This book examines the Indian nuclear policy, doctrine, strategy and posture, clarifying the elastic concept of credible minimum deterrence at the center of the country’s approach to nuclear security. This concept, Karnad demonstrates, permits the Indian nuclear forces to be beefed up, size and quality-wise, and to acquire strategic reach and clout, even as the qualifier minimum suggests an overarching concern for moderation and economical use of resources, and strengthens India’s claims to be a responsible nuclear weapon state.
Based on interviews with Indian political leaders, nuclear scientists, and military and civilian nuclear policy planners, it provides unique insights into the workings of India’s nuclear decision-making and deterrence system. Moreover, by juxtaposing the Indian nuclear policy and thinking against the theories of nuclear war and strategic deterrence, nuclear escalation, and nuclear coercion, offers a strong theoretical grounding for the Indian approach to nuclear war and peace, nuclear deterrence and escalation, nonproliferation and disarmament, and to limited war in a nuclearized environment. It refutes the alarmist notions about a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia, etc. which derive from stereotyped analysis of India-Pakistan wars, and examines India’s likely conflict scenarios involving China and, minorly, Pakistan.