Nuclear Doctrine: Ramifications for South Asia

By Khalid, Irum | South Asian Studies, July-December 2012 | Go to article overview

Nuclear Doctrine: Ramifications for South Asia


Khalid, Irum, South Asian Studies


ABSTRACT

The strategic culture of South Asia is characterized by the hostility between India and Pakistan. Conventional arms' race, wars, growing insecurity and ultimately nuclearization of the region is the consequence of this continual enmity. To match this threatening environment both Pakistan and India has opted nuclear arms. After the nuclear explosions of 1998 the world started to talk about the nuclear doctrine for the region. This present study is an effort to understand doctrine, nuclear doctrine and it's ramifications for South Asia. It will be analyzed whether these doctrines fulfill the required qualities and what implication they do have on both countries in general and the region in particular. It is essential to analyze them as the changing global scenario demands for the clear picture of the nuclear posture of both paramount states of the South Asian region. This region casts its impact not only on the residing actors but the neighboring region as well. The research concludes that the re-establishment of constant dialogue and diplomatic efforts are more beneficial for the region to counter the threat and insecurity.

KEY WORDS: Nuclear Doctrine, Nuclear Deterrence, Command and Control, Nuclear Posture, Strategic Culture.

Introduction

The strategic culture of South Asia is characterized by the hostility between India and Pakistan. This enmity and hostility has further ramifications. Conventional arms race, wars, growing insecurity and ultimately nuclearization of the region is the consequence of this continual enmity. In order to understand the real standing of both states on issue of nuclearization, it is important to understand the nuclear doctrine of both sides and to analyze the implication of these doctrines on the total security of South Asian region.

What is a Doctrine?

Theoretically doctrine means a rule or principle that forms the basis of a theory or policy. In other words doctrine is the set of principles or rules governing the employment of a capability. There is a passive use of this concept in political, military and strategic aspects. Political and ideological doctrines encompass practice and promulgation of a political philosophy. When the word doctrine is implemented in military matters it stands for the environment within which armed forces operate. This word also extends to prescribe the methods and circumstances within which army should be employed (Viotti, 1999; 190).

What is a Nuclear Doctrine?

Nuclear doctrines of the contemporary world are different from the rest of the classical doctrines. The post world war II scenario has contributed in this regard. Post world war scenario has brought forward the configuration of strategic power shaped by ideological political and military dynamics of the cold war. The advancement in military technology has deeply influenced the formulation, substance and operational aspects of the strategic doctrines (Viotti, 1999; 191). It is advancement of conventional and nuclear technology which has brought forward the notion of mutually assured destruction (MAD). This addition has shifted the idea of cold war to the concept of détente. Nuclear weapons have changed the idea of war fighting with the concept of deterrence. Now the focus of armed forces is not winning the war but to pose a strong and effective deterrence. The central doctrinal issue of the nuclear weapon states is to pose threat and maintain deterrence (Buteux, 1983; 214-245).

When the nuclear doctrine is talked about, it stands for the strategy of deployment, employment of nuclear forces and posing threats in response of the crisis situation that a country's leadership faces at the hand of opponent. The basic purpose of a nuclear doctrine is the provision of conceptual, institutional and infra structural mechanism for the development of nuclear weapons. The nuclear doctrines are mainly of two basic types; aggressive or offensive nuclear doctrine, non aggressive or defensive nuclear doctrine. …

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