Russia’s policy allows for use of nukes Christoph Bluth Hans News Service | 11 April 2022 12:28 AM IST x
Russia’s policy allows for use of nukes
HIGHLIGHTS But there is no plausible scenario in which their use would save the day for Putin London: Even before the Russian military machine entered Ukrainian territory on February 24, the potential threat of escalation to a nuclear conflict had been raised. In the days before the invasion, Russia conducted a large-scale exercise involving simulated long-range conventional and nuclear strikes in response to a nuclear attack. Then, as his troops poured across the border into Ukraine, Vladimir Putin issued a chilling threat to Nato and the west, saying they would face “consequences greater than any you have faced in history” if they interfered.
But Russia’s threat to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons lacks credibility. While the use of nuclear weapons could wreak terrible destruction in Ukraine, it would not necessarily win the war for Russia. Also Read – Why there is sunflower oil shortage in recent times? what are the other alternatives available? On the other hand, the risk that it could provoke a nuclear response from the west is high. In recent years, Russia has reviewed its policy on the use of its nuclear arsenal. In June 2020, the Office of the President of the Russian Federation published an executive order: Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence. The order has generated considerable debate about whether it is an indication that Russia might be more ready to use nuclear weapons than before. The order noted that Russia considered nuclear weapons “exclusively as a means of deterrence.” Russia’s strategy, it said: is defensive by nature, it is aimed at maintaining the nuclear forces’ potential at the level sufficient for nuclear deterrence, and guarantees protection of national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, and deterrence of a potential adversary from aggression against the Russian Federation and/or its allies. Also Read – 39 killed in rocket attack in Ukraine But the document does suggest that Russia might escalate to the use of nuclear weaponry if it faces losing a conventional conflict: “in the event of a military conflict, this policy provides for the prevention of an escalation of military actions and their termination on conditions that are acceptable for the Russian Federation and/or its allies.” This has been widely described by US analysts as a policy of “escalate to de-escalate”, although this characterisation has been denied by Russian military experts. Also Read – Separatist commander says missile strike on railway station is Ukrainian ‘provocation’ – TASS It is hard to see how this would apply in the case of the current conflict, because Ukraine is defending itself against Russian aggression and not – at the moment, in any case – threatening Russia’s “national sovereignty” or “territorial integrity”. Russia is entirely in control of escalation and can end the war at any time. Not only that, but it is hard to see how even a smaller, tactical nuclear weapon could be used in the context of Ukraine as there are not big enough concentrations of Ukrainian troops to make it effective. The contingencies that could result in the use of Russian nuclear weapons discussed in the document on the Basic Principles of 2020 referred to above include the launch of ballistic missiles “attacking the territory of the Russian Federation and/or its allies” or other uses of weapons of mass destruction against Russia and its allies. They also include “attack by adversary against critical governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation, disruption of which would undermine nuclear forces’ response actions” as well as “aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.” Any nuclear strikes against targets inside Ukraine would also cause major operational problems because Russian forces are on the ground in pretty much every part of Ukraine. A nuclear strike anywhere in Ukraine before Russian forces have substantially retreated would not only kill a large number of civilians, but destroy large numbers of Russian troops and equipment, too. Moreover, it would create insuperable challenges for integrating the country into the Russian Federation after the conflict – if that was the intention. The recent statements in the 2020 document on Russia’s nuclear doctrine again confirmed that the main purpose of Russian nuclear forces is deterrence and not fighting an offensive war. But as the progress of the Russian army in Ukraine has stalled and Russia is sending signals that it might pull back from western Ukraine and focus on Luhansk, Donbas and Crimea, there have been renewed assertions by senior Russian figures of Russia’s right to use nuclear weapons. The former president, Dmitriy Medvedev – one of Putin’s key advisors – said on March 26 that there was a “determination to defend the independence, sovereignty of our country, not to give anyone a reason to doubt even the slightest that we are ready to give a worthy response to any infringement on our country, on its independence.” This was clearly directed at the west and apparently aimed at deterring Nato intervention. It appears that the more desperate Russia is to discourage western involvement, the more strident the tone has become regarding the possible use of nuclear weapons. In this respect, Russia’s use of its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent has so far been successful. But the Russian leaders also know that there are three nuclear powers in Nato and a nuclear conflict risks the complete destruction of Russia. There has been considerable speculation that Putin might become so desperate that he would be capable of anything to salvage his situation including “pressing the button.” But there is no plausible scenario in which the use of nuclear weapons would save the day for Putin. (Writer is Professor of International Relations and Security, University of Bradford, UK; The Conversation) Email ArticlePrint Article 📣 The Hans India is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thehansindia) and stay updated with the latest headlines More On Ukraine Russia ADVERTISEMENT Next Story Markets dancing to tunes of geo-political concerns Cherukuri Kutumba Rao Hans News Service | 11 April 2022 12:53 AM IST x Markets dancing to tunes of geo-political concerns HIGHLIGHTS Supported by the merger decision of HDFC twins and the status quo on policy rates maintained by the RBI with a focus on inflation and growth; braving the US Fed’s hawkish tone and Ukraine-Russia tensions, the domestic market managed to eke out gains during the week ended. Supported by the merger decision of HDFC twins and the status quo on policy rates maintained by the RBI with a focus on inflation and growth; braving the US Fed’s hawkish tone and Ukraine-Russia tensions, the domestic market managed to eke out gains during the week ended. The BSE Sensex rose 170 points to 59,447 points and the NSE Nifty jumped 114 points to 17,784 points. Broader markets outperformed benchmark indices with both the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices rising more than 3.5 percent. ADVERTISEMENT After hawkish commentary from US Fed, renewed selling was seen from FIIs. FIIs have net sold Rs6,337 crore worth shares during the week, against inflow of Rs5,590 crore in previous week. With the RBI keeping a close watch on inflation numbers along with growth, especially after higher commodity prices and elevated crude oil prices amid Ukraine-Russia tensions; WPI and CPI data will be an important domestic indicator to keep an eye on. The inflation numbers are expected to remain high after the RBI sharply raised the inflation forecast to 5.7 per cent from 4.5 per cent earlier, citing geopolitical worries between Russia and Ukraine. A higher-than-expected jump in inflation might provoke knee-jerk reactions. Higher inflation triggering a shift in consumption patterns may also hit demand for goods. In the mid- to upper-income segments, normalisation of behaviour after the third Covid wave is set to shift consumption toward contact-intensive services that were avoided during the pandemic, squeezing growth in demand for goods in FY23. In the coming week, Q4 earnings, the Russia-Ukraine crisis, rising inflation numbers and crude prices will be key areas to focus on for the investors. The key event to focus in the coming week will be the Q4 earnings season that will be kicked off by IT companies. Investors should prefer stocks that are showing higher strength and closely watch earnings and shuffle their portfolios accordingly. The market will remain shut on April 14 for Mahavir Jayanti and Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Jayanti, and on April 15 for Good Friday. ADVERTISEMENT F&O/sector watch On the back of volatility in the cash market and ahead of Q4 results season; the derivatives segment witnessed brisk trading. On option front, Maximum Call Open Interest (OI) was seen at 18,500 strike followed by 18,000 & 17,800 strikes, while Maximum Put Open Interest was seen at 17,000 strike then 17,600 & 17,700 strikes. Implied Volatility (IV) of Calls closed at 17.68 per cent, while that for Put options closed at 18.01. The Nifty VIX for the week closed at 19 per cent, which was slightly lower than the previous week. PCR of OI for the week closed at 1.42. Looking at option data, punters expect the Nifty to consolidate with support at 17,500 and resistance at 18,100 in the coming holiday laced week. Global major Accenture’s numbers indicate good tidings for Indian IT majors and industry sources predict stellar numbers from the large IT companies. Expect good results from midcap IT companies also. IT giants TCS, Infosys, and Wipro are expected to report moderate growth in revenue during the December quarter due to continued higher employee expenses. Sources expect TCS, Infosys, and Wipro to post constant currency (CC) revenue growth in the range of around 3-3.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), while HCL Technologies is expected to post the weakest growth of two per cent on a sequential basis due to negative impact coming in from its products and platforms (P&P) business. After the RBI Governor’s statement that it is for the NBFCs to make their own choice and the central bank after having created a broad framework does not have a role in their restructuring; big non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) backed by industrial houses like Bajaj Finance, Shriram Transport Finance, Tata Capital, Aditya Birla Capital and Mahindra &Mahindra Financial Services have to find a way out of the tightening regulations as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is unlikely to ease norms for them to convert into a bank or permitting them to merge into a bank like the way HDFC merged with HDFC Bank. Industry quarters predict surprising large M&A deals in coming months. Stock futures looking good are Ambuja Cements, Berger Paints, GAIL, Godrej Consumer, ITC, ICICI Bank, Shriram Transport, SBI and SAIL. Stock futures looking weak are ABFRL, Coforge, HDFC, LTTS, Maruti, McDowell, RBL Bank and Zee. (The author is a stock market expert. He is former vice chairman of AP Planning Board)