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Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
Outlook.com
Review

A Mushroom-Shaped Doubt

India’s nuclear management is hopelessly addle-brained. Koithara shows up the cracks and ways to repair them.

A Mushroom-Shaped Doubt
AP
A Mushroom-Shaped Doubt
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

“For a variety of political and organisational reasons, India is saddled with a nuclear force management system that is seriously inadequate for the work it needs to do.” With these bluntly uncompromising words, Verghese Koithara begins his eye-opening tour de force, Managing India’s Nuclear Forces—a book that needs to be read not by the armchair pundits who proliferate on our op-ed pages, but by the policy-makers at the helm of our national security establishment.

Koithara, a retired vice-admiral with a remarkable mind, and who has applied it to India’s strategic challenges in two outstanding books—Society, State and Security and Crafting Peace in Kashmir —takes on the dysfunctionalities in our nuclear defence. He is rightly critical of the military’s exclusion from the policy levels of nuclear force management, and the perpetuation of a system of technocratic management, created before we had nuclear weapons, that undermines both effectiveness and accountability.

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