriously when he said that and so commited themselves to the exploration of the escalation landscape.

Whoa... totally weird... but okay using your analogy how does one explore the "escalation landscape"?


Given how completely bizarre this is - it comes as no surprise how our friends next door seem to be keen to have some mossy green stuff or white powder before getting into this..

There are several ways to explore this landscape:

1) Stand on the edge of the landscape and shout to the others about how you are going to go up there. Eg. Pakistani military mouthpieces in the media during Parakram routinely said things like "we will hit Delhi with a nuke", and when that didn't scare India.. they came up with "We will hit Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Calcutta" and when that didn't scare India they went on to..."We will hit Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Calcutta, Bangalore and Hyderabad"... and from there it went atleast as far as threats to hit "Bhakra Nangal and other dams". This is called "rhetorical escalation" - it is mostly a form of amusement - akin to a dog yelping when provoked. In the language of deterrence it usually means that the other side is scared sh*tless. Note because the Pakistanis were into "first strike" they started their rhetorical escalation with the words "We will nuke...". India response - apart from silence was a terse reminder to the Pakistanis that India will respond to nuclear aggression with punitive retaliation. That ensured that none of these "rhetorical escalation" types ever had the b*lls to actually do anything.

2) Another way involves crawling into the escalation landscape and then looking like you are all set to go up higher into the mountains. This is called aggressive posturing. In the India Pakistan context this usually means things like "opening the doors to the missile complex at Sargodha" or "F-16s are fueling up at Dalbandin" or "A large convoy is leaving for Deosai" etc... something that is visible to the other side - so that they can realize that you are escalating.

3) In a sudden escalation - one rapidly climbs very high up into the mountains and then most likely loses all chances of coming back down. This involves things like actually "mating warheads" or "fueling up missiles" etc...

Note talking about all of this simply "rhetorical escalation". Doing something to indicate your intentions is "aggressive posturing" and doing something stupid ... is well.. just doing something stupid.

What proliferation does is it changes the shape of these mountains or enables a side to proceed further into its exploration of the landscape. That is what makes it dangerous - get carried away with exploration and go too far away ... and you will lose the valley of stability forever.

All actors in Pakistan and China must realize this. Don't overdo it - terrible things will happen.

to be continued.
Last edited by Sunil on 01 Sep 2005 03:56, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Sunil » 30 Aug 2005 21:44

ochoaomar wrote:
Iranians have seemingly managed to avoid aggression from the US by maintaining an active nuclear weapons program that would be very difficult to destroy. By your definition, would this be deterrence?


I do not wish to speak to this issue at the present time but I will say this much - the Iranians are not a declared nuclear weapons state even by their own admission and this creates all sorts of complications in talking about deterrence stability and escalation landscape.

There are reports floating around of Iran having procured working nuclear weapons and warheads from FSU sources but these have not been corroborated and the Iranian regime has never made public threats about the use of nuclear weapons. Unlike the Pakistanis - the Iranians are not keen to project themselves as Islam's nuclear powerhouse. Perhaps given the sheer superiority of their culture they find such an association unnecessary to promote a sense of national pride (which incidently is what it is - for the most part on the Pakistani side).

Actually I should point out that the only thing I have seen in the public domain which talks to issues of changes in the escalation landscape and departures from the valley of stability - is Airavat Singh's book - Op Kartikeya ( http://www.ebookmall.com/ebook/128195-ebook.htm )

To the best of my knowledge this is the first time *anyone* has talked about the impact of proliferation on the India-Pak deterrence stability. This makes it an extremely interesting read.

And no I am not just saying that because I know the author!

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Postby RajeshG » 31 Aug 2005 01:56

Thanks for some good posts. What role do non-state actors play in this game ? Does having a party which is seemingly not a part of the state work to ones benefit ? What are the counters :?:

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Postby pillai » 31 Aug 2005 02:41

Sunil wrote: Unlike the Pakistanis - the Iranians are not keen to project themselves as Islam's nuclear powerhouse. Perhaps given the sheer superiority of their culture they find such an association unnecessary to promote a sense of national pride (which incidently is what it is - for the most part on the Pakistani side).



This is an aside to an otherwise splendid discussion. What is this "superior" Iranian culture that we keep talking about on BRF?

Is it the culture of "The Sun of Aryas"? Which was so utterly rejected by the Iranians themselves that the "The Sun" had to die in Egypt?

Or is it the culture of Shia extremism, which revolves around worshipping the son-in-law of an Arab??

Perhaps , it is the culture that makes 99% of its expatriate males, change their names from "Manucher frzandi" to "Tony, and 100% of its female expatriates, dye their hair a horrible blonde??? So which one is it??

PS: I am really not soliciting repsonses, just wnted to pick on a deeply held belief here, which I think is a bit erroneous.

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Postby shiv » 31 Aug 2005 07:01

pillai wrote:
This is an aside to an otherwise splendid discussion. What is this "superior" Iranian culture that we keep talking about on BRF?


The Iranians are at peace with their past. They are not constantly trying to erase some cultural or linguistic memory. That may be in part because Islam wiped out everyone else and left only Islam to fight with itself - but nevertheless the Iranians, even as Muslims, do not go about displaying the perpetual need to cleanse themselves of some contamination and become purer. If nothing else, there is a culture of being happy with themselves as they are. They may shield their culture against American influence, but they do not have to constantly chant the mantra that Islam is their culture and that they need to clean up more and more and more of what is unislamic, pre-islamic, non islamic or whatever.

This is a peculiarly Indian form of stupidity started by mullahs in India and adopted as a national goal by Pakistan. Even this pure and bigoted stupidity started in India.

I am surprised you asked the question. Does it bother you that Iran is credited with culture by Indians? You and your compatriots were all seen as Indians by a lot of people of the middle east as recently as 30 years ago. But now you guys have earned yourself a name. I am happy that Pakistan has earned a place for itself in this world. I am less sure that Pakistanis are happy about that but then Pakistan by definition is unhappy that India exists independent of Islamic rule, and accuses Indians of being unhappy that Pakistan exists. A psychiatrist's dream.

Sorry for the digression.

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Postby shiv » 31 Aug 2005 08:42

ochoaomar wrote:Iranians have seemingly managed to avoid aggression from the US by maintaining an active nuclear weapons program that would be very difficult to destroy. By your definition, would this be deterrence?


The Iranians are in danger of a US attack and they know it. I beleive that they had the choice to sell themselves out to the US but fought it in their own peculiar way. The Shah of Iran was the US's baby and allowed the US deep inroads into Iran. Ultimately it was not merely the ayatollahs who resented that - the people did. Iranians felt a deep sense of "self" that made them go their route to keep the US out. That puts them in danger - living in the neighbourhood that they do. I don't think the Iranians are so naive as to believe that they have any kind of "nuclear deterrence" against anyone. They know that if they talk nuclear war they can get the crap beaten out of them.

But the amount of nuclear rhetoric that Iran can spout in future is dependent on how far Pakistan and North Korea are allowed to talk of nuclear war and deterrence.

Pakistan is a different ballgame. The entire Pakistan army leadership behaves like a set of batmen to the gora aadmi. "Yes massa! Alright massa!" while talking to the US. But when the chowkidars return home after work in the evening they show off in front of their families and neighbors and say how influential and "equal" they are with the US and other big powers. Pakistani leaders consider India their equal or inferior and have this great need to demonstrate their superiority and strength - which is why the Paki army leadership sells itself out so easily to the US. That is something the Shah of Iran did - but Iran went into a paroxysmal revolt to shake the US off.

Why are the Pakistani citizenry not going into a paroxysmal revolt to shake off the slavery of their leadership to the US? The average Paki citizen gets very little benefit from the US's involvement and his country has arguably declined in many ways.

I do not have an explanation for this - but I have had several thoughts:
  • The average Pakistani citizen is a fairly docile fellow who does not want to revolt or shake up the ancestral order of things. He probably is a devout Muslim who believes that Allah has given him his lot and he has to accept that. This is a very "Indian" philosopical viewpoint
  • Pakistanis are totally confused about who they are and what the represent. They are told about "Pakistani" culture but all they subscribe to is their local sub national culture - Punjabi, Sindhi, Baluchi, Pakhtun culture and are a divided lot, united by a carefully nurtured fear of India
  • Punjabis and the Pakistani army are in sufficient control of most of Pakistan to ensure that no citizen can revolt against what the Pakistani establishemnt says is "good" for Pakistan. So the US is good and if a Paki does not agree he has to shut up.


Because the Pakistani leadership have embraced the US so closely - Pakistan is at a lesser risk of US attack than Iran.

The US tolerates nuclear rhetoric from Pakistan in exchange for favors (GUBO), and India cannot do much about the same nuclear rhetoric from Paksitan.

This is an ideal situation for the Pakistani Army and establishment to retain control of their country while appearing to keep India at bay, as well as get handouts from the US.

It is easy for the Pakistani army to claim that India cannot attack Pakistan because of its nuclear deterrent that even the US respects. They claim for a Western audience that Pakistan is a US ally and use the same language that the US uses to show their cooperation in the "war on terror".

And Pakistan goes on.

Zia was the first Pakistani leader who recognised that being Islamist could ultimately cock a snook at both India and the US. That is what Pakistan is doing now, and the Pakistani establishment is in a delicate balancing game between the Islamists and the US. They are surviving on US goodwill, the docile tendency of the Pakistani not to revolt, and by needling India only to the extent that it will be costlier for India to wage war rather than sit back and take the needling.

Islam is the key to Pakistan. It created Pakistan and held Pakistan up. It can bring Pakistan down - but nobody knows which way it is heading.
Last edited by shiv on 31 Aug 2005 08:58, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby surinder » 31 Aug 2005 08:48

Sunil,

Perhaps this is a thread to ask you a question. Given that we have been able to determine that Saudi Arabia has financed TSP nuclear program and China has proliferated technology, should it not follow that our nuclear doctrine should react to this reality? We have a nuclear doctrine that talks of massive retaliation on TSP, but does not talk about retaliation to China or KSA. It seems to me that it would make a lot of psychological sense to make it an explicit declered part of our doctrine. If TSP would threaten India with nuke attack, it would automatically mean that Beijing and Riyadh are threatened by Indian retaliation. This would mean that China and KSA would strive to contain TSP. Without this, they have little need to contain TSP. If it is essentially a Chinese nuke with KSA money that hits India, it makes sense for them to pay for it. In the long run, it reduces the benifit to China to have a loose cannon like TSP with nuclear weapons as it could essentially threaten China itself.

Could you comment on this approach.

s

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Postby Calvin » 31 Aug 2005 09:06

The doctrine talks of attack against "coalitions" that are opposed to India. THis covers Saudi and China. IT also talks about states that are acting in concert with non-state actors. Its a pretty comprehensive document, unless your name is Hitesh.

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Postby shiv » 31 Aug 2005 09:29

surinder wrote:Shiv,

You left out the simplest explanation for this phenomena: Maybe what the TSP leaders are doing is not at odds with the desires and world-view of its citizens. The Pakistani themselves see no problem with abject slavery of US, China. That is why they do not revolt at this idea. Their self-respect does not get hurt at the humiliation in any appreciable amount. Maybe they realize that paying the cost of sel-respect and dignity is a small prize for their only chance at hurting India. I think the world view of the leadership and the people are in agreement and hence there is little need to for any "paroxysmal" revolt. That it does not bother them, is sad part.

-s


:rotfl:

Never looked at it that way. maybe you are right. Will try to look for some clues to support this explanation.

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Postby ramana » 31 Aug 2005 09:48

Shiv, Long back there was a travel program on BBC by Mark Tully called From Karachi to Khyber by rail or some such thing. What struck me was the common TSP citizen asking Tully if TSP was way better than the Hindu India. I have to see my old tapes to get the exact quote.

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Postby Vamsee » 31 Aug 2005 11:21

surinder wrote:Sunil,

Perhaps this is a thread to ask you a question. Given that we have been able to determine that Saudi Arabia has financed TSP nuclear program and China has proliferated technology, should it not follow that our nuclear doctrine should react to this reality? We have a nuclear doctrine that talks of massive retaliation on TSP, but does not talk about retaliation to China or KSA. It seems to me that it would make a lot of psychological sense to make it an explicit declered part of our doctrine. If TSP would threaten India with nuke attack, it would automatically mean that Beijing and Riyadh are threatened by Indian retaliation. This would mean that China and KSA would strive to contain TSP. Without this, they have little need to contain TSP. If it is essentially a Chinese nuke with KSA money that hits India, it makes sense for them to pay for it. In the long run, it reduces the benifit to China to have a loose cannon like TSP with nuclear weapons as it could essentially threaten China itself.

Could you comment on this approach.

s


Hi,
Although this question is posed to Sunil, let me share couple of my thoughts.

My answer is firm NO. India under any circumstances should not try to drag China or KSA or North Korea or any other nation in to the India-TSP nuclear equation. Clubbing China with Pakistan would increase their nuclear arsenal to unacceptable proportions for India.

Why should we do it when we have a chance of “winning” a nuclear war by keeping TSP and China separate?

(In a hypothetical scenario, If we nuke china and tsp, China would need to nuke India, Japan and US. US would need to nuke China and Russia. Russia would need to nuke US and Europe. Israel would then nuke the entire middle east so on and finally Mongolia under the leadership of Genghis Khan would emerge as sole super power. :)
)

Does that mean China would get away with what they did to India?

It depends. As of now we need to swallow the anger and wait for the day when US and PRC would go for a show down. We just need to play second fiddle to US and ensure that Tibet would emerge as Indian protectorate.

All the above is not applicable if PRC enters directly into Indo-TSP war. Then we have to drag US into the war and strive to get an upper hand.

KSA,DPRK etc, these are smaller fish. They would be skinned in leisure
:twisted:

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Postby Omar » 31 Aug 2005 11:36

The Iranians are in danger of a US attack and they know it. I beleive that they had the choice to sell themselves out to the US but fought it in their own peculiar way. The Shah of Iran was the US's baby and allowed the US deep inroads into Iran. Ultimately it was not merely the ayatollahs who resented that - the people did. Iranians felt a deep sense of "self" that made them go their route to keep the US out. That puts them in danger - living in the neighbourhood that they do. I don't think the Iranians are so naive as to believe that they have any kind of "nuclear deterrence" against anyone. They know that if they talk nuclear war they can get the crap beaten out of them.


Sorry to disgress from the main topic at hand, but I politely disagree with you Shiv. Iranians are extremely politically savvy and have learned from history. US can exercise one of three options against Iran: a coup overthrowing current government, surgical strike of Iranian nuclear facilities, and invasion (all of which have minimal success of working). The first option is ironic, especially considering that Iran has already been victim to a coup which replaced Mossadegh with the Shah. Surely the intelligence apparatus will have learned to prevent something like this. The second option, carrying out surgical airstrikes of Iran's nuclear facilities in the fashion Israelis did with Iraq's Osirak reactor, is also ill-fated. Remember during the Iran-Iraq war, the IIAF had damage Osirak w/a similar sortie (which later served as a precedent for the Israeli strike.) Finally an invasion and occupation of Iran would be the most foolhardy of the three. Not only are US forces spread out too thinly, but also Iran has inhospitalable terrain and a population five times as large. Should the US decide to pursue any three of these options (even simulatenously), Iran sponsors enough militant groups such as Hezbollah to inflict "unacceptable" losses for America and her allies. Iranians don't have nuclear deterrence, but they have leveraged the situation so as to prevent aggression directed against them.

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Postby shiv » 31 Aug 2005 14:31

ochoaomar wrote:Finally an invasion and occupation of Iran would be the most foolhardy of the three. Not only are US forces spread out too thinly, but also Iran has inhospitalable terrain and a population five times as large. Should the US decide to pursue any three of these options (even simulatenously), Iran sponsors enough militant groups such as Hezbollah to inflict "unacceptable" losses for America and her allies. Iranians don't have nuclear deterrence, but they have leveraged the situation so as to prevent aggression directed against them.


Not disagreeing with any of the possibilities you have suggested but I will make two points.

One is that it is not wise to underestimate the Great Satan. The US did not get to where it is by being dumb and they are likely to choose routes that gives others discomfort. Pakistan may be a willing or unwilling tool to play with Iran.

Secondly, even if the US is stupid and does all those things you mention to Iran - NONE of those scenarios is going to be happy for Iran. OK the US may be taking losses and suffering etc etc. But the people of Iran are not going to enjoy what is happening. I think Iran is sensible enough to understand that.

Iran is a big country and a civilization that has survived. It will survive. The US represents the zenith of Western civilization and I see no danger to it from Iran.

Both Iran and the US can show stupidity. But the US has shown an uncanny ability to pick slave leaders who will do things for them, The Shah was one such. The US used Saddam to punish Iran indirectly - and Iran was actually stupid enough to end up fighting a 8 year war. Perhaps it was not Iran's fault, but what difference did that make? Then the US took Saddam out and are certainly not looking to be in pain.

Afghanistan was reformatted in weeks after the US found a new slave leader in Pakistan. Pakistan's nuclear rhetoric goes without comment in Washington, but Iran and Iraq get noticed. The the US pays those who kowtow to it in its own way.

The point I am trying to make is that it is not Iran's nuclear rhetoric that is serving as a "deterrent" to the US. The US has enough nuclear forces to lay Iran waste if Iran uses a nuke on the US. Iran is sensible enough to know that, but Iran is also proud enough not to GUBO to the US like Pakistan. If the US decides to attack Iran it will be a policy decision at the highest levels and the question of being overstretched or bogged down will be fully considered before such an attack.

I personally would not like to the see the US attack Iran, but as long as they do not attack Iran it can be assumed that "Iran has deterrence against the US". That is exactly what Pakistan says about India. Pakistan's deterrent against India works only so long as India does not attack. If some event occurs that makes India attack then the deterrent will have failed. The same logic applies to Iran's "deterrent" againt the US.

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Postby Sunil » 31 Aug 2005 20:57

Pillai,

Shiv brings up an interesting point that Pakistanis can actually parade their status as Islam's nuclear power because of the fact their leaders are paid hirelings of the west who are allowed to rent western media sources to achieve a western interest and this allows Pakistan extra space in the escalation landscape. I don't want to add anything to that point of view - it is exceedingly accurate.

However I used the term "superiority of Iranian culture" to highlight the fact that despite being under severe threat in the Islamic world itself from its neighbors and having itself been the target of non-nuclear WMD that killed thousands of civilians - the Iranian sense of national paranoia is not so advanced that they are parading their nuclear capability in the manner of the Pakistanis. By all standards of comparison the Iranians have more reason than any other to parade their nukes around - and yet they do not do so.

Bearing in mind that Pakistan a nation with thrice as many people as Iran has endured far far far less than Iran has in the last 25 years. Despite any overt similiarities between Iran and Pakistan as Islamic nations - Iran's approach to Islam is very different from Pakistan's approach. While Pakistan's Islam is of a neurotic "people are looking at us - quick do something" kind .. the Iranian Islam is a very self confident kind - i.e. "screw them all we'll do what we want-- let them come we will send them to hell!". They have fought off many invaders with their bare hands, used school children to clear Iraqi minefields, women have fought alongside men at Khorramshahr and Abadan! The Iranians don't need to parade their nukes to protect Iran. A mere tulip sent as a greeting to the ambassador of the enemy country could serve as quite a warning.

I do not doubt that there are Iranians who worship western cultural icons but the penetration of these icons into the Iranian mindset is limited. Since the time of Greece, Persians have been keen to try out new ideas and yet the essence of being persian has endured throughout. Pakistan for example, could never produce a Marjane Satrapi... The incredibly strategic Iranian political culture is a product of thousands of years of civilization - it cannot be replicated instantly in a place like Pakistan.

The manner in which a nation moves around in the escalation landscape is determined imo to greatest part by its national culture. It is factors like this that allowed Pakistani planners to realize that India, a nation of Mahatma Gandhi, would never take up "first use" and that permitted Pakistan to appropriate this "nuclear fashion" icon that Indian national culture rejected.
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Postby Sunil » 31 Aug 2005 21:16

Surinder,

What I am saying here is *my own view*. It is not to be seen to represent anything more than that. I say this because you are now talking about the specifics of the escalation landscape between India and Pakistan. Talking about this is extremely risky as it gives our neighbors too many ideas. So it is vital that I state again - this is my own view - and it is not shared by anyone else I know.

As Calvin points out there is a part to the doctrine that talks about "coalitions of nations" and it is pretty explicit in terms of what it says we will do such people should they choose to link their desires of nuclear aggression against India.

The flip side of this imvho is that if they are not seen to be unifying their desires to commit nuclear aggression against India - or do not act in consort to undermine the national survival of India. Then India will not have to extend its deterrence regime to include them and a foray into the escalation landscape of India-Pakistan will not result in a simultaneous foray in the escalation landscapes with them.

Linking escalation landscapes is very difficult and dangerous (see Vamsee's post). What it boils down to is that DPRK, KSA and PRC have to be seen credibly encouraging Pakistan to not get carried away in its escalatory behavior and that imo counts as a realistic way to determine that these countries are not merging their intentions of a nuclear aggression towards India. All nations in the world IMO have an undeniable interest in ensuring that nuclear aggression does not happen and deterrence does not breakdown. Should either DPRK, KSA or PRC fail in that responsibility and allow the Pakistanis to stab us in the night - then well.. I don't think they will sleep well from that point on.

KSA, DPRK are not nuclear powers. PRC has a valley of stability vis-a-vis India and I do not wish to speak about the escalation landscape there so I will not say anything more about this. Once again this is only my personal opinion.
Last edited by Sunil on 31 Aug 2005 23:42, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Umrao » 31 Aug 2005 21:19

On a thread dedicated to
"Nuclear Deterrence: What's all the fuss about?"

Pillai is moving up the ladder of esclation by bringing in his his chowkidar complex.

with regard to KSA,
KSA is Unkils problem courtesy Israel
TSP and PRC have border with us and immidiate and present danger

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Postby SandeepA » 31 Aug 2005 22:24

ochoaomar wrote:Sorry to disgress from the main topic at hand, but I politely disagree with you Shiv. Iranians are extremely politically savvy and have learned from history. US can exercise one of three options against Iran: a coup overthrowing current government, surgical strike of Iranian nuclear facilities, and invasion (all of which have minimal success of working). The first option is ironic, especially considering that Iran has already been victim to a coup which replaced Mossadegh with the Shah. Surely the intelligence apparatus will have learned to prevent something like this. The second option, carrying out surgical airstrikes of Iran's nuclear facilities in the fashion Israelis did with Iraq's Osirak reactor, is also ill-fated. Remember during the Iran-Iraq war, the IIAF had damage Osirak w/a similar sortie (which later served as a precedent for the Israeli strike.) Finally an invasion and occupation of Iran would be the most foolhardy of the three. Not only are US forces spread out too thinly, but also Iran has inhospitalable terrain and a population five times as large. Should the US decide to pursue any three of these options (even simulatenously), Iran sponsors enough militant groups such as Hezbollah to inflict "unacceptable" losses for America and her allies. Iranians don't have nuclear deterrence, but they have leveraged the situation so as to prevent aggression directed against them.


Going by the propaganda against Iran in the American media I think the US strategy will be to attempt one of their post-modern coups. Recently I saw a program on public television that shows a energetic and eager bunch of Iranian youngsters pouting pro-US slogans and running a newspaper(in another place and time they you could mistake them for Yushchenko supporters). One can only guess where the monies come from. Whether this strategy will succeed like in Georgia/Ukraine or result in bloodshed like in Krygyz is a moot point.
JMHO

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Postby Johann » 31 Aug 2005 22:49

There's no comparison between the Shah and Ayoub or Yahya Khan

-Iran bought its weapons from the US with its own cash, and not with American loans and Arab grants

-Pakistan's weapons were generally a generation or two behind what US forces were using. Pahlavi Iran in many cases received systems not yet deployed among American forces.

- Pahlavi Iran did not participate in containment against the Soviet Union to build leverage with the Americans. They had historical reasons to fear both Russia and communism Armenia and Azerbaijan were a part of Iran the Russians took from them, and the Pahlavis were happy to use first British and then American help to make sure the Communists did not continue the job.

After the Russian revolution, the Russian civil war actually spilled over in to Iran, and a Soviet Republic was actually set up in northern Iran (which was and is ethnically identical to Soviet Azerbaijan), guarded by the Red Army. The Pahlavi rise to the throne was built on regaining Iranian soil and crushing the communist enclave, with support from the British. Similarly in 1946, in the first crisis of the cold war the Soviet withdrawal of troops from northern Iran came only after threats from the Pahlavis, Americans and British. SPOILT was incidentally an operation that involved Indian troops.

Similarly, Tudeh was not an imaginary threat. The Iranian revolution succeeded because of the alliance of leftists and Islamists, and was soon the Islamists launched a purge against the leftist counter-revolution. Most of the thousands who were rounded up and shot by revolutionary mullah judges were not monarchists but Marxist leftists and communists. The Soviets actually massed troops on the border, ready to go in to protect a Marxist revolution. They were restrained by several things - their difficulties in Afghanistan (which the Iranians contributed to), and Western threats. In fact the West actually helped the Iranian Mullahs defeat the Iranian Marxists. We handed over party lists that SAVAK had compiled. All to deny the Soviets control of the Persian Gulf.

- The Shah from the 1960s on sought to make Iran a superpower, but he believed that a strong modern society could only be created by erasing Iran's Islamic identity. The Mullahs objected, and the public with them. The more repressive the Shah became in pursuit of his goals, the more people he alienated (including secular liberals many of whom became Marxists), until the regime was hollow. The Shah was not hated as an American lackey, but as an anti-Islamic despot. America was hated through the revolution because it was the Shah's partner, and therefore blamed for all the Shah did.

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Postby Sunil » 31 Aug 2005 23:35

Guys,

Please move offtopic posts to another thread.

Thanks

Sunil

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Postby Ali » 01 Sep 2005 00:03

Sunil wrote:continued from previous post.

Ali - IMHO - it is "proliferation" (as opposed to deterrence) that saves Pakistan's posterior each time around it does something phenomenally stupid with India.



Ok let’s consider this for a minute,

• Shooting/killing BSF on a regular bases [checked]
• Border violation [checked]
• Hub of Islamic terrorist organization [checked]
• Nuke Nude [checked]
• Pushing militants into India [checked]

I believe the guru must have guessed it by now. The country I am talking about is Bangladesh. It seems to me that Bangladesh is also involved in everything Pakistan gets accused of, albeit on a smaller scale. So how come I don’t see MKIs flying over Dhaka. Or is there some “Nuklear proliferation/deterrence” working over there as well.

Sunil, I would also like you to elaborate on India’s red line that you talked about in your first post. What action would absolutely, positively, without any doubt would ensure retaliation both in a nuclear and non nuclear context. I could be wrong but it seem that any action with plausible deniability usually doesn’t cross that redline. Case in point, Kargil, Parliament attack etc etc

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Postby parsuram » 01 Sep 2005 00:58

it seem that any action with plausible deniability usually doesn’t cross that redline. Case in point, Kargil, Parliament attack etc etc


Kargil & Parliament attack have moved red lines. Red lines are not static for all times. pakis wishing to push the envelope are finding pushing space getting smaller. That is also normal. All paki "forward strategic" policies & initiatives, whether towards India or Afghanistan (or even Iran), have ended up severely limiting their options. This process will continue as long as brilliant paki faujis are incharge. Love them dumbass paki faujis :D

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Postby Sunil » 01 Sep 2005 01:10

Ali wrote:
Ok let’s consider this for a minute,

• Shooting/killing BSF on a regular bases [checked]
• Border violation [checked]
• Hub of Islamic terrorist organization [checked]
• Nuke Nude [checked]
• Pushing militants into India [checked]

I believe the guru must have guessed it by now. The country I am talking about is Bangladesh. It seems to me that Bangladesh is also involved in everything Pakistan gets accused of, albeit on a smaller scale. So how come I don’t see MKIs flying over Dhaka. Or is there some “Nuklear proliferation/deterrence” working over there as well.


I agree that the India-Bangladesh border is not without its problems, however there are several treaties signed by India and Bangladesh on security cooperation and most of them hold in substance to a far greater degree than any agreement between India and Pakistan. This is a direct result of the fact that India liberated Bangladesh in 1971 and the current Pakistani elite harbor intense animosity towards India because of that.

Sunil, I would also like you to elaborate on India’s red line that you talked about in your first post. What action would absolutely, positively, without any doubt would ensure retaliation both in a nuclear and non nuclear context. I could be wrong but it seem that any action with plausible deniability usually doesn’t cross that redline. Case in point, Kargil, Parliament attack etc etc


India does not link nuclear and conventional deterrence regimes.

AFAIK - every aggressive action by Pakistan invites an equal reaction from India. The ability to hide it (the Indian response) from the Pakistani people however is dependent on Pakistan's ability to canvas international support. This is true in the case of Kargil where even today the bulk of the casualties on the Pakistani side are hidden from the Pakistani people and General Musharraf cannot publicly admit that Pakistani soldiers were killed in large numbers by Indian artillery. Plausible deniability is something Pakistan presents before its Western Allies, India knows full well what Pakistan is responsible for.

We don't have red lines in the conventional context. If the provocation is viewed as sufficiently grave the Indian Armed Services will respond. I cannot tell you what will be viewed as a sufficiently grave provocation because I don't know which way the Indian national debate will swing and given our consensual style of functioning there can be no rigid statement about how we will respond to a provocation. Maybe other people like members or representatives of India's NSC could tell you something more if you presented something more specific about the provocation but I have nothing to offer on that account.

I will say this much though - the general approach in India towards Pakistan is .. "awaj kar rahe hain.. karne do.. khush rahenge... jyada ho gaya toh chup kar do.." .. i.e. "they are making noise, let them do it and be happy... if it gets out of hand ... silence them". Take what you will from that.

We have stated we have "no first use" in the nuclear context but that simply means we will not be the first to use the nuke - that is all it means. It does not mean we are going to sit around and wait to be nuked. We leave all this dramatics associated with designing meaningless redlines and then inventing some "plausible deniability" argument to pretend that the redline is not crossed entirely to the Pakistani leadership.

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Postby AshishN » 01 Sep 2005 01:54

Sunil wrote:
I will say this much though - the general approach in India towards Pakistan is .. "awaj kar rahe hain.. karne do.. khush rahenge... jyada ho gaya toh chup kar do.." .. i.e. "they are making noise, let them do it and be happy... if it gets out of hand ... silence them".


I am not a nuke/deterrence guru from any angle, but let me butt in to say that Sunil has put India's policy (or at least what I think is India's policy) on the issue very aptly. :) :)

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Postby Abhijit » 01 Sep 2005 02:34

Ali miyan, this question has been keeping the paki brown pants in a perpetual sepian state. Aap ungli kar ke dekhate ho aur phir g***d phati to amreeka bahadur ke paav chhoote ho aur wo joote dete hai. That is what happened in kargil. When it became apparent that IA would escalate, your musarraf became so brown that he had to send sharif miyan to beg forgiveness from Clinton. Mind you we didn't even escalate, but a mere whiff of the possibility that we might, made you do the browning thing. Also at that time you tried to brandish your puny phatakas - which is your favorite way of scouting the escalation landscape. We accorded it the contempt that it deserved.
You see, every little thingy is an existential problem for pakiland. On the other hand, everything that pakis have so far thrown at India has been nothing more that a minor nuisance.
So the long and short of it is that pakis don't have anything that will be able cross our redlines - whatever they may be. On the other hand, a simple BR discussion that we are getting ready to whup your ass is enough to send you scurrying to your phatakas and your captains (group or groupies) to invoke Allah.

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Postby Ali » 01 Sep 2005 04:58

Abhijit wrote:Ali miyan, this question has been keeping the paki brown pants in a perpetual sepian state. Aap ungli kar ke dekhate ho aur phir g***d phati to amreeka bahadur ke paav chhoote ho aur wo joote dete hai. That is what happened in kargil. When it became apparent that IA would escalate, your musarraf became so brown that he had to send sharif miyan to beg forgiveness from Clinton. Mind you we didn't even escalate, but a mere whiff of the possibility that we might, made you do the browning thing. Also at that time you tried to brandish your puny phatakas - which is your favorite way of scouting the escalation landscape. We accorded it the contempt that it deserved.
You see, every little thingy is an existential problem for pakiland. On the other hand, everything that pakis have so far thrown at India has been nothing more that a minor nuisance.
So the long and short of it is that pakis don't have anything that will be able cross our redlines - whatever they may be. On the other hand, a simple BR discussion that we are getting ready to whup your ass is enough to send you scurrying to your phatakas and your captains (group or groupies) to invoke Allah.


I am trembling, really.


Abhijit Miyan, hathi k danth khaney key aur, aur dekhaney key aur hotey hein. App key bharat rakshak
pey loog bhagwan say zaida amreeca say pakistan kay nejaat key prathna ker they hein, aur job wo kuch
nahee kerta to hufto rotey hein. App ko humien amreeca ka tana day ney say pheley, apney grebaan may jhakna chaheyyey.

Sorry for the little rant, but the full toss was too tempting to resist :)

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Postby parsuram » 01 Sep 2005 05:57

oye ali:

amrika already does more than enough to keep paki knickers in a constant twist. Indians do what is needed to maintain status quo on their own, and Indians know better than amrika on how best to handle rabid pakis. so India is not waiting on amrika on getting anything worthwhile done about pakis for India. Stay tuned to Afghanistan news, for example. India's responses to paki 'brilliant strategies' has always been calibrated to return rabid paki dogs back in their kennel. It is only the US that does not stay on task, and needs reminded, though I think they are pretty focused now, so you guys with bombs on your bellies are boxed in more than usual. I would recommend some different line of work for you pakis, but apparently jehaad is all that you guys are capable of, so obviously, worrying about 'red lines' takes up all of your thought processes.

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Postby shiv » 01 Sep 2005 07:06

Bangladesh is a digression on this thread because the nuclear question does not YET arise.

It is interesting that the issue of Bangadesh is brought up because the act of bringing it up is tactically similar to the act of calling terrorism in Kashmir as "fighting for freedom". In both cases the diversion is away from Pakistan, specifically the Pakistani version of Islamic extremism or Pakislamism that has a role to play.

Pakislamism is a different issue as is the burning Pakistani desire to at least appear superior India. Either by sucking up to some third party, or via mullahs, madrassas and "pure Islam" exported to Kashmir and BDesh. Let us stick to nuke deterrence on this thread.

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Postby shiv » 01 Sep 2005 07:20

Ali wrote:
Abhijit wrote:Ali miyan, this question has been keeping the paki brown pants in a perpetual sepian state... Mind you we didn't even escalate, but a mere whiff of the possibility that we might, made you do the browning thing.


I am trembling, really.


I find this exchange piskologically compelling.

Abhijit posts a taunt using the words that a "whiff" of something will makes Pakis sh1t in their pants.

The reply to that is a sarcastic "I am trembling"

The is the exact response that India and Bangladesh gave to superiority complex clouded PakJabi Generals when they chose to speak of how the whiff of gunpowder or a timely blow would make others tremble.

In fact that is exactly the same response that Pakis SLCM threats are getting from India. It is amazing that Ali can respond to rhetoric like anyone else, but Pakistani leaders somehow end up believing that people actually get scared by bullsh1tting.

I was tempted to imagin that this bluster by Pakjabi generals is for internal Paki consumption - to "fire themselves up" and pull themselves out of the fear they feel. ButI am not so sure. It may be real stupidity - but that is an accusation I do not like making lightly. leave alone Yahya or Ayub. Just look at the Defence Journal article by Javed Nasir written before Kargil about how the Indian army's morale is so low that it cannot fight.

Question: "Why is a person like Ali able to give an appropriate response to bluster while the entire Pakistani leadership imagines that bluster emerging from their mouths will somehow make everyone else tremble?" Pakis such-much paagal hain kya?

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Postby Calvin » 01 Sep 2005 18:16

There is also the possibility that not every "We will nuke you" comes from a credible source. In other words, if *I* (Calvin) hold a press conference and say that "If you do this, we will nuke you", it has no meaning. Now, let us say that I happened, also, to be a major general in the army, now retired. Again, unless, it is absolutely certain that Manmohan or Vij are the puppeteers pulling my mouth open and shut - my ravings will (or should) be accorded NO VALUE.

In the case of Pakistan, there are literally dozens of fellows out there saying "We will nuke you", and the question that we have to address is "which of them is speaking for the nuke=handing Pakistanis/Chinese." This is a nontrivial problem, mainly because it is not immediately obvious that superficial links (i.e., went to the same school as Musharraf) really mean anything at all.

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Postby Dileep » 01 Sep 2005 19:34

In the greatest martial TFTA meat eating country, everyone is a general and given the key to the nuke! Otherwise how would you explain them acting up on the opinions and fiction on BRF?

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Postby putnanja » 02 Sep 2005 00:16

Navy chief talks tough on nukes

"Nuclear deterrence lies in the adversary’s mind. To deter someone, you must be able to convince him the consequences of using a nuclear weapon will be so horrible and devastating, that he should never even contemplate it,"said Admiral Arun Prakash on Thursday.

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Postby Calvin » 05 Sep 2005 02:35

Re: Prakash's comments. He is merely restating what he said in an interview carried on SRR many moons ago:

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/SRR/Volume11/bharat.html

All I wish to say here is that the draft nuclear doctrine, which was made public by the government, envisages the deployment of a triad of capabilities. It is also a well-known fact that an undersea deterrent capability is the most survivable leg of the triad, and hence should form the core of a credible second-strike capability.


Another case may be made that the Chief has been very dissatisfied with expenditure on the Naval arm, and this is his way of putting pressure on GOI to accelerate investment into the most survivable of the the triad.

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Postby Tim » 05 Sep 2005 02:53

Crosspost from Pakistani news thread.

The article posted there about the purchase of the Perry class frigate appears to specifically state that the new cruise missile is not capable of being fired from a surface warship. If that's the case, it's almost certainly not ready for firing from a submarine either.

That suggests that the threat of a sub-launched deterrent may be a few years off still, at least in the Pakistani case.

It's also worth noting that Admiral Menon called for the creation of a 5 SSBN deterrent force in his book on Indian nuclear strategy about five years ago.

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Postby Sunil » 05 Sep 2005 21:33

continued from the previous post.

BTW... what exactly do you call proliferation?


Most dictionaries define the word as "spead or increase".

In the nuclear context - Proliferation therefore could be said to include any activity that increases the capability for exploring the escalation landscape.

Such a point of view sees all proliferation (from testing to mating) as being inherently escalatory. Perhaps this is too conservative an approach but given how destructive the weapons are - it appeals to many people and hence people often tend to confuse all proliferation with escalation. Recall that maximalists tend to dominate the media - so most Non Prol Ayatollahs fall under this category.

All proliferation is not necessarily escalatory. On a scale of 0-10 (in terms of increasing potential for sparking an escalation) in the nuclear context it is possible to imagine a scale of sorts. For example -

0 - (no possibility of escalation) - Development/Transfer of civilian technology under meaningful safeguards on material and knowhow.

1 - (low probability of escalation) - Development/Transfer of civilian technology without safeguards.

2 - (minor probability of escalation) - Development/Transfer of dual use technology with monitoring.

3 - (some possibility of escalation) - Development/Transfer of dual use technology without monitoring.

4 - (discernable possibility of escalation) - Development/Transfer of dual use technology without monitoring to suspected military installations.

5 - (assured possibility of escalation) - Clandestine Development/Transfer of technology by state sponsorred groups/government agencies.

6 - (sizable probability of escalation) - Ground based/Sub-surface testing of devices/non-weaponized systems. Clandestine transfer/development of technologies critical to testing.

7 - (extremely high probability of escalation) - Atmospheric testing of devices/non-weaponized systems. Clandestine transfer/development of technologies critical to testing.

8 - (slow escalation imminent) - Testing of weaponized configurations of warheads and delivery systems by military formations under announced schedules.

9 - (moderate escalation imminent) - Transfer of weaponized systems with military formations in the field per announced schedule and with appropriate treaties to limit their operational radius.

10 - (sudden escalation imminent) - Clandestine transfer of weaponized devices to military formations or other state or non-state actors. Departure of weapons capable formations from known limits on operational radius.

This list is just something I made up so it is very crude and it does not reflect the prevalent views about this in India - but each country can make up such a list of what kind of proliferation leads to what sorts of consequences and thus assign a proliferation significance number.

to be continued.

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Postby Anand K » 06 Sep 2005 15:36

take it offline.

Admin.


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