India’s nuclear threat


WEB DESK: A joint statement issued at the conclusion of the eighth round of Pakistan-US Security, Strategic Stability, and Non-Proliferation Group talks in Islamabad, expressed concern over nuclear and missile developments in South Asia.

Just recently India tested submarine launched ballistic missile, a game-changer weapons system for both its first and second strike capability as submarines are difficult to detect and allow little or no reaction time. And in the case of first attack by the other side they have a greater chance to survive and retaliate. Upping the nuclear ante further, India has followed up the test with the induction in its arsenal of supersonic interceptor missile, which can give New Delhi a false sense of security encouraging it to act irrationally.

Given that the two traditional rivals have a long common border, any miscalculation of a perceived threat will lead to unthinkable consequences. With India’s enormous superiority in conventional arms, Pakistan has legitimate worries about that country’s induction of newer and more dangerous nuclear capable weapons. It is within its rights to try and maintain strategic balance under its minimum credible deterrence policy, especially in view of India’s Cold Start doctrine which is aimed at launching an overwhelming conventional attack on Pakistan before anyone knows about it and does something to stop it.

At the Islamabad talks, the US has been calling for a (one-sided) commitment to Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which this side has rightly been resisting since it would restrict Pakistan’s asymmetries with India at the current levels and undermine security. The stance makes ample sense considering that New Delhi has consistently been ignoring Islamabad’s Strategic Restraint Regime proposal due to its regional connotation. India, of course, has assumed big power airs and is averse to any proposal that it perceives to be incommensurate with its global status.

Sadly, despite India’s refusal to sign the NPT and other important international treaties on the issue, the US went on to make a nuclear deal with that country and also getting it a special exception to enter into a safeguards agreement with the nuclear watchdog body, IAEA, that could pave the way for it to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. As a matter of fact, there is nothing just or rational about the international nuclear order. The major nuclear powers undertook a commitment at the time of signing the NPT in 1968 to make “good faith efforts” to work towards complete nuclear disarmament, but have shown no intention to move in that direction. Instead they are promoting a discriminatory order in aid of their own interests.

The goal of complete nuclear disarmament having fallen by the wayside, it is vain to expect an end to nuclear arms race in South Asia. Yet Pakistan may be willing to exercise strategic restrain if the core issues of conflict are resolved. According to the Pak-US joint statement “both sides emphasised the importance of meaningful dialogue and progress in this area, and expressed the hope for lasting peace in south Asia and the resolution of outstanding disputes through peaceful means.” Words alone will not do; Washington needs to use its influence with New Delhi to make that happen.

Source: Business Recorder