Tuesday, 24 July 2012


By Ali Ahmed*

This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the Strategic Analysis 2012 [copyright Taylor & Francis]; Strategic Analysis is available online at:
http://www.tandfonline.com with the open URL 

Strategic Analysis

Volume 36Issue 4, 2012, 

pages 511-526 


Currently, India’s nuclear doctrine is one of inflicting ‘unacceptable damage’ in case of nuclear first use against it or its forces anywhere. The problem with this is that at current levels of vertical proliferation, it is liable to face a counter strike of equal proportions. This may not be in its interests when viewed in relation to the set back to its trajectory of progress. Therefore, there is case for terminating nuclear exchanges at the lowest possible level, in case of nuclear first use of low opprobrium quotient or violence. The article recommends a shift to flexible nuclear retaliation with the deterrence by denial informing lower order first use and deterrence by punishment continuing for higher order attacks.

That the political and strategic levels are separate is well known.[1] It follows that political and strategic level considerations are different,[2] though not entirely distinct since they share a semi-permeable boundary. In their interconnection, political considerations are informed by strategic imperatives but supersede the strategic level where warranted. The distinction is reflected in the make up of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA), comprising the Political Council and Executive Council at the political and grand strategic levels respectively.[3] The Political Council is charged with infusing strategic rationality with a vision for post conflict peace in a nuclear setting. This entails balancing between the moral, political, ethical, legal, environmental, material, temporal and military considerations. The Political Council has a wider ambit, even as the Executive Council brings more immediate strategic and operational level considerations to its attention. Nuclear weapons are taken as ‘political weapons’,[4] meant more for political rather than military deterrence.[5] The idea of acquiring them was to prevent coercion of India.[6] Therefore, rightly, the strategic writings have dwelt on how to operationalise the concept of deterrence,[7] characterised as ‘assured retaliation’.[8] In case a situation of ‘mutual assured deterrence’[9] based on credible second strike capability to inflict ‘unacceptable damage’,[10] expansive nuclear employment in either a nuclear first use or retaliatory mode is to take an inordinate risk. The political level imperative is to ensure that such risks are minimized. This is best made possible by a conflict and nuclear strategy that seeks to end a conflict that has ‘gone nuclear’ at the lowest possible threshold of nuclear use.
This paper sets out to study political level considerations that would inform the Political Council and the influence of these considerations on nuclear retaliation strategy. Strategic studies theory is marshaled to bring out that the primary political consideration in a conflict that has ‘gone nuclear’ is to preserve, protect and sustain national way of life and society. Part 1 theoretically demonstrates that politics must continue to inform conflict aims even in case of nuclear conflict. The nuclear strategy that best facilitates concluding a nuclear conflict at the lowest possible level is arrived at.[11] In the second part, the political considerations that will exercise India’s political leadership are dwelt on. A case is made for preserving India’s trajectory of progress by minimizing the setback that might result from sustaining nuclear damage. Therefore, the conflict aim of terminating the nuclear exchange(s) at the lowest threshold gains primacy. The paper ends by briefly touching on measures to work such a strategy. The discussion confines itself to a hypothetical India-Pakistan conflict, though its findings are pertinent to the India-China dyad also.[12]
The political level considered
Clausewitz’s most famous quote on war being an extension of politics is an appropriate start point.[13] His significant insight implied that war is not autonomous, but as ‘part of policy, policy will determine its character.’[14] This emerges from his conceptualisation of war as a Trinity - primordial violence, play of chance and probability and subordination to policy.[15] The third aspect of the Trinity - ‘its element of subordination, as an instrument of policy, which makes it subject to reason alone’[16] - spells out the government’s domain of policy. However, Clausewitz, drawing insight from Napoleonic wars in which he had first hand experience, notes a possibility: ‘As policy becomes more ambitious and vigorous, so will war, and this may reach the point where war attains its absolute form.’[17]  The interaction between the three – people, the military and the government – could drive war towards the theoretical extreme of Absolute War, an ideal type.[18] His theoretical ideal has come close to becoming technologically realizable in the nuclear era. Taken alongside nationalism that has informed peoples passions since his times, the two prongs of the Trinity – military (nuclear technology) and people – tend towards Absolute War. This implies that the onus on the third prong to keep the other two subordinate increases exponentially. He had warned that war, ‘cannot be divorced from political life - and whenever this occurs in our thinking about war…we are left with something that is pointless and devoid of sense.’[19]
In classical strategy model,[20] identification of national interest and conflict objectives takes place at the political level. The function of policy is to identify values and interests that in turn determine the goals and the parameters. Arriving at and implementing security policy, understood as an enterprise to cover the broader preparation for conflict as well as the waging of it, is a collective function of actors at the political and grand strategic levels.[21] Those at the grand strategic level civilian and military, offer advice based on expertise. They analyse the threats, develop plans to cope with these and further objectives using all the instruments of power. Ensconced in grand strategy is military strategy. It is the purposeful application of military means to political ends. However, nuclear strategy, relating to in-conflict deterrence and employment, is not entirely a subset of military strategy. It is equally intermeshed with political and diplomatic strategy. Consequently, ‘the military problem is, even in its stark outlines, not only beyond the competence of any one person or group of persons, but beyond the competence of any one profession.’[22]
In the nuclear era, there is greater necessity for subordinating the military instrument owing to the escalatory dynamic. This is so because the use of nuclear weapons does not necessarily help political ends; and, instead, may well upturn these. Control has become the ‘essence’ of policy and strategy.[23] In the context of a conflict with a nuclear backdrop, Michael Howard states, ‘(T)hese (nuclear related polices and decisions), it was felt, were not questions to be dealt with in profound secrecy by a small group of specialists in the Ministry of Defence. They were not just military but, in the profoundest sense, political. More, they were moral. And more even than that, they were existential.’[24] The need for political control is therefore accentuated.
Defining political ends is only seemingly simple. ‘Winning’ does not matter as much as the conditions of such an outcome. While the ‘object in war is a better state of peace’,[25] the peace that results must suit the post bellum national interest. The corresponding strategy therefore requires taking into account what Michael Howard called the ‘forgotten dimensions of strategy’, namely, the operational, the logistical, the social, and the technological.[26] Of these, the social dimension calls for political interpretation. Michael Howard describes the difficulty of the political function thus,
But the question insistently obtrudes itself: in the terrible eventuality of deterrence failing… how will the peoples concerned react, and how will their reactions affect the will and the capacity of their governments to make decisions? And what form will military operations take?... But it is not only the operational and logistical dimensions that have to be taken into account; so also must the societal.[27]
Since nuclear conflict directly impacts the social dimension in a decidedly greater magnitude than strategic bombing of the World War II variety, this is the more consequential dimension of the four Howard lists. Bernard Brodie also laments that, ‘some of the writings on military technological affairs, took no account of inhibitory political and psychological imponderables…’[28] The existential threat that nuclear weapons use poses to societies makes it so. The national interest in such circumstance becomes one of self-preservation or preservation of the way of life. The consequence for grand strategy is to privilege conflict avoidance. This was discerned early on by Bernard Brodie in the nuclear era.[29] In case a conflict is contemplated or is forced by an adversary, then conflict limitation becomes desirable. In case a conflict goes nuclear, then its early termination becomes central. A nuclear strategy that exposes a society to receiving like punishment is strategically suspect in light of the social dimension of strategy.
It is important therefore to bring politics, or the consideration of the social dimension of strategy, back into the reckoning. Three aspects make this necessary. Firstly, sensitivity to the Cold War experience with its ‘MAD’ (mutual assured destruction), escalation ladders, vertical proliferation, launch on warning, prevailing and countervailing strategies etc[30] implies a greater need for political control. Secondly, while it is widely accepted that the military instrument is to be subservient to the political, in a nuclear setting, the ‘nuclear complex’ that includes a non-military element, needs also to be so subordinated.[31] It is widely accepted that the incommensurability of nuclear means for military purposes decisively negates positions such as that of Helmuth von Molke, that war waging is exclusively a military domain.[32] The Moltkean approach need not necessarily be restricted to the military, but can find reflection in the approach of nuclear strategists influencing strategy in their advisory capacity. Howard described strategic prescriptions that are best avoided, thus: ‘From (their) writings not only the sociopolitical but the operational elements have quite disappearedIn their models, governments are treated as being as absolute in their capacity to take and implement decisions, and the reaction of their societies are taken as little into account.’[33]
Thirdly, political level considerations supersede strategic ones since the government is ‘trustee’ of all interests existing within a political community.[34] It alone is authorised to arrive at a balance. The exercise is seldom neat and therefore politics is usually imagined negatively as ‘politicisation’. Formulation of national interest is instead itself the site of contestation. Strategic writings take national interest as a ‘given’ and that a national consensus prevails in the defence sector. In reality, both are to be arrived at through the medium of politics. The domestic environment interfaces with the external through foreign and security policies. Constitutional constraints, procedures, norms, decentralisation, federal polity, separation of powers and activity of lobbies are ‘checks and balances’.[35] While, ‘(S)trategic prescriptions presume courses of action that are concrete and tangibly directed to a definable purpose…(T)he political milieu in which these prescriptions are applied is not so simple.’[36] Nuclear strategy requires consideration in light of ‘messy’ politics and its mechanisms that together are at the heart of the strategic rationality.
Peter Feaver’s understanding of the agent-principal relationship reinforces the Clausewitzian principle of political primacy. While civil-military relations literature discusses control of the military, the nuclear complex is much wider including as it does strategists, both within and outside the government, technologists, civil servants in the national security system and the military. Civil control of this requires a broader understanding along the lines of civil-military literature that is narrowly confined to the control of the military instrument.[37] Democratic theory establishes the citizen as the ‘ultimate political principal’.[38] It follows that the ultimate sovereign is the populace. Their physical security, protection of social intercourse and continuation of polity are primary considerations. The government also cannot endanger national values it is duty bound to protect.[39] Security policy must deliver on this. These constitute the parameters on strategy, including nuclear strategy.[40]
Consequence for nuclear strategy
Peter Feaver’s signal contribution to civil-military theory is that, ‘In a democracy, civilians (the political head) have the right to be wrong...’[41] However, in the realm of nuclear strategy, the political head cannot afford to get it wrong. Deterrence is consequently the only recourse. In case of deterrence breakdown, the question that confronts the political leadership is: ‘What should the political objective of the war be, and how would nuclear devastation help to attain it?’[42] It is now a commonplace that nuclear wars are ‘un-winnable.’[43] A nuclear exchange makes ‘a mockery of the whole concept of “victory”.’[44] The war-fighting school would dispute this in its argument that ‘prevailing’ provides genuine deterrence.[45] However, winning a conflict is seldom as important as winning the peace; in fact, the former may come in the way of the latter in case of nuclear conflict. Consequently, ‘(i)t should be stressed that the only objective served by the possession of a defensive deterrent capacity is the preservation of the integrity of the homeland. No other objectives can be secured under conditions of nuclear parity.’[46]
Whatever the preexisting aims of the conflict, these are subject to modification in the changed circumstance of a conventional conflict turning a nuclear one. The national interest is of preserving national integrity. Integrity is usually associated with the term territorial, hence the term ‘territorial integrity’. Here the term is employed to cover societal integrity. Large scale nuclear exchanges remove strategy from the realm of rationality since ‘(I)t is self-evident that national objectives in war cannot be consonant with national suicide’.[47] Even if a society ‘survives’, [48] the undesirable political and social consequences could be in emergence of ‘inescapable authoritarianism’,[49] and, worse, the peace of the grave described by Charles De Gaulle as, ‘two sides would have neither powers, nor laws, nor cities, nor cultures, nor cradles, nor tombs.’[50] Even a little chance of this is enough not to chance it.
Expansive nuclear exchanges are equivalent to a war of annihilation,[51] with conflict aims dictating political aims rather than vice versa.[52] Even if rational in deterrence logic, expansive nuclear exchanges or nuclear war-fighting carry little conviction in case of nuclear employment. It has been argued that trading in destruction, ‘which may be all that some mean by “winning”… (is) a kind of desperation at the moment of decision which rules out reason.’[53] It may be useful from retribution point of view, but may not prove useful to control future behavior since, ‘(p)ain does not automatically lead to submission.’[54] Secondly, even from deterrence point of view, ‘one of the first things wrong with the doctrine of massive retaliation, where it has been meant as a response to less than massive aggression, is that the enemy with a nuclear capability of his own cannot believe that we mean it.’[55] A credibility deficit can incentivize nuclear first use. In case of nuclear parity this amounts to a step towards ‘MAD’, but further steps are dependent on the nature of the retaliation.
What then is the answer to nuclear first use? That the answer has proved elusive led to Michael Howard observing ruefully, ‘(I)t is incidentally curious, and totally opposed to all the Clausewitzian canons, that so far-reaching a military decision should escape any political input.’[56] Clausewitz provides an opening to thinking through how to plan to avoid the worst case. He had it that war’s aim is to overcome the enemy by destroying the enemy's armed forces; occupying his country; and breaking his will to continue the struggle.[57] However, this is for war in the abstract. In real war, ‘the aim of disarming the enemy…is in fact not always encountered in reality, and need not be fully achieved as a condition of peace.’[58] This opens up ‘two grounds for making peace:  the first is the improbability of victory; the second is its unacceptable cost.’[59] Conflict termination as early as possible is desirable on both counts.
The answer to the question posed is thus quite simple: ‘The main war goal upon the beginning of a strategic nuclear exchange should surely be to terminate it as quickly as possible and with the least amount of damage possible - on both sides (italics added).’[60] The moral and rational recourse is to end the conflict in light of the political imperative of self-preservation of the society or nation. The objective of nuclear strategy, and of intra-conflict deterrence, would then be ‘conflict termination’.[61] Since nuclear weapons do not readily provision military goals,[62] the costs-gains calculus has to be a political exercise considered in ‘broader’ terms.[63]
That this is admittedly easier said than done leads to advocacy for exhibition of resolve and will on part of the political head and calls for damage limiting strikes to take out the enemy’s retaliatory capability before it is used.[64] This can be refuted by the argument that an enemy with a second strike capability can yet set the society back, even with ‘broken-backed’ retaliation. In effect, an enemy with an assured second strike capability is very likely to inflict unacceptable damage in a counter strike in case of nuclear retaliation of unacceptable levels to lower order nuclear first use. This likelihood can only go up in case there is a seeming disproportion in its first use and the nuclear retaliation it provokes.   
The problems in nuclear conflict termination foreground the value of deterrence. Yet, the possible foregrounding of a nuclear backdrop in conflict needs to be factored in ab initio. Heeding Herman Kahn is in order, in that ‘to some extent we must try to think a war right through to its termination’.[65] Ending a conflict needs to be planned for. There is a deficit in guidance on this.[66] Critically, the nuclear strategy adopted must be facilitative. Additionally, at a minimum, conflict termination in a nuclear setting requires national leaders to survive, communicate and in control, with pragmatists dominating rather than zealots; the military to remain loyal and disciplined; offer of generous conflict termination packages; and there is a convergence on perceptions on outcomes on both sides.[67] Some stipulations include having viable exit strategies; utilising pauses and thresholds for compromise; forging mechanisms pre-conflict for such purposes; keeping communication channels open; holding forces in reserve; making unilateral game changing gestures; modulating the enemy image to keep peoples’ passions in check; and keeping the military, and the nuclear complex, reined in.[68] If Thomas Schelling is to be followed, ‘any preparations for closure would have to be made before the war starts.’[69]
The political level imperative
In popular imagination articulated by former president, Abdul Kalam, India’s national vision is to be a developed state by 2020.[70] The prime minister stated what this entailed from the ramparts of the Red Fort as, ‘(W)e have to banish poverty and illiteracy from our country.  We have to provide the common man with access to improved health services.  We have to provide employment opportunities to each one of our youth.’[71] India, a state of subcontinent size, is in the process of a historical transformation.[72] This facet under-grids its national vision, interest and aims that have been put succinctly by the National Security Adviser (NSA) as, ‘India's primary responsibility is and will remain improving the lives of its own people for the foreseeable future. In other words, India would only be a responsible power if our choices bettered the lot of our people.’[73]
Since national security helps assure this, the linkage between defence and development has been explicated thus: ‘India’s strong military, its maritime capabilities, and its nuclear deterrent are for self-defence and its highest national priority is rapid economic development.’[74] The logic carries over to nuclear weapons, with their purpose articulated as, ‘(W)e do not intend to use these weapons for aggression or for mounting threats against any country; these are weapons of self-defense, to ensure that India is not subjected to nuclear threats or coercion.’[75] Clearly, nuclear employment strategy must be protective of this national endeavour. This protection cannot be conferred only by nuclear deterrence. India’s nuclear strategy would also require being a combination of deterrence and reassurance in conflict.[76]
The constitutional responsibility of the political leadership is given in Article 355 as, ‘(I)t shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance.’[77] Nuclear strategy in its unfolding will have to be such that the duty imposed by Article 355 is not compromised. The duty to safeguard against internal disturbance is also relevant, since nuclear attack on India can have unforeseen, and perhaps unforeseeable, social and political consequence.[78] The government will have to balance the obligations to the people, to itself and to the military, and temporally between the demands of the nuclear situation, of the conflict and post-conflict factors. The political deliberations would inevitably be informed by the political persuasion of those in power – conservative, centrist or radical. It would be conditioned equally by the strategic culture subscribed to by the government in power, which in India has been discerned to vary between Nehruvian, Hyperrealist and Neoliberal.[79] In fact, the proclivities of the political head can also be consequential.[80] The strategic prescription to advent of nuclear conflict can therefore be expected to vary.
That policy makers are currently cognizant of the social dimension of strategy is evident from the NSA stating, ‘Ultimately it is not just the logic of politics or technology but the values and purposes of the state and society that determine the choices that we make of the uses and nature of force.’[81] To him the aspect of minimal deterrence suggests that the nuclear doctrine reflects India’s strategy culture. This implies that ‘India shall also not subscribe to reinvent the doctrines of the Cold War.’[82] Consequently, India’s nuclear weapons are for its security and its subscription to No First Use (NFU) indicates these are not threats against others.[83]
It is here that the discussion of subordination of the nuclear complex[84] to the political and the Trinity becomes relevant. The ‘minimum’ in India’s doctrine of ‘credible, minimum deterrence’ is cognizant of deterring features such as existential deterrence, ‘threat that leaves something to chance’ and uncertainty.[85] However, the political level requires being mindful of any overemphasis on credibility.[86] Strategists, for their part, usually see a credibility deficit taking India’s strategic culture to be defensive, political leadership irresolute and the state, ‘soft’.[87] This goes as far back as possibly the first public treatise on nuclear weapons by an Indian, Som Dutt’s Adelphi paper, in which he states: ‘(F)inally, there is the question of national will, which I have mentioned because, traditionally, the tenor of Indian thinking is pacific, and the ruling elite - who alone will have to make the fateful decisions - will have to close their minds to tradition and steel themselves not to baulk at planning for the use of a monstrous weapon.’[88]
There is also a fear of politicisation of the deterrent. The then prime minister, Vajpayee, took pains to dispel this notion around the Shakti tests, arguing, ‘I was distressed to hear accusations of politicisation… Elections are fought and lost, governments come and go but the nation’s interests should be paramount.’[89] Politicisation, interpreted as being narrowly parochial or responsive to certain constituencies or ideological preferences alone, is fair to decry. But to expect decisions on the nature of the retaliation to be arrived at without use of a political and ideological lens is to substitute a political approach with a technocratic one. Defining the national interest will inevitably be a political act involving, at one level, balancing the past with the future,  and, at another, the several forces subsumed in India that lend it the appearance of a ‘million mutinies’.[90] 
The operation of the ‘Trinity’ will be manifest in pressures arising in the democratic involvement of the citizenry and from professional obligations of the military. Clausewitz maintained that emotions, passions and hatred cannot fail to be involved in conflict as an act of force.[91] Passions will understandably be considerably stirred in case of nuclear provocation. These may result in popular pressures forcing the hand of the political leadership. The military, that may have suffered nuclear strike(s), would be adamant on exemplary punishment. The strategists can be expected to keenly project their earlier positions on punitive retaliation. The decision however is a prerogative of the political leadership. It is at this juncture the principle of subordination of conflict to policy and of the nuclear complex to the political level comes under its severest test.
The nuclear doctrine has it that nuclear retaliation will be ‘massive’ to assure the enemy of ‘unacceptable damage’.[92] That the term ‘massive’ carries significance can be discerned from the former Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee describing India’s intended nuclear reaction to be ‘very heavy’.[93] The long standing concept of ‘unacceptable damage’ itself needs a revisit. [94] After all, Bernard Brodie once sceptically remarked, ‘And what really is “unacceptable damage” – to resort to that much overused and underanalysed conception?’[95]
The term owes to the understanding that assurance of an escalatory response to this level would deter even lower order attacks. K Subrahmanyam was sceptical of nuclear war-fighting.[96] He argued that, ‘(T)hose who still argue that war-fighting with nuclear weapons is feasible, with each side directing its weapons strictly on the adversary’s military targets, appear to envisage an ability to impose such a rule on the adversary… Such an expectation does not appear to be wholly realistic.’[97] Dipankar Banerjee suggests that ‘dismemberment or destruction achieves no particular goal’; therefore, ‘the best course might be to attempt only an unacceptable level of damage.’[98] This makes ‘unacceptable damage’ a half-way-house between spasmic response and nuclear war-fighting. Deterrence is in the punitive response unmistakably escalating the conflict to unacceptable levels, with the ‘threat that leaves something to chance’ in the backdrop. The problem with this in case of higher nuclear weapons numbers that now obtain is that the enemy in response would be able to inflict ‘unacceptable damage’ right back. This may lead to an undesirable spiral.[99] Therefore, there is a case for revisiting the ‘unacceptable damage’ formulation as default option. 
General Sundarji pointed towards this with his understanding that, ‘efforts will continue after nuclear use to terminate hostilities after the lowest possible level of nuclear use.’[100] This has been formally phrased by him as: ‘The desire to terminate the nuclear exchange at the lowest level with a view to negotiating the best peace that is politically acceptable (italics added).[101] That this commands a constituency is obvious with Jasjit Singh writing similarly: ‘In case of deterrence failure, an ability to conclude the war at the earliest opportunity on terms most favourable to our national interests.’[102] How to operationalise this is the challenge.
Nuclear retaliation alternatives

A pertinent question is: How credible is India’s doctrine of ‘unacceptable damage’? It would certainly be credible in case Pakistan first use is in a counter value mode or a decapitation strike. It is also credible in case of counter force strike, attempting to take out a proportion of India’s nuclear capability. In such a case, India would be politically, legally and morally empowered to return the strike, with interest. Given the high credibility of such response, would Pakistan resort to first use of this order? The moot question then is: How credible is such intent of nuclear retaliation against first use not of such levels?[103] This deficit in credibility of unacceptable damage makes for the possibility of lower order strikes and the need to think of suitable answers.[104]

The popular scenario is in the target being an armoured formation operating in enemy territory up to operational depth. Pakistan has attempted to demonstrate a low threshold mode with the intent of deterring a conventional attack by India.[105] The message in its recent unveiling of ‘Nasr’, supposedly a tactical nuclear missile system,[106] is to reinforce this.[107] Such a possibility of provocation is enhanced by the proactive Indian offensive doctrine, colloquially dubbed ‘Cold Start’.[108] Pakistan could cross the nuclear threshold,[109] not so much to degrade these thrusts, but as tacit nuclear communication for conflict termination.[110] India’s resort to inflicting unacceptable damage on it for such transgression may seem as disproportionate and provoke a non-trivial counter retaliation. Pakistan could, for sake of proportionate vengeance, ‘take out’ double the number of targets. In case Pakistan’s capability for this is to be degraded in a disarming strike, then a ‘massive’ punitive strike is called for. Leaving Pakistan the means to strike back would imply opening India to a like strike of unacceptable levels. The expectation is that India would survive, while Pakistan would be finished. The likelihood was acknowledged by General Sundarji in a scenario as, ‘(W)hen the dust settles, the damage to India may be grave, but Pakistan as we know it will cease to exist…’[111] Irrespective of what befalls Pakistan, what does ‘grave damage’ imply for India?

Even if India proves physically and materially resilient, it could be at the cost of the ‘idea of India’.[112] There is no call for the leadership to jeopardise India’s achievements so far and into the future because Pakistani decision makers make a mistake or worse, the first use instance was by accident or inadvertence.[113] Between the two - inflicting and sustaining damage - the costs of the latter have to be privileged over any gains of the former. Consequently, continuing with strategic prudence - a feature of India’s strategic culture - is useful. [114]

This would require political resolve in face of the popular interpretation of ‘resolve’ calling for ‘will’ to follow through on the doctrinal promise of punishment.[115] What starts off as a Limited War cannot be allowed to turn into a potentially Total War, just because the enemy violates the nuclear taboo. The situation is indeed dramatically altered and revision of conflict aims will occur. In this circumstance, deterrence continues to be significant in terms of deterring escalation. However, retaliation options must be examined in light of the primary political level consideration, of preserving India’s socio-economic and power trajectory.

The moot question is how then to incentivise the nuclear adversary. The operational translation of the ‘Sundarji doctrine’ into a conflict termination strategy is in nuclear retaliation of quid pro quo and quid pro quo plus levels.[116] The deterrence value would be of higher credibility, since self-deterrence would be ruled out.[117] The advantage of this for lower levels of nuclear first use is in limiting escalation. This understanding relies on deterrence by denial for lower level nuclear use and persists with deterrence by punishment, as currently obtains, for higher order nuclear use.[118] In effect it is ‘flexible retaliation’. This enhances the potential for discontinuing the nuclear exchange(s) and for conflict termination. Therefore, while ‘unacceptable damage’ is fair enough for deterrence; on its breakdown, a ‘tit-for-tat’ strategy is recommended.

Two problems arise. One is that by lowering the surety of receiving retaliation of unacceptable levels incentivises nuclear first use. Deterrence failure is seemingly more likely. A criticism could be that while the tit-for-tat response cateres for the breakdown better, it does not help deterrence. The argument here is that deterrence based on the threat of unacceptable levels of retaliation is less than credible. It is not catering for deterrence to the levels its votaries make out. Also, assured retaliation is catered for by the tit-for-tat strategy, compensating for any deficit in nuclear deterrence apprehended in the counter argument.[119]

The second is how to prevent a series of tit-for-tat exchanges. Tacit bargaining through nuclear exchanges can be undercut by taking measures alongside to enable termination positively.[120] A joint mechanism comprising high level representation of both sides under respective NSAs needs to be in place. It should be a standing body not subject to the vagaries of interstate relations that is tasked in peacetime with the mandate of the Lahore Memorandum of Understanding.[121] The body could assist with crisis management and conflict escalation control and be suitably equipped, empowered and staffed. It should have a formal operations room with secure communication links, modelled on the lines of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centres (NRRC).[122] The body would be an ‘NRRC Plus’ or an ‘enhanced NRRM’. This would supplement political contacts, diplomatic linkages and confidence building measures, such as hotlines, to reinforce the conflict termination message.


Clausewitz’s stricture that needs foregrounding is: ‘Theory therefore demands that at the outset of a war its character and scope should be determined on the basis of political probabilities.’[123] He further required that the ‘designs of policy shall not be inconsistent with these means.’[124] There is a degree of interactivity between India’s proactive conventional stance and Pakistan’s offensive posture at the sandwiching subconventional and nuclear levels. Given this, incidence of nuclear exchange(s) cannot be discounted in case of conflict. As Jasjit Singh has presciently put it, ‘the decision to enter into an armed conflict…must take into account the fundamental question regarding the contingency use of nuclear weapons…’[125] Therefore, heeding Clausewitz, it is all the more imperative ‘not to take the first step without considering the last.’[126]

The upshot is that India requires thinking through the possibility of deterrence breakdown, since after all, Clausewitz’s bottom line is that, ‘The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that a statesman and commander have to make is to establish by that test the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature.’[127] In the India-Pakistan case it would be complacent to believe a Limited War has no potential to turn nuclear. In such an eventuality, the primary political consideration is to minimise nuclear damage to maximum extent possible. In a case of nuclear parity, this implies incentivising the enemy to be likewise mindful. The way towards this end is to follow a ‘tit for tat’ retaliatory policy as against default escalation to ‘unacceptable levels’. The loophole has been provided by the Draft Nuclear Doctrine that favoured ‘unacceptable damage’ as a ‘peacetime’ posture, implying that the wartime, operational or employment strategy could well be different.[128] In case this recommendation is deemed as a policy ‘inconsistent’ with the ‘means’,[129] then this is reason enough to heed Bernard Brodie to avoid even Limited War.[130] This can best be done by engaging meaningfully with putative adversaries on issues that impel conflict.

* Ali Ahmed is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
[1] HQ ARTRAC, Indian Army Doctrine, Shimla: HQ ARTRAC, 2004, p. 27. Also see JDCC, Joint Doctrine Publication 0-01: British Defence Doctrine, Shrivenham: Ministry of Defence, UK, 2001, p. 1-2. Also see, Indian Maritime Doctrine, New Delhi: IHQ of MoD (Navy), pp. 9-11.
[2] See Barry Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany between the world wars, Cornell University Press, 1984, pp. 13-15.
[3] For NCA set up, see para 3 and 4 of Cabinet Committee on Security (2003), “Press Release of the Cabinet Committee on Security on Operationalisation of India’s Nuclear Doctrine 04.01.03” (Accessed 10 April 2011), : http://www.acronym.org.uk/docs/0301/doc06.htm
[4] An early articulation of the political effects of nuclear weapons possession was given out in an IDSA paper, ‘A Strategy for India for a Credible Posture Against a Nuclear Adversary’ (New Delhi: IDSA, 1968, p. 4), as, ‘The nuclear weapons are essentially for political use…’. The understanding has been given as: ‘Our leaders reasoned that nuclear weapons were not weapons of war, these were weapons of mass destruction’, ‘Paper laid on the table of the House on Evolution Of India’s Nuclear Policy’, 27 May 1998, India News, p. 3. Also see, Manpreet Sethi, Nuclear Doctrine: India’s March Towards Credible Deterrence, p. 205.
[5] Jasjit Singh, ‘A Nuclear Strategy for India’, in his (ed.), Nuclear India, New Delhi: Knowledge World, 1998, p. 309.
[6] Jasjit Singh, ‘Why Nuclear Weapons?’ in his (ed.), Nuclear India, pp. 11-12.
[7] See for instance G Perkovich (1999), India’s Nuclear Bomb: The Impact of Global Proliferation, Berkeley: University of California Press; G Kanwal (2000), Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal; Knowledge World: New Delhi; B Karnad (2002), Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy, New Delhi: MacMillan; M Sethi (2009), Nuclear Strategy: India’s March Towards Credible Deterrence, New Delhi: Knowledge World; and R Basrur (2008), South Asia’s Cold War: Nuclear Weapons and Conflict in Comparative Perspective, London: Routledge.

[8] For a characterisation of India’s doctrine as ‘assured retaliation, see R Rajagopalan (2008a), “India: Logic of Assured Retaliation”, in M Alagappa (ed.), The Long Shadow: Nuclear Weapons and Security in the 21st Century, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Here, ‘assured destruction’ is an expansive interpretation of the term ‘unacceptable damage’ in respect of Pakistan.
[9] The phrase is of Michael Howard in his ‘On Fighting a Nuclear War’, International Security, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Spring, 1981), p. 5. Michael Quinlan has it that a case of mutual deterrence operates between India and Pakistan (‘India-Pakistan deterrence revisited’, Survival, Vol 47 No 3, 2005, p. 108.
[10] PTI, ‘Pakistan has 110 N-weapons, edges ahead of India: US Report’, Times of India, 31 January 2011. Both India and Pakistan reportedly have weapons numbering in the lower three digits each, sufficient to provision each with a second strike capability to assure deterrence based on the threat of unacceptable damage. In case of Pakistan, unacceptable damage could amount to ‘assured destruction’. It is also arguably so in case of India. This does not require referring back to the Cold War calculation of the same given in MacGeorge Bundy, ‘Maintaining Stable Deterrence’, International Security, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Winter, 1978-1979), p. 7.
[11] Nuclear doctrine can be declaratory and operational. These could be different, since the operational doctrine is not generally in the open domain. The operational doctrine guides nuclear weapons employment on breakdown of deterrence. Nuclear strategy is the strategy of employing nuclear weapons in the context of deterrence breakdown. It is cognisant of in-conflict deterrence and in India’s case is taken as restricted to nuclear retaliation, given India’s No First Use commitment. For a definition of doctrine and strategy, see Indian Army Doctrine, pp. 3-4.
[12] The likelihood of a war going nuclear is currently less likely between India and China since both subscribe to NFU, are unlikely to want their respective economic trajectories interrupted by such a conflict, may restrict their conflict to a border skirmish, and have (or are building up) the requisite conventional power to furnish respective limited political aims in such a conflict. 
[13] Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976, pp. 87, 605.
[14] Ibid., p. 606.
[15] Ibid., p. 89.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Ibid., pp. 87-88, 606.
[18] For the distinction Clausewitz draws between Absolute War and Real War, see his On War, Book Eight, Chapter Two, pp. 579-81.
[19] Ibid., p. 605.
[20] John Collins, Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1973, p. 1-5.
[21] Note 10 in Bernard Brodie, ‘Strategy as a Science’, World Politics, Vol. 1, No. 4, July 1949, p. 477.
[22] Bernard Brodie quoted in Alastair Buchan, War in Modern Society: An Introduction, London: CA Watts and Co, 1966, p. 81.
[23] K. Dunn, ‘The missing link in conflict termination thought: Strategy’, p. 177 in Stephen Cimbala and K. Dunn, Conflict Termination and Military Strategy, London: Westview Press, 1987.

[24] Michael Howard, ‘Present at the Creation’, Survival, Vol. 50, No. 1, 2008, pp. 5-8. 

[25] Liddell Hart quoted in John Collins, Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices, p. 3.
[26] Michael Howard, ‘The Forgotten Dimensions of Strategy’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 57, No. 5, 1979, p. 978
[27] Ibid., p. 982.
[28] Bernard Brodie, War and Politics, New York: Macmillan, 1973, p. 380.
[29] Bernard Brodie, The Absolute Weapon, New York: Harcourt, Inc, 1946, p. 76.
[30] For details, see Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, Macmillan Press, London, 1989.
[31] For a reference to unbridled strategic space, see C Raja Mohan, ‘Uncontrollable Weapons’ in K Subrahmanyam (ed.), Nuclear Proliferation and International Security, New Delhi: Lancers, 1985, p. 176.
[32] Helmuth von Moltke, ‘Doctrines of War’, p. 218-219 in Lawrence Freedman (ed.), War, Oxford: OUP, 1994.
[33] Michael Howard, ‘The Forgotten Dimensions of Strategy’, p. 982.
[34] Daniel Moran, ‘The Instrument’, p. 103 in Hew Strachan and A. Herberg-Rothe (eds.), Clausewitz in the Twenty First Century, Oxford: OUP, 2007. Also Clausewitz, On War, p. 606.
[35] Richard K. Betts, ‘Is Strategy an Illusion?’, International Security, Vol. 25, No. 2, Autumn 2000, p. 41.
[36] Charles Reynolds, The Politics of War: A Study of Ratioanlity and Violence in Inter-state Relations, New York: St Martin’s Press, 1989, p. 27.
[37] Hans Born, Bates Gill and H Hanggi (eds.), Governing the Bomb: Civilian Control and Democratic Accountability of Nuclear Weapons, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 6-12. 

[38] Peter Feaver, Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight and Civil-military Relations, London: Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 284.
[39] Michael Howard, ‘The Strategic Approach to International Relations’, British Journal of International Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, April 1976, p. 75.
[40] Jasjit Singh writes that the strategy must take into account ‘core values and national interests’ in ‘Introduction’ in his (ed.), Nuclear India, p. 7.
[41] Peter Feaver, Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight and Civil-military Relations, p. 65.
[42] Michael Howard, ‘On Fighting a Nuclear War’, International Security, Vol. 5, No. 4, Spring 1981, p. 4.
[43] Ibid., p. 3.
[44] Ibid.
[45]  See the exchange between Colin Gray and Michael Howard in ‘Perspectives on Fighting Nuclear War’, International Security, Vol. 6, No. 1, Summer, 1981, pp. 185-187. Also see James King, ‘Nuclear Plenty and Limited War’, Foreign Affairs, Vol 35 No. 2, January 1957, pp. 238-256, on one of the early critiques of the war limitation school. Colin Gray’s position in favour of the war-fighting school is explicated in his ‘Nuclear Strategy: the Case for a Theory of Victory’, International Security, Vol. 4, No. 1, Summer 1979, pp. 54-87.
[46] Charles Reynolds, The Politics of War: A Study of Rationality and Violence in Inter-state Relations, p. 163.
[47] Bernard Brodie, ‘Nuclear Weapons: Strategic or Tactical?’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 32, No. 2, January 1954, p. 227.
[48] Herman Kahn’s thesis of what it would mean to survive is explicated in his chapter ‘Will Survivors Envy the Dead?’ in On Thermonuclear War, Transaction Publishers, 2007, pp. 40-95.
[49] Michael Howard, ‘On Fighting a Nuclear War’, p. 14.
[50] Quoted in Robert Jervis, ‘The Political Effects of Nuclear Weapons: A Comment’, International Security, Vol. 13, No. 2, Autumn 1988, p. 84.
[51] Jasjit Singh opines that the flaws in the doctrine of ‘threatening each other with total annihilation’ are ‘obvious’ (‘A Nuclear Strategy for India’, in his Nuclear India, p. 307).
[52] Hew Strachan, ‘Clausewitz and the Dialectics of War’ in Hew Strachan and A. Herberg-Rothe (eds.), Clausewitz in the Twenty First Century, p. 32.
[53] Bernard Brodie, ‘The Anatomy of Deterrence’, World Politics, Vol. 11, No. 2, January 1959, p. 179.
[54] Richard K Betts, ‘Is Strategy an Illusion?’, p. 47.
[55] Bernard Brodie, ‘The Anatomy of Deterrence’, p. 176.
[56] Bernard Brodie, ‘The Development of Nuclear Strategy’, International Security, Vol. 2, No. 4, Spring 1978, p. 79.
[57] Clausewitz, On War, p. 90.
[58] Ibid., p. 91.
[59] Ibid., p. 91.
[60] Bernard Brodie, ‘The Development of Nuclear Strategy’, p. 79. A strategic nuclear exchange meant the targeting of each other’s homelands by the two superpowers.
[61] Leon Wieseltier, ‘When Deterrence Fails’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 63, No. 4, Spring 1985, p. 836.
[62] Robert McNamara, ‘The Military Role of Nuclear Weapons’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 62, No. 4, Fall 1983, p. 68.
[63] Max G Manwaring, ‘Limited War and Conflict Control’, p. 59 in Stephen Cimbala and K. Dunn, Conflict Termination and Military Strategy, London: Westview Press, 1987.
[64] Damage limitation strikes on an enemy that has over 100 nuclear weapons as does Pakistan, cannot be undertaken with any certainty of having reduced its retaliatory capability. The reduced capability will be instead more clinically employed to inflict unacceptable damage, even if in a ‘dead hand’ mode. Pakistan can reasonably be expected to follow a policy of pre-delegation to both deter and be responsive to such an attack.
[65] Quoted in John Collins, Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices, p. 38.
[66] Leon Wieseltier, ‘When Deterrence Fails’, p. 845.
[67] B Schneider, ‘Terminating Strategic Exchanges’ in Stephen Cimbala and K. Dunn, Conflict Termination and Military Strategy.
[68] G Treverton, ‘Ending Major Coalition Wars’ in Stephen Cimbala and K. Dunn, Conflict Termination and Military Strategy, p. 93.
[69] Tomas Schelling, Arms and Influence, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966, p. 205.
[70] Abdul Kalam with YS Rajan, 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium, New Delhi: Penguin. See also Dr. SP Gupta, Report of the Committee on India: Vision 2020, Planning Commission, Government of India, New Delhi, 2002.
[71] PM's Independence Day Speech, 2011, 15 August 2011; available at http://pmindia.nic.in/.
[72] Rajiv Kumar in his Many Futures of India (New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2011) talks of three transitions going on simultaneously – economic, social and political.
[73] Shivshankar Menon, ‘Our ability to change India in a globalised world’, Prem Bhatia Memorial Lecture, 2011, 11 August 2011, New Delhi. Text available at http://www.claws.in/index.php?action=master&task=930&u_id=36 (Accessed 13 September 2011).
[74] ‘Address by Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister on "India's Strategic Perspective" at Harvard University’, 25 September 2006. http://www.indianembassy.org/prdetail830/address-by-mr.-pranab-mukherjee%2C-defence-minister-on-andquot%3Bindia%27s-strategic-perspectiveandquot%3B-at-harvard-university (Accessed 20 July 2011).
[75] ‘Paper laid on the table of the House on Evolution Of India’s Nuclear Policy’, 27 May 1998, India News, p. 4. http://www.indianembassy.org/inews/mayjune1598.pdf (Accessed 15 August 2011). The deterrent value can be inferred from the statement, ‘(L)et our adversaries know that we have them and that they should not dare attack us Ibid., ‘Prime Minister’s reply to the discussion in Lok Sabha on nuclear tests on May 29, 1998’, India News, p. 9. 
[76] That the two are twinned is explicated in Michael Howard’s, ‘Reassurance and Deterrence: Western Defense in the 1980s’, Foreign Affairs, Vol 61 No 2, Winter 1982/83.
[77] Ministry of Law and Justice, The Constitution of India, p. 222. Text available at http://lawmin.nic.in/coi/coiason29july08.pdf (Accessed 11 September 2011).
[78] Ali Ahmed, Reconciling Doctrines : Peace In South Asia, New Delhi: IDSA Monograph 3, 2010, pp. 65-67.
[79] Kanti Bajpai, ‘Indian Strategic Culture’ in Michael Chambers (ed.), South Asia 2020: Future Strategic Balances and Alliances, Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, 2002, p. 251.
[80] On influence of individuals and ideas, see Rajesh Basrur, South Asia’s Cold War: Nuclear Weapons and Conflict in Comparative Perspective, Routledge, 2006, pp. 92-93.
[81] Speech by NSA Shri Shivshankar Menon at NDC on “The Role of Force in Strategic Affairs”, 21 October 2010, http://www.mea.gov.in/mystart.php?id=530116584
[82] ‘Paper laid on the table of the House on Evolution Of India’s Nuclear Policy’, India News, p. 5.
[83] Ibid., p. 4.
[84] Itty Abraham uses the terms ‘Strategic Enclave’, ‘security complex’ and ‘military-security complex’ to depict the variety of institutions involved. See his ‘India’s “Strategic Enclave”: Civilian Scientists and Military Technologies’, Armed Forces and Society, Vol 18 No 2, Winter 1992, pp. 231-233.
[85] John Collins, Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices, p. 82.
[86] Rajesh Basrur, ‘Enduring Contradictions Deterrence Theory and Draft Nuclear Doctrine’, Economic and Political Review, Vol. 35, No. 8/9, 26 February 2000, pp. 611-12. Also see his, Minimum Deterrence and India's Nuclear Security, Singapore: NUS Press, 2009, p. 172.
[87] Jacques Hymans, ‘India Between “Soft State” and “Soft Power”’, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, 2010, http://casi.ssc.upenn.edu/iit/hymans (Accessed 13 June 2011).
[88] Maj Gen D Som Dutt (1966), India and the Bomb, The Adelphi Papers, London: IISS, 6 (30), p. 5.
[89]Prime Minister’s reply to the discussion in Lok Sabha on nuclear tests on May 29, 1998’, India News, p. 10.
[90] A phrase in VS Naipaul’s book, India: A Million Mutinies Now (New Delhi: Vintage edition, 1998).
[91] Clausewitz, On War, p. 76.
[92] Para 2 (iii) reads: ‘Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.’. See “Press Release of the Cabinet Committee on Security on Operationalisation of India’s Nuclear Doctrine 04.01.03”, http://www.acronym.org.uk/docs/0301/doc06.htm (Accessed 10 April 2011). The Draft Nuclear Doctrine was drafted by the first National Security Advisory Board that had several nuclear experts on it. It did not use the term ‘massive’, while ‘unacceptable damage’ did find mention. See text of ‘Draft Report of National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine’ at http://www.armscontrol.org/act/1999_07-08/ffja99.
[93] Rajat Pandit, ‘Response to strike from Pak will be very heavy: IAF chief’, Times of India, 26 July 2011.
[94] One assessment has it that it may take destruction of six to ten cities (Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘India’s National Security Strategy in a Nuclear Environment’, Strategic Analysis, XXIV (9), December 2000, p. 1062). Manpreet Sethi thinks destroying five to six cities would be ‘unacceptable damage’ for planning purposes (Nuclear Strategy: India’s March Towards Credible Deterrent, pp. 251-52).
[95] Bernard Brodie, War and Politics, p. 379.
[96] K Subrahmanyam, ‘A Chaotic doctrine’ and ‘The Real Proliferation’ in his edited book, Nuclear Proliferation and International Security, pp. 31, 45, 51, 60.
[97] K Subrahmanyam (ed.), India and the Nuclear Challenge, New Delhi: Lancers, 1986, p. 287.
[98] D Banerjee, “Impact on Deterrence and Warfighting Capability”, USI National Security Seminar Papers, New Delhi: USI, 1996, p. 47.
[99] C Raja Mohan titled his contribution as ‘Uncontrollable Weapons’ in K Subrahmanyam (ed.), Nuclear Proliferation and International Security.
[100] K Sundarji, Vision 2010: A Strategy for the Twenty First Century, New Delhi: Konark Publication, 2003, p. 148.
[101] Ibid., p. 146.
[102] Jasjit Singh, ‘A Nuclear Strategy for India’ in his (ed.), Nuclear India, p. 313.
[103] A counter view has it that there is little reason for Pakistan to break the nuclear taboo with lower order nuclear first use since the gains would be little, the costs high and the risks exorbitant. This implies that Pakistan is suitably deterred at all levels. Nevertheless, there is a case for thinking through the contingency of nuclear use in order to arrive at suitable retaliation options, as is the exercise here.
[104] Ali Ahmed, ‘Pakistani Nuclear Use and Implications for India’, Strategic Analysis, 34 (4), pp. 531-544.
[105] Indian analysts view this with scepticism, believing instead that only a conventional threat to national survival will trigger nuclear first use (Jasjit Singh, ‘A Nuclear Strategy for India’ in his (ed.), Nuclear India, p. 319.
[106] Indian analysts such as Jasjit Singh do not recognise a distinction between strategic and tactical in the South Asian setting (Jasjit Singh, ‘A Nuclear Strategy for India’ in his (ed.), Nuclear India, p. 317). Among other reasons, this helps justify its retaliatory doctrine of unacceptable damage by a higher order nuclear response.
[107] ISPR Press release of 19 April 2011 at http://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=1721 (Accessed 12 September 2011).
[108] W Ladwig (2008), “A Cold Start for Hot Wars? The Indian Army’s new Limited War Doctrine”, International Security, 32 (3): 158-190.
[109] Jasjit Singh notes an ‘inter-active relationship’ between conventional and nuclear doctrine and strategy (‘A Nuclear Strategy for India’ in his Nuclear India, p. 311).
[110] Jasjit Singh writes that nuclear weapons offered an ‘attractive option to terminate a costly war’ (‘Eroding Thresholds’, in K Subrahmanyam (ed.), Nuclear Proliferation and International Security, p. 107).
[111] K Sundarji (2003), Vision 2010: A Strategy for the Twenty First Century, New Delhi:
Konark Publication, p. 191.
[112] A phrase in the title of Sunil Khilnani’s book, The Idea of India (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999). The ability of the USSR to recover after 20 million casualties is indication of the resilience in societies. Likewise, the German and Japanese recovery under a democratic framework is also similarly indicative. However, it needs remembering that India is a subcontinent sized state with subnationalities cohabiting in sometimes uneasy competition.
[113] See for problems that attend nuclear command and control systems, C Raja Mohan, ‘Uncontrollable Weapons’ in K Subrahmanyam (ed.), Nuclear Proliferation and International Security, p. 163.
[114] Ali Ahmed, ‘The Political Factor in Nuclear Retaliation’, Strategic Analysis, 34 (1), pp. 5-8.
[115] Manpreet Sethi, ‘New Toy in Pakistan’s Nuclear Shop’, Geopolitics, p. 11.
[116] For full explication of the ‘Sundarji doctrine’, see K Sundarji (1992a), “India’s Nuclear Options 1992”, Focus, Trishul, V (1), n.d. and K. Sundarji  (1992b), “Nuclear Deterrence Doctrine for India”, Part 1 and 2, Trishul, V (1): n.d. and V (2): 42-60. 
[117] It is in keeping with the finding of Robert Axelrod’s experiment in game theory in which he had invited entries to a competition on the best strategy for the ‘prisoners dilemma’. The competition was won by the computer program designed by Anatol Rapoport that had a ‘tit for tat’ strategy in which the aggressor’s attacks were matched in retaliation. The strategy has cooperation as the first step and then imitation in subsequent steps. See James Schellenberg, Conflict Resolution: Theory, Research and Practice, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996, p. 35, on the Rapoport solution.
[118] For a discussion on the types of nuclear deterrence, see Rajesh Rajagopalan, ‘Nuclear strategy and small nuclear forces: The conceptual components’, Strategic Analysis, Vol 23 No 7, 1999, pp. 1119-1121.
[119] The author is grateful for an anonymous referee’s drawing of his attention to this trade-off.
[120] Ali Ahmed, Reconciling Doctrines : Peace In South Asia, pp. 81-82.
[121] Sub-paragraph one reads: ‘The two sides shall engage in bilateral consultations on security concepts, and nuclear doctrines, with a view to developing measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at avoidance of conflict.’[121] Sub-paragraph six reads: ‘The two sides shall periodically review the implementation of existing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and where necessary, set up appropriate consultative mechanisms to monitor and ensure effective implementation of these CBMs.’ See ‘Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Mr. K. Raghunath, and the Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Mr. Shamshad Ahmad, in Lahore on February 21, 1999’, http://www.usip.org/files/file/resources/collections/peace_agreements/ip_lahore19990221.pdf (Accessed 31 May 2011).
[122] An officer of Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division, Rafi uz Zaman Khan, has suggested this in his papers, ‘Nuclear Risk Reduction Center’ at the Stimson Center, (www.stimson.org/southasia/pdf/rafikhan.pdf); and and Occasional Paper 49, December 2002 (www.stimson.org/southasia/pdf/nrrcsouthasia.pdf) (Accessed 20 June 2011).  
[123] Clausewitz, On War, p. 584.
[124] Ibid., p. 87. Also see A Echevarria, ‘Clausewitz and the Cold War’, Armed Forces and Society, Vol 34 No 1, October 2007, p. 95.
[125] Jasjit Singh, ‘Eroding Thresholds’, in K Subrahmanyam (ed.), Nuclear Proliferation and International Security, p. 107.
[126] Ibid.
[127] Clausewitz, On War, p. 88.
[128] See text of ‘Draft Report of National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine’ at http://www.armscontrol.org/act/1999_07-08/ffja99.
[129] Clausewitz (On War, p. 87) had desired that, ‘War in general, and the commander in any specific instance, is entitled to require that the trend and designs of policy shall not be inconsistent with these means.’
[130] Bernard Brodie, War and Politics, pp. 377-378.