INDIA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS POLICY

Created: 10/21/1965

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SECRET

CONTROLLED DISSEM

15

SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

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upersedes Memorandum to Holders of4 and

India's Nuclear Weapons Policy

StfbmiHtcf b, Ibm DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

Concvrrtd in by Ihe UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD At5

CONTROLLED DISSEM

NV

for pelerse date:1

Director of Intelligencrj ond Research, Daportm.nl of Slot* Olretror, Defensegency

The Atomic Energy Commission Raproianrallve lo the USIB Director of rha Horkmol Secvriry Agency

Abstaining,

TWato ma Director. Fadarol Iweou of Inreuigoiion.f Mi ivro -

WAIN1NG

Thi* mo'ariol contains informotion affecting ihe Notlonol Defense of tbe United States within tho mooning of the eip.or.oge laws, Title IB, USC,. tha Irons-million or revelation of which in any manner lonoirlhortud pa'son ts prohiblied.

INDIA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS POLICY

THE PROBLEM

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To estimate India's nuclear weapons policy over the next few years.

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CONCLUSIONS

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has the capability to develop nuclear weapons. Italready has sufficient plutoniumirst device, anditearecision to develop one. )

proponentsuclear weapons program haveby the Indo-Palcistani war. but the maintrengthening of Prime Minister Shastri's position.that he does not now wish torogram and that heof making this decision stick for the time being.

' C. However, we do not believe that India will hold to this policy indefinitely. All things considered, we believe that within the next Jew years India probably willuclear device and proceed to develop nuclear weapons. )

APPHQVU) FOR RELEASE DATl: MAY ?DOI

DISCUSSION

Ttthnkol CopoWi'-ei

ndia hai everything ncituaiy to produce tin- plutoniumodest weapons program, from rxtemivc uranium ore renTw*lutonium separation plant It i* expandingof it* Facilllif* nnd striving to build up if domestic at nubilities tomi eventually eliminate Ik dependence on foreign suppliers. The country plan* In complete three si'sblc nuclear power station* In thi: next several years; Iwh arc already under tonvtruction with Canadian and US assistance. However, tlx- reactor* for the currently planned power program are to befegu-mK designed lo cmurr peaceful uses. The Canada-India Reactori4 India's three researchcapable of producing annually enough plutnrtlmn for one or two weapons in theT rangi. There are no safeguard*ither the uranium or heavy water now used in ihli reactor, although whtti Canada furnished the realtor India agreed to use it only for peaceful purpose*.

ndia probably alreadymi hand enough plulonlumuclear di'viec. The CIR has been operated, at least rhrnughanner which favors, the output of plutonium luitahle for weapons, though this plutonium l*seful for other piirpo*ev The plutonium separation plant lus* proeev*cd bW fuel irradiated in thelant for (lie production of plutonium metal from the output of the separation plantscheduled furit Win. in the meantime, tin* taak probably has been performedilot facility which ha* enough capacity to process the plutonium the CIR can produce. The Indian* maintain thai their entire nuclear program is directed to peaceful uses; they say they want plutonium for research on fast breeder reactors which they hope to develop to exploit their extensive thoriumcvcrtlR'lcM. it Is clear 'hat the Facilities and the manner of operating them matte it possible for New Delhi to move prornptlyeapon* program.

3 If Indian leaden decided in5 to develop nucleare believe that India couM conduct rts first tea'ew months. To do so. however, work on weapon* oV*ign and Icchnolnpr would have to be well advanced,esting sfte would have to lie ectahlrshcd soon. We have-no evidence that such activities arc well advarvted. However, early workto weapons technology and design has probably started. Such work Isto rtjttccnl and difficult to [Identify. India ha* expanded tho electronic focilitlcH at Its unclear establishment cmi'idcriibly and may have begun to setigh rxplmlvc* test facility, though both development* could lie intended for other psirpoees than production of nuclear weapons. If work applicable to weapon* design and technology Is In H* carry Mages, a* we Itrlieve probable. India would he rWe to fe-st it* first device in the second half8 India signed3 partial test ban treaty. Init lias area* vdrcrc it could testeapon deliverable(be Indian Aitanberra light Immlicr*

APPHQVtu FOHFULLASl DATE: MAY 2QB1

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could probably lie prodiKed nhmrtyear*'nt. ludu it add frod-He aboutdozen weapons lii tinT rangeould ihrn increase rapidly If India used (he plulnnitim produced In the-ation now scheduled.

Proiiv'olaopons Progrom

tJnuclear Yerapciirj program begM to blllM up Iniflir ihe first Chinese lest late InEknsents of (Ik- prcwi and tin- scientific com.ell a* some polilkiarw. called for India to make (he bomb Shastri and other1 top linden opposed these prenwinw and reaffirmed India's intention not to develop nuclearltc leaden had lonsMuruhlcn gaining formalParly support ft* this position, uml (Ik- Indian Cwernmcnt has acknowledged that this policy i* subject to clinngc.

,he war with Pakistan, and pirtictilariy Communis! China's thrcatemtl iu-tervcnlon In the fighting, have given considerable impetus to those Indian* who favor de-eloping nodeareveral opposition patties have called for Ihe fcovcrrtmcnt to reverse its position.nernbers oftiding someof the Congn-yidone the same; and sar>om iuflneii-tisl people ihrcaighotit India have begun to put prewtrre on the government on the tunc. Public sentiment fa now such that the prraKstMnta of nuclear we.ipomm outnumber oppoox-nts. and *cnir* Congress Party le*dcr*hip <nrr>titiitc* the'slacleolky reversal To some est.nt thisreflect* an emoflo,ial surge, generated by iIk- war. which will probably decline in lime. But we think that lite war has permanently Mrrngthened the volets of ihoveargue that India's security will Ik- Ix-tter protected liy greater reliance on IK men military strength than upon other power* and world opinion.

tl. Those who favor nuclear weapons argue Ikil Indian prestige will niflcf unlet* India has tin- Isomk and that, without nuclearill not lie regardedreat power. Equally appealing is the simple elulm thill an India without nuclear weapons will be unable to stand uputlcnr.nrmed China,ecade or so hence when Peking will proliahlyonsiderable nuclear arsenal. Tills argument is likely to haw growing appeal at further Chinese tests occur. Finally, prononenls of the homh note that Communist China has suffered no setback*esult ofuclear capability, Md IrKked Its slalusorld power has lirrn tnhaiicesL

t the same time, thernrncnt has had littleIn finding non-nuclear ways to deal with ths threat which Chmev nuclear dcvvlopmrnt* pose to It* prestige and security. It ha* lsctn unable tn find any schntific sprc-laentir that would matchplmionv Snr havralrtfnc-Itwy lo India la-en forthcoming from ihe nnclear power* tint tiny uixihl dime to India* assistance in lite eventmliar nli.nl It* CmumuitKi China.Jntrresl was centered on ihe povolalitvoint US-USSR guarantee. Uv.nisr il would be tnmktcnt ssith the cemnlrys nonalignmcnt policy. However. Vim-entv'tlur* not Ix-tit fncsniragirn;. Its nativity foil wing Pilings tilti-

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malum during the recent conflict1-vlth Pakistan, the suspension of US military aid to India and US failure to preventf US weapons against India, are all ttted as proof that India cannot depend upon outside powers for protection In (he great variety of contingencies it will face. India prolxibly believes that the difficulties ofoint guarantee now arc "ven more furrnrdabfc than theyear ago. and the roofesT-ncrilling to place in formalhas also deteriorated. For theseew Delhiha* shown little interest in securityn the subject of non-proliferation. India hasather vtiEf stand. Insisting that before rson-nuclear powers agree not to prolifrTate. the present nuclear powers mint undertakr soiu* nuclear disarmamentFinally, Indu t* pmlsablyabout the pcmibility oft* securityomprehensive lesi ban trr-aty.

Oppoiifiontononi Program

he other hand, opponentsuclear svenpons program argue that, during llie recentndia was able to deal with both Pakistan andChlrui simultaneously with conventional arms, and that what is needed is added itrcngth of this sort. They believeeversal of Nehru'sposit ion aftrr all India has said about the evil* of nuclear weapons would damage its intrmational prestige. Moreover, they apparently feel that if India oVvelops nuclearer countries (including Pakistan) will be more inclined to seek suchither through their own efforts or from other countries. Indian leadenare lik:ly to contin so to stress the evil nature of atomic weapons andhreat tliey pose for the world. Such craklcrsliom still ore important In India, though they are declining as the legacy of Candhi and Nehru fades. Some opponent* of the bomb arc convinced that the costeaningfulystem will be prohibitive; some believe that, should China attack India with nuclear weapons, live US and perhaps even the USSR would Inevitably become Involved.

policy probably is Influenced to some extent by tho view* ofmilitary leaden. While our Information on their atritudes isapparently ore not now pressiitg for nuclear weapons. They seem touse of available funds to build up India's conventional militarymilitary thought, long dominated by the army, concentrate* heavilythe country's borders rather than on strategic capabilities-leaden probably do not yetressing need for nuclearborder defense. As China's nuclear arsenal sjtowa and Its debverythe attitudes of the military lenders seem likely lo changearguments provide Shastri with powerful support for his presenthe ha* not yet made public use of thcoi.

f-onomie ConlioVolioni

economic burden involved inew .simple fcsiim weapon*

ss-ould not he grent. The costodest weapon* program 'up to the testing BPPnOVEO FOR REIUSE

DATE:1

irst device) would lie UCMO million,nmo work lias already been donewcupiicu technology II could lie considerablyherenller. Ihe additional cost* would be0areapon*onsidcruldyon pons aIheould require an Investment0 million: Ihereafter thecost would beear.mall part of these costs would be In foreign exchange.

The costsi-livrry system uvsuld he In addition tobove nuclear expenses; they would be mainly in foreign exchange Toeaningful nuclear deterrent lo Communist China, given tin* dislance of major Chinese targets, India would at least have to procure longer range bombers than the Canberra* now in its Inventory. The Soviet Badger has been sold lo nou-Coinmuni.st countries forillion per unit; itombat radius sufficient lo reach many important areas in China. India probably believes It could acquire medium jet bomber* from theIrmn Ihvpttc the political prablctns this couldfor theeel ofedium ycl bomliers would cost almnt DO million; if costs cuukl be spread over several years. Ihe expense of acquiring and operating these planesbout iiOimilar number of heavy set rsosnlsrrs. if obtainable, would probably cost three or four times as much.

India has so far done only limited ssnrk in missile Icehnology. Howe* -r. if New Delhi came toeed for missiles, it might, during the next ten years, be able to prodiicc orissile delivery system suitable to deliver against Chinesej the warhead* It could manufacture.

Thus India would have to spend aboutear toomhs annually and to aet|uire andmnll jet homliiT force. The costs of producing orissile delivery system would probably be greater, though we cannot say by how much Given the country's present and prospective economichesearticularly tlx sizable foreign exchange costseliveryhe an importantHowever. India has increased its defense budgetnearlyillionthe las* eight year* rather than seek accommodation svith Pakistan and Communist China, and we doubt that concern overill bo the overriding factor In the Indian decision.

rfn* Indian

ease for nuclear weapon* Itatby the warHosvevrr. the main political result of ihe conflict ha* been aof ShastrTi po-.ilKm We believe that he doe* not at present wish to develop

Indian rqvrwlaureioebc: rnerfj rtroerarn (mm ISM through IBnS willWlllonwin he ihnulmMllnn. Kipimlirum are (iprttrd In avcrns?wr for thit neil Sir- irno. turariyl power staltnn-.of ihh nuunllutle wnuldnp|Hi<siliinli-lystiumled gmx 'nuilniHil product.

flPPPOUl0 FOR PiflEASI MkmmVnU

nuclear weapons, and (hat he is capable ot makingecision slick (or lhe Kmcleast so long as I*o have the support of the key leaders of the Congress Party in this sland. His immediate course of action will prolwhlyto keep India's diplomatic and technical option* open. During thts period, he will weigh tlienducements, and pressures that arc forthcoming from the greate will almost certainly avoidto International agreements which might curtail India's options, and he-will support technical efforts to shorten the time between an affirmative decision and the detonationirst dtwke.

The major Influence on Indian opinion svill he the pace and scope of the Chinese nuclear program. Asesting proceeds, we cancel growing pressure In Indiaveaponxenewal of theChina again supportingcause New Delhi to opt for the bomb. In any event, the attraction* ofuclear power In order to increase India's prestige and bargaining ^position in international alTain will also grow.

In considering tlhe advantages of developing niiclcsir weapons against continued postponementecision, Nesv Delhi will he concerned nbotit the prospects for internationalforeign aid. The Indianswould calculate that, despite the USSR's opposition to nuclear proliferation. Moscow would be unlikely lo cut off aid to influence India's nuclear weapons policy. While New Delhi must, allow for curtailment or the possible termination of US aid under certain circumstances, It probably considersn the face of continuing Soviet aid. live West would feel obliged sooner or later to foflnw suit If the US were already withholdingn effort to force coticcssion* on Kashmir, threats of further! penalties designed to deter India from making the bomb might not. be very' persuasive. Indeed, such threatened penalties might strengthen nationalist elements in tin? country whoolicy on defense, and thus increase the chances of an early affirmative, decision.

New Delhi Is unlikely to accede to any iion-prolifexnlion treaty which fulls to restrict Ommunist Chinas further development of nuclear weapons, and we see no chance that Peking vill accept such restrictions. Indeed, if the US and the USSRKm-proliferntion treaty that did not Include China, the Issue of whether or not India should sign might bringead lhe national debate on nuclear weapons and lendeversal of India's presentest lianwithoutbe morefor India to reject, particularly one endorsed by tlie US, the USSR, and the majority of the non-nuclear nations. However. India ssvjuld count on an escape clause to preserve its options.

f India decided to proceed loevice and test it underground, II might claim that It was merely exploring the pntinlialilfcs of nuclearfor pcflccfiilIndian Plowshare program, fly this means it could obtain the prestige of havinguclear device whileit had neither prnlilirated nuclear weapon* nor violated its ngrecrncnt with Conndu lo use the CI It only (or peaceful purposes. New Delhi would not expect

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this claim lo be fully ertsliled, hut might believe tlutt il would give Canada, the US and other countries an opportunity lo continue assistance, wen hi thefield.

The Shastri government is probably predisposed toecision. India might continue toecisionime in returnontinued high level or US rxonornk-enewal of military assistance',oregoing of pressure on the Kashmir issue. Other factors that miglit mHucncc India to hold to its present policyombination of severe domestic economic difficulties, meaningful international progress In the field of disarmament, and some Indian progress in securing outside guarantees.

Howrs-er. we do not Iwlicvc that such factors would result in India Iwld-Ing to its pre .cot policy indefinitely. AM things considered, wc believe that within tlse next few years New Delhi prolxihly willuclear device and proceed to produce nuclear weapons, It is unlikely that wc wouldlearn of an Indian decision to proceedeapons program, but wc probably would have advance indications of the first detonation.

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