Abstract: Is India considering developing nuclear counterforce options against Pakistan? This paper traces the capabilities and procedures India has been quietly developing over the past decade, as well as identifying increasing discussion of using its nuclear forces for potential counterforce targeting against Pakistani strategic systems. It outlines the incentives India may have to pursue these options, and assesses their prospects for successfully achieving damage limitation. It also outlines the significant downsides to pursuing such a strategy. It concludes that, at the very least, South Asia is potentially entering a new, dangerous phase with these evolving nuclear dynamics.
Speaker Bio: Vipin Narang is an Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT and a member of MIT’s Security Studies Program. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government, Harvard University in May 2010, where he was awarded the Edward M. Chase Prize for the best dissertation in international relations. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering with distinction from Stanford University and an M. Phil with Distinction in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where he studied on a Marshall Scholarship. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, a predoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Stanton junior faculty fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.