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.
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Bharat Karnad is Research Professor in National Security Studies at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi. He was a Member of the (First) National Security Advisory Board, National Security Council, Government of India, Member of the Nuclear Doctrine Drafting Group and Adviser on Defense Expenditure to the Finance Commission, India. He is the author of Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy, now in its second edition (2002, 2005).Review:
"Examines how the concept of 'credible minimum deterrence' allows flexibility in Indian defense policy." - The Chronicle Review
"Karnad (Center for Policy Research, India) presents a detailed account of the evolution of India's nuclear policy since the country's independence. . . . This is an informative study by one of the country's foremost strategic thinkers and is a must-read book for anyone interested in understanding this complex subject. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels." - Choice
". . . a thoughtful and provocative argument challenging the view that India's growing nuclear arsenal contributes to instability in South Asia. . . . Karnad has crafted a valuable book that merits attention by anyone interested in the implications of the growing power of India and China for peace, order, and stability in South Asia." - The Journal of Military History
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