Pakistan’s recent test of Nasr indicates that New Delhi is gradually augmenting the capabilities of the missile, such as its precision and defeating Missile Defense Systems. Pakistan conducted a successful test fire of this short range ballistic missile on Tuesday in a salvo fire mode and with enhanced in flight maneuver capability.
This missile will reinforce the credible deterrent especially defeating India’s Cold Start Doctrine that envisages limited war under nuclear threshold. Apparently, this has frustrated Indian designs of arming to the teeth.
Pakistan’s decision of introducing these weapons in its nuclear force posture is much related with Waltz argument that in an anarchical international system, states must rely on self-help mechanism for protecting its sovereignty and national security. New Delhi‘s recent doctrinal transformation, improvement in its anti-missile program (Ballistic Missile Defense), and colossal investment in the conventional weaponry have indulged Islamabad to respond by manufacturing and testing a credible-cum-transparent short range missile NASR to tackle with the Indian hegemony.
Indian nuclear ambitions are crystal clear to everyone, as R.K. Sinha, Chairman Atomic Energy Commission of India said last Friday that India will continue its nuclear program without any interruption, irrespective of decisions taken by other countries. That’s why if we observe Indian nuclear program for last three decades it emerges that Indian development of nukes is status oriented. A global threat is eminent from Indian advancements in capabilities like induction of aircraft carrier Vikramditya, testing of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles like Agni V and VI, hypersonic missiles, nuclear submarines etc.
On the other hand ever since the India-US nuclear deal has taken place, India has signed civil nuclear deals with more than half a dozen countries. But these controversial nuclear deals and Indian huge growing arsenal does not get the deserved attention!
Comparatively, Pakistan had been using its nuclear deterrent largely to avert an all-out war with India but Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities are always in the lime light of international media. Pakistan was forced to build the bomb for security and for ensuring peace – that is why it is called a Weapon of Peace.
If Pakistan did not respond to Indian Cold Start doctrine, it would have undermined deterrence and emboldened the latter. So Nasr will bring stability and peace by deterring all spectrums of threats from India; be it conventional, sub-conventional or nuclear. NASR provides Pakistan with additional capability in the time of crises, instead of retaliating with full force.
India has an asymmetrical conventional military superiority over Pakistan. India has increased the defense spending over the past three decades from a ratio of under two and half times. This conventional military disparity raises serious concerns particularly around whether it will lead to another conventional war. There is a direct proportionality between Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities with acquisition of conventional weapons by India.
The greater the procurement of conventional weapons by India and its introduction of destabilizing doctrines like CSD and massive retaliation, Pakistan will rely more on its nuclear weapons, because it is difficult for Pakistan to balance the asymmetry and retaliate with conventional weapons. Keeping this in view, the improvement of flexible deterrent possibilities by Pakistan at all levels of threat spectrum, it has now become unlikely that India will operationalize CSD against Pakistan. If it does, the blame of vitiating the stability will lie on India. Some assert that development of SRBMs would affect escalation control.
However, creating space for limited war is more perilous than efforts to deter it. India is the case in point, because the first step in the escalation ladder is taken by India by introducing the CSD. Pakistan is not crazy that it would foment instability in India or support terrorism at affect the stability in the region.
International community should not be concerned about peaceful nuclear initiatives by Pakistan but it must show apprehensions on Indian nuclear ambitions and its huge expenditures on useless projects. Recently on Indian Mars Mission James Fenner has written in Guardian Express,
“The Indian government’s actions have sparked international outrage from critics of America and Britain’s aid programs. With both countries providing India with yearly aid, some see the country’s latest space endeavours as an irresponsible and profligate act, merely designed to showcase the developing country’s superpower status.”