by Ayush

1974 under the leadership of Indira Gandhi India conducted its first nuclear test, government claimed it to be a peaceful nuclear explosion, the day was of Buddha Purnima, and it was said that the “Buddha is Smiling”. Later in the century in 1998 India conducted a series of underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range, declaring itself a nuclear power.

Since the inception of the bomb it’s technology has advanced, and the delivery methods have seen innovation from airstrike to Submarine launched ballistic missiles. The recent test conducted by China involved a hypersonic missile. Alarm bells rang in Washington as they were caught unaware about the Chinese technological prowess in connection to hypersonic missile technology. USA tried to conduct its own hypersonic missile test but the rocket on which the missile was mounted malfunctioned sending shock waves among the strategic community in the US. The US idea of impregnable defences is now being challenged after a long time.

China-Pakistan Nexus

A.Q Khan the father of Pakistani nuclear program, a world class nuclear proliferator left a case study with his death about how a rouge nation with low moral value and highly radical religious belief can become a threat to humanity. The nuclear proliferation during AQ Khan’s tenure in Pakistan also raises serious questions about the deliberate ignorance of CIA.

Once China masters this technology the possibility of a covert transfer of hypersonic missile technology to Pakistan can not be ignored and if Pakistan gets hypersonic missiles, it can blackmail India even further altering the threat matrix and India’s defence preparedness altogether.

Pakistan – Taliban Nexus

Taliban which is one of the most radical Islamist terror outfit in the world has come to power in Afghanistan, while the Taliban fights as one unit but it is constituted of several different fighting factions. These factions have substantial internal rift which sometimes turn into friction which often result in violence. Even if India maintains friendly relations with the Taliban regime it cannot guarantee that Taliban fighters will not launch attacks on India. The recent bombing in a Shia Mosque in Kandahar was claimed by ISIS-K. Taliban wants the world to believe that ISIS-K is a separate terrorist outfit, but it cannot be assured that none of the Talibs have joined ranks of ISIS-K.

It’s no secret that Pakistani military and ISI has philandering relations with these terrorists, and they often exploit all avenues for bleeding India via means of radicalisation of Indian youth, false propaganda, terrorist attacks in India etc. The very existence of a radicalized nation, motivated by medieval beliefs is detrimental for India’s security.

In an interview ex-national security advisor of the United States John Bolton said that Taliban may obtain nuclear weapons from Pakistan. Pakistan which has tried and failed to destabilize India for all these years might even consider this approach of bombing an Indian metropolitan city and denying their involvement, they did the same in 26/11 attacks.

This can be done by Pakistan using Atomic Demolition Munitions (ADM), the infiltration routes can be used to smuggle the nuclear device into India.

In this scenario with Pakistan in a state of denial and India in a state of pain and shock, with international pressure mounting every minute it will be hard to retaliate and the possibility of nuclear command authority being incapacitated can also not be ignored.

Dead Hand

Dead Hand, also known as Perimeter, is a Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system used by USSR. This system ensured mutual assured destruction in case of a nuclear strike. So, in case of an attack on Indian soil and the nuclear command authority fully incapacitated a system like dead hand can automatically trigger the launch of the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or the other missiles based on the target by sending a pre-entered highest-authority order from the nuclear command authority to command posts and individual silos if a nuclear strike is detected by seismic, light, radioactivity, and pressure sensors. This can be implemented much smoothly now as defence forces are already transitioning to a dedicated rocket force.

India already possesses one of the best repertoires of missiles of different payload and ranges, it should put it to use so that Indian interests can be safeguarded in case of a Chinese hypersonic or Pakistan-Taliban terror attack. Establishment and deployment of a system like dead hand with the best nuclear armed cruise and ballistic missiles will act as a deterrent to the Chinese as well.

China has recently drafted a land law in which it mentions that to safeguard Chinese territorial integrity even weapons can be used. Use of firearms can escalate things very quickly. India should now seriously consider about a massive military build-up with aircraft carriers, submarines, long range truck mounted artillery, light howitzers, light tanks, transport, and utility helicopters, as the threat on both the borders are higher than ever.

Ayush is a defence analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN