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India All-Set to Dump the Regional Peace

Shamsa Ashfaq

Recent increase in Indian defence budget and her nuclear ambitions are indicative of a fact that Indian fundamentalist leadership is hell bent on disturbing the balance of power in South Asia and posing a greater global threat. In last few months, India has tried to aggressively display expansion of its nuclear ambit, which included maturing of its ballistic missile defence (BMD), sea-based nuclear developments and evolving prospects of building top secret thermonuclear weapons. Nuclear developments that seem to be a part of India’s belief system are indeed formidable.
It is true that the present environment pose no real external threat to the state security of India and all conventional capabilities are aggressively poised against her “unnecessarily” perceived threat – Pakistan. In fact maintenance of peace and stability in the terror prone South Asia is the corner stone of Pakistan’s policy. For that matter, Islamabad is also opposed to nuclear or conventional arms race in the region and committed to pursue arms control and restraint measures with a belief that the region’s scarce resources should be devoted to the socioeconomic uplift of its people. As far as its nuclear capability is concerned, it is striving for balance and not parity with India. Unfortunately, India’s massive arms-buying spree, development of ballistic missile defence and other conventional and nuclear counterforce capabilities strain Pakistan’s deterrence, compelling it to take appropriate countermeasures.
In the broader perspective, India’s unconstrained nuclear advancement is emerging out to be the most dangerous dynamic for the world at large. The presence of nuclear extremists and anarchist at the helm of security establishment and rising religious extremism led by Narendra Modi, separatist movements in some part of India like Nagaland creating a breed of hostile reactionaries and poor nuclear security record make India at the verge of nuclear nightmare. The gradual radicalization of India under Modi administration poses a grave danger to India’s nuclear security in terms of insider threats. The possibility of two potentially dangerous elements i.e. India’s radicalization co-sponsored by Shiv Sena and its poor nuclear safety and security record is undoubtedly one of the most underappreciated threats to international peace and security in the region.
Amid this scenario, US-led west’s undue favours to Indian drive for nuclear expansion further put into quandary the global efforts for peace and stability in South Asia. For instance, the US-backed nuclear waiver for India for its ostensible civilian nuclear purposes followed by the adventurous Indian policy of “cold start or pro-active doctrine” is responsible for generating instability and pushing South Asia onto the brink of a nuclear war. Under prevalent security dilemma in south Asia, a mature and responsible approach by US and the west would have been to put a constraint on India’s nuclear and missile advancements currently having the most dangerous dynamics. Instead, fresh arms race especially scudded by Obama administration enabled India to declare extension in range of BrahMos cruise missile, which was not possible without Delhi joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Moreover, India has close cooperation with US and other major powers in defence sector especially anti-ballistic missize development programme. The US has been working on India’s Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicle (MIRV) missiles too, which are likely to be based on Agni V – an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) already a regional and global concern due to its reach and destructive power. According to security experts, the MIRV type warheads are overkill against South Asian states as they have no ballistic Missile defence programme for their security.
To top it, India is also making a deal to locate half a dozen US nuclear unit Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh to chase its ambitious target of tripling its nuclear generating capacity. Building of a nuclear city at Challakere in Karnataka by India with a large military-nuclear complex to produce thermonuclear weapons and as an advanced weapons testing centre in future with consent of western powers is just another case in point.
It is most unfortunate fact that India’s successful advancements in their nuclear and missile programmes further complicating the regional security dilemma are not without foreign backing. Its an irony that major powers of the world have totally ignored the fact that Indian nuclear capable missile programme is a clear violation of its recently joined Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC), which seeks a political commitment to curb the missile proliferation and exercise maximum possible restraint in development, testing and deployment of missiles. Thus, it is mainly due to the western especially US prejudices that deterrence is becoming less stable in volatile South Asia. By letting India abandon the strategic dialogue and embark on its adventurous course of confrontation particularly with Pakistan, it is no rocket science to figure out who actually are responsible for instability in South Asia.



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