A recent analysis by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists suggests that India has recently refocused its nuclear strategy on China, positioning new missiles “that indicate their primary target as China,” India’s WION news outlet reported on Wednesday.
Published on July 20, the non-profit’s study revealed that recent additions to India’s nuclear arsenal suggest that New Delhi’s defence focus has shifted from its traditional foe, fellow nuclear state Pakistan, to China.
“India’s nuclear strategy, which has traditionally focused on Pakistan, now appears to place increased emphasis on China, and Beijing is now in range of Indian missiles,” the study’s authors noted.
“[T]he change in posture resulted in all-new Agni missiles having ranges that indicate their primary target as China.”
According to the analysis, India’s nuclear build-up represents an effort to combat China’s increasingly “aggressive” development of its own defensive forces following the deadliest military conflict between the two countries in at least 45 years last month. On the night of June 15, Indian and Chinese border regiments engaged in brutal hand-to-hand combat that killed 20 Indian soldiers. The Indian army accuses Chinese forces of instigating the attack, describing it as an “ambush.”
Beijing has refused to officially acknowledge casualties during the incident, leaving the number of Chinese troops killed unknown, though Indian military sources estimate about 40 of China’s People’s Liberation Army soldiers died in the conflict.