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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 52, November 2000

India National Security Official on Nuclear Doctrine

On October 28, Mr. K. Subrahmanyam, the convener of India' National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), spoke of the need for the country to move beyond its draft nuclear doctrine, issued by the NSAB in August 1999 (see Disarmament Diplomacy No. 39). Delivering the annual Field Marshall K.C. Cariappa memorial lecture in New Delhi, Subrahmanyam observed:

"The draft doctrine is the most logical, most restrained and most economical document. But it is only a draft doctrine. Strategies, policies, targeting plans, command and control, all need to be worked out. It is not enough if the country has nuclear weapons. It should be able to project a credible deterrence. ... [T]here is an urgent need to work out the correct mix. A partially visible command and control structure is an essential ingredient in deterrence. Demonstration of capabilities is yet another."

Notes: also on October 28, Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar reiterated his Government' support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Speaking in Karachi, Sattar argued that the "CTBT is a good treaty, it safeguards Pakistan' interests... It is in Pakistan' interest to sign it. ... It is not because we want to obtain economic aid that we would consider signing the CTBT. We have examined the treaty on the basis of its own merit and reached the conclusion that signing the CTBT is in [our] interest..." However, Sattar also reiterated his Government' position, shared by its counterpart in New Delhi, that it was necessary to "build up domestic consensus in favour of the treaty" before signing.

On October 30, Dr. R. Chidambaram, the Chair of India' Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), told an audience in Mumbai that, following the May 1998 tests, India now possessed the capacity to "design and fabricate nuclear weapons of low yields up to 200 kilotons."

Reports: N-arms alone not enough - Subrahmanyam panel, The Hindu, October 28; Pakistan closes skies to a US attack on Bin Laden, Reuters, October 28; Up to 200 kilotons of nuclear weapons capability exists in India, Narad Online, October 30.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.