Extensive study on India’s nuclear forces that recently published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reads that the main concentration of India’s nuclear strategy has shifted from Pakistan to China.
The authors, Hans M. Kristensen and Matt Korda have said, “India’s nuclear strategy, which has traditionally focused on Pakistan, now appears to place increased emphasis on China and Beijing is now in the range of Indian missiles”. While, Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC, Korda is a research associate for the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. The authors point out that India’s nuclear modernization indicates that it is putting increased emphasis on its future strategic relationship with China. The analysis reveals that India’s China focused approach is likely to contribute to development and deployment of new capabilities over the next 10 years and is also likely to impact India’s approach towards Pakistan.
As per the report, the country’s nuclear triad was believed to be officially accomplished following the announcement of completion of the first deterrence patrol of indigenous nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant, by Indian PM, Narendra Modi couple of years ago. The authors highlighted, “At least three more systems are in development, of which several are nearing completion and will soon be combat-ready, Beijing is now in range of Indian ballistic missiles”. On the air front, India will to add the Rafale, which is used for the nuclear mission in the French Air Force, in addition to the Mirage 2000H and Jaguar IS aircraft. The Indian Air Force is likely to phase out its Jaguar fleet over the next 15 years. Researchers also stressed that the extra range would allow the Indian military to establish Agni-V bases in central and southern India, further away from the Chinese border.