The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Two years back, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a landslide victory in the national elections in India and formed a new government. The BJP was generally perceived to be ideologically quite different from the Congress-led coalition that had ruled for 10 years before that. The new Prime Minister, Mr. Modi, also had a different personality and mode of functioning than his predecessor. Hence, there was considerable speculation on how these changes might affect the county’s policies, in particular on the nuclear front.
With this in view, Professor R. Rajaraman will give an update on the developments of the past two years on India’s nuclear programs, both strategic and civilian. On the first topic, the current status of “No First Use” and related features of the country’s strategic nuclear doctrine will be summarized. Their relevance to Pakistan’s battlefield missile NASR will be pointed out.
Professor R. Rajaraman will then move on to progress on civilian nuclear energy in the aftermath of the US-India Nuclear Deal. Here he will discuss developments on cooperation with the US, France and Russia on building civilian reactors. The impact of India’s Nuclear Liability Act as well as the post-Fukushima public protests against reactors will be analyzed.
Professor R. Rajaraman completed his PhD in Theoretical Physics (1963) from Cornell University, USA, under the guidance of Hans Bethe. Following that he was at Cornell University and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, before returning to India in 1969 where he is now with the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has also been working on nuclear policy—both arms control and civilian energy. He has analyzed credible minimal deterrence, Early Warning systems, missile defense, battlefield nuclear weapons and Fissile Materials production in India and Pakistan. He studied in depth the Indo-US nuclear agreement and its implications for India’s civilian and strategic programs. He is a founding member and past Co-Chair of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, and was Vice-President of the Indian National Science Academy.