We’ve been asking ourselves: Which Nuclear Weapon does India have? But what about delivery systems? Is India really that far behind the US? Is it possible that it’s just waiting for the perfect time to launch a nuclear attack? Let’s start with the most likely delivery system: a fighter-bomber aircraft. This aircraft can carry a thousand-kilogram nuclear device and its base in Gorakpur is about 400 kilometers from Pakistan.
Among the nuclear warheads India has is the Agni, an intermediate-range ballistic missile. These are carried by aircraft of the Indian Air Force. In the future, the Indian Navy plans to launch two ballistic missile submarines, the first of which is under sea trials and the second is under construction. India has abstained from using tactical nuclear weapons, however, as they tend to be used. Currently, India is the only country with two SSBNs, but it will be worth mentioning that these submarines are not designed for carrying nuclear weapons.
Moreover, India has nuclear-capable aircraft, including the Dassault Mirage-2000 and SEPECAT Jaguar. However, it is still unclear whether India is able to deliver nuclear weapons by air, but it does have the capability to do so with missiles. The Mirage 2000 and Rafale are multirole fighters. Both are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. However, the Su-30MKI is a multirole aircraft, and it would need a specially designed escort aircraft that can operate in high-altitudes. The Su-30MKI would then fly unprotected on its final flight.
The question of which Nuclear Weapon India has should be answered honestly and with a high degree of precision. The Indian government has been working hard to develop nuclear weapons to combat terrorism. This issue is of critical importance to both the United States and India. It’s vital to understand the situation and to avoid unnecessary conflict. If India wants to remain a nuclear power, it must first acquire a nuclear warhead. While this is unachievable, India is making progress in the right direction.
The CIA’s report claims that India is pursuing membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime. But India has not yet signed the NPT, and its nuclear arsenal has a long history of testing. India also has nuclear submarines with a total weight of around 6,000 tonnes. A CIA report says that Russia provided India with technological support for its nuclear program. And India’s Sagarika missiles have an estimated range of 700 km. They are about eight meters long and seven tonnes. They can carry 500 kg of payload.
In October 1998, India reported that it had successfully tested five devices – one containing a nuclear warhead. These tests were aimed at demonstrating their ability to produce fractional kiloton weapons. These devices, which are not fully matured, have yields of 0.2, 0.3, and 0.5 kilotons – which is enough for two weapons. It is unclear how many of these weapons India has, and whether it would use them.
The military utility of this weapon is highly questionable. It is likely to be ineffective at blunting a major armoured offensive. The attacker would ensure that the target is not a concentrated mass of people before the bulk of its tactical nuclear weapons would be destroyed. And the attack would disperse rapidly – and because Punjab is semi-urban, collateral damage would be unavoidable. It would be virtually impossible to protect against hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in such an attack.
Another way of demonstrating India’s range is to launch a missile. India’s current Agni-V intermediate-range missile has a range of up to 5,000 km (or 3,125 miles) – which is more than enough to reach the entire mainland of China. In addition, India is rumored to be developing the Agni-P canisterized missile, which may replace the pricier Agni-II systems.
If India decides to launch an attack, they can do so anywhere inside Pakistan. India has fought three wars with Pakistan since 1947. In the 1990s, India began developing medium and long-range missile systems without nuclear warheads. The two nations have long disputed land in Ladakh, and India is growing increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean. If it uses its nuclear weapons against Pakistan, it would certainly be a very bad outcome.
The unofficial nuclear-weapons status of India is raising concerns over its security, particularly given its growing power and the Pakistan factor. But this perception is not only important for India’s nuclear-weapons program, but it can also have implications for the future of the international nuclear regime. For one, it can further weaken the basis of deterrence and undermine the nuclear taboo. It also increases the risk of theft and physical accidents.