In July 2015, Dr. AQ Khan, father of Pakistan’s Nuclear bomb, said Pakistan could nuke New Delhi from Kahuta, within 5 minutes. Pakistan, with estimated 110-130 nuclear warheads has more nuclear warheads than India’s estimated 100-120.
What is the Nuclear Club?
The nine nuclear weapon states are informally called the Nuclear Club. Five are Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognized (US, Russia, China, UK & France) and the other four are India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. None of the four have ratified the NPT. On 23-24 June 2016, India was prevented, by China, from joining the NSG; India hopes to gain non-NPT admission into Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).
What gives India Nuclear Assymetry?
India has the Nuclear Triad, the ability to deliver nuclear weapons by land, air and sea which Pakistan does not. India’s inventory of bomber aircraft includes the French Miraj-2000, Russian Su-30 MKI & Mig-29 and EU Jaguar. Pakistan’s bomber inventory includes the Chinese JF-17 and US F-16. Pakistan’s Missile program includes the Shaheen series and the Nasr. Pakistan has no equivalent for India’s Arihant (missile submarine).
How are India and Pakistan matched?
India follows the NFU (No First Use) Policy – national commitment to use nuclear weapons only in response to another nation’s 1st strike. On the other hand, Pakistan has refused to accept the NFU Policy and publically threatens 1st strike, in event of Indian conventional aggression.
Pakistan’s 1st Strike has two options; Counter-Force, against India’s armed forces or Counter-Value, against India’s cities. In either case, India has the option for a devastating 2nd Strike, that could bring Pakistan to its’ knees.
Pakistan hopes that a tactical (sub KT) 1st strike against an Indian Counter-Force target, will not invite India’s devastating 2nd strike.
Thus, unlike MAD doctrine between super powers, Nuclear war in the Subcontinent may be confined to tactical nuclear weapons on Counter-Force targets.
Sources: Huffington Post, Wikipedia, IDSA, Submarine Matters