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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Second Strike - A Strategic Response by India


Last month an official of Strategic Plans Division (SPD) of Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA) said that Indian moves towards ‘second strike capability’ would compel Pakistan to follow suit. A report in Dawn mentioned that “the reported successful testing of nuclear-capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) by India last month from its nuclear-powered INS Arihant has taken India closer to what is described as second-strike capability” in nuclear deterrence.

The "second strike capability" has started coming in the strategic lexicon of Pakistan only recently. It is however difficult to not believe that the grammar is being created by the Chinese with a dictionary that definitely will be more and more Chinese than "Pakistani". 

There are specific Indian capabilities that China is not able to digest

Space Exploration and capabilities to manage space  Here India should be given A+ because of a "user-free" ISRO, having a free hand to envision, enliven and empower the our space based capabilities including own GPS, Cryogenic Engines, PSLV, and the new space shuttle type capability. Not a mean achievement.

The Missiles (strategic missiles) and now the interceptor capability along with the SLBM (own) - should be considered the most commendable achievement of DRDO, BARC, Indian Navy and various scientific institutes involved (once again - the close to "user-free" situation as the services (with the exception of navy) never showed much interest in having these missiles.

Coming to second strike capability - Indian doctrine essentially describe and force India to have "second strike" as the No-First-Use (NFU) has a potential of a decapitating first strike by enemy. Once we have the second strike then only we can convince the potential enemies about our "minimum credible deterrence (MCD)" which requires a “massive retaliation” in case of nuclear attack on India. Unless we build the “second strike capability” the NFU doesn’t allow us to have “massive retaliation” capability in case of first decapitating strike against India. Besides SLBM, Agni-V with MIRV is another capability for second strike MCD

The calculus that is emerging now is - China is going to get deeper control of Pakistan with CPEC and larger arms and ammo. The strategic parroting of Pakistan will be much more in "Chinese". China has clear roadmap given by Xi which is well defined in One Belt One Road (OBOR)
To counter the emerging play of Chinese design with Pakistani actions, India further needs 3 specific initiatives to counter the Chinese Invasion which is going on, in my humble opinion, since 1950

1. Create the next Revolution in Military Affairs - India will have to create the technological disruption in the way it will be fighting its future wars.
2. Create and empower a Ministry of Intelligence, Foresight and Design
3. Invest in Unmanned, Intelligent, Stealthy, Hypersonic and CPGS capabilities. These capabilities need to become the future components of the military force.  
4. It is time to fight Pakistan as if we are in a war, albeit a new kind of war. The multi-dimensional war has to be fought the way in which cost to the perpetrators is very high for every action they take against India. 

And finally, we need to prepare our soldiers for multi-dimensional wars. These soldiers need skills that are not only multi-dimensional but also adaptable to the dynamic situations of the future warfare.
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