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HOME > TOPICS > Missiles and Missile Defense      
Former Indian Nuclear Sub Director Makes Case for Limiting Short-range Missiles

Retired Admiral R.N. Ganesh, who led India's nuclear submarine program for several years, has written a new piece for NPEC analyzing the potential development of South Asian nuclear and missile programs and suggests policies China, India and Pakistan should implement to lessen the risk of conflict and the escalation of the regional arms race.

Jul 08, 2010
AUTHOR: Admiral R.N. Ganesh
Analysis of Nuclear Missile Related Risks in South Asia (PDF) 550.60 KB

An Analysis of Nuclear Missile-Related Risks in South Asia


In April 2000, a few days before embarking on the first visit in 22 years by a US President to India and Pakistan, President Clinton referred to South Asia as "the most dangerous place in the world". Ten years down the line, many would still consider that description apt. South Asia is the only region in the world where there are serious disputes involving the risk of war between three contiguous nuclear-armed countries with a history of military conflict.[1]

The history of India's relations with China and Pakistan is characterised by conflicts and animosity. This paper will lay out the historical background which has brought the three countries to their respective current strategic perspectives. The differing world views of the three countries have moulded their individual strategic postures and each has come to adopt nuclear weapons as a security imperative for differing reasons. Based on their strategic perceptions the nature and quantum of their nuclear arsenals, too, are widely disparate. China views its main threat as the USA, against which its nuclear deterrent is designed. India views its major strategic threat as emanating from China, though its immediate concern is Pakistan's support of cross-border terrorism and the Pakistan military's periodic attempts to change the agreed lines of control on its borders. Pakistan views India as its major threat whose aim is to destroy the Pakistan state. The nuclear equation between China, India and Pakistan is often characterised by the analogy of a triangle; it would be more apt to compare it to a vicious circle, where an action by one results in an escalatory reaction from the other two.

The paper will then take a brief overview of the nuclear forces of the three countries, highlight the main features of each, and examine the linkage between force architectures and the respective strategic postures. The missile defence policies of each country will be discussed and their current and potential capabilities assessed.

In the imbalanced nuclear situation that obtains among the three countries there is a risk of missile competitions acquiring their own dynamic .The paper looks at current and possible future missile rivalries, and the possibility and effects of some kind of offensive missile restraint regime as in the INF Treaty. The recent implosion of the USSR under of the burden of its calamitous arms race with the USA carries too grave a lesson for any of these countries to ignore. The paper suggests that both India and China have similar approaches in that they do not believe that parity of nuclear forces is a pre-requisite for deterrence.  Discussing the risk factors in the India-Pakistan context, the paper  concludes that the main threat of unintended or uncontrolled nuclear conflict is from short-range ballistic missiles, and this is possible due to escalation triggered by their employment as a battlefield weapon. The paper also argues that ambiguity in nuclear doctrine carries the danger of wrong interpretation of intentions and is a risk-prone strategy.

The paper concludes with some suggestions for risk reduction including the possibility of moves towards recessing the deterrent and elimination of SRBMs.

Historical Background

India and Pakistan

The sustained hostility between India and Pakistan has existed since the two countries became independent, and the reasons are deep-rooted. In the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir whereas the Jammu district had a preponderance of Hindus, Kashmir had a Muslim majority. When India and Pakistan became independent the erstwhile Indian princedoms were given the choice of accession, and the Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir opted to join India. For Pakistan, which was founded on the basis of religious identity, this was a negation of the basis of its creation. In 1948, Pakistan sent in its troops along with tribal militants to sieze Kashmir, and India sent in its army. Both countries heeded a ceasefire call by the UN, but each held on to the territory it had in its control. That situation continues till this day.

As the years passed the differences between the two countries widened. India is a secular democracy; Pakistan has been ruled by military dictators for about 30 of its 63 years of statehood. In the general elections held in Pakistan in 1970,  West Pakistan rulers were stunned when Shaikh Mujib-ur-Rehman, the Bengali leader of East Pakistan, won  an overwhelming majority and claimed the Prime Ministership. General Yahya Khan, the Chief Martial Law Administrator refused to accept the election result and Mujib was put in prison.[2] Following Mujib's imprisonment and transfer to a prison in West Pakistan, a group of rebel officers declared Bangladesh independent on March 26th,1971. In response, the Pakistani Army launched bloody reprisals (Operation Searchlight), killing almost a million Bengalis. Over ten million refugees fled across the border for sanctuary in Indian refugee camps.[3] In the December of 1971 war broke out between India and Pakistan, and with India's victory East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

These were seminal events – the accession of Kashmir to India, Pakistan's loss of its eastern territory, and the overwhelming defeat in the war (which ended with 90,000 Pakistani troops in Indian prisoner of war camps); together these factors have deeply affected the national psyche which now blames India for all the nation's problems and still thirsts for revenge.

Immediately after the war ended, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had replaced Yahya Khan as the President of Pakistan , launched his programme to acquire a nuclear bomb, which he termed the "Islamic bomb". India demonstrated its nuclear capability by exploding a subterranean nuclear device in 1974, and Pakistan accelerated the progress of its nuclear quest, with China's assistance. In 1998, India exploded several nuclear devices and declared itself a weapon state. Days later, Pakistan followed suit.

India and China

India inherited its troubled relations with China from its former British rulers. Ironically, independent India had been among the first countries to recognise the new Government of China in 1949, when the rest of the world still recognised Chiang Kai-Shek's Formosa as the real China. But the very next year Chinese troops occupied Tibet and India extended shelter to the Dalai Lama,who formed a government-in-exile in the Indian state of Himachal. Thousands of Tibetan refugees crossed over into India and live here to this day. The core issues between the two countries are the status of Tibet, Chinese territorial claims on the northern and Eastern borders of India, and India's sympathy and protection of the Dalai Lama. The territorial claims by China vary in force from time to time; indeed China uses the border issue to regulate the temperature of its relations with India, depending on its interests in the issues current at any given time.

While the Indian Government does not allow the Dalai Lama to engage in political activity and has accepted Tibet as an autonomous region under China, there is still great Chinese mistrust of India's position on this issue. The prickly relations between the two are exacerbated by China's support to Pakistan and its covert transfer of nuclear technology and nuclear as well as conventional weapons to that country. In an act that impacted Indian security, Pakistan ceded part of the disputed territory under its control north of Kashmir to China, which gave China direct access from Sinkiang to Tibet;

While the main causes of poor relations between China and India can be identified and resolved given political will on both sides, there are some less tangible reasons. China is on the rise; its long-nurtured global ambitions are now beginning to reach a stage where she can brook no impediments, and it views India as a challenge to its aspirations to be the foremost power in Asia.

Pakistan and China

Pakistan has built up close relations with China across the spectrum of military, economic and political cooperation. It was among the earlier countries to accord recognition to the Communist Government in 1950, but later opposed the entry of China into the United Nations out of deference to the USA. For many years Pakistan's attitude to China mirrored that of the US, with which it was allied in the Central Treaty Organisation.

The US military assistance to India after the Chinese attack in 1962 and the US refusal to intervene militarily on Pakistan's side in the wars against India in 1965 and 1971 were probably influential in bringing Pakistan much closer to China. China began to support Pakistan against India on Kashmir. China has made huge investments in Pakistan, particularly in Gwadar and northern Baluchistan, to the extent of nearly twenty billion dollars.[4] The US has applied sanctions on Pakistan sporadically; the on-again off-again pattern of economic and military aid has been determined by its perceived need for Pakistan's assistance in the Afghanistan imbroglio.

Most importantly, from the eighties to the nineties China supplied Pakistan with nuclear technology and missiles, as well as equipment and facilities for uranium enrichment. Currently two more reactors are being built with Chinese assistance to produce weapon-grade plutonium. With its growing international footprint, China is today able to defy the US and is in the process of continuing and expanding its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan. For its part, Pakistan has provided China with access to the Indian Ocean, has made territorial "adjustments" to enable China to build a highway connecting Sinkiang to Tibet and to Pakistan, and supports China on all international disputes. Each country uses the other for its own reasons involving India. China uses Pakistan as a catspaw to slow India's growth and development, complicate its security environment and act as a strategic distraction. Pakistan uses China to get political support, military hardware and nuclear weapons and technology.

Strategic Perceptions


China sees itself as surrounded on all sides by unfriendly states aligned to prevent its rise to a position of eminence and in response has acted vigorously to provide its armed forces with adequate retaliatory and offensive capability.  It considers the US its major adversary that has declared its intention to prevent the reabsorption of Taiwan. China also views Japan and South Korea as willing allies of the US in any conflict situation, and is particularly concerned about the American plans for missile defence cooperation with these countries.

China's relations with Russia have been uneasy in the past, but there has been a quantum increase in their mutual cooperation since the collapse of the USSR and America's emergence as the sole super-power. However, underlying the good relations there is still an element of suspicion which makes the two countries wary of each other.

China's relations with India swing from cold to overtly hostile, with sporadic thaws. While full-scale military action is an unlikely option China skilfully manipulates the long-standing claim on India's north-eastern and western borders issue to extract diplomatic mileage, and even engages in minor border incidents to keep the "pot boiling". India's growth and progress have created a southern flank situation for China which it has factored into its defence posture by the militarisation of Tibet and by establishing missile bases within striking range of Indian targets.[5]

The US threat, however, is the main driver of its security strategy and the predominant factor in China's strategic calculus which subsumes all other threat considerations.


Pakistan's threat perception and defence posture are entirely Indo-centric. It began its military nuclear programme as a sequel to the defeat in the 1971 war with India. By 1979 Pakistan had already set up its facilities for producing weapons-grade uranium, when it incurred US punitive action. In the 90's plutonium production was operationalised with the commissioning of the Chinese designed and supplied Khushab reactor,[6]andChina still continues to play a major role in Pakistan's nuclear programme.

When the US launched its war on terror, Pakistan had little choice but to fall in line and support the US campaign in Afghanistan against Al Qaida and the Taliban. With its own military heavily under attack by the Taliban, the Pakistan Government is hard-pressed to balance the conflicting demands of its Army, the Islamic fundamentalists, and the Baluchistan secessionists on the one hand and America's operational dictates on the other. There is a great deal of sympathy for the Islamist cause amongst sections of the military as well as the population and resentment against the Government for acting against the Taliban at the behest of the Americans. China is viewed as a staunch and permanent ally, whose friendship with Pakistan is "as high as the mountains and as deep as the ocean."[7]


India perceives a military threat to it on two fronts. The threat from Pakistan has persisted since both countries became independent in 1947. While the central issue according to Pakistan is the dispute over Kashmir, India's view is that this may have been true till some years ago but the situation now has gone beyond Kashmir to one of Pakistan's support and exploitation of non-state militancy which uses terrorist-type tactics. India has been attacked by Pakistan-based terrorists  seven or eight times in the last eight years; on every occasion she has been persuaded and pressurised by the international community led by the US to exercise restraint.

China blows hot and cold on the border issue, using it as a regulator to manipulate Indian and regional attitudes. Having fought wars with both countries, India views their close relations and China's supplies of nuclear technology and weapons to Pakistan with concern.  In recent times China's rising prosperity has resulted in a new expansionist approach, both in foreign economic policies (trade and acquisition of oil and other commodities), as well as in its strategic expansion into the Indian Ocean region. These factors impelled the Indian defence minister George Fernandes to publicly state that China was India's major threat.[8] India's major strategic concern is China, but its short-term security preoccupations are completely dominated by Pakistan-related issues.

Linkages Between Strategic Perceptions andStrategic Force Structures

In classical national security planning, nations define their national objectives and their vital national interests and based on these they develop a grand strategy to safeguard those interests. From here flow the security architecture and force levels, depending on the technological and economic strength of the country. It is also a historical phenomenon that as the resources and capabilities grow, the expanding military potential fuels higher national ambitions and national interests and strategy are modified to meet the changed aspirations.


Although China is being discussed along with the other two South Asian powers because of the geo-political framework of this study , this paper does not view it solely within this narrow power grouping. China is an aspiring superpower and in many ways already has a power status that is second only to the US. As has been amply emphasised, its main threat is the US, and its immediate security concern is to prevent international (read American) legitimisation of an independent status for Taiwan. While China will not act precipitately to bring about Taiwan's reunification, it views that as an inevitability and has worked steadfastly towards that goal. In 1999 China had about 150 deployable SRBMs in the Taiwan theatre, which grew to about 650 in 2005; the number is currently over a thousand. Similarly, the number and the capability of its IRBMs has increased and the current accuracies of these longer range missiles are aimed at restricting US logistic and support capabilities in Japan and the Pacific . China's DF 21D has already generated more articles, especially in US naval circles, than any other single weapon in recent times, because of its puported ability to target US Carrier battle groups in the Asian Pacific. China's growing ICBM arsenal, too, makes the retaliatory capability against mainland US increasingly credible. China is acting logically and consistently to attain its strategic aims of preventing the  de jure independence of Taiwan, and building its might slowly to be able to challenge the US.


India has often been accused of lacking in strategic vision, and as many Indians believe, not entirely without reason. Although there has been a recent increase in the general discourse in matters concerning security and strategy, the amount of attention that the Indian polity devotes to these vital aspects needs to be far more than it is. India has identified its threats in general terms as emanating from the possession of nuclear weapons by both its neighbours and their active mutual collusion. It has accordingly embarked on a programme to be able to retaliate against an attack by China, though the progress is rather slow. To meet its perceived threats, India needs not large numbers, but adequate missies with the capabilty to cause unacceptable damage at a range of betwen four and five thousand kilometers. This perception has led naturally to the development of SRBM,s MRBMs, and as recently announced, the 5000-km range Agni. Ost of India's operational missiles are of short range, which might lead one to the conclusion that its main preoccupation is with Pakistan. However this must be looked at as being more due to the developmental process than an indicator of its strategic priorities. India's progress can be flagged by the steady increase in the ranges of its missiles, and the preponderance of SRBMs is only partially due to its perceived requirements. This proportion is likely to change as the longer range missiles are improved and their serial production gathers momentum. A major reason for India's missile inventory not yet reflecting its strategic imperatives is the narrow design and engineering base for military armament production. This is restricted to just one government organisation, which is responsible for the design and the development of short, medium, intermediate and long-range missiles, cruise missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles and missile defence. The planned Indian missile force architecture is rational and in line with strategic needs; but it is a few years behind the stage it could have been, because of inadequate human and material resource utilisation, and the private sector has still to be brought meaningfully into the design and production chain.


Pakistan's force planning is facilitated by its relatively uncomplicated strategic threat evaluation. Its single-point focus and the ease with which it has circumvented international laws to acquire its missile force enabled it to meet its basic strategic requirements in a very short time, and its acquisition of longer-range missiles has expanded and improved its capability.

In contrast to India, Pakistan's missile force is well matched with its needs. It has missiles of the ranges required and its medium-range missiles are ready to be operationalised. The development of its short and medium range missiles has progressed almost in parallel giving the overall system structure a balanced look. Simultaneously, Pakistan is developing (acquiring) land attack cruise missiles of both the ground and air-launched variety, and a sea-based version is reportedly planned. A major factor is that Pakistan's missiles were supplied wholesale by China and Korea, and even the production factories were built by them. Also, Pakistan seems to have had no economic problems as these supplies come under special financial arrangements with China, not to mention the generous aid given by the US for its war on terror and the clandestine financial support from several Arab states. Pakistan's missile forces closely match its strategic needs and it is currently engaged in expanding its cruise missiile capability.

Nuclear and Missile Forces


China's military strategy underwent a significant change after the 1991 Gulf War.

The lessons that the PLA drew were profound :

  • The pace of modern war demands long range offensive capability.
  • Missile defence is crucial to the outcome of the war.
  • Air power is central to the success of land and sea-based operations.
  • Information technology is no longer an adjunct but the most vital component of the military's operational and technical resources.

The PLA's modernisation drive was a direct outcome of the analysis of the Gulf War. At the centre of the modernisation was the development of long-range missiles as well as missile defence, air power, and information technology.[9]

Stokes and Eaton, in their just-published monograph "Evolving Aerospace Trends in the Asia-Pacific Region" emphasise that it is the organisation and structure of the force, rather than just numbers, which give it its relevance. Unlike in any other country, the centre-piece of China's deterrent is a force of nuclear armed missiles with a core of conventional ballistic missiles under the integrated command of the Second artillery. They sum up the thrust of China's aerospace strategy thus:

"Increasingly accurate conventional ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) will  suppress enemy air defense and create favourable conditions for subsequent conventional air operations. In a conflict they would be supported by electronic attack assets to reduce early warning and confuse enemy commanders. In addition, space-based, airborne, and ground-based sensors can facilitate command and control, and provide crucial strategic intelligence, theater awareness, targeting, and battle damage assessment information."

China's all round force modernisation is far more ambitious than is realised by many in all respects – in numbers, in variety, in quality and in strategic innovativeness. To cite Stokes and Eaton again, the Chinese approach to the Taiwan issue is an example of what other countries with whom China has historical territorial disputes might expect. In the case of Taiwan, China has adopted a posture of continuous and low level coercion, having established aerospace superiority and by displaying the capability to blockade and invade over water. To deal with the expected US sea-based intervention, China has publicised the capability of its DF 21-D missile with a payload of over 500 kgs and a range of over 2000 kms, with a CEP of just 50 meters. [10]

Main Features of China’s Missile Inventory. Details of China's missile force are given in Annexure1, Tables 1 and 2. The important features are:

a) Of a total estimated number of about 1300 missiles, about 1150 are SRBMs, for which there are about 150 nuclear warheads, the rest of the SRBMs being conventionally armed. Almost all the SRBMs are ranged on the coast to meet a Taiwan contingency.

b) The remaining inventory consists of about 90 MRBMs, 20 IRBMs, and 40 ICBMs with about 100+ nuclear warheads between them. It is asumed that all IRBMs and ICBMs would be nuclear armed.

c) China has built and acquired a large number of cruise missiles, including Land attack cruise missiles (LACMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) to cater for a confrontation with the US over Taiwan . Some of the cruise missiles are long range (2000 to 3000 kms) and are nuclear capable.

e) To maintain military as well as political pressure on Taiwan, China has deployed heavy concentrations of short and medium range missiles in the coastal region adjacent to the Taiwan Straits.

f) Missile bases in north-eastern, western, and southern China (Annexure 4) are equipped with MRBMs, IRBMs and LACMs that can target Japan and S. Korea, Russia and India respectively.

g) China has instituted a comprehensive modernisation of its missile forces, and wherever newer versions have or are being developed,it may be presumed that progressive replacement of the older version is being undertaken.

h) China still does not have an operational sea-based deterrent. The JL 2 SLBM is under development and will have to wait for the Jin class SSBN to complete sea trials before it can itself undergo submerged launch tests.


Pakistan began its nuclear programme soon after the disastrous Bangladesh war of 1971. and it has created a missile force which will reach practically the whole of India when operationalised. In the early stages American supplied F-16s were the primary delivery vehicles. Later Pakistan changed over to missiles as the main delivery system when the US applied sanctions under the Pressler amendment. With Pakistan now an ally of the US in the war against terror, F-16s are again being supplied (16 aircraft up to 2008), and the older aircraft have been taken up for re-furbishing in the US. However ballistic and cruise missiles remain the preferred choice as nuclear weapon delivery vehiclesas they have definite advantages, not the least of which is India's lack of an operational missile defence capability.

Pakistan's acquisition of missiles began in the mid-to-late eighties. It has been supplied a range of solid-fuelled SRBMs by China. North Korea, too, has provided Pakistan with liquid-fuelled missiles, reportedly in exchange for uranium enrichment technology. During the mid-1990s a complete missile manufacturing plant was transferred to Pakistan by China, and "Chinese assistance most likely encompassed equipment and technology transfers in the areas of solid-fuel propellants, manufacture of airframes, re-entry thermal protection materials, post-boost vehicles, guidance and control, missile computers, integration of warheads, and the manufacture of transporter-erector launchers (TELs) for the missiles." [11]

China's assistance continued and even accelerated after the 1998 nuclear tests. It now nominally observes the MTCR guidelines, but makes important exceptions such as excluding cruise missiles and not counting supply of weapons in a dismantled state, that enable it to continue business as usual with Pakistan.

Main Features of Pakistan’s Missile Inventory. Details of Pakistan's missile force are at Annexure 2, Table3 and 4. Its main features are:

  • Its missile inventory is estimated to consist of about 85 HATF 3 (Ghaznavi) SRBMs of 280 km range, about 40 HATF 4 missiles of about 800 kms range, and about 10- 15 HATF 5 (NODONG) MRBMs with a 1000-km range.
  • The Babur is a ground-launched land attack cruise missile (LACM), probably the Chinese DF 10, which itself is a derivative of the US Tomahawk.[12]
  • An air-launched cruise missile, the Hatf 8 has been test-launched from a Mirage aircraft. The Hatf 8 ("Ra'ad") reportedly has a range of about 350 kms. The air-launched version of the Babur is also planned to be developed.
  • While as far as is known Pakistan does not have plans for a sea-based ballistic missile deterrent, it plans to develop a submarine-launched version of the Babur missile subsequently, to give it a sea-based deterrent in the form of an SLCM.
  • Pakistan's missiles are all of Chinese or Korean origin and design, and it is still heavily dependent on China and DPRK for missile technology and hardware.
  • The Ghaznavi (M11) and Shaheen (probably M9) both SRBMs, are believed to be operational.
  • The Shaheen II (MRBM) development is complete and induction and service trials may soon commence. Ghauri II (MRBM) development may be completed soon. Ghauri III (IRBM) is still estimated to be about five years further away.

The current Pakistan inventory when fully operational will have ground, air and submarine-launched components ( the latter two being purely cruise missile equipped) with sufficient reach to strike any point in India.


After the Chinese border attack in 1962 and the nuclear test by China in 1964 India began work on nuclear explosive devices. This culminated in its "peaceful nuclear explosion" in 1974. After this bold step India relapsed into inactivity for no known reason. About India's confused and indecisive approach to matters nuclear, the late Indian Army Chief General Sundarji, sardonically wrote: "Between the mid-seventies and the mid-eighties India's decision-making in this regard appears to have enjoyed something halfway between a drugged sleep and a deep post-prandial slumber". In the eighties Indian intelligence finally became aware of Pakistan's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons from China and after oblique threats by Pakistan during the Brasstacks crisis in 1982, the Indian government seemed to have been shaken into wakefulness and reviewed its options for weaponisation. In 1983 Dr. Abdul Kalam, the head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was tasked to develop two types of strategic ballistic missiles and three types of battlefield tactical missiles. ( an anti-tank missile and two anti-aircraft missiles, one short-range and one medium-range.)

The programme, called the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme made progress in the next decade, and produced the 150 km SRBM Prithvi ("Earth") and the 1500 Km range IRBM Agni ("Fire"). The latter was particularly important as it proved India's "re-entry vehicle" technology and formed the basis for longer-range Agni's of 2000, 3000 kms as well as the 5000 km range Agni which is to be developed. A supersonic cruise missile BrahMos has been produced by Russia and India in a joint venture. The missile, with a range of 750 kms, will have all three variants (ground/air/sea launched) and is expected to enter operational service with the army and Air Force in the near future. The naval version is still to be developed. In the last ten years India has made visible progress in ship and submarine-launched missiles and currently a 1000-km cruise missile ("Nirbhay")is also under development.[13]

Main Features of India's Missile Inventory. Details of India's missile force are at Annexure 3, Tables 5 and 6. The main features are:

  • Over time India has achieved a certain degree of invulnerability to technology denial.
  • The latest test of the Agni III specifically to test its range capability of 3500 kms was successfully carried out on 08 Feb 2010. The missile is soon to be delivered to the Army.
  • Russia is collaborating with India for production of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.
  • There are reports that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has development of the Agni IV IRBM, and is going ahead directly with the Agni V with a range of over 5000 kms. [14]
  • The development of a cruise missile "Nirbhay" with a range of 1000 kms is also reported to be in progress.

South Asia and Missile Defence

The strategic implications of missile defence in relation to the stability of nuclear deterrence was a major issue of contention between the two super-powers during the Cold War, till the signing of the Anti-Missile Defence (AMD) Treaty in 1972. The US withdrew unilaterally from the Treaty in 2001 causing great unease and criticism in Russia and China.

The main argument put forward in favour of missile defence is that if all countries have effective missile defence, the value of offensive nuclear weapons would be greatly diminished and this would pave the way for disarmament. Another argument made was that deterrence does not work with states with irrational leaders, and their potential adversaries cannot remain defenceless.

The opponents of missile defence point out that the immediate reaction will be for the nuclear- armed countries without AMD capability to increase their stockpiles in an effort to restore nuclear parity. Not only will the number of missiles in the total global arsenal increase, but tactics will now veer towards saturation attacks which will present a far greater threat.[15] Russia and China strongly oppose missile defence as they consider it is a means for the USA to gain and maintain nuclear superiority, which is antithetical to nuclear stability.

There is apparent logic in the arguments of both sides, and even in the US the support for missile defence as a strategy is far from universal. The US has taken the crucial step and  changed its nuclear strategy to include nuclear defence as one leg of the new "strategic triad". While announcing its plans for implementation of the new strategy, the US also simultaneously announced a unilateral reduction in its missile strength, thus dampening the validity of the argument about arms escalation.

The risk as far as South Asia is concerned is that China has already started increasing the number of deployable warheads by making its missiles MIRV-capable. There is apprehension that this can cause arsenal escalation by India, then in response to India, by Pakistan.[16]

The conclusion that can be drawn is not surprising: missile defence adds to the effectiveness of a country's nuclear deterrent; it is supported by states that possess or have access to the requisite technology and resources, and opposed by states that have lesser capability in these aspects. But one thing is fairly unarguable – missile defence is not a purely defensive capability, as it enhances the possessor's aggressive potential as well.

Missile Defence Policies and Capabilities


When the US decided to withdraw from the ABM Treaty and embark on developing a national missile defence system China was critical of the step for the same reasons as Russia was. But the level of protest rose sharply when the Nuclear Posture Review of the Bush Administration formally included nuclear defence in US strategy as one leg of the new strategic triad. China denounced it as a retrograde measure that would increase the risk of nuclear war. There were vague rumblings that its cooperation with the US on issues such as the NPT, MTCR and FMCT would be reviewed. China's apprehension would obviously be  that its small arsenal could be neutralised and leave it completely defenceless against the US.[17]

AMD Capability. In comparison with India, China has a head start in missile defence technology. According to an article in the website "SinoDefence .com" as early as in 1963 Mao had ordered the creation of a strategic force capable of both offence and defence[18]. A directive was issued to commence "Project 640", as it was called in 1964, and infrastucture was built in about five years for the design and development of anti-ballistic missile missiles. Considerable work was done on mono-pulse and phase-array radars and a network of early warning ground radar stations was established. The signing of the ABM Treaty by The USA and the USSR diluted the urgency of this project , and it was finally cancelled in 1980 by Deng Hsiao Ping. The radar network was converted to serve the growing space programme.

China later re-energised its missile defence programme, probably when the US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2001. In 2004 it purchased 120 S-300P interceptor missile systems (NATO designation SA-10) from Russia and soon produced its own versions, the HQ10 and HQ 15 systems, as well as the HQ9 system which is thought to have borrowed Patriot technology.

On 12th January this year China carried out a successful high-altitude interception of a ground launched missile within its own territory. Analysts differ on the type of missile that was fired, but it was probably an HQ9 missile (based on the DF21 series) with kinetic kill capability. All indications therefore are that China is pursuing the creation of an offensive-defensive strategic capability vigorously and has capabilities across the spectrum to attack missiles in the cruise phase to the terminal defence.China has historically been dependent on the USSR (and now Russia) for periodic injections of new technology, which it then internalises and is able to develop and mass-produce the end product on the acquired technology base. To accelerate the creation of its AMD base which now appears to have become an urgent aim, China may well resort to more assistance from Russia for technological upgrades rather than depend entirely on its own R&D. China appears to have responded to the US' AMD strategy by a surge in the national effort to build a modern missile defence capability, rather than just resorting to increasing its missile arsenal.


Predictably, Pakistan has followed China's cue and opposes AMD. There are good reasons for this response. Firstly, regardless of its being on the American side in the war on terror Pakistan is China's strategic ally, and it is inconceivable that it would take a contrary position on such a major issue. Secondly, and this would be an over-riding consideration,  Pakistan considers its nuclear arsenal the equaliser in its military balance against India, and it is only to be expected that it would seek to oppose any move to change the nuclear relativities.

AMD Capability. Pakistan has made no moves towards developing a missile defence system. It is already heavily dependent on financial support which the US provides for the war against terror, and the economic burden of research, development, acquisition and maintenance of an AMD system is not an option in its current state. It would have to depend on China for the acquisition of one, which China itself is in the early stages of developing. it is much more likely to wait for China to transfer the systems to it in the fullness of time. In the meanwhile, it continues to condemn missile defence development efforts by India.


After some initial reservations India supported the US AMD strategy when the US announced its proposed Theater Missile Defence plans simultaneous with significant missile cuts. In the Indian perception the US NMD policy represented a shift of emphasis to defensive deterrence, which is more in tune with India's political preferences. From India's point of view the TMD strategy not only made it possible to avoid or at least reduce the enormous expense involved in building a large arsenal of IRBMs and ICBMs; it also jelled with the two major precepts of its own promulgated nuclear doctrine: no first use and a credible minimum deterrent. India's stance on the AMD policy was not without its benefits. The Bush administration cleared the Israeli Green Pine radar system for sale to India, and also entered into talks with India on cooperation in missile defence. An agreement entitled a "New Framework For The U.S.-India Defense Relationship" was signed by Secretary for Defense Rumsfeld and the India Defence Minister Pranob Mukherjee on 28 June 2005, which specifically mentions a committment to collaborate in missile defence.[19] Though the agreement was signed five years ago, there is thus far no tangible evidence of any collaboration in this field which may be due to Pakistan's objections made to the US. There are several published reports about India's efforts to develop an anti-missile missile and from current indications it is clear that India has decided to build its own missile defence capability. How extensive the coverage will be is an open question.

AMD Capability. While India has had plans to develop a missile defence system for some time, progress has only been seen in the last few years. The first test was an exo-atmospheric interception at an altitude of 48 kms in November 2006, followed by an endo-atmospheric launch in December 2008 at an altitude of 15 kms. In March 2009 a third successful interception was carried out, reportedly at a much greater altitude than the March 2006 test. [20]  A fourth test launch conducted in March this year failed due to one of the missiles veering from its course. According to news reports the test will be conducted again in June.[21]

The early warning and tracking radars which comprise other vital part of the missile defence system were acquired from Israel. Three "Green Pine" systems have been purchased and the missile that complements it is still under development. The Arrow 2 missile which was part of the original system was not cleared by the US as it falls in Category I of the MTCR.  A compatible missile will have to be acquired or developed from within existing Indian designs. India has the developmental capability but in the available time frame it is likely that while continuing with its developmental efforts it will seek  assistance in specific technology areas.

India has thus embarked on a comprehensive missile defence programme to cover all stages of an incoming missile's trajectory, but it will probably be some years yet before India can field an operational missile defence system.

Existing and Potential missile competitions

The missile competitions and rivalries amongst India, China and Pakistan are complex : each country’s missile force architecture is based on its own threat perception and world view. China has global aspirations and the USA is its main rival and potential adversary. If China builds a capability sufficient for its objectives against the US, then that capability will also be sufficient for it to deal with its lesser threats. China does not compete with India directly; it does this obliquely, by regulating the flow of strategic arms and material to Pakistan.

India’s ambitions are less grandiose and are limited to maintaining an adequate defence capability against its hostile northern and western neighbours. The threat posed by China is the main driver  that determines India's missile force architecture. An area of doubt is the quantitative interpretation of its aim of a credible minimum deterrent.

Pakistan’s view is focused on India’s capability, and it aspires to build-up its missile force to equal India's. As India seeks to balance its capability with China, Pakistan perceives an imbalance in relation to India, and acts to rectify it. China and Pakistan are allied against India for strategic if not military purposes; this unusual triangle is not a stable one, with two sides pitted against the third.

The Federation of American Scientists in its "Status of World's Nuclear Forces" for 2010  (Annexure 5) estimates that China possesses about 240 warheads, India 60-80, and Pakistan 70-90.[22] The number of warheads in Pakistan's arsenal has overtaken India's.

With the commissioning of two new reactors at the Chinese-built facility at Khushab Pakistan's plutonium production capacity is expected to rise five-fold. The motivation could be threefold: to produce a large number of compact warheads which would be need for the new long-range cruise missiles, to build new warheads for extensive deployment as battlefield weapons or to build up a stockpile of fissile materials so that it can subsequently aquiesce to joining the FMCT.  This combination of factors poses the very real danger of escalating stockpiles beyond the requirements commensurate with its nuclear  doctrine which is yet to be formally declared.

Missile competiton in South Asia   is worrisome because conditions are so different that harking back to history is of little benefit. The only precedent we have to go by is the USA-USSR one, and that is not wholly relevant for a number of reasons. Firstly, the two Cold War adversaries were continents apart, and that eliminated the risk caused by daily confrontations, stressed personnel and local over-reactions. Also, the rivals in that case were seasoned "Cold Warriors", with a sophisticated set of rules and layered formal and informal communication to reduce the possibility of mistaken launches. And lastly, the technology in the Indo-Pakistan case is rudimentary, without multilayered fail-safe overrides.

Sino-Indian Context

The nuclear situation between India and China is presently a stable one, with neither side given to exaggerated responses or threatening postures with each other. The dialogue between these two countries is more balanced and notwithstanding the occasional unfriendly and even hostile rhetoric, exchanges between the two countries continue at the highest political level. The risk of an unauthorised or inadvertent nuclear flare-up between India and China is therefore a remote one for the time being. But it has been the Indian experience that Sino-Indian relations have their peaks and troughs, completely dictated by Chinese tactical perceptions. At times the Chinese adopt a reasonable attitude and suggest waiting for a "wiser generation", at others they raise the tempo of their rhetoric in their government media. Chinese continuity and tenacity of purpose is proverbial, compared to other states. As Stokes and Eaton have commented, China might well turn to Japan or India after having settled the Taiwan issue.[23]

The problem in the Sino-Indian context is somewhat different - it lies in the huge disparity between the force levels of the two sides., which raises the question whether India will be sucked into an arms race.

A reference to Annexure 3, Table5 will show that India has an estimated total of 150 missiles of which about 130 are SRBMs of range 350 kms and below. The Agni series of missiles is under production only in the shorter range (Agni II MRBM) version as the IRBMs (Agni III and Agni V) are still under development.

In comparison, China (Annexure 1, Table1) has over 1100 SRBMs, about 90 MRBMs, 20 IRBMs, and about 40 ICBMs. While the numerical superiority alone is vast ( about 1300 to 150), the adverse ratio (for India) in the number of missiles that each can bring to bear on the other's targets is much more pronounced, as Indian missiles that can reach Chinese targets are very few at present and even these cannot reach the value targets in the Chinese north-east and east. In contrast (Annexure 4,China - Missile Deployment) , China has the DF 3 and 4 IRBMs and DF 21 MRBMs bases located in the Qinghai province of Tibet (distance to Delhi approximately 2500 kms), and the same missiles together with DF 5 ICBMs in Yunnan Province in Southern China, which is also approximately the same distance.

In short, there can be no comparison between the ballistic missile forces between the two. India has therefore taken the pragmatic approach that it cannot and will not seek parity with China, and that its nuclear force levels will be built up only to the extent that its "minimum credible deterrent" doctrine requires. India has declined to specify a numerical ceiling as this would obviously be related to the China's force structure, albeit at a lower level. But the fact that parity is not an objective has been stated at fairly high official levels.[24] If  India were to attempt parity with China, it would set in train an arms race that would be disastrous to it from every point of view. But with the Indian economy buoyant after decades of stagnation and the stated government target of a GDP growth in double digits, it is certain that no Indian Government will sacrifice the prospect of economic progress in a futile pursuit of arms parity with China. Thus the balance of offensive ballistic missiles is likely to be retained at some notional ratio of sufficiency, which figure would obviously not be in the public domain.

As stated above, the current situation appears stable and there is no looming arms race between India and China on the horizon , mainly because of India's limited objectives. But there is the uneasy prospect of the border dispute being raised at some point in the future at a time of China's choosing, which will involve the kind of military and nuclear coercion that Taiwan is experiencing today. If that situation arises India will have three options: to degrade China's offensive capability by enhancing its own air and missile defence capability , to increase its own offensive capability, and to negotiate a voluntary reduction of arsenals on both sides before matters reach a crisis point. The first option involves the creation of an wide area or several local missile shields and also the building up of a huge conventional military force. The second will result in the arms race that India seeks to avoid at all costs, and so there appears to be only one viable option – to reach agreement on missile limits.

A Global INF?

Such limits could be quantitative, as in SALT and SORT, or qualitative restraints as in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Elimination (INF) Treaty.

The INF Treaty served to give momentum to the considerable progress that has been made in arms reduction.  Like every good treaty, it left all parties a little dissatisfied, but with much to be content with. The Soviets were able to achieve the virtual elimination of nuclear missile-borne weapons from Europe. The Europeans were happy because now they were not under threat from Soviet IRBMs, especially the SS-20 missiles. The British were relieved that Ground Launched Cruise missiles (GLCMs) were not going to stationed in the UK. And the US was pleased to have reduced the USSR's arsenal by 1800-odd warheads against about 850 of theirs, and roll back the highly accurate MIRV SS-20 missiles at the same time. But now the Russians have repeatedly said that they do not believe that the INF Treaty is relevant any more, as it was signed in a different era with Europe divided into the Warsaw Pact and NATO. Now some Eastern Bloc countries have been enrolled in NATO, and Russia needs IRBMs, probably to be able to deploy them as a counter to Chinese missiles deployed aginst them. Russia is pressing for the globalisation of the INF, and have expressed their intention to withdraw from the Treaty as it is entitled to do if its national interests are threatened.[25] If a global INF were to come into being it would mean that the embargo on missiles between 500 and 5500 km range would apply to Britain, France and China as well. It would make no difference to Britain and France, who do not have any land-based missiles. But it applies in a big way to China, as in its present form the INF criteria would eliminate all but a handful of China's missiles. Clearly any scheme modelled on the INF would have to be specially tailored to make even a beginning with China. China's s threat perceptions cover the total range spectrum from short ( Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan) to medium and intermediate (Russia, India and Japan) to Intercontinental ( US, Europe). In fact, the specified intermediate range of 5500 kms would mean that India and China would practically be in the "proscribed zone" from each other, and the shorter range proscription (<500 kms) would make India and Pakistan weaponless against each other except for short-range SRBMs, which as is being argued in this paper later, is the category which needs to be eliminated. So there do not appear to be grounds for optimism about successfully devising range-based missile elimination criteria that will meet the security needs of the South Asian countries.

Missile Defence Competition

As far as a balance in the defensive missile force levels is concerned one can surmise that here too there will be a restrained approach. The same governing factors apply – China's nuclear perceptions are not predicated on Indian actions and policies, as its threat perceptions are entirely focussed on the US. This would probably result in China concentrating effort on building an extensive missile shield over its vital nuclear assets to keep its retaliatory capability intact. As India cannot afford to indulge in an arms race, the same philosophy of sufficiency rather than parity will be the guide. Current Indian efforts to establish a missile defence cannot raise a shield over the entire country, and it is likely that the objective of missile defence may have to be concentrated on survival of the country's strategic leadership and retaliation capability – an approach very similar to China's vis-a-vis the US.

Consequently missile defence development by both sides may not change the equation very much,  with missile defences providing an added element of confidence in an assured retaliatory capability, rather than immunity from a strike.

India-Pakistan Context.

The dangerous competition in the sub-continental context is the deployment of SRBMs by both sides. SRBMs being of shorter range would necessarily have to be forward-deployed away from the direct supervision and control of higher political and military leaders. Pakistan's doctrine, which is not formally promulgated but surmised by gleaning statements from military and civilian sources does envisage the use of nuclear weapons in a conventional scenario. Stemming from this, it is unlikely that Pakistan will resort to a first strike "out of the blue". It envisages use of nuclear weapons as the decisive extension of the conventional battle, if going unfavourably from its point of view. In other words, risk is heightened when hostilities have broken out or are imminent.

Short-range ballistic missiles, whether nuclear or conventionally warheaded if used to complement conventional forces will be a major source of risk, as they may be used in the heat of battle. There is no way of distinguishing between an incoming conventionally tipped SRBM and a nuclear one. Any incoming ballistic missile will therefore be assumed to be a nuclear strike, and the defender will act accordingly, starting off a nuclear exchange.

Thus the biggest risk in the India-Pakistan context is an accidental, mistaken or unauthorised missile launch, or the evaluation of an incoming conventional missile as a nuclear attack or the precursor of one.

Risk Factors in Indo-Pak Context

a) Deployment and Delegation. With a long common border and its geographic characteristics Pakistan may choose to disperse its missiles widely, and the operational preference would be for delegative rather than assertive control. Pakistani statements emphasise that their nuclear weapons are their great equaliser and that they will be brought into use in a critical situation. Over time this military teaching can erode the inhibitive element and condition the authorised commander to err on the side of aggression.

b) Cross-border Infiltration and Artillery Fire. Indian and Pakistani troops are closely deployed across the line of control and there are frequent cross-border firings (usually to cover the injection of infiltrators). This adds to the stress levels of personnel and flash points are lowered. In a frequently crisis-ridden scenario this increases the danger of an accidental or maverick launch.

d) Exploitation of Militants and Irregulars. From the very inception of the state, Pakistan has resorted to the exploitation of non-state militants to conduct deniable military operations. On occasions military personnel have conducted attacks disguised as irregulars. This is well-known and documented, and was clearly exposed during the Kargil war when so-called Mujahideen were found to be soldiers without uniforms.[26] While not directly a missile-related risk, such incidents are a potential trigger to the outbreak of hostilities which could escalate into missile and nuclear exchanges.

e) Recourse to Tactical Nuclear Weapons. The frequent statements by Pakistan about the need for nuclear weapons to balance India's conventional strength give rise to the belief that battlefield nuclear weapons may be part of the Pakistani warfighting strategy. This would considerably lower threshholds and vitiate all other nuclear restraint measures. Recourse to the use of tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons will inevitably lead to nuclear escalation and there would be a serious risk of a full scale nuclear exchange.

f) Ambiguity as Doctrine. Some Pakistani experts propagate the notion that ambiguity is a part of deterrence. They have also said that nuclear weapons may be used if certain red lines which are not officially specified are crossed. This is a dangerous policy: in the nuclear context while clarity enhances deterrence, ambiguity makes risks more acute and should be eliminated.

Risk Reduction Measures – India and Pakistan

Both India and Pakistan have shown awareness of the ever-present danger of war between them. Since 1949, a number of measures have been instituted to lessen the risk of a border incident escalating to war. There are a number of confidence building measures that are in force, and range across a wide spectrum of subjects from avoidance of attacks on each others' nuclear facilities to advance notification of military exercises and also of missile launches. But there is acceptance on both sides that the observance has been somewhat less than meticulous.[27] The surest way to mitigate the risk of nuclear exchange is obviously to address the issue of the risk of war, at which many of these CBMs are aimed. But taking the situation as it is, one approach could be to focus only on those aspects that are missile-related.

Eliminating SRBMs. A major step forward could be the elimination of SRBMs. As has been argued, the very first detection of a ballistic missile launch, even conventionally tipped, will initiate an unintended nuclear exchange. It is this writer's view that they complicate an existing situation, and have no flexibility or graduated response capability that is so essential in the control of a nuclear situation. Their elimination by both sides will considerably reduce the risks.

Eliminate Tactical Nuclear Weapons. Tactical nuclear weapons, including nuclear mines and other static nuclear explosive devices must be defined, eliminated if existing, and proscribed. The countries must come to an agreement that such weapons will not be made or used.

Revisit the "Third Way"

George Perkovich, in an article titled "A Nuclear Third Way in South Asia" in 1993 had proposed a roll back to a state of non-weaponised deterrence.[28] Much water has flowed down the Ganga and the Indus since then, and many of the proposed measures are no longer possible. Weaponisation has occurred, ballistic missiles have been developed and deployed, and the sub-continent is witnessing the development of anti-missile defence systems. But it may be worth while to revisit this subject. At that time the article had suggested that preparation of missiles could be kept limited to a defined level. Missiles in peacetime are kept in storage separate from their warheads and the missile airframes themselves are not ready for immediate launch. The launch of a missile from its cold dissembled state requires several steps: The warheads and missiles have to be separately prepared, missiles fuelled , then they are brought together to be mated at the launch site and , then loaded on the delivery system (the launcher or aircraft) and subjected to checks before and after each stage. If agreement can be reached to pre-define a stage beyond which the missiles will not be prepared it would eliminate much of any risk in normal times. Further, thought can be given to the introduction of time buffers so that the entire process is deliberate and there is possibility of recall at each stage.

Once this is agreed the question of verification can be discussed. Perhaps a separate communication channel for missile warnings can be manned or activated when needed.

Need to work towards Agreement on Crucial Principles. Concerted efforts are required to reach agreement on the principles that deterrence need not be "warhead for warhead" and that assymetrical deterrence is a valid concept in the modern age. This can be a first step towards agreeing on ratios between nuclear forces of the countries concerned. It is relevant here that any discourse on this aspect must recognise that the China-India-Pakistan equation does not stand in isolation, and must be viewed as part of the global nuclear balance.


Countries of the sub-continent, for better or for worse, have acquired nuclear weapon capability. This is the reality, and management of nuclear risk must proceed from this datum. Internal political stability is crucial to reach a level of mutual confidence. At present both countries have their hands full with internal armed insurgence. In Pakistan, the threat of nuclear missiles being forcibly taken by enemies of the state cannot be disregarded notwithstanding the conciliatory statements in this regard from US and Pakistani sources.

A major requirement is the cessation of all cross-border terrorist activity, which is aided and abetted by Pakistan. India has suffered seven heinous attacks from across the border in the last eight years, and another repetition of such an incident may have an unpredictable response.

Transparency and clarity are the cornerstones of nuclear stability, and policies of studied ambiguity are highly risk-prone. China is playing a partisan game in South Asia, and must be involved in efforts to manage and ameliorate the critical situation in the sub-continent.

Despite enormous odds, India and Pakistan are still engaged in dialogue at  the top levels of Government. These effort lend hope and must persist if the grave risk of nuclear conflict is to be avoided.


Annexure 1







S. No

TYPE.[NATO desig]








DF-15/ M-9
[CSS-6/ CSST-600]


600 km
950 kg

50-350 KT

600 m

M-9 is export version
with GPS


DF-11/ M-11


300 km
800 kg

 50-350 KT

150 m

 M-11 is export version
with GPS





3000 km
2150 kg

3.3 MT




DF-21 /21A
[ Mod 1 & 2]


2100 km
200-300 kg

200-300 KT


Same missile as JL-1 SLBM





2200 kg








13000+ km

4-5 MT


 DF-5A longer range, mobile, replacing DF-5.




7200+ km
?? kg

 100-200 KT

0.5 km

 Land-mobile; same missile as JL -2 SLBM; to replace the DF-4.
MRV/MIRV capability possible in future




11200+ km
? kg

Single nuclear
warhead, yield

0.7-0.8 km

Incorporates decoys as anti-AMD measure

9 JL-1
12 1770+ km
200-300 KT 1.0 km Sea-based version of the DF-21/21A
10 JL-2
0 7200 km
200-300 kg?
200-300 KT.
Possibly future MRV/MIRV
  Under development; first credible sea-based nuclear strike capability once operational


DF: Dong Feng (East Wind)
JL: Julang (Great Wave)
CSS: Chinese Surface-to-Surface
CSS-N: Chinese Surface-to-Surface Naval
CSST: Chinese Surface-to-Surface Tactical
*Under development








Kh-55 / AS-15 (KENT)

3000 kms




HN-2 (G/SLCM)*

600 km
1500-2000 km

300-400 kgs;
90 kT

300 (?)



1500-2000 km

500 kg



YJ - 63





























  • Conversion to nuclear warhead possible

Annexure 2










HATF – 1/ 1A /












HATF -3/








600 - 800














































Annexure 3



Name/ Alt.

Missile/ Propulsion

 War- heads




SRBMS (150?)






Prithvi I/SS150

Ballistic/ Liquid fuel

Conv/ Nuc

1,000 kg

150 km


Prithvi-II / SS-250

Ballistic/ Liquid fuel

Conv/ Nuc

500 kg

250 km


Dhanush/Prithvi-III/ SS-350

Ballistic/ Liquid fuel

Conv/ Nuc


350 km



Ballistic/ Solid fuel


1,000 kg

700- 800 km



Ballistic/Solid/ Canisterised

Conv/ Nuc

> 500 kg

600 km








Agni- (TD)

Ballistic/ 2 Stage Hybrid Engine


1,000 kg

1,200- 1,500 km



Ballistic/ Solid fuel


1,000 kg

2,000- 2,500 km


IRBMs (10)







Ballistic/ Solid fuel



3,500- 4,000 km



Ballistic/ Solid fuel



5,000 km








*K-15 (Sagarika)

2 Stage SLBM

Conv/ Nuc

600 kg

700 km



Name/ Alt.

Missile/ Propulsion

 War- heads




BrahMos/ PJ10

Ballistic/ 2 Stage Hybrid Engine


200- 300 kg

280- 300km/ SH/SM/GRD/AIR



Cruise/Multiple platforms



1,000 km


Annexure 4



Annexure 5

Table 7






Total Inventory






United States















United Kingdom




















North Korea











[1] In this paper China is included in the term South Asia because of its close proximity and involvement in the security issues of the region.

[2] "Pakistan: Mujib's Secret Trial"; TIME magazine, 23 Aug 1971. "Yahya and Co. feared that Mujib's ascendancy would mean far greater autonomy for the long-exploited East Pakistanis, and the Pakistani army ruthlessly moved to crush the Bengali movement." From the TIME magazine archives at:,9171,877251,00.html  

[3] "East Pakistan: Even the Skies Weep": TIME magazine,25 Oct 1971. "It is now officially estimated that refugees will swell to 12 million by the end of the year. The cost to the Indian government for the fiscal year ending next March 31 may run as high as $830 million."

[4] From the TIME magazine archives at:,9171,877316-3,00.html

[5] China in Pakistan", Megha Bahree. Forbes Magazine 07 Feb 2009. [6] "Missiles in Tibet" - Claude Arpi Indian Defence Review 23.3 Jul-Sep 2008

[7] "A Brief History of Pakistan's Nuclear Program". Federation of American Scientists website:

[8] (Musharraf's) "Visit to China". Daily Times (Lahore), Nov 03, 2003

[9] "China is threat No.1, says Fernandes"Hindustan Times, New Delhi May 3 1998

The Armed Forces of China, Author :You E. Ji,  Allen& Unwin, St. Leonards, N.S.W. 1999. p.11.

[10] Evolving Aerospace Trends in the Asia-Pacific Region – Implications for Stability in the Taiwan Straits and Beyond": Mark A. Stokes and Ian Easton; The Project 2049 Institute. May 27 2010. _stokes_easton.pdf

[11] Nuclear Threat Initiative:(NTI) website -Country profiles- Pakistan- Missile Overview.

[12] Ibid.

[13] "Indian nuclear forces, 2008", Robert S.Norris and Hans M. Kristensen Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 64, Number 5, November/December 2008.

[14] "Agni-V ICBM test in a year, says DRDO", Deccan Chronicle on the Web. February 11th, 2010 "New Delhi, Feb. 10: India will conduct its first test of the over-5,000 km range Agni-V missile within a year’s time, top Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said on Wednesday. The DRDO director- general, Dr. V.K. Saraswat, said that the Agni-V missile is "out of the drawing board’ and that "testing and evaluation of sub-systems’ of the missile is currently on."

[15] "Ballistic Missile Defence in the 21st Century" E-International Relations: Oliver Jones, Mar 13 201.

[16] Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament: "Why CND is opposed to Missile Defence".

[17] Dr Dingli Shen, FudanUniversity, China , "A Chinese Perspective on National Missile Defense" Institute for Evironmental and Energy Research,

[18] "Project 640: China's National Missile Defence in the '70s".

[19] "New Framework For The U.S.-India Defense Relationship". Document Signed by US Secy Rumsfeld and Indian Minister Mukherjee. 28 Jun 2005. Military Education Research Library Network (MERLN) NDU.

[20] "Frontline", Vol.26, Issue 7. "Hat-Trick of Hits", TS Subramaniam, March 26 2010.

[21] "India to Re-test Ballistic Missile Defence Shield," Thaindia News, April 11, 2010, at

[22] Status of World Nuclear Forces 2010. Federation of American Scientists' website

[23] Evolving Aerospace Trends in the Asia-Pacific Region – Implications for Stability in the Taiwan Straits and Beyond": Mark A. Stokes and Ian Easton; The Project 2049 Institute. May 27 2010. _stokes_easton.pdf

[24] "India’s Nuclear Posture After Pokhran II", International Studies (New Delhi), vol. 37, no 4 (Oct-Dec 2000): Kanti Bajpai, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, citing George Perkovich, India’s Nuclear Bomb: The Impact on Global Proliferation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), p. 440 cites a "BJP official" as saying, "We do not seek parity with China; we don’t have the resources, and we don’t have the will. What we are seeking is a minimum deterrent." The remark may have been made by Brajesh Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister (and later, National Security Advisor). See C. Raja Mohan’s reference to a similar statement, which he attributes to Mishra, in his article, "Sino-Indian Nuclear Talks Vital," The Hindu, November 3, 1998.

[25] Nuclear Threat Initiative Website. INF TREATY developments - 2010: "There (have )...been continuing concerns in Russia that if no other countries join the Treaty, it may no longer prove useful. On 17 February, a diplomatic-military source in Moscow said that "Russia and the USA are planning to go back to the issue of prospects for keeping or revoking the INF treaty after a new START Treaty has been signed."

[26] Counterinsurgency in Pakistan , Seth C Jones and C. Christine Fair, Rand National Security Division. Published by the Rand Corporation 2010. In Chapter 2 of this Rand- funded monograph published in May 2010, the authors give details of Pakistan's use of Mujahideens, militants and irregulars to further its "foreign Policy objectives" in Kashmir.

[27] A discussion on current CBMs is included in "The Indo-Pakistani Nuclear Confrontation: Lessons from the Past, Contingencies for the Future",Neil Joecke, auth, in "Pakistan's Nuclear Future: Reining in the Risk", Henry Sokolski, Ed; Strategic Studies Institute,Dec 2009, ISBN 1-58487-422-8

[28] A Nuclear Third Way in South Asia. George Perkovich - author. "Foreign Policy". Issue 91. Publication Date: Summer 1993. Page 85. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

[29] Nuclear Threat Initiative(NTI) website China Profile – "China's Ballistic missile inventory".

[30] Nuclear Threat Initiative:(NTI) website -Country profiles - Pakistan- Missile Overview.

[31] James Martin Centre for Non-Proliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA, Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) website India Profile – "Table of Indian Ballistic and Cruise Missiles".

[32] "Status of World Nuclear Forces 2010". Federation of American Scientists' website:

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