This talk will examine the regional nuclear landscape in which India is situated and identify the nature of the threats that India faces from nuclear strategies and capabilities of China and Pakistan. It will also explain the specific attributes of India’s nuclear doctrine and how it addresses the perceived nuclear challenges. Ideas on how to achieve strategic stability amongst the adversarial dyads will also be explored.

Dr Manpreet Sethi, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), New Delhi, has been leading the project on Nuclear Security at the Centre for the last 18 years. She is an expert on the entire spectrum of nuclear issues ranging from nuclear energy, strategy, non-proliferation, disarmament, arms control and ballistic missile defence. She has authored, edited and co-authored eight books and three monographs. She also has published about 100 papers in books/academic journals of repute. Her book Nuclear Strategy: India’s March towards Credible Deterrence (2009) is deemed essential reading at many colleges and armed forces institutions.

Manpreet received her Ph.D from the Centre for Latin American and West European Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi in 1997. Soon thereafter, she started her career as an analyst specialising in nuclear issues at the Manohar Parikkar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi’s only national security think tank at the time. She worked there until 2002 and thereafter joined CAPS. As a founding member, she helped craft the nuclear research programme at the Centre, which is today at the forefront of national nuclear studies and analyses. 

Dr Sethi lectures regularly at the National Defence College and other leading establishments of Indian Armed Forces, Police and Foreign Services, as also at various colleges and Universities. She has mentored several young scholars and officers through her Nuclear Security group at CAPS and as an external examiner for M.Phil/ Ph.D students at JNU, Delhi University and Madras University. She has been conducting a bi-annual Nuclear Strategy Capsule for senior officers of the Armed Forces, Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Atomic Energy, Defence Research and Development Organisation and National Security Council Secretariat for the last 14 years. Over 1400 officers have benefitted from the exercise.

Manpreet Sethi has been a regular participant in flagship nuclear policy conferences of USA, Russia, European Union, China and India. She has also contributed to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) on hypersonic missiles and nuclear risk reduction. She was Member of Prime Minister’s Informal Group on Disarmament in 2012, and member, Executive Board of the Indian Pugwash Society for a period of three years. She has also been part of several Track II initiatives. She is currently on Board of Directors of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network (APLN) and Women in Nuclear - India.

She is recipient of the prestigious K Subrahmanyam award in 2014, an honour conferred on a scholar for consistency and excellence in strategic and security studies.

In a rare honour for a civilian, on the occasion of the Air Force Day on 08 Oct 2020, she was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff for her dedication and professional ability.