India’s nuclear plans and nuclear arms race in South Asia

By Sidra Ajaib Kayani

India and Pakistan are  two nuclear powers of South Asia that shares an untrustworthy relationship backed by violate history of three wars, with one war (1971) leading to the independence of Bangladesh. The fragile peace in the region made both India and Pakistan to become aspirants of nuclear weapons. India detonated its nuclear device first in 1974 and then in 1998, Pakistan also followed India’s foot prints and conducted nuclear tests in 1998. The nuclearization of South Asia explains the action-reaction syndrome at its best. The action taken by India (achievement of nuclear capable status title) not only threatened the peace and stability of South Asia but had seriously undermined international efforts to abundant arms race.

A factual assessment of South Asian situation uncovers that India and Pakistan both are racing their respective goals; however, the intention of both is vastly different. Pakistan is aspirant to maintain minimum credible deterrence whereas India is looking for its strengthened status in the region. After becoming nuclear state India has always endeavor to expand the horizon of its nuclear muscles that presently appear to have extensive western approval as well. In conventional weaponry India has an edge position over Pakistan and is still working to improve it along with nuclear modernization to promote its objective of becoming a regional hegemonic power.

Ex-Indian Army Chief Sundararajan Padmanabhan foresees Indian army’s in 2020, he says: “The Indian army in 2020 will be an optimally equipped and weaponized force, with the capability to operate effectively in an integrated joint services environment, over the entire spectrum of conflict, in a regional context.” Sea-based strategic capability which India and Pakistan currently lacks ensures the effectiveness of Second-Strike Capability, now India is envisioned to acquire it by 2020. Admiral Madhvendra, Ex Indian Naval Chief says: “Now that India is a declared nuclear weapon state with a No First Use policy it is absolutely essential that we put our second strike capability in nuclear submarine as soon as possible.” To meet up its strategic plans India is now expanding massively also vigorously adopting new ways to accessorize its military force. Under the shadow of ‘123 agreement’ India is developing as well as improving its nuclear warheads. The agreement enable India to get uninterrupted fuel supply which is for civilian use but the record of Indian clandestinely usage of civilian purpose technology for nuclear weapons raises concerns.

In such a prevailed environment where India is doing whatever it wants to do and no one has the authority to check on India rather proponent of arms control itself is sponsoring this all then obviously uncontrolled and unmanageable arm race will get its roots deep in the existing peculiar environment. Irrespective of western media hype and other anti Pakistan powers who are voicing the miscalculations and propagating Pakistan as a fastest-growing nuclear program in the world, factual assessment reveals that Indian pursuit for regional hegemony and overwhelming spending on nuclear buildup compelled Pakistan to boost its defense spending.

After the described scenario, Pakistan lefts with no choice but to struggle for balancing Indian power equation because its security policy is Indian centric. Reality check exposes that it’s India that is instigating nuclear arms race in South Asia and Pakistan is compelled to take measures that can ensure its sovereignty. At present, President Obama’s visit to India in January 2015, and expanding nuclear cooperation with India would further exacerbate arms race in South Asia. The Indo-US growing nexus in nuclear sphere prompted Pakistan to counter the Indian threat by adopting the policies that would boost and ensure its second strike capability. The nuclear cooperation would definitely trigger an arms race in South Asia, which would ultimately threaten the deterrence stability in South Asia.

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Sidra Ajaib Kayani

Sidra Ajaib Kayani is a researcher at the Strategic Vision Institute and can be reached at her email [email protected]. Ms. Sidra Ajaib Kayani holds a Master's degree in Defense and Diplomatic Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Currently, she is enrolled as a MPhil student at National Defense University in Islamabad. Her area of research includes Nuclear Studies, Arms Race, Nuclear Safety and Security, Nuclear Terrorism, Disarmament, Global Zero.

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