Nuclear Weapons & Indian Security - The Realist Foundations of Strategy

Nuclear Weapons & Indian Security - The Realist Foundations of Strategy

Product ID: 9590

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Author: Bharat Karnad
Publisher: Macmillan
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 724
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0333 93822 4


This book deals expansively with the nature of the Indian strategic mindset and policies. Author's experience in defense matters and especially in helping draft the nuclear doctrine, makes this an insider's analysis and account of India as an emerging nuclear power.

This book deals expansively with the nature of the Indian strategic mindset and policies. It deconstructs the traditional Hindu machtpolitik, contradicting the image of passivity conveyed by Mahatma Gandhi and his doctrine of non-violence, as well as certain later-day myths, like India's being non-aligned during the Cold War, with a view to more dispassionately evaluate both Gandhi's and Jawaharlal Nehru's successful policy of moralpolitik.

In the first case, it turned British liberal pretensions against the colonial power and, in the other, it allowed India to divorce its rhetoric from reality - to champion disarmament while pursuing nuclear weapons capability, to express abhorrence for military alliances while enjoying the security of the Western nuclear and conventional military umbrella( the US and British military plans to defend India will be revealed here for the first time); and to act as the leader of the Third World while having a First World slant to its policies,.

The gradually changing policies behind India's covert nuclear weaponisation programme until the first test in 1974, and the subsequent 'nuclear crawl' eventuating in the series of explosive tests in 1998, is analyzed. As also the changes in the strategic calculus and in the thinking about deterrence and nuclear weapons when the government, the nuclear and defense science establishment, the military and the bureaucracy. The pressures and the pulls over the last five decades to we4aponise or to desist from doing so, are revealed as are the measures that were contemplated (like preemptive strikes on Pakistani nuclear facilities) to neutralize threats. The various nuclear force planning options available to India will be weighed, and the case for India's acquiring sizeable megaton thermonuclear deterrent slaved to intercontinental ballistic missiles argued both in terms of the strategic threat posed primarily by China, potentially by the United States, only minorly by Pakistan, and of maximum politico-military pay-offs.

The research for this wide ranging study is based to a considerable extent on primary sources - hitherto secret information culled from declassified documents in th4e US National Archives and the British Official Archives, and on interviews with decision-makers in the Indian nuclear policy-making loop. The author's experience in defense matter and especially in helping draft the4 nuclear doctrine, makes this an insider's analysis and account of India as an emerging nuclear power.


This is a monumental effort at interpreting the4 evolution of Indian national security perspective since Independence. Bharat Karnad has painstakingly researched into American and British secret documents recently declassified and released to the public. His comprehensive study encompasses the numerous shortcomings and failures in the decision-making structure and processes of political leadership, bureaucracy and armed forces leadership over the last half a century. He has been able to unearth many hitherto publicly unknown facts in respect of the country nuclear policy and weapon acquisition process. It is a very valuable, timely and provocative contribution to the national security debate of a kind and quality not hitherto attempted.
- K Subrahmanyam, Columnist, Former Secretary, Defence Production, Government of India, Former Director, Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.

Bharat Karnad's highly original and comprehensive study both extends and challenges the realist analysis of India's strategic options. It takes a fresh look at Mahatma Gandhi's application of non-violence to Indian foreign policy and argues that Nehru was more far-sighted than some of his detractors think.
-Stephen Philip Cohen
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC

Bharat Karnad has produced a stimulating volume in which India's nuclear weapons policy has been put into the much broader context of the country's approach to security over the centuries. This is obviously an immensely difficult task as it requires the author to demonstrates mastery over many different fields. Readers of this book will be deeply impressed by Professor Karnad's manifest authority in matters as diverse as traditional religious concepts or war and pace, down to the technological details of the latest nuclear submarine deals.
- Geoffrey Till
Dean of Academic Studies, Defence Studies Department, Joint Services Command and Staff College, Watchfield, Swindon, UK

Bharat Karnad in his book devotes considerable attention to understanding the changes in the perception of nuclear weapons of our political leaders, scientists, bureaucrats and military men and the role they played in securing a modicum of nuclear security for the country. The book seeks to cover the entire gamut of nuclear philosophy, action and its consequences and succeeds to a remarkable extent. The author takes the reader through the influence of the Indian strategic culture and milieu, and the politics of nuclear decision-making post-Independence. It is, perhaps, the only comprehensive study available at present about the dawning of the nuclear age in India.
- Dr P K Iyengar, Former Chairman, Indian Atomic Energy Commission,l Former Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre nuclear



The Cultural Context of Moralpolitik
The Traditional Indian Statecraft, Mahatma Gandhi and the Atom Bomb

The Use of Force and the Traditional Indian Statecraft
Vedic Machtpolitik: Total War and Weapons of Mass Destruction
India: A Land of Subjugations
The Use of Force and Gandhian Values

Setting the Stage for Moralpolitik
Nehru and India's US-UK Security Umbrella

Unsympathetic Attitude Towards Neighboring Countries
Nehru's Tilt to the west
Skewed Third worldism
Non-alignment as Bargaining Chip
With a little help from our friends, the British
The Making of the Western Security Cushion for Nehru's India
The Downside of the British Connection
Seeking an Alternative Close Military Links with the US
Strong Indo-Britain Military Relations: Benefits and Costs
The Pentagon's Plans for the Defense of India
The Western Nuclear Umbrella over India
The Wages of Playing Both Sides of the Street

Practicing Atomic Age-Moralpolitik
Nehru, Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament

Nehru's Views about Armed Might
The Main Influences on Nehru's thinking about Atomic Weapons
Getting on the Bomb Track
Cultural Factors
Overzealous Gandhism
Economic Factors
The Disarmament Game
The US Opposition to Indian N Weapons
Pressuring India on the Costs of Weaponisation

Hesitant Nuclear Realpolitik 1966 - To Date

The Indira Gandhi Years
The Morarji Years
Indira's Return and Rajiv Gandhi's Tenure
Between and Betwixt: VP Singh to PV Narasimha Rao
The Years of the CTBT Negotiations
The BJP-Government and the Indian Nuclear Posture
The Indian Nuclear Draft Doctrine

The Perils of Deterrence by Half-Measures:
Why Grand Strategic Vision and a Thermonuclear Force are a Must

The Relevance of Nuclear Weapons in the New Millennium
And Indian Monroe Doctrine
The Downside of Partnering the United States
The Importance of Sub-limited Warfare Capabilities in the Nuclear Age
Deterrence in the Second Nuclear Age
Strategic Threats and Relations: India-US, India-China
Pakistan as Nuclear Focus
Thinking Sub-optimally
Structuring and Sizing a thermonuclear Force
Brief Histories of the Development / Acquisition of Two Strategic Weapons Systems
The Nuclear-powered Submarine Project
Rethinking Nuclear Weapons-Use Scenarios
Costs and Affordability

Annexures: India Nuclear Doctrine