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India's Evolving Nuclear Force and Its Implications for U.S. Strategy in the Asia-Pacific

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Technical Report

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Army War College -Strategic Studies Institute Carlisle United States

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Indias growing and diversifying nuclear force raises challenges for its defense planners. New nuclear options need to be located within a holistic view of Indias defense approach, with clearly assigned roles for conventional and nuclear forces dependent on the threats posed. This also generates issues for U.S. defense planners. The current U.S. policy is to energetically assist the defense projection of India so as to help complicate the rise of China. This focus has an underlying assumption that the United States and India do not militarily threaten each other. This framing could potentially lead to an overlook or downplay of the potential negative effects from Indian nuclear force developmentsand their related strategic interactions with Pakistan and Chinain terms of the risk they pose to U.S. interests. In reality, the nature and domains of trilateral India-Pakistan-China nuclear and conventional competition are rapidly shifting, and close assessment of their potential effects is merited by the growing deployment of U.S. forces to the region. This Letort Paper makes four main policy recommendations, directed to Washington andor New Delhi.

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