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Tensions are running high between the two nuclear powers #India and #Pakistan. Here is a thread running down their nuclear capabilities.
#India has 120-140 nuclear warheads with yields demonstrated as high as 60kt. They have all three delivery type systems, Land, Sea, and Air with ranges well within #Pakistan.
#India employs a National Command Authority with collective deliberation on the use of nuclear weapons. It is unknown if there is pre-delegation. India is a no-first-use policy state.
#Pakistan has 140-150 nuclear warheads with yields demonstrated up to 40kt. They have both land and air delivery systems with ranges well within #India and a sea system in development.
#Pakistan employs a National Command Authority with collective deliberation on the use of nuclear weapons. It is unknown if there is pre-delegation. Pakistan refuses to adopt a no-first-use policy.
Continuing the thread from yesterday on #India and #Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. More on their delivery systems and how they might be used. (For those that have our notifications on, apologies.)
As stated previously, India has all three types of delivery systems. Their air component features the Dassault Mirage 2000 and SEPECAT Jaguars fighter bombers. They would most likely employ unguided tactical nuclear weapons for use against frontline units/forward operating bases.
India has short, medium, and intermediate range land-based ballistic missiles with ICBM’s in development. They have both mobile and silo facilities from which to launch from. The current fleet of about 60 is assumed to be single warhead but MIRV’s and MARV’s are under development
The shorter-range missiles would likely be used tactically against military bases close in their vicinity and even against frontline units. The longer-range missiles are to be used against hardened facilities and some cities.
India’s sea-based nuclear deterrent is relatively new with the INS Arihant being its first SSBN. It is armed with up to 12 Sagarika ballistic missiles with a range of about 700km and are single warhead. The K-4 under development could host MIRV’s and travel up to 3,500km.
The INS Arihant just completed its first deterrent patrol in November 2018. It is unknown if it has been put back to sea. Like all sea-based nuclear deterrents, its purpose is to serve as an undetectable second-strike capability.
As stated previously, India has a no-first-strike policy. This means in theory, they will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.
Pakistan has two nuclear delivery systems, land and air. Less is publicly known about their systems. Their air delivery system likely utilizes the F-16, JF-17, and French Mirage. Like India, they would probably deliver unguided tactical nuclear weapons for battlefield use.
Pakistan fields numerous types of ballistic missiles from short to medium range. They are all single warhead designs. Like India, the shorter-range missiles would likely be used for tactical battlefield operations and longer range for hardened facilities and some cities.
Pakistan is in the process of developing its sea-based deterrent. Both a submarine and missile are under development.
Pakistan refuses to adhere to a no-first-use policy. It is thought that nuclear weapons play a larger role in strategic planning for Pakistan than for India. Russia is much the same way, integrating the use of nuclear weapons for most of their larger scale defense planning.
Neither country wants to be the first to use nuclear weapons in more than 70 years, but this current situation is the tensest and most delicate conflict the two nations have encountered since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
In all of the world’s most recent conflicts of late, this one is the first to really beg the question, who will be the first to use nuclear weapons? The two sides must open dialogue and work to defuse this situation before either is forced into a position of nuclear weapons use.
Shout out to @nukestrat and his colleagues at FAS. These are the people everyone can thank for our deep understanding of nuclear states’ capabilities. They work hard to publish accurate information on these subjects. If any edits are required, please let us know.
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