Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

India, Pakistan arms race

The inevitable has happened. As India struck a deal with Russia to secure s-400 missiles, Pakistan has declared to buy an arsenal of deadly drones from China raising the fears of escalating global arms race.  According to reports in world media, Islamabad is set to snap up 48 state-of-the art Wing Loong II UAV unmanned military drones. This is deemed as Beijing’s biggest such arms-export deal. With a length of 11 metres and a 20.5 metre wingspan, the Wing Loong II drones can carry laser-guided air-to-surface missiles. They can also be mounted with laser and GPS-guided bombs as well as air-to-surface missiles to blast targets. A special anti-tank missile – the Chinese equivalent of the American-made Hellfire missile – can also be launched. The Chinese drones can carry laser and GPS-guided bombs and air-to-surface missiles to blast targets. The Pakistan-China arms deal comes after India announced it was buying five regiments of S-400 air defence missile systems from Russia for around £4.1b ($5.4b). The long-range, surface-to-air missile systems can destroy cruise and ballistic weapons. Pakistan is comparatively weak in conventional arms as against India. It is for this fact that Pakistan is trying to catch up India in nuclear arms capability. According to reports, Pakistan has even surpassed India in nuclear arms production. With the relations between the two countries at its lowest ebb, the possibility of war looms large menacingly. As the exchange of artillery shelling and small arms firing is boomingly a daily affair on the border and line of control, a misunderstanding at command level is enough to ignite the war. What makes the war more predictable is that both the countries have deployed nuclear war ships. India deployed its first nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed submarine in 2016. The second even more advance Indian nuclear submarine began sea trials last November and four more boats are scheduled to join the fleet by 2025. A US defence expert has said that India will have the ability to deliver a nuclear strike by land-based missiles, by warplanes and by submarines. Pakistan does not have the capacity to build nuclear-powered submarines but it has announced to place nuclear-tipped missiles on some of its five diesel-electric submarines. Pakistan is also reported to have reached a deal with China to buy eight more diesel-electric submarines that could be equipped with nuclear weapons. Pakistan military authorities are also reported to have said that they were considering the possibility of putting nuclear-tipped missiles on surface vessels. That makes a deadly recipe for war a between India and Pakistan—a war that would have disastrous global consequences.

It is rather the domestic compulsions that make India and Pakistan to tread on hostile path. The political leadership on both sides of the border should rise above the petty domestic political exigencies and take a holistic look on the situation growing around. In nuclear war no country is more powerful than the other. The destruction is the fate of the each warring country. It is only the amount of destruction which would make the difference. Any nuclear strike on Lahore could have the same consequences even for Delhi as well. The case is vice versa. In the interest of peace and prosperity of the people of the region, the two countries should get on to the table to resolve the issues that affect the bilateral relations. Wars have never resolved issues. It rather gives rise to more issues than resolved the one. Government of India might have a genuine case when they say that talks could be held only after Pakistan stopped ‘exporting terrorism’. But India is not the only country which faces terrorism. Pakistan has faced the wrath of terrorism more than India. Islamabad has publicly accused India of supporting and sponsoring terrorists in Pakistan. A former officer of Indian navy is in custody of Pakistan, who, the Pakistani authorities say, was on a terror mission in Pakistan. The allegations and counter-allegations would go on indefinitely unless some reasonable steps are taken to get people out of the caged mentality. The first step, in this regard, is to restart the dialogue process. That is the only way forward.