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Nuclear Command Authority (India)
Agency overview
Formed 2003
Jurisdiction Indian government
Headquarters New Delhi
Employees Classified
Annual budget Classified
Agency executive Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

The Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) of India is the nodal agency for all command, control and operational decisions regarding India's nuclear weapon stockpile.



Manmohan Singh is the current Prime minister of India and heads the NCA

India's first Nuclear test was conducted on 18 May 1974. Since then India has conducted another series of test at the Pokhran test range in the state of Rajasthan in 1998, which included a thermonuclear test. India has an extensive civil and military nuclear program, which includes at least 10 nuclear reactors, uranium mining and milling sites, heavy water production facilities, a uranium enrichment plant, fuel fabrication facilities, and extensive nuclear research capabilities.

Though India has not made any official statements about the size of its nuclear arsenal, different estimates indicate that India has anywhere between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons[1][2]

On January 4, 2003, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) constituted the Political Council and the Executive Council of the NCA. The Executive Council, chaired by National Security Advisor (NSA) gives the inputs to the Political Council, which authorises a nuclear attack when deemed necessary. The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister, and advised by the Executive Council, chaired by the NSA.

Their directives are to be operationalised by a new Strategic Forces Command under the control of a Commander-in-Chief of the rank of Air Marshal (or its equivalent) in charge of the management and administration of the tactical and strategic nuclear forces.

The NCA may be seen as the first stage in the development of an effective and robust Command-and-Control (C2) and Indications-and-Warning (I&W) systems and infrastructure for its strategic nuclear forces.

The anatomy of nuclear attack

Symbol Code Stage Detail
Fadeout123.gif FADE OUT OR PEACETIME OPS Stage 5 The nuclear core is kept in secure and concealed storage facilities managed by the Atomic Energy Commission. The army trains with the Agni and Prithvi with dummy warheads and the air force practises toss bombing manoeuvres.
Doubletake123.gif DOUBLE TAKE Stage 4 If the army goes on full alert, then some of the nuclear cores are mated to the warhead by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Strike plans are reviewed.
Roundhouse123.gif ROUND HOUSE Stage 3 As the alert levels increase, the warhead is mated to the missile and the army begins to chalk out operational plans for moving it into launch positions. Plans for next higher condition are readied and reviewed. But no measures will be taken that are proactive.
[file:no picture] FAST PACE Stage 2 Preliminary action is taken to permit the most rapid transition to maximum readiness, if necessary. The missiles may be moved to launch positions.
Cocked123.jpg COCKED PISTOL Stage 1

It is a maximum state of readiness posture and the highest state of preparedness to execute strike plans. Targets are decided upon and a launch is imminent. Clearance is awaited for the encrypted code that would give the order from the prime minister to fire.

Delivery of weapons

Main article: Indian nuclear weapon delivery systems

The current status of delivery systems for Indian nuclear weapons is unclear and highly classified. India has developed and tested nuclear weapons that could be delivered on the Prithvi and Agni missiles, although its extent and operational preparedness in this respect remains unclear. Since India probably had nuclear weapons prior to the availability of these missiles, it is probable that the current Indian nuclear weapons inventory includes weapons designed for delivery using aircraft. One or more of the following aircraft types might be used for this purpose. There are no open-source reports suggesting which if any of these aircraft have been equipped to deliver air-dropped atomic weapons. The MiG-27 and the Jaguar were originally designed to perform ground attack missions, and would require only modest modification to deliver nuclear weapons. The Indian Air Force also operates several other older and less capable types of ground-attack which would seem rather less likely candidates for delivering nuclear weapons. The MiG-29, Su-30 and Mirage 2000 were originally designed to perform air-to-air combat missions, though they could potentially be modified to deliver air-dropped nuclear weapons. Plans are also on for the delivery of nuclear weapons via the under construction Advanced Technology Vessel using the SLBM/SLCM Sagarika


  1. ^ Norris, Robert S. and Hans M. Kristensen. "India's nuclear forces, 2005," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 61:5 (September/October 2005): 73–75.
  2. ^ India's Nuclear Weapons Program - Present Capabilities

See also



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