Do we need the big bomb?
K. Santhanam who claims the thermonuclear bomb was a ‘fizzle’ called for more nuclear tests to develop hydrogen bombs.
The argument in a nutshell is that if India doesn’t have a bomb big enough with which it can threaten an adversary, then the adversary may be emboldened to carry out a nuclear strike.
However, many experts demur given the changed international environment.
The controversy came right before President Obama made a call for all UN states to ratify the NPT.
The nuclear bomb at Hiroshima had a smaller estimated yield of 14 kilotons and killed 80,000 people instantly.
The logic of having nuclear weapons when other friendly and not-so- friendly countries have it is derived from deterrence theory.
However, strategic analysts differ widely on the size of the deterrent.
To put it plainly a nuclear bomb is as effective as the number of people it can kill.
But a consensus on how many deaths are enough seems to be elusive.
Do we need the big bomb at this stage?
Or do we need more of smaller ones as argued by Manoj Joshi?
Is it possible to agree at the number of deaths that would be unacceptable to the other side and then work back to how many bombs or how big a bomb we need?