Vol. 7 No. 2 (2019): A Journal of Strategic Studies, Winter 2019

Trends in India's Nuclear Force Modernization: Regional and Global Implications

Ms. Tanzeela Khalil
Ms. Tanzeela Khalil is a former visiting fellow of Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, Washington D.C USA
CISS Insight - A Journal of Strategic Studies - Winter 2019
Published January 10, 2020
  • Nuclear weapons,
  • Canisterization,
  • Non-proliferation,
  • MIRV,
  • Deterrence,
  • Strategic stability,
  • Ballistic missiles
  • ...More
How to Cite
Ms. Tanzeela Khalil. (2020). Trends in India’s Nuclear Force Modernization: Regional and Global Implications . CISS Insight Journal, 7(2), 62 - 88. Retrieved from http://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/13


India announced its nuclear doctrine in 2003 after testing its nuclear weapons in 1998 and issuing a draft nuclear doctrine in 1999. Since 2003, India has developed ten new nuclear capable missile systems. The attributes of these systems indicate diversification in ranges of Indian nuclear delivery systems - a shift from liquid fuel missiles to solid fuel missiles, canisterization of missiles, and possibly MIRVing some of the systems. These technologies remind one of the Cold War strategic competition between the US and USSR. This paper presents expert opinions on these emerging trends and analyzes the implications they could possibly have for future Indian nuclear posture, South Asian deterrence stability, arms control, and the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In most cases, these developments do not appear to be driven by security considerations or deterrence requirements. The uncertainty over the nuclear role of certain missiles (Prahaar and BrahMos) is likely to exacerbate misperceptions and miscalculations during crises thus adversely affecting regional stability, besides affecting the prospects of arms control and non-proliferation measures at the regional and global level.