The authors’ language is clinical, but their message is frightening. India possesses or is developing ballistic missiles that can reach anywhere in China, shorter-range missiles for potential tactical use against China and Pakistan, missiles with multiple independently targeted warheads, submarine-launched missiles, and missile defenses. Pakistan has developed a variety of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles intended to deter even nonnuclear Indian attacks. China has merged its conventional and nuclear missile forces under a single command, making it harder for an adversary to know what kind of warhead has been launched. China and India have both adopted more aggressive postures near disputed sections of their shared border. The two countries have announced “no first use” policies but have left them ambiguous; Pakistan has no such policy at all. Concepts such as “minimum deterrence,” “limited deterrence,” “credible deterrence,” and “full-spectrum deterrence” are tossed about with little clarity on what they mean. Add in the near-total lack of dialogue among the three states, and the opportunities for miscommunication and miscalculation proliferate.
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