ABSTRACT

India acquired nuclear weapons and pursued a doctrinal policy of minimum deterrence and NFU. India's gradual force modernization and technological advancement depict transformation in its doctrinal postures such as a possible shift from NFU to FU or counterforce temptations that contradict the policy of minimum deterrence or assured retaliation. To hedge against a pre-emptive counterforce strike, Pakistan might be forced to increase the number of its warheads and missiles and disperse/pre-delegate the use of nuclear missiles. Thus, this chapter attempts to understand the rationale behind the possible shift in India's nuclear posture, assessing how successfully India can launch a counterforce, disarming first strikes in a crisis. What are the drawbacks of this policy shift and how it leads to creating an arms-racing problem and stress for regional deterrence stability? How would this doctrinal shift impact regional conflict dynamics and patterns of warfare between India and Pakistan?