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India and Japan should rethink their nuclear policy

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting the Indian interests


Source: The Indian Express

Context: It is a C. Raja Mohan article and a few good suggestions for countering aggressive China could be noted down from this article.

Rising China and Need for nuclear deterrence:

  • Rising Chinese nuclear military power: Some estimates say China’s arsenal could grow to 1,000 warheads by 2030 from about 350 now.
  • China has taken a muscular approach to its territorial disputes, including with India and Japan.
  • China’s tactics of salami slicing and coercive diplomacy have come into sharp view in the East China Sea that Beijing shares with Japan and the vast Himalayan frontier with India.
  • Russia-Ukraine war has made it clear that Ukraine giving up its nuclear arsenal was a wrong move.

Issues with the nuclear posture of India and Japan

  • Low on deterrence: Indian and Japanese capacity to deter China is eroding steadily thanks to the problems with India’s minimum deterrence posture and the US nuclear umbrella over Japan.
    • In the wake of the nuclear tests of 1998, India quickly announced a policy of minimum deterrence and a doctrine of no first use of nuclear weapons.
  • Moral issues: India and Japan have long presented themselves as champions of nuclear disarmament.
    • India is a nuclear weapon power and Japan is not (but it relies on the US nuclear umbrella for its security)

What should be done:

  • US should review its attitude towards India’s Nuclear programme: In the past, the US insisted on constraining India’s nuclear weapon programme. Today a strong Indian nuclear deterrent against China is critical for the geopolitical stability of Asia and the Indo-Pacific and in the US interest.
  • Go for the “INFRUS” agreement — between India, France and the US ( similar to the AUKUS agreement): Under this US should midwife an agreement under which France would help India accelerate the development of an Indian underwater deterrent based on ballistic missile carrying submarines (SSBN) as well as nuclear attack submarines (SSN).
  • While Japan’s priority is to transform its conventional forces, India might need to consider both conventional and nuclear modernisation.


Insta Link

India-Japan ties


Practice Questions

Q. In recent years Japan has grown closer to India in an unprecedented manner compared to other countries in the East or West. Comment (10M)