25 years since Pokhran Test


25 years since Pokhran Test

News: On 11th May 1998, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced that India had conducted three nuclear tests at Pokhran.


o 11th May is also celebrated as National Technological Day in India.
o Following the success of Pokhran-II and to honour India’s scientists and their accomplishments, the government declared May 11 as National Technology Day in 1998. The first Nuclear test was conducted in May 1974.

Why did India choose to exercise Nuclear option?

o An increasingly nuclearised neighbourhood.
o A progressively constraining non-proliferation environment.
o By the mid-1990s, China had already conducted as many as 45 nuclear tests and China had also conducted a nuclear test for Pakistan, reportedly in May 1990, thereby boosting Rawalpindi’s nuclear confidence and emboldening it to foment insurgency in J&K and Punjab.
o At the same time USA was pressurising countries to join the non-proliferation treaty as non-nuclear weapon states and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty had been put out for signature.

What was India’s nuclear doctrine?

o It highlighted a political role for nuclear weapons based on credible minimum deterrence (CMD) and a no-first-use (NFU) policy, while concurrently supporting non-proliferation and universal disarmament. In the last quarter century, India has used this doctrinal guidance to build its force structure and posture.
o The sole purpose of India’s nuclear deterrence is to deter adversaries’ use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
o Pakistan’s use of cross-border terrorism and China’s territorial ingressions at LAC have continued. Punishment for such attacks at best can be applied at the conventional level, keeping nuclear weapons out of the equation. Doing so provides India the “space” to employ military force in a manner that makes Pakistan’s nuclear threat non-effective. For example, Surgical strikes, air strikes (in case of Pak) and building adequate infrastructure and military capability (in case of China)

Why India’s CMD and NFU policy have been termed wise options?

o Nations that opted to build nuclear forces (missile defences, large warhead stockpiles, highly accurate nuclear delivery systems) do not seem to have found much use for them.
o For example, despite a large, war-fighting-capable nuclear arsenal, Washington accepted defeat in several regional conflicts. Russia confronts the same dilemma in Ukraine.
o For deterrence, modest capabilities can suffice. New Delhi understood this early in its nuclear journey.

What should we be prepared for?

o India needs actions at two levels for sustainable national security.
o The first is to address immediate security threats by intelligently building sufficient and resilient retaliatory capability to signal credible deterrence.
o Second, India needs to make long-term innovative diplomatic investments towards the creation of a global environment conducive to peace and universal nuclear disarmament.
o We can leverage our economic heft, political clout and cultural appeal to showcase the advantages of its philosophy of nuclear deterrence. India is the only nuclear-armed state offering this model today. We must maintain our nuclear sobriety in future.
Source – Indian Express

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