Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal |
India’s hysterical military build-up and current nuclear posturing neither establish its hegemony in South Asia nor construct its unbreakable defensive fence. It only intensifies the security dilemma between the strategic competitors that undermines the arms race stability between them. The arms race instability is a potent challenge to the deterrence stability between the belligerent neighbours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi proudly claimed that the country’s first nuclear ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant has completed its first deterrence patrol. On November 5, 2018, he said: “Today is historic because it marks the completing of the successful establishment of the nuclear triad. India’s nuclear triad will be an important pillar of global peace and stability.”
India’s Naval buildup alarmed about the unrestrained nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan, which could destabilize the prevalent strategic stability in South Asia.
He added: “I congratulate all those involved, especially the crew of INS Arihant for this accomplishment, which will always be remembered in our history.” India deployed the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, nuclear-powered submarine in August 2016. The submarine was under development for three decades under a highly classified programme. New Delhi has been endeavouring to add four nuclear-propelled submarines to its blue-water fleet by 2025.
It is because, with a ballistic missile submarine, India can strike Pakistani cities from anywhere in the ocean. It can sneak closer to the coast of Pakistan and fire ballistic missiles deep into its territory. While celebrating the successful trial of Arihant, Prime Minister Modi expressed unfounded threat to India. He stated: “The success of INS Arihant gives a fitting response to those who indulge in nuclear blackmail.”
He fails to mention a nuclear weapon state, which blackmails India. The critical examination of the Indian strategic environment reveals that currently, India has been blackmailing its nuclear-armed neighbour. It has been planning to conduct surgical strikes against Pakistan. While Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme is primarily predicated upon its ability to act as a deterrence mechanism to prevent a nuclear blackmail or nuclear conflict with India.
The arms race instability is a potent challenge to the deterrence stability between the belligerent neighbours.
Instead of the arms race, it has been advocating nuclear restraint regime in the region. Whereas, India has been opposing it. Admittedly, China enjoys military superiority over India. Nevertheless, it has been struggling to create a peaceful and economically stable neighbourhood. Instead of coercing New Delhi, Beijing has been engaging it in the economic sphere. It had already invited India to be a part of its mega economic One-Belt, One-Road initiative.
Both states have an impressive volume of bilateral trade. Hence, the economic interdependency prevents them from nuclear blackmailing each other. India maintains the cordial relations with the remaining nuclear weapon states, i.e. United States, Russia, Britain, France, and Israel. These nuclear powers have been selling sophisticated military hardware to India. They have been lobbying for the permanent membership of India in the Nuclear Supplier Group.
They were very much instrumental in making India full member of Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group, and Wassenaar Arrangement. The Arihant petrol does not undermine Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence. It has already taken the necessary steps to check India’s naval buildup. On September 17, 2018, Pakistan Navy chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi said: “India’s sea-based nuclear weapon initiative compelled Pakistan to take steps for maintaining strategic balance in the region.”
The critical examination of the Indian strategic environment reveals that currently, India has been blackmailing its nuclear-armed neighbour.
To balance the increasing nuclear capability of the Indian Blue water Navy, Pakistan developed and tested the Babur-III—a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) a submarine-launched cruise missile that has a range of 450 kilometers and the ability to deliver a variety of payloads, including nuclear warheads. The Babur-III SLCM was tested from a submerged platform off Pakistan’s coast in the Arabian Sea on March 29, 2018.
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It “incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by global navigation, terrain and scene matching systems.” Importantly, Babur-III features terrain hugging and sea-skimming flight capabilities to evade enemy radars, air defences, and Ballistic Missile Defence systems. Hence, Pakistan has already attained the credible second-strike capability.
Indeed, the nuclear triad—a three-pronged military force that consists of land-based launchers, submarines, and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs and missiles is imperative for a credible nuclear deterrence. Simultaneously, India’s Naval buildup alarmed about the unrestrained nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan, which could destabilize the prevalent strategic stability in South Asia.
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is also an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, London and a course coordinator at Foreign Services Academy for the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email: email@example.com. This piece was first published in Pakistan Observer. It has been republished with permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.