What China’s nuclear ambiguity means for India is different from that for other nuclear powers such as the United States and Russia.
Ever since China exploded its first nuclear device in 1964, Beijing’s nuclear strategy has largely remained unchanged: it is based on achieving deterrence through assured retaliation. A crucial requirement for this is the survivability of its arsenal following a nuclear or conventional adversary’s first strike. But the improved technology and evolving security dynamics with the United States have compelled China to rethink its operational capabilities to achieve effective deterrence. China is rapidly attempting to modernize its conventional and nuclear arsenal and increase its nuclear ambiguity through subtle changes in the doctrine, force posture, and capabilities.