Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs) | UPSC

Tactical nuclear weapons or Theatre Nukes are low-yield short-range nuclear bombs that can be used to stall the progress of troops.

They typically refer to short-range weapons, including land-based missiles with a range of less than 500 km and air- and sea-launched weapons with a range of less than 600 km.

TNWs are the least-regulated category of nuclear weapons covered in arms control agreements.

Pakistan’s talk of tactical nuclear weapons might have emerged as a counter to speculation that India might have developed the “Cold Start” doctrine.

However, TNWs are extremely costly and complex to manufacture and are also vulnerable to battlefield accidents and are susceptible to unauthorised use (‘Mad Major Syndrome’).