Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
THE responsible ruling elite always refrains from warmongering and provoking tactics in a nuclearised strategic environment. Conversely, the reckless leadership approves coercive diplomacy to blackmail or coerce nuclear capable adversary. The former realizes the perilous repercussions of the war between the nuclear weapons states. Whereas; the latter lacks the proficiency to envision lethality of a conflict escalation between the nuclear armed states. Indeed, such a reckless behaviour of ruling elite qualifies its state to be referred as ‘an irresponsible nuclear weapon state’.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, New Delhi has been endeavouring to acquire a military potential to blackmail Pakistan. The Indian hawks expressed their desire to conduct surgical strikes or hot pursuit against nuclear-armed Pakistan. This attitude of the Indian hawks manifest that they are convinced about the possibility of a limited conventional war between the nuclear-armed strategic competitors. Moreover, they also believe that they would bleed Pakistan in a limited war with immunity. Indeed, such a belief mirrors the poor understanding of the nuclearized strategic environment as well strategic insanity.
The limited conventional war between the nuclear weapon states is possible with a probability of its escalation into all out war including the nuclear strikes exchanges. The situation becomes more dreadful if the conventional asymmetry exists between the nuclear capable adversaries. And the conventionally weaker state relies on its nuclear weapon capability to deter the aggression of the conventionally superior adversary. In such a situation, certainly, using military force or threat of military force for the pursuit of political objectives is an irresponsible act. Perhaps, the recent claim of premier Modi’s government and Indian Director General Military Operations (DGMO) about the surgical strikes against Pakistan is a reflection of India’s irresponsible behaviour as a nuclear weapon state.
The Indian military establishment and hawkish political leadership’s claim about the surgical strikes in Pakistan proves that India is an irresponsible nuclear weapon state. It necessitates the United States led western world ought to revisit their declaration that India has been qualified to receive a special treatment in the various technologically control cartels/regimes including Nuclear Supplier Group. Since two years, Prime Minister Modi and his fundamentalist Hindu hawks have been provoking Pakistan for escalation of the conflict at Line of Control and working boundary. Perhaps, such provoking acts destabilize nuclear deterrence stability in South Asia.
Prime Minister Modi has openly expressed his strong desire for punitive actions against Pakistan. Many Indian strategic pundits also opined in favour of limited war with Pakistan. Nevertheless, New Delhi has refrained from initiating a limited war or surgical strikes due to the inability of the Indian armed forces. Admittedly, numerically Indian armed forces are in better situation. And conventional military balance is in India’s favour. Despite, having the conventional numerical advantage of India, the belligerent neighbours have strategic equilibrium due to Pakistan’s vibrant battle-hardened armed forces and indigenous nuclear weapon capability. Islamabad already demonstrated its battle field/tactical nuclear weapons potential.
The neutral international strategic analysts have a consensus that India lacks military capability to defeat Pakistan. Moreover, New Delhi’s any kind of military adventurism would be catastrophic for both India and Pakistan in particular and entire region in general. Thus, Indian ruling elite and military establishment’s claim of surgical strikes endangers the entire region’s security. The Indian political leadership and military establishment claim about the surgical strikes against a nuclear-armed adversary destabilizes the strategic stability in the region. It’s because the strategic stability is a product of arms race stability and crisis stability ensuring deterrence stability between belligerent states.
The announcement of the surgical strikes certainly has a potential to amplify the existing crisis or destabilise the crisis stability between India and Pakistan. The crisis instability between belligerent neighbours at least affect two foremost components of strategic stability that includes deterrence stability and crisis stability. The state of strategic stability in South Asia is a cause of concern for the international community. Indeed, war between India and Pakistan would not only ruin these two neighboring states but would also have severe repercussions for the regional and global security and economic prosperity. Therefore, New Delhi’s warmongering rhetoric and increase of fire across the line of control are not in interest of international community.
Ironically, despite India’s irresponsible behaviour, the United States and its like-minded states have been lobbying for India’s entry into the nuclear supplier group. This generates an impression that either they are underestimating the gravity of the situation between India and Pakistan, or they are more interested in their strategic interest to build India to check China. These western powers, however, are failing to realise that supporting an irresponsible nuclear weapon state at the international forums for sake of strategic advantageous would be catastrophic for international security.
The Indian militarist ruling elite and military establishment have been endeavouring to fool their own people, misguide the international community, and terrorise the people of Pakistan. Maybe they are successful in fooling a section of the Indian society and a few unthinking herds in the international community, but they have been miserably failed in intimidating the people of Pakistan. Indeed, such a behaviour of the Indian ruling elite and military establishment verifies the nuclear Armageddon scenario professed by the nuclear pessimists. To conclude, the warmongering behaviour of the Indian ruling elite and claim of the Indian DGMO about surgical strikes qualify India as an irresponsible nuclear weapon state. Hence, its imperative that international community should seriously check India’s reckless behaviour that is perilous for the regional security.
— The writer is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.