By Rida Zeenat
India and Pakistan have mostly been in a state of war or war like situation. The relationship between both the states is that of deterrence. Both the states have communicated that they have the capability to cause unacceptable damage to each other. Both the states have enhanced nuclear and missile programs which add value to their defence system. India is conventionally superior to Pakistan whereas Pakistan considers the nuclear weapons an essential part of its defence system to overcome Indian conventional dominance in the region.
Earlier, this relationship was of mutual vulnerability and to avert war but now it has shifted towards the policy of pre-emption based on possible victory. The aggressive posture of India and absence of arms control agreement between the two has created the security dilemma in the region, which ultimately compels Pakistan to engage in arms race.
Besides that India has global ambitions and believes in nuclear dominance, it is busy in modernizing its military equipment technologically. Therefore it has signed worth $42 billion defence deals with the world powers which may exceed to $100 billion over the next decade. Besides that it also the capability, technology and resources to indigenously manufacture defence equipment. India has indigenously manufactured light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas and would be inducted in Indian Air Force by 2013.
Most recently, it has concluded a deal with United States to purchase C-17 military transport aircrafts and GE 404 engines along with the latest defence-related equipments.
France is assisting India in missile development and also in the up gradation of the Indian mirage fleet. Russia and India are also co-operating in the production and development of fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), 250-300 stealth fighters, 82 Sukhoi-30MKI combat aircrafts and T-90 tanks. By 2011, Russia would be supplying 80 Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters.
Israel and India are further collaborating in development of medium-range surface-to-air missiles. India has already acquired 3 Phalcon airborne early warning radar systems (AWACS) and A-50 airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft from Israel. Moreover, India has allocated $11 billion for the construction of six new generation diesel electric submarines. These submarines would have air independent propulsion system (AIP) with stealth and land attack capabilities which will enhance its military capabilities in sea ultimately ensuring its second strike capability.
The Indian acquisition of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system and its goal to accommodate Anti Satellite weapons as a part of its ballistic missile program to enhance the security in space as it perceives threat from China because China already has ASATs, further adds fuel to the burning fire. India wants to acquire ASAT related technology as fastly as possible because it senses that China’s lead is increasing at a faster pace.
This rapid technology inflow, and dual use technology access to India and ambition to have a comprehensive space program has regional implications. It destabilizes the region and states are compelled to take requisite steps to improve their defense systems in order to enhance their national security. This not only threatens Pakistan but also China to some extent. China also tested its Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system in 2010 which was successful and now China in near future will also be part of the elite club of BMD which includes United States, Russia, Israel and India.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, India wants to neutralize Pakistan’s deterrence by acquiring the latest technological defense equipment. Pakistan must not let India compel it to engage in the security dilemma as India is aware of the fact that Pakistan’s economy does not support such rapid technology advancement and would compel it to allocate its deficient budget to defend itself against Indian aggressiveness and hegemonic posture.
This shift of relationship from deterrence to compellance threatens the peace and security of the region. Deterrence stability is the only key to strategic stability of the region whereas compellance may lead to war. The states would engage in arms race spending less on socio-economic sector which would ultimately result in more poverty, literacy and frustration amongst the masses of both the states.
Pakistan must remain firm on its official policy, not to engage in arms race. Instead it must improve the quality of its nuclear arsenals as Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program is no less than the Indian program and must maintain its deterrent capability. It must spend a balanced amount on its military budget. It has already suffered a lot in the global war in terrorism. Thousands of innocent Pakistanis died in suicide attacks by terrorist inside Pakistani soil. Now is the time that Pakistan should enhance its trade with other states and formulate a strong foreign policy which would help Pakistan to progress and prosper as a developed state on the map of the world.