Vol. 1 No. 3 (2013): CISS Insight Bimonthly News & Views, June - July 2013

Nuclear Command and Control Systems: Pakistan and India

Ms. Huma Rehman
Senior Research Officer at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS)
Published August 12, 2013
How to Cite
Ms. Huma Rehman. (2013). Nuclear Command and Control Systems: Pakistan and India . CISS Insight Journal, 1(3), P24-33. Retrieved from https://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/109


The role of a country’s nuclear command and control (C2) structure is important as it plays pivotal role in the management of nuclear weapons. An effective command and control system is so designed that chances of an unintended or accidental nuclear explosion are eliminated. A nuclear command and control system has to fulfill two conflicting requirements. It has to ensure the preparedness and prompt availability of nuclear weapons at the time of need. On the other hand it must also guarantee that they are never used unless required by the political leadership.1These should include a setup for information acquisition and verification, which means early warning mechanism in case of a nuclear or pre-emptive attack, a decision making body which can formulate a course of action on the basis of available information, robust and secure communication channels between the decision making body and the nuclear forces. All these actions should be backed by sound technical and procedural measures to ensure safety and security of nuclear arsenal during storage, transportation and deployment.

Threat perception is another important element in designing the command and control system. For instance, threat perceived by the United States during the Cold War promoted massive expansion of nuclear weapons arsenal and introduction of an elaborate and complex command and control system to support nuclear operations. Study of command and control systems of Pakistan and India are particularly important due to geographical contiguity of the two states, their bitter history and acrimonious relations of the nuclear neighbors. The paper will discuss factors that impact Pakistan and India’s nuclear command and control systems. It also discusses measures taken to ensure the robustness of nuclear command and control systems by both the countries.