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India, China and the new missile silos

CHINA’S MISSILE SILOS AND THE SINO-INDIAN NUCLEAR COMPETITION, War on the Rocks, DEBAK DAS  15 Oct 21,  This summer, U.S. analysts using commercial satellite imagery discovered that China was significantly expanding its nuclear forces and building hundreds of new missile silos. With the new silos, China could potentially double the size of its arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The news sent shockwaves through Washington. The head of Strategic Command called the developments “breathtaking,” and the news is sure to embolden efforts to fund U.S. nuclear modernization efforts on Capitol Hill. While the United States has a much larger nuclear force than China — with 3,750 nuclear warheads in its nuclear weapons stockpile compared to China’s 350 warheads — it will still likely take a forceful response to China’s latest nuclear developments.

But how will India — China’s other nuclear armed adversary — react to Beijing’s new missile silos? India has a nuclear triad and is reported to have 150 nuclear warheads deployed on different air-, sea-, and land-based platforms. China, meanwhile, is estimated to have its nuclear weapons stockpile of 350 nuclear warheads deployed across different platforms. However, with the new missile silos and fears of an increase in Chinese nuclear warheads, the strategic asymmetry in the Sino-Indian nuclear relationship may become more stark.

Moreover, China and India continue to engage in hostilities in the Himalayas. In August 2021, over a hundred soldiers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army crossed over to the Indian side of the border and damaged a bridge and other infrastructure before retreating. In June 2020, in the deadliest clash between the two countries in 45 years, more than 20 soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh. This led to a heightened state of tensions and a war scare between the two countries. High-level military talks between the two nuclear states remain deadlocked, with regular hostilities at different points along the 3,488-kilometer Line of Actual Control. An increase in Chinese nuclear capabilities in this context has the potential to destabilize the region and spark a nuclear arms race. But will it?

India has been cautious in its nuclear relationship with China and is unlikely to have a dramatic response to the new missile silos at the moment. It has two nuclear-armed adversaries to consider, and its focus will remain on Pakistan. India will continue to modernize its nuclear arsenal with new counterforce nuclear delivery systems and to test multiple independently targeted re-entry ballistic missiles, which will allow it to manage its nuclear relationship with both nations. While the counterforce missiles and short-range nuclear delivery systems are aimed at Pakistan, India’s nuclear relationship with China will continue to be based on ensuring a secure second-strike capability.

No First Use, Second-Strike, and Caution 

Despite the continuing military engagements along the Line of Actual Control, the Sino-Indian nuclear relationship remains stable. This is because India’s nuclear relationship with China rests on its survivable second-strike nuclear doctrine. It has pledged not to use its nuclear weapons first as a part of a no first use policy. This doctrine means that as long as India has a secure-second-strike capability — that is, the capability to absorb a nuclear first strike on its soil and then retaliate using its remaining nuclear forces — it will not need to build a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. It just needs to make sure that its nuclear weapons systems are well dispersed and survivable……….

Manageable Historical Asymmetry 

China’s additional nuclear silos do not represent a new strategic problem for India………………….

Border Conflict Remains at Low Escalation Level ………..

………  https://warontherocks.com/2021/10/chinas-missile-silos-and-the-sino-indian-nuclear-competition/

October 16, 2021 - Posted by | India, politics international, weapons and war

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