November 10, 2009

That BOMB Again ...

Seymour Hersh has an enviable knack for generating controversy with everything that he writes. May be, he has what might be called the 'Hersh Touch', a latter day version of the Midas Touch.

His New Yorker article about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal has predictably generated strong reactions from Pakistan.

Well, what can one expect if Hersh is basically saying that there's a secret argument between the Pentagon and the Pakistan Army whereby if things get out of hand in Pakistan and the Taliban are on the verge of getting hold of nukes, then Special Forces from the United States will swoop in and "secure" the assets.

It would be quite something for one nation to share the exact locations (Bunker No. 9) where each component of a discombobulated nuclear device is located with another nation no matter how friendly that nation might be.

On a related note, I recently read some scholarly piece about the history of India's nuclear posture ... how it slowly evolved from being a purely "peaceful" energy program to a dual-use program and which ultimately led to an overt nuclear weapon status.

There is nothing wrong of course in India being an overt, declared nuclear weapon state. It is never out of place to remind ourselves as well as the rest of the world that India is a nation of 1.2 billion people.

If tiny nations such as the U.K. and France — with about 55 million people each — can possess a complete triad of nuclear capability, then India certainly has the right to aim for the same.

India should ultimately have a true ICBM once the indigenous cryogenic stage is "proved" in the GSLV by ISRO.

The ATV program is now out in the open. Once an SLBM is successfully mated to the ATV, India will then have a nuclear triad.

Hopefully, everything will be in place by 2020.

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