Feedback | Home | 2003: The year that was

The Prithvi missile forms a part of the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26.

Photo: Sondeep Shankar/Saab Press

< Back    Next >
India's Strategic Command

While India declared soon after the May 1998 nuclear tests that it would never be the first to launch nuclear weapons and that the decision to use them would always rest with the political authority, the chain of command to authorise and conduct a nuclear attack was only set up this year.

In January, the government set up the Strategic Forces Command, headed by a senior Indian Air Force officer, and the Nuclear Command Authority, and announced an eight-point 'nuclear doctrine.'

The Command reports to the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and is directly responsible for the maintenance and use of India's nuclear forces. The Authority comprises a political council chaired by the prime minister and an executive council headed by the national security adviser.

The doctrine envisages building a credible minimum deterrent for maintaining a 'second strike capability,' which will be 'massive' and designed to induce 'unacceptable damage' on the enemy. Alternative chains of command for all eventualities have also been reportedly set up, though they have not been disclosed for obvious reasons.

Text: R Swaminathan

India sets up Strategic Forces Command
Missile groups to form nucleus of Strategic Forces Command

< Back   Next >

Tell us what you think is the event of the year

Email this Article

Copyright © 2003 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.
HDFC BANK Personal Loan