chapter  6
10 Pages

Indian nuclear maritime strategy and capabilities

This chapter examines the maritime elements of Indian nuclear strategy and capability, both current and in prospect. It considers how stationing nuclear capabilities in the aquatic realm relates to India’s broader nuclear strategy and doctrine. Deployment of Indian nuclear weapons at sea will clearly exert substantial influence on interchange with fellow Indian Ocean powers, especially if potential adversaries also position nuclear weapons at sea. In addition, if India, Pakistan, or China station nuclear capabilities in Indian Ocean waters, they will have to modify their broader maritime strategies, taking into account how conventional capabilities interact with nuclear-armed platforms at sea. Much of this chapter is speculative, for the Indian Navy has yet to deploy any serious oceangoing nuclear capability. Nevertheless, analyzing strategy and forces is worthwhile, even on a hypothetical basis, in light of nuclear weapons’ central role in questions of war and peace over the past 60-plus years – and on the subcontinent for the past ten years.