Nuclearization Of South Asia And Emerging Threats – OpEd


If a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are endangered, nuclear weapons may be necessary. It is difficult to tell if nuclear deterrence works or not with today’s technology. Nuclear deterrence is less effective and nuclear weapons are more likely to be deployed mistakenly or on purpose as a result of the unrestricted military use of cyber technology, AI, deep fakes, quantum computing, hypersonic missiles, and stronger ballistic missile defence systems. Rebecca Hersman calls this “Wormhole Escalation. She claims that “emerging technologies have caused flaws (Wormholes) in the fabric of nuclear deterrence. A planned or unplanned sub-conventional or strategic phase of conflict might be triggered by this. Kahn’s 44-rung escalation ladder and the “stability-instability” problem have also been altered by new technology, making escalation patterns difficult to forecast. Modern technology is increasingly being used by states to target their foes directly rather than via proxies and surrogates. Additionally, the increasing precision and potency of digital weaponry is making it more difficult to distinguish between conventional, traditional, and strategic combat. As a result, it is more difficult to lower the likelihood of nuclear war.

New technologies also threaten the strategic stability of South Asia. Strategic security is threatened in all of these situations since all three countries are nuclear neighbours, and the conventional and nuclear arms races are becoming worse. Nuclear weapons have been a part of Pakistan’s history in the region, hence the government had no choice but to develop nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s nuclear diplomacy has been focused on a South Asia devoid of nuclear weapons since 1974, when South Asia received its first nuclear weapons. Every conflict between India and Pakistan since 1947 has been focused on the conflict-torn region of Jammu & Kashmir. Afghanistan’s recent events and China-Indian border tensions represent a danger to regional security, as does the militaryization of India’s Indian Ocean. Indian aggressiveness has been worse since it became recognised as a supplier of Internet security for the Indian Ocean region. These occurrences should be considered in this perspective. ASAT testing by India in 2019, as well as the testing of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV), the procurement of sophisticated anti-ballistic missile defence systems, and the deployment of combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the area, has escalated the nuclear threats.

Since its inception, technological advancements have had a significant influence on the global political landscape. A new age in international politics began with the development and deployment of nuclear weapons, and the nuclearization of South Asia has profoundly altered the political and strategic environment of the region. Understanding India’s nuclear programme is the first step in understanding how nuclearized South Asia became. As a result of the Indian nuclear test in 1974, several countries in the area became more nuclear-armed. It will be discussed in this article how India’s nuclear programme has impacted the region.

Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), subsequently renamed Atomic Energy Commission of India (ACEI), was established in 1948 by the Indian government. This was the first step in India’s nuclear weapons development process. The US Atoms for Peace project built the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Trombay in return for pledges that nuclear technology would not be utilised for military reasons. India’s first reactor was the 1 MWT Aspara Research Reactor. It was constructed in 1955 with British assistance.

Indian scientists and materials were used to conduct “Smiling Buddha,” the country’s first nuclear test, at Pokhran in the Rajasthan desert  in 1947. Many Americans, even though they were aware of India’s nuclear programme far before then, wish to set the country against China. On May 11 and 13, 1998, India conducted two nuclear weapons tests that wreaked havoc on the region. The Indian Buddhas had a good chuckle over this.

Because of this, it is vital to understand why India possesses nuclear weapons before discussing the nuclear test’s regional and global repercussions. A nuclear strategist discussed the many motives that lead governments to seek nuclear capability. Most individuals believe that nuclear weapons are used by governments to defend themselves. Nuclear weapons are used by governments when they are losing popularity or seeking to mask their political vulnerability, which was cited as a crucial issue. A rapid method for governments to achieve power and status, according to George Perkovich, are nuclear weapons. In India, all of these hypotheses are valid, but history demonstrates that internal politics and worries about prestige are the key motivations for the country’s nuclear arsenal.

As a preventative measure against Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, India is developing hypersonic missile technology. Escalation is more probable when cyberattacks target critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants. South Asia is increasingly concerned about nuclear weapons because of the proliferation of deep-fake technologies. An area with three nuclear-armed neighbours has a history of conflicts and distrust, strategic communication lines are underutilised, and technical uncertainty and blunders might lead to a catastrophic event. CBMs and communication are necessary in every circumstance when issues have not been resolved, as well as more severe initiatives. Pakistan has offered many proposals to preserve South Asia free of nuclear weapons since 1974, but India has always rejected them. In addition to building NRRCs, Cyber CBMs, and making good use of hotlines and other ways to talk, both countries could sign an agreement that says cyber attacks on critical infrastructure are not allowed. Every one of these actions is critical if we are to lower our nuclear risk and danger from military use of new technology without constraints.

The author holds an M.Phil from National Defence University and freelance writer and can be reached at [email protected]

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