Bangalore: India is well ''ahead'' in its attempts to build a credible nuclear deterrence to pre-empt attack from adversaries, as part of its doctrine based on no-first-use with a second strike capability, a top defence official said Friday.
'There is a huge amount of work going on towards creating a credible minimal deterrence to ensure our adversaries don't take us by surprise. We are way up and ahead of what we need to do in protecting the country,' air vice marshal KJ Mathews, commander of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), said at a function here.
An independent command, the SFC is responsible for the country's nuclear arsenal.
''As an independent agency, fortunately, we have greater amount of operational freedom and we report to the prime minister directly on strategic issues,' AVM Mathews said.
AVM Mathews, who assumed command in January, made the remark during his address at the golden jubilee celebrations of the maiden flight of the first indigenous fighter bomber Marut (HF-24), designed and developed by the state-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) here Friday.
In his address AVM Mathews said the aerospace and defence communities should introspect on what they can do to strengthen national security.
''We need to focus on our future requirements by making best use of our resources that were built over the last five-six decades. Increasing self-reliance and innovation will help face security challenges,' AVM Mathews asserted.
Set up in 2003 by the then National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government under former prime minister AB Vajpayee, the Strategic Forces Command is tasked with the use of nuclear weapons under the eight-point nuclear doctrine.