Deterring war or courting disaster: an analysis of nuclear weapons in the Indian Ocean
Wueger, Diana Beth
Kapur, S. Paul
Twomey, Christopher P.
MetadataShow full item record
One of the core assumptions of nuclear strategy is that submarine-based deterrent assets stabilize deterrent relationships by providing an assured second-strike capability. As India progresses toward an operational sea-based deterrent, this thesis seeks to qualify this foundational assumption by exploring the empirical conditions under which this principle operated during the Cold War. It then examines whether these conditions—and by extension the standard logic regarding sea-based deterrence—apply in South Asia. Using the India-China and India-Pakistan dyads as discrete cases, this thesis analyzes the potential effects of India’s introduction of a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) on each dyad. While an operational sea-based deterrent should hypothetically provide India with a greater sense of existential security vis-à-vis China, there is little evidence to suggest that India will cease to pursue additional nuclear or conventional capabilities. India’s SSBN thus fails to resolve perceived security threats from China, even as it exacerbates arms racing tendencies in Pakistan. Furthermore, it is likely to generate conventional maritime arms races in both dyads that could prove destabilizing in a crisis. This thesis finds that assumptions based on Cold War-era analyses do not accommodate the geographic, bureaucratic, operational, or strategic realities of South Asia. Thus, this thesis concludes that traditional assumptions about SSBNs fail to acknowledge the conditionality of their strategic value while overlooking the potential dangers posed by the introduction of these systems.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Kumar, Rakesh (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2006-09);The aim of the thesis is to analyze India's nuclear weapons command and control system as it has evolved since the nation's 1998 nuclear weapons tests. The small size of India's nuclear weapons arsenal does not imply that ...
Twomey, Christopher P.; Shelor, Kali (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2007); NPS-NS-07-002The U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue brought together Chinese and U.S. strategic experts in their personal capacities to discuss to the role of nuclear weapons in Sino-American relations with the aim of minimizing mutual ...
Orcutt, Daniel J. (Monterey California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2004-06);North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons has shaken the foundations of U.S. policy in Northeast Asia. Because of North Korea's record of state-sponsored terrorism, illicit activities, human rights violations, arms sales, ...