New Challenges for Deterrence Stability in the Indian Subcontinent

On May 8, 2014, the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program
hosted a luncheon discussion featuring Dr. Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow at
the Observer Research Foundation. The talk focused on new challenges to deterrence
stability in South Asia. Dr. Joshi focused on Indian military doctrine, nuclear
posture, and the potential response of the incoming Indian government to
another mass-casualty terror attack.

Dr. Joshi noted that India still needs to harmonize its
nuclear doctrine with a broader national security strategy. On nuclear policy, he noted that
India needs to improve the credibility of its current posture. However, he also
claimed that shifting away from No First Use to a policy allowing flexible response
would represent a dangerous and expensive doctrinal choice. A broader
understanding within the armed forces of the relevance of nuclear weapons may
also be necessary; for example, he pointed out that ambitious plans for quick
offensives into Pakistan may not account for the pressures placed on Pakistan
to use or risk losing their nuclear weapons. He praised recent Indian moves to
bolster command and control (C2), including buildups in EMP-resistant C2
infrastructure and disclosures of the existence of a two-person rule for launch

He also discussed domestic factors that could affect the
Indian response to a future mass-casualty terror attack. In particular, he
addressed the ability of the Indian media to influence policy by how it frames
issues and can “set the agenda.” Threat inflation by the media in the aftermath
of an attack, Dr. Joshi noted, could beget crisis instability. A “hardening” of
Indian public attitude towards Pakistan since the 2008 Mumbai attacks could
also play a role in pressuring the government to retaliate.

South Asia program Deputy Director Joshua T. White offered
commentary and questions on Dr. Joshi’s presentation.


Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi
Joshua T. White, Deputy Director South Asia Program, Stimson
Michael Krepon, Co-founder and Director South Asia Program, Stimson
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

The Stimson Center
1111 19th Street, NW – 12th Floor
Washington, D.C.


Manoj Joshi is a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer
Research Foundation where he heads the National Security Initiative. He has
been the political editor of The Times of India, Editor (Views) Hindustan
Times, Defence Editor of India Today, National Affairs Editor of Mail Today,
the Washington Correspondent of The Financial Express and a Special
Correspondent of The Hindu in his three decade long career as a journalist.
Before that he was an Academic Fellow of the American Studies Research
Centre, Hyderabad.

He has been a member of the National Security Advisory Board and was most
recently a member of the Task Force on National Security chaired by Mr Naresh
Chandra to propose reforms in the security apparatus of the country. He is a
graduate from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University and a Ph.D. from the
School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has been a
Visiting Professor at the SIS, JNU, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the
Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University.





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