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22nd March 2024 (10 Topics)

India's Advancement in Nuclear Capabilities: Implications and Challenges


India entered a small club of countries capable of delivering nuclear warheads on a single missile. This greatly enhances India’s second strike capability and acts as a deterrence measure.

Technological Breakthrough:

  • Introduction of MIRV on Agni-V: India's recent test of the Agni-V missile equipped with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology marks a significant milestone in its nuclear weapons program.
  • Mission Divyastra: Conducted under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), this test underscores India's entry into the small club of countries capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads on a single missile.
  • Enhanced Strategic Capability: The indigenous avionics systems and high accuracy sensor packages of the MIRV system ensure improved precision and strengthen India's second-strike capability, crucial for maintaining deterrence.

Strategic Significance:

  • Focus on China: The choice of MIRV on Agni-V is strategically aimed at addressing security concerns vis-à-vis China, given the missile's extended range and ability to penetrate missile defenses.
  • Completion of Nuclear Triad: India's development of MIRV technology follows the declaration of INS Arihant's successful deterrence patrol, completing India's nuclear triad and enhancing its strategic deterrence posture.
  • Escalation Dynamics: However, this advancement raises concerns about escalation dynamics in the region, especially with neighbouring countries like China and Pakistan also pursuing MIRV technology, leading to a potential arms race.

Future Implications and Challenges:

  • Deployment on Submarine-launched Missiles: The deployment of MIRV on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) is the logical next step, further enhancing India's nuclear capabilities and strategic flexibility.
  • Regional Dynamics: The development of MIRV technology by India, China, and Pakistan intensifies regional security dynamics, requiring careful management to prevent unintended escalation.
  • Cost and Technology Intensiveness: The pursuit of advanced nuclear capabilities entails significant costs and technological investments, posing challenges in terms of resource allocation and sustainability.
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