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PSIR 2A-6.4 Deterrence – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Discuss the utility of Nuclear Deterrence theory in the context of the recent stand-off between India and Pakistan. [2019/10m/150w/1a]

As per the nuclear deterrence theory, when two countries secure nuclear arsenals that can withstand attack and still hit back, they enter a state of mutually assured destruction. This makes military triumph meaningless as even the loser country can devastate the civilians of the other country.

India and Pakistan have fought three conventional wars before acquiring nuclear weapons. although they have fought one war and have seen several crises since 1998, they have all been smaller. Scholars like Sunil Ganguly believe that this is not a coincidence. on the other hand, WPS Sidhu believes that it is the shortcoming of the deterrence theory that it has not explained the occurrence of Operation Vijay and Operation Parakram.

The recent crisis of the Pulwama terror attack showed that governments do not necessarily maintain the status quo even if they have robust nuclear arsenals, especially with militants operating in the border area.

Like in the cold war, India and Pakistan may try to use the risk of escalation to get the upper hand. Hence, nuclear weapons can also make such instances dangerous instead of reducing wars. The deterrence theory is also unable to deal with the non-state armed groups which are a significant element of Indo-Pak relations.

The nuclear deterrence theory is highly unstable. The likelihood of a deterrence failure and nuclear catastrophe in India and Pakistan is not high, but it remains significant and alternatives should be searched. [236 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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