With China beginning its long-awaited deployment of the DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missile, India and Pakistan are likely to respond by placing multiple warheads atop some of their missiles quoted by editors in the book titled 'The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVS: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age'
Small increments of stockpile growth and multiple warhead missiles will ratchet up a triangular nuclear competition among China, India and Pakistan. The book, co-edited by Michael Krepon, Co-founder of the Stimson Center, and Shane Mason, says that in the second nuclear age which is no less than the first, there are no realistic prospects for banning multiple-warhead missiles.
China has started to deploy such missiles, and India and Pakistan are likely to cross this threshold as well. The motivations behind these steps will determine how extensively nuclear arsenals will grow and how pernicious the effects of stockpile growth will become, the book said.
The book further warns that if the growth of warhead totals and missile accuracy presages moves by Beijing and New Delhi toward war-fighting strategies of deterrence, then the second nuclear age will become far more dangerous and prospects for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons on international affairs will be undermined.
China will likely continue to build its arsenal at a moderate pace, adding fewer than 200 warheads to its arsenal over the next 10-15 years -- perhaps one half as a result of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles. According to Krepon, the triangular nuclear competition in Asia will differ greatly from the arms race between the United States and the erstwhile Soviet Union.