Share | Contact Us | NPEC Email Alerts |
Americas Asia, Pacific Rim Europe Greater Middle East & Africa Russia South Asia




Related Regions
Asia, Pacific Rim
  
 

Follow @NuclearPolicy to be the first in on NPEC's latest research

 
More of NPEC’s Work
A chronological listing by resource:

Articles | Working Papers & Monographs | Interviews | Official Docs & Letters | Op-Eds & Blogs | Press Releases | Presentations | Audio & Video | Testimony & Transcripts
 
HOME > REGIONS > South Asia      
Thomas W. Graham: Nuclear Weapons Stability or Anarchy in the 21st Century: China, India, and Pakistan

Graham's paper examines the nuclear weapons competition between China, India and Pakistan and how it may impact the strategic planning of other major countries, including the U.S. and Russia.

Jun 09, 2011
AUTHOR: Thomas W. Graham
Nuclear Weapons Stability or Anarchy in the 21st Century_ China, India.... (PDF) 405.08 KB

Nuclear Weapons Stability or Anarchy in the 21st Century: China, India, and Pakistan

Introduction

During the 20th century, the dominant nuclear weapons competition was between the Soviet Union and the United States. The U.K., France and Israel were loosely allied with the U.S., and China was allied with Russia until the Sino-Soviet split. However these four nuclear countries played a relatively minor role in the primary 20th century nuclear competition and in the development of global nuclear strategy.[1] Terminology describing nation-state nuclear weapons status and the elaborate nuclear doctrines built by the superpowers had a dominant bipolar perspective.[2] Both super powers engaged in massive over-kill producing tens of thousands of nuclear weapons with yields from tons to Megatons.[3] Both super powers designed, built, deployed, and exercised nuclear forces to conduct a first strike. However they described their nuclear doctrines in terms of second strikes planned to be launched only after they were attacked out of the blue by their mortal Cold War enemy.[4] Both super powers spent trillions of dollars on their nuclear infrastructure, weapons, and delivery systems.[5] The Soviet Union was driven to ruin by its inability to keep up with U.S. high technology precision strike capabilities and its massive over investment in nuclear weapons. Such expenditures provided relatively few positive economic or technical spin offs. This 20th century nuclear narrative is not likely to be repeated in the 21st century. However, its lessons are not now being learned by an increasing number of 21st century nuclear actors.

Only at the end of the Cold War did one American President mention the impossibility of achieving a military victory in fighting a nuclear war.[6] Memoirs or editorials written by American atomic scientists or former U.S. decision makers that attempt to put the actual utility of nuclear weapons into context have been largely ignored.[7] Dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear forces took place only after the end of the Cold War, the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., and relegation of Russia to second or third power status.

Twenty-first century nuclear postures in these two former super powers are driven by partisan and bureaucratic politics, NATO alliance relations, and fear --on the part of Russia -- that it can not defend itself without the threat to use nuclear weapons early in a conflict.[8] However, what is missing is a realistic political rational for the use of nuclear weapons to protect either country’s vital national interests.[9]

Both the U.K. and France have reduced their nuclear forces to the point where the logical next step is to go to zero, a move inconceivable as long as their world status continues to be associated with 20th century nuclear norms.[10] Most countries are content to ignore Israel’s un-safeguarded nuclear program whose original strategic rational died with the end of the Cold War.[11] North Korea, an exceedingly poor but tough nation with a tiny nuclear force, appears on the surface to be immune from either pressure or the promise of cooperation with the global community.[12]

The next two decades of the 21st century will look very different than the 20th century with respect to nuclear weapons if today’s business as usual paradigm continues. Current conventional wisdoms suggest change in nuclear status and politics will be incremental. This may turn out to be tragically wrong if global nuclear dogma is influenced strongly by the unstable triangular nuclear weapons competition among China, India, and Pakistan.[13] Three indicators are worth watching to foreshadow whether the world will move toward nuclear stability or anarchy in South West Asia. First, will countries stabilize their operationally deployed nuclear forces at the approximate level of 150-200, 300-500 or larger? Second, will these three countries adopt compatible and increasingly stable nuclear postures or will they continue to cling to three divergent nuclear postures? Third, will future military crises be resolved with or without use or threatened use of nuclear weapons? By and large, the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France, Israel, Iran, and the D.P.R.K. will be bystanders in this South West Asian nuclear drama. As a result, to help us assess forthcoming global nuclear stability, it is imperative to take a fresh look at the dynamics of contemporary nuclear force structures and modernization in South West Asia.

To more accurately describe 21st century nuclear proliferation, this essay introduces a ten-stage categorization of nuclear weapons status. This conceptual framework combines elements from both vertical and horizontal dimensions of nuclear proliferation popularized in the 1960s.

Subsequent sections of this paper will describe the emergence of five incompatible nuclear dogmas that seem to be driving approximately twenty nuclear relevant countries in the 21st century. This essay then describes the evolution of nuclear doctrines in China, India and Pakistan. The next section will assess heuristic drivers of Chinese, Indian and Pakistani nuclear proliferation and force modernization. These factors will influence whether these South West Asian countries move toward excessive expansion of their nuclear forces or the politically risky path toward greater stability in both numbers and doctrine. The final analytical section will discuss the quantitative growth potential of nuclear forces in South West Asia over the next two decades. This essay ends with a challenge to current conventional wisdoms with respect to South West Asia’s role to foster or undermine global nuclear stability.

Vocabulary for 21st Century Nuclear Proliferation

In this century, the old vocabulary used to describe nuclear weapons status is inadequate to describe the evolution and complexity of the nuclear environment. The old terms were relevant for the 20th century. The terms Nuclear Weapons States (NWS), de-facto nuclear weapons states, threshold nuclear weapons states, and non-nuclear weapons states are not adequate to describe meaningful differences in countries’ nuclear status today. To solve this problem, a ten-stage categorization of nuclear weapons status has been developed. It draws on seventy years of nuclear history, see Appendix One. Stage One (Watch List Nations) and Stage Two (Threshold Nations) describe nation-states that are beginning to walk down a path that could lead to three different end-points: nuclear weapons, latent nuclear weapons capability, or robust use of nuclear power. Many states in these first two categories may be hedging against growing nuclear infrastructure being developed by their neighbors.[14] Crossing the nuclear weapons threshold occurs between Stage Two and Stage Three (Tiny Nuclear Fores). At the other end of this categorization, Stage Ten (Superpower Nuclear Forces) describes the U.S. and U.S.S.R. with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and sophisticated associated capabilities. These two countries largely defined the vocabulary of nuclear weapons status. However, no country in the 21st century is likely to repeat the process that led to the creation of similar gargantuan nuclear forces. Over the next two decades, it is conceivable both the U.S. and Russia will reduce their nuclear forces to the level of ~1,000 operationally deployed nuclear weapons.[15] If they do so, this would move them down to Stage Nine (Massive Nuclear Forces).

During the Cold War, British, French, and Chinese nuclear forces had characteristics associated with Stage Eight (Mature Nuclear Forces). Over the last decade, British nuclear forces have dropped to Stage Seven (Large Nuclear Forces.)

Nations that have developed first generation nuclear weapons vary from Stage Three (Tiny Nuclear Forces) to Stage Six (Medium Nuclear Forces). Virtually all of the open source or academic literature on nuclear proliferation lumps countries that have passed the nuclear weapons threshold into one category, de facto nuclear weapons states. This paper argues the degree of nuclear weapons production, development and deployment of delivery systems, and creation of nuclear doctrine and postures cannot be described in a single category. This ten-stage categorization is capable of being used to describe more precisely where countries stand and how each might change in the future.

For the countries in South West Asia--China, India, and Pakistan--the key question is whether each country will chose as its end point nuclear forces and postures associated with Large, Mature, or Massive Nuclear Forces. It is the thesis of this essay that all three stages are credible under realistic assumptions for China, India and Pakistan. The implications for the world will be profound depending on which end point each country chooses or is forced to choose.

As countries in the Middle East develop nuclear research and development programs as a hedge against Iran’s move toward nuclear weapons, characterizing their nuclear activities will place them into either Stage One or Stage Two. If history is any guide, by the time a country crosses from Stage 2A to Stage 2B, it becomes virtually impossible for external powers to turn it around, see Appendix Two. If a nuclear proliferation cascade takes place in the Middle East or East Asia, it will reinforce, not create, more pressing negative trends that are already evident in South West Asia.[16] If hedging in the Middle East & East Asia and modernization in South West Asia take place, the prediction that twenty states obtain or maintain nuclear weapons that President Kennedy feared in 1960 may become real in the 21st century.[17] If this occurs, it will be a truly historic and bipartisan accomplishment over the next two decades.[18]

Nuclear Doctrines and Functions of Nuclear Weapons in the 20th Century

During the Cold War, nuclear dogma of the five declared Nuclear Weapons States can be placed along a continuum, see Figure 1 in the PDF.

Countries on the right, such as the U.S.S.R/Russia and the U.S., built excessive nuclear forces for nuclear war fighting. China, the country on the extreme left, built a small number of relatively crude operationally deployed nuclear weapons devoted to deterring an attack on their country.[19] Countries in the middle had capabilities associated with both nuclear war fighting and deterrence, but their small nuclear forces were relatively marginal to the 20th century nuclear balance of power.

In retrospect, Cold War history demonstrated that nuclear weapons served many different functions in addition to deterring the use of nuclear weapons, see Figure 2 in the PDF.

During the Cold War, nuclear weapons were utilized not only to deter the use of nuclear weapons, but for several other purposes as well. In terms of military policy, they were used to deter the use of other Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and to deter an opponent with superior conventional forces. The classic NATO-Warsaw Pact stand-off was characterized by the U.S. and NATO attempting to deter over-whelming conventional forces from the U.S.S.R. and Warsaw Pact with nuclear weapons in the context of extended deterrence. No such Soviet attack on Western Europe took place so advocates of nuclear weapons argue nuclear deterrence worked. However despite massive spending, force preparations, exercises and war gaming, it is not clear from the historical record whether these specific NATO nuclear forces deterred a Soviet attack or whether Soviet decision-makers never anticipated authorizing a first strike despite their considerable preparations to do so.

Less described in the academic literature is the fact that nuclear weapons were used to achieve other diplomatic and political objectives only indirectly related to military operations.[20]

Emerging 21st Century Nuclear Dogma

During our contemporary era, approximately twenty countries have nuclear programs that can be described from Stage 1 to Stage 10. [21] They seem to fall into five, not mutually exclusive, groups. The first group consists of the “declining nuclear powers.” The U.S., U.K. and France are reducing their nuclear forces and are de-emphasizing their role in military strategy. However, even in these declining nuclear countries, the function of nuclear weapons remain broad. Nuclear weapons continue to play an important role in domestic and bureaucratic politics. For example, the recently completed U.S. Nuclear Posture Review saw a limited reduction in nuclear force size and a small narrowing of nuclear weapons use doctrine.[22] In the U.S., even this incremental change triggered dramatic increases in spending on offensive nuclear weapons and infrastructure and intense partisan political struggle over future nuclear arms control treaties.[23] Ironically one distinguished participant in decades of nuclear politics, Brent Scowcroft, has argued the intense partisan politics associated with nuclear weapons is more extreme today than it was during the Cold War.[24] This suggests that in political terms, movement toward zero nuclear weapons is dead in the United States. In the U.K. controversy continues over the size of Britain’s remaining sea-based leg of its nuclear force, the Trident.[25]

The second group consists of “maximalist” countries. Four such nations--Russia, Pakistan, the D.P.R.K., and Iran—seem to be embracing the broadest possible function for nuclear weapons. At least two of them have adopted doctrines that emphasize nuclear war fighting. Russia and Pakistan are treating nuclear weapons as the single essential military capability to allow them to defend their territory against superior conventional forces of NATO and India respectively. The D.P.R.K. and Iran have incorporated nuclear weapons into hyper nationalism associated with protection of their country’s national security and sovereignty. Both countries assume hostile neighbors and foreign powers intent on fomenting regime change.[26] Both countries paint a picture of being threatened by the United States in ways that seem laughable to anyone who is living in an increasingly divided, inward looking, and budget-cutting America of 2011.

Countries in a third group include China, Israel, and India. These three countries seem to be engaged in limited nuclear weapons modernization. They seem to be waiting to see which way the world nuclear order will move before deciding on the final end point for their nuclear forces and postures.

A fourth group consists of countries that seem to be using nuclear weapons to strengthen their legitimacy, resist internal reforms, and guarantee regime survival. If one looks at the countries associated with Stage One, Stage Two or Stage Three, more than a few appear to be thinking about nuclear weapons as the new “weapons of the weak.”[27] Burma, Iran, North Korea, and Syria, to name a few, are fragile countries with-out much stake in the existing world order. These countries are rejecting interaction with the rest of the world and perceive that nuclear weapons will allow their regimes to continue on their present course. These nations are placing a bet that nuclear weapons will provide them with total security, internal as well as external. Thus they are under-investing in other tools to maintain their sovereignty and secure their prosperity. If this model gains traction, one of the most important functions of nuclear weapons in the 21st century may become to secure regime survival among totalitarian governments, see Figure 3 in the PDF.

Countries in a fifth category seem to be hedging against the prospect that Iran and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program continue to gain strength and trigger a proliferation cascade primarily in the Middle East and North East Asia.

Nuclear Dogma in Southern Asia

Equally important as the steady, quantitative grown of nuclear forces that has taken place in South West Asia is the existence of three mutually incompatible nuclear doctrines in the region.[28] For over five decades China has maintained a nuclear posture that has been built around a relatively small operationally deployed force and no-first-use. China deterred both the Soviet Union and the U.S. with medium-sized nuclear forces in the Cold War. During the 1970s through at least 2010, China has maintained a robust nuclear research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) system, but it has deployed relatively few nuclear weapons.[29] While academic debates in China can be identified advocating larger and more offensively oriented nuclear forces and doctrine, such debates seem to be theoretical at present.[30]

In contrast, Pakistan has an openly first-strike oriented nuclear force. Its nuclear weapons must be dispersed very early during a military crisis with India.[31] It is during movement that its nuclear weapons may be most vulnerable to theft from terrorists.[32] Authoritative Pakistani statements of its nuclear doctrine emphasize that India could cross one of Pakistan’s “red lines” relatively early during a conventional conflict.[33] Pakistan is thus playing a big game of chicken with itself, India, the whole world. Pakistan’s refusal or inability to terminate its use of Islamic terrorists to further its goals in Kashmir and Afghanistan and its decreasing ability to control terrorist groups it created suggest that another terrorist attack against India could take place at any time. Such an attack could take place with or without explicit Pakistani government approval. Given India’s Cold Start conventional military doctrine and modernization, the world could face another nuclear crisis in South Asia at any time. Such a crisis could be started by a terrorist group that has limited means and capabilities and no proclivity to foster stability among nuclear-armed states.

This picture illustrates we are already very far from the logic of 20th century nuclear deterrence even if a proliferation cascade does not take place in the Middle East or East Asia.

It is within this context that the 2009 Indian debate generated by former defense scientist Dr. K. Santhanam is fascinating.[34] During this debate, a vast amount of information about India’s nuclear weapons program was presented to the Indian public. Many former heads of India’s Department of Atomic Energy argued India must resume nuclear weapons testing and both develop and deploy thermonuclear weapons. In this same time frame, India announced plans to develop the Agni 5 ballistic missile which is reported to be designed to have inter-continental range to hit all targets in China.[35] India is also engaged in research on ballistic missile defense that is already being used by Pakistani strategists to justify production of more nuclear weapons. From this perspective, Indian nuclear and missile technical elites have set the stage for a nuclear arms race with both China and Pakistan that could last decades into the future.

On the other hand, some Indian strategists who often reflect thinking within South Block, such as the late K. Subrahmanyam and Dr. V. S. Arunachalam—who brought Santhanam into the nuclear weapons business and was his immediate superior—argue India can use fission weapons and accurate delivery systems to achieve the same deterrent effect that thermonuclear weapons and inaccurate ICBMs achieved in the 20th century.[36] It is know that current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a relative dove toward both Pakistan and China. When he was Finance Minister he was skeptical of the ability of the Department of Atomic Energy to achieve results.[37] The Prime Minister’s entire career has been dedicated to give India the opportunity to compete on the global stage in terms of economics and technology. Thus, a dramatic expansion of India’s nuclear weapons force under his watch would conflict with his life long goal to make India a major world power by using its proven comparative advantages such as skilled manpower, the rule of law, a vibrant civil society, and relatively productive interaction with the global community.

These two schools of thought have existed in India for many years. Today India seems to be unsure where it is headed. Some in India advocate renewed nuclear testing and thermonuclear weapons on ICBMs to approach capabilities associated with China. Others argue that nuclear deterrence can be achieved at lower levels in part because Chinese nuclear forces are relatively small.[38]

If one puts the evolution of nuclear doctrines in China, India, and Pakistan into a global context, the key driver is Pakistan. All unclassified indications suggest Pakistan is expanding its nuclear weapons program with no end in sight.[39] Whether Pakistan is ahead of India or not in terms of nuclear weapons capabilities is a debatable point. However, if high estimates of Pakistan’s nuclear force and low estimates of Chinese nuclear force are compared, it is logical to conclude Pakistan may surpass China in quantitative terms over the next decade if not before.

Pakistani writings emphasize the need for nuclear weapons to balance India’s superior conventional forces. While this logic was compelling for the U.S. in a Cold War, it is a hollow concept in terms of justifying how many nuclear weapons Pakistan needs to build and deploy to deter only one country, India. Does Pakistan require 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, or 400 nuclear weapons? If Pakistan feels it must target India’s entire military, industrial and research complex, hold India’s major cities at risk, and be prepared to fight using nuclear weapons on the battlefield, it will require at least 300-500 nuclear weapons. This would require a huge expenditure of funds with even larger opportunity costs. If Pakistan follows this path, will it essentially give up maintaining a credible conventional military force and put all of its eggs into a nuclear basket? Will the drain on Pakistan’s military to fight Islamic terrorists and make up for inadequate civilian government capacity make it more dependent on nuclear weapons? Will Pakistan continue its own Cold War ideology toward India?[40] Will Pakistani military decision making continue to exhibit deeply flawed logic that led it to start and lose four conflicts with India?[41] If Pakistan follows this path, the lesson of the former Soviet Union should loom large.

There is no debate China is building up its conventional military capabilities across the board.[42] China is modernizing its nuclear force, but it is also retiring old nuclear delivery systems. Some descriptions of the growth in Chinese missile systems describe medium range systems that may be armed with both nuclear and conventional warheads.[43] Thus it is not clear whether the net increase in Chinese operationally deployed nuclear weapons is significant in quantitative terms.[44] It is clear China is replacing vulnerable liquid-fueled systems with mobile and solid-fueled systems. Thus China’s nuclear force of the future will be more stable, not less. However, China’s large (1,000 plus) ballistic missile and cruise missile force armed with conventional weapons give it a massive break-out potential in terms nuclear capable delivery systems.[45] As a result, Chinese perceptions of the legitimate role for nuclear weapons and Chinese perceptions on how the United States targets China are extremely important. This goes back to the emerging consensus of the legitimate role for nuclear weapons in the 21st century. Will it be narrowed in the 21st century to the inner most circle shown in Figure 2 or will it be expanded to the outer-most circle in Figure 3?

Beginning in 1970 China has embarked on the largest expansion of nuclear power in the world.[46] In 2010, China has 13 operating nuclear power plants, 62 nuclear power plants under construction or firmly planned, and an additional 76 units proposed. It plans to have 80 Giga-watts electric (GWe) by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050. A close reading of construction schedules reveals China is proceding from first pouring concrete to hooking up a reactor to the grid in approximately 5 years. China has imported nuclear reactor technology and equipment from Canada (AECL), France (Framatome/Areva), the US/Japan (Westinghouse/Toshiba), and Russia (Atomstroyexport). It is starting to manufacture major components of its nuclear power reactors. China also has ambitious plans for 18 High Temperature Gas-Cooled (HTGR) reactors and breeder reactors. [47]

The magnitude of this expansion has several implications for nuclear proliferation on a global basis. First it will create financial pressure on the IAEA to safeguard all these nuclear power plants. Second, in terms of the world export market, once China firmly establishes which reactor will become its dominant 3rd Generation model and proves its indigenous construction capabilities, it will become a major potential exporter of nuclear reactors. At that stage China will have one simple sales pitch: “We have built more modern nuclear reactors than any other country in the world over the last decade.” Western companies that have sold China their nuclear power reactor technology may have sealed their own fate. Third, China has ambitious plans to utilize recycled Reactor Grade Plutonium (RGPu).[48] Associated reprocessing and fuel fabrication facilities will stress the state of the art for safeguarding bulk handling facilities. The combination of a large future stockpile of RGPu and significant error margins in outside knowledge of China’s past production of Weapons Grade Plutonium (WGPu) and Highly Enriched Uranium suggests China may have a huge potent break-out capability up to 800 nuclear weapons.[49] While this scenario is just a scenario, these theoretical projections indicate just how important China will be to the global nuclear balance of power in the 21st century.

For the present, the technical, management, capital, materials, and diplomatic requirements for this peaceful nuclear program and the lack of an acute national security threat suggest a major expansion in China’s nuclear weapons force is not likely in the immediate future. China faced more acute nuclear threats during the Cold War and reacted by deploying a relatively small nuclear force. However, most unclassified publications continue to describe the growth in China’s military and its lack of transparency. Most assessments assume the nuclear force will be on the rise in a big way. The view that China may be a smaller nuclear threat than advertised is clearly a minority perspective in the U.S. strategic community.

What Drives Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani Nuclear Force Development?

For purposes of this essay, it is assumed China has 150 operationally deployed nuclear weapons +/- 50.[50] It is assumed that both India and Pakistan have approximately 80 nuclear weapons +/- 20.[51]

These numbers differ from conventional wisdom in several ways. First, China’s operationally deployed nuclear forces may be significantly smaller than the oft-quoted number of 400 nuclear weapons.[52] Second, most assessments of the India-Pakistan nuclear balance have argued India has been ahead of Pakistan for several decades.[53] This may or may not be correct today. Based on the assumptions used in this essay, three possibilities exist for the Indo-Pak nuclear balance. India and Pakistan may be approximately equal. India may be ahead by as much as 100 to 60. Alternatively, Pakistan may be ahead by as much as 100 to 60. Two important conclusions can be drawn from this assessment. First, if India is ahead of Pakistan or Pakistan is ahead of India in quantitative terms, the differences are relatively small. They are insignificant in terms of military power or deterrence impact. Second, when viewed in terms of the history of nuclear weapons, China, India, and Pakistan all have relatively modest nuclear forces at present. However this situation may not remain static for the future. China and India have significant breakout potential if they decide to use reactor grade plutonium in their nuclear weapons. Pakistan has a huge appetite for nuclear weapons and has publicized no statements that provide any suggestion an end point is yet in sight.[54]

A review of the history of Chinese, Indian, and Pakistan nuclear weapons programs reveals that each started with multiple drivers, see Appendix 3. These drivers have changed over time. Today we find that the primary driver for China is a fear of a conventional or nuclear attack on its nuclear forces by the United States. For India, the primary pressure seems to be from its nuclear and defense scientists who want to prove, against most evidence to date, they are world class. For Pakistan, the primary driver appears to be a fear of India’s superior conventional force. For each of these three countries, one could see a future with two dramatically different nuclear futures. One would feature a nuclear arms race that takes place for several decades leading to several hundred nuclear weapons. The other would be relatively stable nuclear forces maintained close to current levels. The key will be elite decision-makers within each country. If senior leaders want nuclear weapons to play a limited role in their national security to deter the use of nuclear weapons, then medium-sized and stable nuclear forces are compatible with their countries national security interests and targeting requirements. On the other hand, if senior leaders believe their national survival rests on nuclear war fighting capabilities to deter superior conventional forces, then large nuclear forces and hair trigger nuclear postures will be required. These key decisions will be made in South West Asia, not in the Middle East or North East Asia.

A close examination of the drivers in each country suggests that Indian scientists have a major influence on government decision-making. Drawing on the excellent article in this volume by Mian and Ramana, Indian policy makers have always sought to maintain the capability to use its civilian nuclear power program for weapons purposes. Not only does India have an estimated 6.8 ton stockpile of mostly un-safeguarded RGPu, but it has the potential to produce WGPu in its eight un-safeguarded power reactors and its breeder reactor. Figures calculated by Mian and Ramana suggest India could have an arsenal of over 850 nuclear weapons using these sources.

Quantitative Growth Potential for Nuclear Weapons in South West Asia

A review of Appendix Four reveals that even relatively small monthly production of nuclear materials used for weapons purposes could lead to potential growth of hundreds of nuclear weapons over a period of two decades. Unclassified assessments of China, India, and Pakistan show that each country has the technical infrastructure to produce un-safeguarded nuclear material at this level of magnitude.[55] On the high end of the scale, if China were to determine as a matter of urgent national priority it needed to approach quantitative parity with the U.S. and Russia, it could reach the level of ~1,000 nuclear weapons within two decades. This would probably require it to resume production of fissionable material for weapons purposes or use RGPu to produce nuclear weapons.[56]

The primary conclusion from this theoretical mathematical projection is to alert global decision-makers that the range of future nuclear force sizes and postures in South West Asia is extremely broad. There are no technical or institutional controls capable of preventing China, India, and Pakistan from developing substantial nuclear forces over the next two decades. Thus, the primary driver will be the direction in which the world moves in terms of the perceived legitimate function of nuclear weapons. If the United States, China and other major powers are able to convince the world that the sole legitimate function of nuclear weapons is to deter the use of nuclear weapons, then it is plausible nuclear forces among China, India, and Pakistan could stabilize around 150-200. From Pakistan’s perspective, this would require that its legitimate security concerns vis a vis India are addressed by creative solutions involving both China and the Untied States.

Conclusion

The world faces a stark choice between business as usual and a concerted effort to deal with the root causes of serious national security threats seen by decision makers in China, India, and Pakistan. As recommended by Mian and Ramanna and supported by this author, “A basic reordering of priorities in each of these countries is long overdue.”

All governments are forced by events to manage short-term crises and thus give lower priority to long-term problems. From an American perspective, there are more than enough reasons to avoid addressing the nuclear weapons challenge in the context of U.S. bilateral relations with China, India, and Pakistan. However, if this proclivity persists among U.S. decision-makers, the result is likely to be both larger nuclear forces and nuclear postures that shift toward nuclear war fighting over the next two decades.

This business as usual approach is likely to yield the following. China, India, and Pakistan will continue to maintain three mutually incompatible nuclear doctrines. Multiple drivers for nuclear force modernization in each country will provide sufficient domestic and bureaucratic political pressure to expand and modernize nuclear weapons for decades to come.

Given this situation, proposed arms control treaties such as the CTBT and FMCT will not be implemented. Both proposed agreements are opposed by all three countries to varying degrees. The roots of their opposition are not being addressed seriously with policy research, strategic planning, or diplomacy.

The Obama administration’s rhetoric associated with nuclear weapons sounds idealistic.[57] However, its actions reflect a business as usual proclivity. The administration is acting as if nuclear weapons represent one issue area which can be partitioned into its own narrow policy lane and managed by mid-levels officials within the U.S. government. This is understandable given the pressing economic, environmental, terrorism and Afghanistan-Pakistan war agendas the Obama administration inherited and has created for itself.

The United States has adopted a neo-Cold War nuclear posture to keep a few European allies quiet and to avoid a major bureaucratic fight between the White House and a few civilian Pentagon officials who work closely with Republican allies on Capital Hill. How U.S. nuclear weapons based in Europe will translate into greater security in Europe is never discussed with any degree of rigor or intellectual honesty. Perhaps the administration’s logic was that it perceived the demonstration effect of a fundamentally new American nuclear posture would have little significant impact on thinking in China, India, and Pakistan. So why pay a short term domestic political price for the prospects of marginal increases in long-term stability? However, absent such a fundamental change and serious discussions between the U.S. and China, one can predict with a high degree of confidence that business as usual will produce nuclear arms races in South West Asia for decades.

Other reasons to sustain a business as usual approach are obvious. America will continue to spend approximately ten billion dollars per year on national missile defense to neutralize potent domestic constituencies regardless of technical feasibility and negative impact on Russia and China. [58] The United States does not want to think seriously about steps it could take to address the Kashmir conflict because it is so complex, India’s position has been set in stone for decades, and it is easier to think of India as a global economic power sympathetic to American values. The United States has not invested in civilian governance and rebuilding civil administrative capability in Pakistan because the military is the only functioning entity in the country in the short term.[59] Honest and capable civilian political leadership in Pakistan is almost entirely lacking and will take many years to develop and mature. Pakistani born Islamic terrorists and “India-phobic and paranoid”[60] Pakistani strategic culture is acknowledged by American decision makers as a key problem, but American decisions and actions are focused almost exclusively on the war on terror.[61] The perception persists in both Washington and Islamabad that “the U.S. needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the U.S..” In this context, adding the nuclear weapons issue to an overly crowded policy agenda with Pakistan will definitely over-load the circuits. The net result is probably that Pakistan leaders have concluded they can build as many nuclear weapons as they can produce plutonium and highly enriched uranium. They will take symbolic steps to better secure nuclear materials and weapons, but the question of “how much is enough” is off the table.[62]

If this business as usual situation continues, the world should ready itself for a very rough ride in terms of nuclear weapons in the next two decades of the 21st century. South West Asia will be the dominant driver to an unstable world our children will rightly accuse us of having ignored to their peril. American decision makers in the 1980s chose to ignore on the ground realities after the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan. The blow back next time will be orders of magnitude larger and more tragic.

Appendix One: Ten Stages of Nuclear Proliferation

Stage

Nuclear Weapons, Materials & Testing Characteristics

Delivery Characteristics

     

10

Superpower Nuclear Forces
1,000-40,000 nuclear weapons;
Stockpile 1,000-19,000 Mega Tons;
100s Metric Tons of HEU and WGPu;
Tritium and other materials production relevant to advanced nuclear weapons;
~ 50 nuclear weapons designs with full range of yields from sub Kt to MT;
700-1,000 atmospheric, underground and under water nuclear tests;
6-7 years from fission to multi-stage thermonuclear tests

Multi-generation triad systems: air (gravity bombs and ALCMs), land (MRBMs, IRBMs, ICBMs), and sea (SSBNs, SLBMs and SLCMs); MIRVs; Full range of ground based tactical systems (ADMs, short range artillery, etc.); elaborate tactical nuclear weapons at sea (cruise missiles, depth charges etc)

9

Massive Nuclear Forces
600-1,000 nuclear weapons
34-210 nuclear tests; dozens of nuclear weapons designs
tens metric tons HEU & WGPu

Similar to stage 10 except smaller number of delivery systems.

8

Mature Nuclear Forces
300–500 nuclear weapons;
Stockpile 100-400 MegaTones;
~ 1 metric ton of HEU & WGPu
24-210 atmospheric and underground tests;
10-20 nuclear weapons designs;
3-8 years from fission to multistage thermonuclear test;

Two generations of triad systems: aircraft, IRBM; SSBNs; MIRV or multiple RV technology; some tactical nuclear weapons systems

7

Large Nuclear Forces
150-200 weapons
Stockpile 20-70 MegaTones
8-52 nuclear tests
~ 10 nuclear weapons designs
hundreds kg of HEU & WGPu

Not necessarily a true triad

6

Medium Nuclear Forces
100 +/- 25 weapons
7-38 nuclear tests
~ 5 nuclear weapons designs

Aircraft and 2nd generation ballistic missiles

5

Modest Nuclear Forces
50 +/- 15 weapons
3-30 nuclear tests
a few nuclear weapons designs

Aircraft and 1st generation ballistic missiles

4

Small Nuclear Forces
20 +/- 5 weapons
1-16 nuclear tests
1-2 nuclear weapons designs

Aircraft only

3

Tiny Nuclear Forces
5 +/- 4 weapons
0-1 tests

Aircraft only

2

Threshold Nations

Assessment based on nuclear material production and nuclear weapons design capabilities

1

Watch List Nations

Assessment based on intentions, S&T potential, and other country’s fears

Appendix Two: Elaboration of Stages One and Two

Stage

Stage Name and Indicators

   

1

Education, Training and Nuclear Institution Building

 

Indicators: Beginning to establish a nuclear vision or dream among individuals who become future political or S&T leaders; initiate the development of personal networks of individuals who become key future decision-makers with respect to nuclear issues; initiate advanced nuclear-related education and training of key individuals; establish nuclear organizations; start nuclear and related scientific R&D projects; start construction of nuclear infrastructure and facilities; indicators of adequate levels of funding; cadre of individuals identify external sources of technology and intellectual support. Nothing during this stage points specifically to a nuclear weapons program per se, but the level of effort suggests nuclear R&D may be favored over a broad S&T development strategy. Thus it is possible a state at this stage is preparing a nuclear weapons option or just building a nuclear science infrastructure.

   

2A

Initiate Gray Area Activities Associated with a Nuclear Weapons Option

 

Indicators: Involvement of the head of state or very senior officials in discussion of relevant nuclear R&D decisions suggesting either high level interest or an initial government commitment to create, at a minimum, a nuclear weapons option; general external national security geo-political threats stimulates early development of a nuclear weapons “ideology” in the minds of individuals who become leaders; senior leaders attempt, but fail, to solve their national security problem by other policy approaches (i.e. security assurances, diplomacy, conventional military build up); attempts to obtain nuclear technology and training from a friendly foreign sources and try to keep the full extent of such cooperation secret; initiate gray area nuclear purchasing of equipment and materials relevant to a nuclear weapons option; recruit people with specific skills and orientation relevant for possible production of nuclear weapons; make relevant organizational changes that show more than a normal nuclear science and technology R&D program is being developed; accelerate or initiate design and construction of unique facilities more relevant to a nuclear weapons option than to a peaceful nuclear program; experiments are conducted to give leaders evidence a nuclear weapons program might be successful given their country’s constraints; nuclear weapons advocates overcome domestic opposition from scientists who want to pursue strictly peaceful research; the country resists inclusion into some parts of the NPT regime; increased secrecy in parts of the nuclear program; indicators the nuclear weapons program, still at an “option” stage, is receiving significant funding and or access to senior political leaders.

   

2B

Accelerate Nuclear Weapons Option Program

 

Indicators: A consensus view develops among senior officials that your enemy is working on nuclear weapons or may even be ahead; there may or may not be an explicit decision by the head of state to build a nuclear bomb; evidence of institutional learning and maturation indicates the nuclear weapons development “system” is moving up a learning curve; specific external threats cements an orientation that the country must have nuclear weapons at all costs, essentially removing normal budget and organizational constraints; preliminary milestones are achieved including successful operation of specific nuclear weapons oriented facilities; successful diplomatic push back against external nation state efforts to get the country to participate in the NPT regime; internal opposition to a nuclear weapons oriented program dissipates or disappears entirely.

   

2C

Opaque Crossing of the Technical Nuclear Weapons Threshold

 

Indicators: The state acquires strategic quantities of un-safeguarded nuclear weapons material; successful nuclear weapons R&D completed; successful testing of non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons; a second echelon of scientists emerges to manage RDT&E of a full range of technologies relevant to nuclear weapons.

Appendix Three: Heuristic Drivers of Nuclear Proliferation and 21st Century Modernization

Drivers for China

1944-1976

1977-1998

1999-present

 

%

Rank

%

Rank

%

Rank

             

Fear of U.S. attack

50

1

25

1

30

1

Senior leadership pressure & nationalism

20

2

15

3

10

6

Soviet-Russian Influences

20

3

10

5

15

3

Nuclear and Missile Scientists’ pressure

5

4

20

2

10

5

PLA bureaucratic politics

5

5

10

6

5

7

Nuclear balance with India and Pakistan

0

-

0

-

5

8

Anti-Americanism

0

-

5

7

10

4

Desire for broad technical hegemony

0

-

15

4

20

2

Drivers for India

1946-1974

1975-1998

1999-present

 

%

Rank

%

Rank

%

Rank

             

Head of state pressure

35

1

20

1

10

6

Nuclear and missile scientists’ pressure

30

2

15

2

15

1

International prestige

15

3

10

4

10

5

China threat and its nuclear posture

15

4

15

3

15

2

Anti Americanism

5

5

10

6

10

8

Pakistan terrorist threat

0

6

10

7

15

4

Nuclear balance with Pakistan and its nuclear posture

0

7

15

5

15

3

Bureaucratic politics within the military

0

8

5

8

10

7

Drivers for Pakistan

1955-1989

1990-1998

1999-present

 

%

Rank

%

Rank

%

Rank

             

Head of state pressure

25

1

10

7

5

7

Chinese support

20

2

15

2

15

3

Nuclear and Missile Scientists’ pressure

20

3

25

1

10

6

Nuclear balance with India and its nuclear posture

15

4

10

4

15

4

Conventional balance with India

15

5

15

3

20

1

International prestige

5

7

5

8

5

8

Anti Americanism

5

8

10

5

10

5

Bureaucratic politics within the military

  0

6

10

6

20

2

Appendix Four: Theoretical Growth Potential of Nuclear Weapons

Scale

Monthly

Annual

One Decade

Two Decades

         

Small

0.5

5

50

100

 

1

10

100

200

 

1.5

15

150

300

 

2

20

200

400

Medium

2.5

25

250

500

 

3

30

300

600

 

3.5

35

350

700

 

4

40

400

800

 

4.5

45

450

900

High

5

50

500

1,000

End Notes


[1] Lawrence Freedman (1981), The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (New York: St. Martin’s Press). Richard Rhodes (1986), The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster). Richard Rhodes (1995), Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster). Richard Rhodes (2007), Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race (New York: Alfred A. Knopf). Richard Rhodes (2010), The Twilight of the Bomb (New York: Alfred A. Knopf). Margaret Gowing (1974), Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945-1952, Vol. I Policy Making (New York: St. Martin’s Press). David S. Yost (2005) “France’s Evolving Nuclear Strategy,” Survival, Vol. 47, Issue 3. Avner Cohen (1983), Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press). Stephen M. Millett (1982), “Soviet Perceptions of Nuclear Strategy and Implications for U.S. Deterrence,” Air University Review, March-April 1982. David Holloway (1994), Stalin and the Bomb (New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press).

[2] Fred Kaplan (1983), The Wizards of Armageddon (New York: Simon and Schuster).

[3] United States Institute of Peace (2009), America’s Strategic Posture: The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, p. 111.

[4] Morton H. Halperin (1987), Nuclear Fallacy: Dispelling the Myth of Nuclear Strategy (Cambridge, MA.: Ballinger).

[5] Stephen I. Swartz (1998), Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 (Washington D.C. Brookings Institution Press). Stephen I. Schwartz and Deepti Choubey (2009), Nuclear Security Spending: Assessing Costs, Examining Priorities (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace).

[6] On April 30, 1994, President Ronald Reagan stated in a speech delivered in China “We live in a troubled world, and the United States and China, as two great nations, share a special responsibility to help reduce the risks of war. We both agree that there can be only one sane policy to preserve our precious civilization in the modern age. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of this Earth.” Peter Lettow (2005), Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (New York: Random House).

[7] Vannevar Bush (1949), Modern Arms and Free Men: A Discussion of the Role of Science in Preserving Democracy (New York: Simon and Schuster). George F. Kennan (1976), The Nuclear Delusion: Soviet-American Relations in the Atomic Age (New York: Pantheon Books). James R. Killian (1982), Sputnik, Scientists, and Eisenhower: A Memior of the First Assistant to the President for Science and Technology (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). McGeorge Bundy, William T. Crowe, Jr., Sidney Drell (1983), Reducing Nuclear Danger: The Road Away from the Brink (New York: Council on Foreign Relations). Robert S. McNamara (1986), Blundering Into Disaster: Surviving the First Century of the Nuclear Age (New York: Pantheon Books). Morton H. Halperin (1987), Nuclear Fallacy: Dispelling the Myth of Nuclear Strategy (Cambridge, MA.: Ballinger). Herb York (1987), Making Weapons, Talking Peace: A Physicist’s Odyssey from Hiroshima to Geneva (New York: Basic Books). McGeorge Bundy (1988), Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years. Sidney D. Drell (1993), In the Shadow of the Bomb: Physics and Arms Control (New York: American Institute of Physics). Graham Allison (2004), Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe (New York: An Owl Book). George P. Schultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn (2007), “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007.

[8] Daryl G. Kimball and Greg Thielmann, “Obama’s NPR: Transitional, Not Transformational,” Arms Control Today, Vol. 40, No. 5, May 2010. Morton H. Halperin, “A New Nuclear Posture,” Arms Control Today, Vol. 40, No. 4 May 2010. Jacob W. Kipp (2010), “Asian Drivers of Russia’s Nuclear Force Posture,” Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

[9] David E. Sanger (2009), The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (New York: Harmony Books, p. 176).

[10] “British Nuclear Arsenal Stands at 225 Warheads,” Nuclear Threat Initiative: Global Security Newswire, (http:/gsn.nti.org/nw_20100527_8924.php). See United States Institute of Peace op. cit. p. 111.

[11] Exceptions to the proclivity to ignore Israel’s nuclear weapons program can be seen in Avner Cohen (1983), Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press). Victor Gilinsky, “Casting a Blind Eye: Kissinger and Nixon Finesse Israel’s bomb.” Avner Cohen (2010), The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press.)

[12] Joel S. Wit, Daniel B. Poneman, and Robert L. Gallucci (2004), Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution Press). A highly informed assessment that the DPRK might be willing to give up its nuclear weapons if the U.S. implemented its agreements is contained in Leon V. Sigal, (2010) “Primer-North Korea, South Korea, and the United States: Reading between the lines of the Cheonan attack,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 66, No. 5 pp. 35-66.

[13] This author is in agreement with a comment made by George Perkovich that the South West Asia triangle of China, India, and Pakistan is influenced by a U.S.-Russia-China triangle. This comment was made at the conference Life After START: New Challenges, New Opportunities, Washington D.C. January 27, 2011.

[14] Bruno Tertrais, “After Iran: Prospects for Nuclear Proliferation in North Africa.” Douglas Frantz “Nuclear Proliferation Prospects in the Middle East to 2015.”

[15] McGeorge Bundy, William T. Crowe, Jr., Sidney Drell (1983), Reducing Nuclear Danger: The Road Away from the Brink (New York: Council on Foreign Relations), p. 99.

[16] Department of State, International Security Advisory Board, (2007), “Report on Discouraging a Cascade of Nuclear Weapons States,” October 19, 2007.

[17] Presidential candidate John Kennedy’s oft referenced prediction about the spread of nuclear weapons: “There are indications, because of new inventions that ten, fifteen, or twenty nations will have a nuclear capability-including Red China-by the end of the presidential office in 1964.” Cited in Joseph Cirencione (2007), Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons (New York: Columbia University Press), p. 28.

[18] Since the Nixon administration, both Democrats and Republicans have supported nuclear non-proliferation efforts at the rhetorical level, but they have rarely been willing to pay a significant diplomatic, economic, or domestic political price to achieve nuclear non-proliferation.

[19] Robert E. Johnson (1988), “China’s Nuclear Forces and Policies,” in Larry M Wortzel ed. China’s Military Modernization and International Implications (New York: Greenwood Press).

[20] Thomas W. Graham (1989), The Politics of Failure: Strategic Nuclear Arms Control, Public Opinion and Domestic Politics in the United States, MIT Ph.D. dissertation.

[21] The most interesting category is Stage One: Watch List Nations. With the prospects of Iran crossing from Stage 2 to Stage 3 and the D.P.R.K. moving from Stage 3 to Stage 4, an unusually large number of countries can be considered Watch List Nations. For purposes of this paper, they would include Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey (in the Middle East), Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (in East Asia) and Burma/Myanmar (in South Asia). Unlike in the 20th century where Watch List countries were mostly Third World countries with emerging technical capabilities, in the 21st century these countries range in technical capabilities from Japan on one end to Burma on the other.

[22] United States Institute of Peace op. cit.

[23] This is best demonstrated by the April 6, 2010 cover letter to the Nuclear Posture Review signed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. It committed to transferring nearly $ 5 billion from the Department of Defense to the Department of Energy to be used for purposes of maintaining offensive nuclear weapons. Thus, the United States will spend more money on offensive nuclear weapons RDT&E than it did during the Cold War. This figure increased to approximately $ 80 billion in the context of the debate over ratification of the New Start treaty in 2010.

[24] “John Kerry Puts Off Key Vote on Arms Treaty; Hopes Dim for Quick Passage,” Washington Post, August 4, 2010.

[25] BBC News (2010), “Trident Scale Back Urged Amid Cost Worries,” July 28, 2010.

[26] It seems ironic that the “axis of evil” concept used by President George W. Bush in his 2002 State of the Union seems to continue to frame how many Americans view nuclear proliferation long after President Bush has left office. Fear associated with Iran and North Korea obtaining or increasing small stockpiles of nuclear weapons dominate fear that operationally deployed nuclear forces will expand in South West Asia.

[27] The phrase “weapons of the weak” comes from James C. Scott (1985), Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).

[28] For a discussion of growth in nuclear forces among China, India and Pakistan, see the excellent essay in this volume written by Zia Mian and M.V. Ramana “Imbricated Regional Rivalries and Global Order: South Asia, China and the United States.”

[29] Jeffrey Lewis (2004), “How many Chinese nuclear weapons?” March 7, 2004 cited from Arms Control Wonk HTTP://Lewis.Armscontrolwonk.com/archive/99/howmany-chinese-nuclear-weapons.

[30] Department of Defense (2010), “Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, p. 35. Department of Defense (2006), Annual Report to Congress Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, 2006 p. 25. Department of Defense (2008), Annual Report to Congress Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008, pp. 26-27.

[31] Vipin Narang (2009), “Posturing for Peace? Pakistan’s Nuclear Postures and South Asian Stability,” International Security, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Winter 2009/10) p. 44.

[32] David E. Sanger (2009), The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (New York: Harmony Books, p.179)

[33] Peter Lavoy (2008), “Islamabad’s Nuclear Posture: Its Premises and Implementation,” in Henry D. Sokolski ed. Pakistan’s Nuclear Future: Worries Beyond War. Vipin Narang op. cit. pp. 59-62.

[34] L.K. Krishnan (2009), “Why Pokhran yield does not matter now,” Rediff, August 31, 2009. K. Santhanam and Ashok Parthasarathi (2009), “Pokhran-II thermonuclear test, a failure,” The Hindu, September 17, 2009.

[35] “What makes 5000 km range Agni-5 missile deadlier,” Rediff News, October 12, 2009. “India’s Agni-5 can target our Harbin City: Chinese daily,” The Times of India, October 15, 2009. “Agni-5, India’s answer to China’s lethal missile,” Deccan Herald, February 10, 2010.

[36] K. Subrahmanyam and V.S. Arunachalam (2009), “Deterrence and explosive yield,” The Hindu, September 21, 2009.

[37] George Perkovich (1999), India’s Nuclear Bomb: The Impact on Global Proliferation (Berkely, Ca: University of California Press) pp. 320-21, 347, 351. Raj Chengappa (2000), Weapons of Peace: The Secret Story of India’s Quest to be a Nuclear Power (Harper Collins Publisher India) pp. 368-69, 380-81, 390-97.

[38] Manpreet Sethi (2009), Nuclear Deterrence in Second Tier Nuclear Weapon States: A Case Study of India, CHS Occasional Paper No. 25, December 2009, French Research Institute of India, pp. 6, 37-9, 43.

[39] David Albright and Paul Brannan (2007), “Pakistan Appears to be Building a Third Plutonium Production Reactor at Khushab Nuclear Site,” June 21, 2007, The Institute of Science and International Security. Zian Min, “Pakistan may have completed new plutonium production reactor, Khushab-II,” February 28, 2010 International Panel on Fissile Materials. Discussion at the Stimson Center on February 23, 2011 suggested the increasing conventional imbalance between India and Pakistan will result in Pakistan building more nuclear weapons and rely more on terrorists to counter India.

[40] In terms of Pakistan’s strategic culture, see Husain Haqqani (2005), Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). Ayesha Siddiqa (2007), Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy (London: Pluto Press).

[41] There is an extensive academic debate on the number of wars India and Pakistan have fought. However, there is not debate that India and Pakistan have engaged in military conflict in 1947, 1965, 1971, and 1999. Most scholarship concludes that Pakistan started each conflict with India. Most scholarship, including important research produced in Pakistan, has concluded that Pakistan’s military, political, and economic position was weaker after each conflict than it was before hostilities were initiated. In addition, India and Pakistan have had several tense confrontations which could have led to war in 1986-87 (Brasstacks) and 2001-2002. See P.R. Chari, Pervez Iqbal Cheema and Stephen P. Cohen (2007), Four Crises and a Peace Process: American Engagement in South Asia (Washington, D.C.: Brookings). Polly Nayak and Michael Krepon (2006), US Crisis Management in South Asia’s Twin Peaks Crisis, Report 57, The Stimson Center.

[42] Robert D. Kaplan “The Geography of Chinese Power: How Far Can Beijing Reach on Land and at Sea?” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 89, No. 3, May/June 2010. Henry Sokolski, “Missiles for Peace,” Armed Forces Journal, July 2010. Department of Defense (2010), Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2010

[43] See description http://www.deagel.com/Ballistic-Missiles/DF-21_a000859001.aspx.

[44] One article that assumes the Chinese nuclear build up is substantial and that it is having an increasing impact on Russian threat perceptions can be found in Jacob W. Kipp (2010), “Asian Drivers of Russia’s Nuclear Force Posture,” Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

[45] Department of Defense (2010), Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2010, p. 35. Ian Eston “The Asia-Pacific Emerging Missile Defense and Space Competition.” Mark Stokes, “Evolving Aerospace Trends in the Asia-Pacific Region.”

[46] Yun Zhou, “The Security Implications of China’s Nuclear Energy Expansion,” Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, July 2010.

[47] “Nuclear Power in China,” [http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf63.html accessed August 23, 2010] pp. 10, 13-14

[48] AFP (2011), “China needs 10 years for nuclear fuel recycling: CNNC,” January 17, 2011.

[49] The initial “guesstimate” of China’s WGPu production was included in David Albright, Frans Berkhout and William Walker (1997) Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1996: World Inventories, Capabilities and Policies, pp. 76-77. A more recent estimate, with lower figures for estimated production of weapons grade material by China, can be found in Hui Zhang (2010), “China” in Global Fissile Material Report. The figure of 800 weapons was used by Mian and Ramana op. cit.

[50] The assumption China has ~150 +/- 50 operationally deployed nuclear comes from multiple public estimates. A comprehensive non-government assessment concluded in 2006 that China had 93 land-based nuclear armed ballistic missiles, 12 JL-1 SLBMs, and 40 aircraft delivered nuclear weapons for a total of ~ 145 operational warheads. Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris, and Matthew G. McKinzie (2006), Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning (Washington D.C.: The Federation of American Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council) p. 202. A retired Indian military intelligence officer, associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies, assessed China has around 130 nuclear warheads deployed on missiles and aircraft. (Col. R. Hariharan, “Nuclear capability of India and China,” The Island, July 13, 2010). On February 28, 2006, the Director of DIA, Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee the following prepared statement: “It is likely the number of deployed Chinese nuclear-armed theater and strategic systems will increase in the next several years. China currently has more than 100 nuclear weapons.” (Michael D. Maples, Lt. Gen. USA, Director DIA, Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States, Statement for the Record before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 28 February 2006, p. 4. Jeffrey Lewis concluded China has around 100 nuclear weapons in his (2004), “How many Chinese nuclear weapons?” March 7, 2004 cited from Arms Control Wonk HTTP://Lewis.Armscontrolwonk.com/archive/99/howmany-chinese-nuclear-weapons. “The public estimates of the size of the Chinese nuclear arsenal are less than 200 warheads.” Cited in Mian and Ramanna op. cit. p. 9. Sr. Col Yao Yunzhu (2010), “China’s Perspective on Nuclear Deterrence,” Air and Space Power Journal, Spring 2010. Michael Wines and Edward Wong (2011), “China’s Push to Modernize its Military Is Bearing Fruit,” New York Times, January 6, 2011.

[51] “According to open source estimates, today Pakistan has about 85 nuclear weapons, which are under the complete control of the Pakistani military.” World at Risk: The Report of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, (New York: Vintage Books 2008), p. 67. Pakistan has 70 to 90 strategic nuclear weapons as against India’s 60-80. “Pakistan Has More Nukes and Fissile Materials than India,” Economic Times, August 2, 2010.

[52] Robert S. Norris, Andrew S. Burrows, and Richard W. Fieldhouse eds. (1994), Nuclear Weapons Databook Vol. V British, French and Chinese Nuclear Weapons (Boulder: Westview Press), pp. 324, 359. United States Institute of Peace op. cit. p. 111.

[53] Leonard S. Spector (1984), Nuclear Proliferation Today (New York: Vintage Books); Leonard S. Spector (1985), (New York: Vintage); Leonard S. Spector (1987), Going Nuclear (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger Publishing Company); Leonard S. Spector, (1988), The Undeclared Bomb (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger Publishing Company); Leonard S. Spector with Jacqueline R. Smith (1990), Nuclear Ambitions (Boulder, CO: Westview Press); Rodney W. Jones, Mark G. McDonough with Toby F. Dalton and Gregory D. Koblentz (1998), Tracking Nuclear Proliferation: A Guide in Maps and Charts, 1998 (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, Miriam Rajkumar (2005), Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, 2nd edition (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Jeffery T. Richardson (2006), Spying On The Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence From Nazi German to Iran and North Korea (New York: W.W. Norton); Joseph Cirincione (2007), Bomb Scare: The History & Future of Nuclear Weapons (New York: Columbia University Press).

[54] David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt (2011), “Pakistani Arms Pose Challenge to U.S. Policy,” New York Times, January 31, 2011, p. A1,7

[55] Alexander Glaser (2006), “Weapons-Grade Plutonium Production Potential in the Indian Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor,” December 13, 2006 p. 38.

[56] Hui Zhang op. cit.

[57] Remarks of President Barach Obama, Prague, Czech Republic, April 5, 2009.

[58] George N. Lewis and Theodore A. Postal, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Defense Plan,” Arms Control Today, Vol. 40, No. 4, May 2010. To date the U.S. has spent approximately $ 100 billion on missile defense. Steven A. Hidreth and Amy F. Woolf, “National Missile Defense: Issues for Congress,” Congressional Research Service, July 17, 2001. Joseph Cirincione, “Brief History of Ballistic Missile Defense and Current Programs in the United States,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 1998. David E. Sanger (2009), The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (New York: Harmony Books, p. 188)

[59] David E. Sanger (2009), The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (New York: Harmony Books, pp. 175-344)

[60] Feroz Hassan Khan (2010), “Prospects for Indian and Pakistani Arms Control and CBMs.” P. 5.

[61] Bob Woodward (2010), Obama’s Wars (New York: Simon & Schuster), pp. 3, 89, 99, 101, 108-9, 111, 187-88, 194, 203, 208-10, 214-16, 284-89, 296, 302-3, 328, 330, 355, 363-69, 379.

[62] David E. Sanger (2009), The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (New York: Harmony Books, p. 219)

[63] Most scholars date the beginning of China’s nuclear weapons program from 1955. However, even before establishment of the PRC in 1949, the senior political leadership of the Communist Party emphasized training scientists over-seas in advanced fields such as physics and then enticing them to return home. This laid the ground-work for a successful nuclear weapons program.

[64] The beginning of this second phase in China’s nuclear weapons program is hard to date. In contrast with the first phase when development of nuclear weapons was the top national security priority, during the second phase, Chinese leaders began to moderate their deployment of nuclear weapons as they emphasized other national priorities. The beginning of this second phase might have been as early as 1969 when Chinese leaders concluded the Soviets or Americans would find it difficult to initiate a nuclear war against them even though Chinese nuclear force at the time were limited (30-40 weapons) and rudimentary. Internal decisions to slow down deployment of nuclear weapons took place some time between 1971 and 1975. Nixon went to China in 1972 which had the effect of convincing Chinese leaders that war was not likely for many years or even decades. Mao died in 1976, and Deng returned to power thereafter. He put first priority on the economy.

[65] The year 1999 is very important to Chinese thinking about nuclear weapons. In this year the U.S. acceleration of SDI, the Cox Commission issues its harshly anti-China report, and the United States bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. It is still not clear whether the current phase of Chinese nuclear modernization will result in a significantly larger nuclear force or one that makes a dramatic break from the past and follows a war fighting nuclear doctrine. It is clear Chinese nuclear modernization is taking place. This makes its strategic forces both more stable but also more potent.

[66] The historical record is clear that India’s nuclear energy program was designed to produce a nuclear weapons capability from its very beginning. Initial decisions were made by Nehru and Bhabha in 1946, before Indian independence. Additional decisions were taken in 1948, and the program was accelerated in 1958 due to concern China was working to develop nuclear weapons. India increased its nuclear budget and staff. The Department of Atomic Energy received even more autonomy, and Nehru approved Project Phoenix, a reprocessing plant designed to produce 10 kg of plutonium per year.

[67] Pakistan set up its nuclear program in 1955. Ali Bhutto tried, and failed, to get Pakistan to take steps to build nuclear weapons in the 1960s. Then in 1972, when he became Prime Minister, he explicitly authorized a program to develop nuclear weapons. Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney (1981), The Islamic Bomb: The Nuclear Threat to Israel and the Middle East (New York: Times Books) pp. 42-52, 181. Most unclassified sources say Pakistan “crossed the line” in 1989. Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark (2007), Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons (New York: Walker & Company).

 

The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
Feedback
1600 Wilson Blvd. | Suite 640 | Arlington, VA 22209 | phone: 571-970-3187 | webmaster@npolicy.org