An overview of South Asian Nuclear developments: View point from Pakistan

An overview of South Asian Nuclear developments: View point from Pakistan

“You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

– Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

As long as some states have nuclear weapons, others will want to acquire their own. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stressed that disarmament is the main way to curb the spread of nuclear weapons. But did these international bodies, bilateral disarmament treaties, the Non Proliferation Treaty, two nuclear test ban treaties, agreement on nuclear materials, nuclear-free zones and nuclear weapons states’ nuclear doctrines  work well to stop vertical as well as horizontal proliferation?

Following the history of weaponisation of South Asia, the worry of nuclear proliferation was justified when in 1974 India conducted its first nuclear test, claiming it was a “peaceful nuclear test”. This test, which may have only been partially successful, portrayed as not a military test. The test was met with strong criticism and sanctions from the international community. India further emphasized that its nuclear devices were designed for peaceful uses, such as building canals.

Importantly, while the government continued to maintain the aforementioned position; Raj Ramanna a Former Director of India’s Nuclear Program never entertained this illusion.

While giving an interview months before Indian second nuclear tests he was of the view that:

“The Pokhran test was a bomb, I can tell you now… An explosion is an explosion, a gun is a gun, whether you shoot at someone or shoot at the ground… I just want to make clear that the test was not all that peaceful.”

Previously, developing military nuclear weapons under the veil of civilian nuclear facility which they have got from CANDU which is deeply unsettling as their nuclear secrecy still persists where it was explored recently Indian developing an entire secret Hydrogen Bomb city.

In an inauspicious way, the country has a well-developed civilian and military nuclear program. Being non-signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) their efforts of increasing nuclear sites inspiration can spark more foot prints to the existing arms race.

While scratching the surface of the circumstances leading to and following India’s first nuclear test, it gives a fair amount of insight about the number of nuclear weapons in the Indian arsenal, although the number has  not been confirmed by the Indian officials which creates an odd thought of determining its exact inventory.

Maintaining its own course of action up-till now, however in 2004 “India would have 300-400 fission- and fusion weapons in its arsenal within the next 5-7 years,” but still there lack any single proof or public evidences for having such a large nuclear arsenal yet.

Strategic Nuclear Submarines:

For the past decade, India has simultaneously concentrated on developing a triad of capabilities. Acknowledging that, India’s K family of missiles, including the K-15 (Sagarika); K-4 (under development); and K-5 (rumored); are designed to be submarine-launched. India began developing the Sagarika (K-15) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the mid-1990s. Closing to achieve its fully operational “nuclear triad” for delivering its nuclear weapons, such humble bumble enlargements are creating shockwaves in the region.

Air Force Inventory:

Interestingly, with all these missile and defense developments there exists no such data either of Indian IAF capability, as to what amount they can potentially deliver nuclear weapons such as:

Mirage 2000H:  Having capability of delivering nuclear gravity bombs.

Jaguar IS:  Formerly used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Air Force and a bulbous nuclear strike role, still in provision with the Indian Air Force. Uncertainties remain as to whether the Jaguar IS will have a nuclear role.

SU-30MKI: Sukhoi a twinjet multirole fighter developed by Russia and built under license by India’s Aeronautics Limited. Being present in IAF inventory, still doesn’t classify the information to what extent it can deliver nuclear weapons.

Missile Development:

India’s strategic missile chronology has matured such that New Delhi currently has the capacity to deploy short-medium- and long-range ballistic missiles.

Ranging from Agni class to Prithvi, Dhanush, Akash, Brahmos, Dhanoush and Nirbhay most of them operationally deployed have a major nuclear role enabled India to reach near-intercontinental range capacity.

Interestingly, “The DRDO announced it has tentative plans to begin test flights of the Agni-VI, possibly equipped with MIRV capabilities, in 2017”.

Fissile material inventory

Being outside NPT, India has a flourishing and large nuclear power program. It is relying on plutonium for developing nuclear weapons – which was the same as in its Pokhran-I 1974 test and in the Pokhran-II tests, conducted in May 1998. With increased amount of producing fissile material such as construction of 1250 MW fast-breeder reactor it continues to produce fissile materials for weapons while operating a plutonium production reactor, Dhruva, and a uranium enrichment facility that are not subject to IAEA safeguards.

Increasing its nuclear stockpile by as many as 28-35 weapons annually, India is currently strengthening its capability to enrich uranium where numerous deals have also been made with other countries. According to the SIPRI Yearbook 2014, India has also begun construction of a second industrial scale enrichment plant at Karnataka, which will not be under IAEA safeguards. It is critical time for other states to take serious note of reasons directing qualitative as well as quantitative increase in nuclear stockpiles by India in order to counter its vertical proliferation and ‘Normalizing’ South Asia.

 Conclusion:

Keeping in mind all the development since independence, the procurement of their defense, missile and nuclear program has been a source of concern. One is surprised at the naiveté of the Western world, and also of the United States (U.S), that they did not take the cautionary signals that were flashed to them. Despite not a party to NPT, U.S. even though showered India with fleshy  nuclear technology. U.S. needs to rebalance its grim strategy and foreign policy vis-à-vis India as there are no friends and foes in international politics. What if India at some point in future becomes a self-constructed-direct-threat to U.S. itself?

Pakistan reserves the right to take all appropriate measures for its security.

So instead of fabricating, what Pakistan has been doing to maintain equilibrium and strategic stability in the region, India must be countered! The next Nuclear Security Summit is due soon where elites from around the world would gather to gamble on the nuclear business which is the right time to restrain India from further nourishing its hegemonic design which has continuously thumbed its nose to the Western World and the entire International Community.

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