India may be reinterpreting its nuclear weapons doctrine, circumstantial evidence suggests, with potentially significant ramifications for the already tenuous nuclear balance in South Asia.

New assessments suggest that India is considering allowing for pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan’s arsenal in the event of a war. This would not formally change India’s nuclear doctrine, which bars it from launching a first strike, but would loosen its interpretation to deem pre-emptive strikes as defensive.

It would also change India’s likely targets, in the event of a war, to make a nuclear exchange more winnable and, therefore, more thinkable. Continue reading.