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Re: nuclear India

[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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In my comments, I noted that we should take into account our interests in
regions other than south asia and plan accordingly. I agree that
NATO(American) action in FRY is quite disturbing in that it might set a
precedent for similar intervention in other parts of the world in the
future. But we should be a bit more cautious when assessing the threat of
such (potential) action to India. Firstly, India is an established
democracy. Secondly, the west has substantial commercial interests in
India (which are likely to grow in the future). Thirdly, as it stands any
campaign of the sort being waged in the FRY is unlikely to be effective
against India. Fourthly, the Indian military is an order of magnitude more
capable than anything the US has gone up against since '91 (even excluding
nuclear weapons). Furthermore, the US shown (over the last ten years or
so) that it will use military force only when it's forces have a
reasonable chance of acheiving their objectives without getting too
bloodied. Therefore, I do not think the threat of military intervention by
the US is Kashmir or in other internal insurgencies in India is quite that
significant. Indranil wrote that "the development of ICBM capability is a
must". In this regard I would like to reiterate a point I made previously: 
the potential that a military buildup by india may send wrong signals to
potential friends and "fence-sitters". I particularly regard the
development of ICBM capability as falling in this category without
yeilding significant gains in security for India. 

Finally, Indranil notes that "continuously upgrading our military capacity
and funding ...to our long term strategy of becoming a global power by the
mid-21st century". The relationship between being a global power (i.e. 
having a significant say in international decision-making) and being a
military power is in my opinion unproven. Japan is an example of a global
power but not a military power. China is (has been) an example of a
military power but until recently not a global power. For India to become
a global power we must focus on economic develpoment which might mean a
trade off between pursuing a military more suited to local needs and a
military oriented towards operations in a much larger theater and against
a wider set of adversaries. 


  Indranil wrote:

> Abhijit is right in that India's military needs should be balanced to
> its "security scenario". But I disagree with his limiting the security 
> perimeter to South Asia only. Given NATO's hegemonic actions
> in Kosovo which let us all remember is still a part of the sovereign
> state of Yugoslavia, can Kashmir be far behind ? India needs to project 
> power not only in South Asia but globally. To this end, the
> development of ICBM capability is a must, and I believe a start has
> been made in this regard with "Surya" which is currently undergoing
> preliminary R&D. Also, given that Pakistan is in a process of slow motion 
> disintegration, we need to focus on the potential impact of partial 
> reabsorption whether we like this prospect or not.
> The bottom line: Mr. Narayanan is correct. We need to stop worrying about 
> the P-5 and go on continuously upgrading our military capacity and funding 
> R&D looking to our long term strategy of becoming a global power by the 
> mid-21st century.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Abhijit wrote:
> We all seek a resurgent India but a very high level of investment in the 
> military may not be the way. Indeed our investment in the military should be 
> made on the basis of a rational assessment of the security scenario in south 
> asia in the short,medium and long terms. We should also consider other 
> regions of interest and ensure that we have the ability to protect our 
> interests there. Spending our resources on building the military to a level 
> which exceeds our requirements may be counterproductive since it may send 
> the wrong signals to potential friends.
> Ram Narayanan wrote:
> Despite the gains, however, there is little evidence of a resurgent
> India.The country still presents itself internationally as a soft state 
> susceptible to outside pressure. The months-long delay in flight-testing the 
> Agni 2 was proof of that. Instead of determinedly pushing ahead with 
> follow-up steps in the shortest period of time, India feels compelled to 
> balance its defiance with conformist behaviour. It has gone out of the way 
> to assure the great powers it poses no threat to the non-proliferation 
> regime, even though it can never be recognised as a nuclear-weapons state 
> under the present system.
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> This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
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This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/