Nuclear signals in South Asia

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Sage Publications (2013)



India, Pakistan, and China have been dancing a nuclear tango of late, taking steps that have serious implications for the entire region. Pakistan has worked assiduously to expand its fissile material stockpile while threatening to lower its nuclear threshold, claiming that its short-range missile, Nasr/Hatf-IX, is nuclear capable. These Pakistani moves are apparently meant as a counter to India?s Cold Start Doctrine, a plan for launching a conventional military attack on very short notice, even though New Delhi has denied its very existence. China, meanwhile, has continued to modernize its missile forces while fostering strategic ambiguity about its no-first-use nuclear policy. And in response to Pakistani and Chinese signals, India has publicly emphasized the survivability of its nuclear missiles, the extension of their range, and the deployment of a nuclear submarine, suggesting a powerful second-strike nuclear capability.