India’s Nuclear Policy and Regional Stability

The triumphant return of a Bharatiya Janata Party government in India after a contentious campaign season has raised questions about revising India’s nuclear posture, India-Pakistan relations, and regional stability with the draw-down of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Two panels of distinguished experts discussed the potential for changes to India’s historically minimalist approach to nuclear doctrine, as well as the regional security challenges facing India. Short presentations by the invited speakers were followed by a question-and-answer period for each panel.

Introduction: Modi’s Moment
Lieutenant General (ret’d) P.K. Singh 
Director, United Service Institution of India
Mr. Michael Krepon 
Director for South Asia, The Stimson Center
India’s Nuclear Future: Continuity and Change
Vice Admiral (ret’d) A.K. Singh 
Former Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, India
Lieutenant General (ret’d) Vinay Shankar 
Former Director General of Artillery, Indian Army
Mr. Michael Krepon
Director for South Asia, The Stimson Center
Regional Stability and the Nuclear Dimension
Ambassador Jayant Prasad 
Former Indian Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
Mr. Vikram Singh 
Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress
Dr. Joshua T. White 
Deputy Director for South Asia, The Stimson Center

Lieutenant General (ret’d) PK Singh was commissioned as a 2/Lt in the Indian Army in 1967. During a military career spanning 41 years he saw active service in the Western, Northern and North Eastern Theatres and participated in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. He commanded a Mountain Brigade in active counter-insurgency operations where he was awarded the Ati Vishist Seva Medal, an Infantry Division (RAPID) during “Operation Parakram” and a Corps in the Western theatre. He was appointed C-in-C (Army Commander) in August 2006 and retired from active service in September 2008. His academic qualifications include M Sc and M Phil from the University of Madras and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management. He took over as Director of the United Service Institution, New Delhi (USI) on 1st January 2009.

Vice Admiral  (ret’d) AK Singh specialized in conventional  submarines,  navigation and fighter direction, and was also trained in the former USSR on nuclear submarines and missiles. Apart from command of submarines and warships and exercising with navies and Coast Guards across the world, his important appointments included Director of Tactics at Naval Headquarters, Flag Officer Submarines, Command of the Eastern Fleet, Director General Indian Coast Guard, Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command and Commander-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command. Following retirement from the Indian Navy in 2007, he has been a council member of the USI. He writes and speaks in India and abroad on matters related to maritime, nuclear, and strategic issues.

Lieutenant General (ret’d) Vinay Shankar retired from the Indian Army in December 2000 after 40 years of distinguished service. He took part in the wars of 1962, 1965, and 1971, and was involved in counter insurgency operations in Nagaland and Manipur. Lieutenant General Shankar’s last appointment was the Director General of Artillery, during which he oversaw the employment of artillery during the Kargil War. For his distinguished services he has been awarded the Param Vashist Sewa, the Ati Vashist Sewa and the Vashist Sewa Medals.

Ambassador Jayant Prasad has served as the Ambassador of India to Nepal (2011-13), Ambassador to Afghanistan (2008-2010), Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva (2004-07), Ambassador to Algeria (1996-98), Counsellor for trade access and development cooperation at the Indian Mission to the European Union in Brussels (1992-95), First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, Geneva (1984-88), and Third & Second Secretary in the Embassy of India, Paris (1979-80). Amb. Prasad was member of U.N. Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (2005-07), Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University (1998-99), and Rapporteur of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva (1986-87). Since Ambassador Prasad’s superannuation from public service in August 2013, he has been living in New Delhi. Currently, he is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Vikram J. Singh is the Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress. Previously, he served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia at the Pentagon, where he advised senior leadership on all policy matters pertaining to development and implementation of defense strategies and plans for the region. Until November 2011, Singh was the deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. Department of State. He has also served in the U.S. Department of Defense as a senior advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan, representing the department in National Security Council policy reviews of the region and the war in Afghanistan, and as a senior advisor responsible for the department’s post-2014 strategic approach to South and Central Asia.

Michael Krepon is the founding President of the Stimson Center. After stepping down in 2000, he taught for ten years as a Diplomat Scholar at the University of Virginia while continuing to direct Stimson’s programming to reduce nuclear dangers in South Asia.   He is the author or editor of twenty books, including Better Safe than Sorry: The Ironies of Living with the Bomb; Deterrence Stability and Escalation Control in South Asia; Nuclear Risk Reduction in South Asia; Escalation Control and the Nuclear Option in South Asia; Cooperative Threat Reduction, Missile Defense, and the Nuclear Future; Global Confidence Building: New Tools for Troubled Regions; Crisis Prevention, Confidence Building, and Reconciliation in South Asia; and three collections of blog posts from www.armscontrolwonk.comRummaging in Shoeboxes for Stories about the Bomb, The Nuclear Age and Arms Control.

Joshua T. White is deputy director for Stimson’s South Asia program. Prior to joining Stimson, White served as senior advisor for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a position he held in conjunction with an International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations. While at the Pentagon he covered a wide range of defense issues related to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Department’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. White has spent extensive time in South Asia, and has held short-term visiting research fellowships at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the International Islamic University in Islamabad (IIUI), Pakistan’s National Defence University (NDU), and the Institute for Defence and Strategic Analyses (IDSA) in Delhi. He has written widely, testified before Congress, and served on U.S.-sponsored election observer delegations to both Pakistan and Bangladesh. White graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College with a double major in history and mathematics, and received his Ph.D. with distinction from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington

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