Deterrence and Danger

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Deterrence and Danger Gist for UPSC Exam

Why in News?

The indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, is a great achievement for India. The Indian Navy, its engineers and scientists have done us immensely proud.However, the aspects of deterrence capability & survivability capability provided by INS Arihan.


  • The major nuclear weapon powers, principally the U.S., have developed the myth of a nuclear triad, that consists of land-based, air-based and sea-based nuclear delivery systems.
  • The requirement of INS Arihant as a ballistic armed nuclear submarine is based upon the Cold War scenario that if an adversary were to launch a devastating nuclear first strike on a country wherein it would destroy its land based nuclear missiles, the submarine could still deliver a counter-strike known as second strike.
  • Therefore, second strike capability through INS Arihant ensures that each country fears conducting the „First Strike‟ and thereby acts as an deterrence from nuclear attacks
  • The enemy might attack population centres and not nuclear weapon sites; in that case, all the nukes of the target country would be available for retaliation.
  •  In either case, the deterrence capability of the target country would remain intact. If the possession of the naval leg were to deter the enemy, ab initio, from initiating a nuclear launch, it would add to the deterrence value.
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  •  If the hostilities reach the threshold where a country may consider using nuclear weapons, it would be preceded by a period of conventional warfare.
  •  The enemy would also have to reach the conclusion that unless he uses his nuclear weapons, he would suffer a defeat that he simply cannot afford to let happen.
  • Apart from this, Pakistan is still a long way away from having the naval leg of the triad, and also does not have capability of complete destruction of India’s land and air based nuclear delivery capability.
  • While INS Arihant does not have range to deliver nuclear weapons over China. China is far ahead of India in many respects. It has more warheads and more nuclear-powered submarines.
  • In addition, both countries have a localized territorial dispute which is managed and contained by both countries. It is therefore reasonably safe to say that there will not be an all-out war involving the use of nuclear weapons between India and China

Source:The Hindu

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