AFTER the overt nuclearisation of 1998 in South Asia entirely alter the dynamics of nuclear world order, India withdrewfrom negotiations of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996 which was vigorously supported by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, in 1954 as a “standstill agreement” and then in 1963 as Limited Test Ban Treaty.
The complex Entry-Into-Force (EIF) provision claimed by Indian authorities as the main issue that forced New Delhi to get aside from CTBT dialogues. By considering relevant factors, it was predictable that Pakistan will follow the suit and despite international pressure and diversified attitude of local administration, it happened. However after nuclearisation, both states were declared as nuclear weapon states but faced rigid sanctions by the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Since the nuclearisation of South Asia, both states entered in the era of nuclear politics and academics and policy makers was mulling to figure out their nuclear posture. The doctrinal posture of both states was shrouded with ambiguity and strategic impasse as neither drafted white paper that indicates her nuclear strategy. However later on, Atal Vajpayee in December 1998 and then Pervez Musharraf in May 2000 indicated their strategic framework as Minimum Credible Deterrence and no arms race which they forget subsequently.
The Indian parliament attack of 2001was blamed on Pakistan as a sponsor and it was analysed that the nuclear deterrence failed in certain circumstances as sub-conventional warfare materalised. In 2004, New Delhi based policy pundits (strategists) came up with a punitive doctrine. Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) was a military doctrine targeted at conventional attack at Pakistan within limited time of 72 hours to fail Islamabad’s nuclear option.
The aggressive doctrine was responded in 2011 with the employment of battlefield weapon called Tactical Nuclear Weapon (TNW) through the delivery mean called NASR; a multi-tube, 60 Km range with solid fuel tactical ballistic missile system. Although the Nasr was counter force weapon and with four primary conditions but still failed expensive CSD made India to act irrationally. After all, India declared that if Pakistan will cross nuclear threshold then India will retaliate massively and counter value. The Indian belligerence compelled Pakistan to opt full spectrum deterrence and Pakistan developed Shaheen-III; land-based medium range ballistic missile with range of 2750 Kms to target farthest point in India.
Furthermore, Indian accusation of the ballistic missile defence (BMD) system by the Israel, most advanced S-400 Triumf of Russia to boost its air defence and development of second strike capability through nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines called Arihant are the crucial steps that are being faced to Pakistan’s nuclear establishment. Indian candidacy for the membership of Nuclear Supplier Group as non-NPT member is also smashing into its most respective state.
A state who has suffered about $110 billion of its economy and more than 33000 recorded causalities in last 14 years, while supporting the global campaign of war against terror, must not be blamed for sponsoring terrorism without evidence. The international cooperation to counter the menace of terrorism within its territory grounds zero and the states machinery still at war with non-states actors. The radicalised extremism is still uncontrollable phenomenon for Pakistani authorities because of large-scale of public support and sentiments.
Though, the nuclear politics of South Asia is a debatable yet it is understandable that the India is responsible for nuclearized South Asia. From employment to deployment, New Delhi’s aggressive and divergent attitude led Pakistan to react irrationally. In the given circumstances, India must have to act realistically. India have the option to go for Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ratification that will obviously encourage Pakistan and other proliferators to ratify and contribute towards regional and then to global stability and peace. New Delhi’s zealous step could be a milestone in global civil-nuclear cooperation.
—The writer is Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.