But Pakistan's doctrine is antithetical to India's, says Menon

The nuclear deterrence between India and China was essentially stable in nature and was likely to remain so in the near future despite India and China pursuing their nuclear programmes with increasing technological sophistication.

This was stated by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon while speaking at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre here on Friday on the occasion of National Technology Day.

India's nuclear doctrine was closest in spirit to China's. The Communist behemoth had never made a direct nuclear threat against India so far, he noted.

This was further augmented by the fact that the East Asian state had concentrated on the survivability of its nuclear arsenal by focussing on technological enhancements like developing multiple independent re-entry vehicles and manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles — moves made by a nation that did not regard its nuclear arsenal as a “war-fighting weapon.”

Technology and its changes had always been prime drivers of the security calculus. India's nuclear capabilities were built primarily for deterrence, and not as a war-fighting weapon, he pointed out.

Nuclear blasts

Referring to India's nuclear blasts at Pokhran in Rajasthan in 1974 and 1998, he emphasised that their purpose was to build a credible minimum deterrence (by using nuclear weapons politically, than as war weapons) while wrenching free of an expensive arms race.

India was the first nuclear weapon state to publicly announce and debate a nuclear doctrine. Possession of nuclear weapons made it less vulnerable to nuclear coercion and political blackmail. On the contrary, Mr. Menon said, Pakistan's doctrine was antithetical to India's. He pointed out Islamabad's readiness to employ nuclear weapons if certain thresholds were crossed.

He also touched upon the darker effects of the information and communications technology (ICT) revolution in the post-Cold War society, drawing on the lethality of terror groups such as the al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Urging the country's think tank to start treating technology security as a national goal, he said the ICT revolution had vested non-state actors and individuals with immense power and estimated that more than 120 smaller countries in the world that viewed ICT as an equaliser had developed capabilities for waging cyber warfare.

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