India’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile – AGNI-V – The actual range is reported to be 8,000km
Continuing to raise the stakes, India has tested a submarine launched ballistic missile – a key weapon system deployed by the Cold War adversaries. This is a serious development for its effect on the regional security situation. As expected, speaking to journalists at a week-end press briefing Foreign Office spokesman Farid Zakaria expressed concern over the test describing it as a “worrisome development” that would result in nuclearization of the Indian Ocean and “impact the delicate strategic balance in the region”. He also pointed out that despite the existence of a pre-notification agreement about test launch of missiles Pakistan was not informed in the present instance. Such acts could be mistaken by the other country as an offensive act, leading to disastrous consequences.
Unfortunately but unsurprising, the US and other Western countries have stayed quiet in line with their discriminatory policies that destabilise the nuclear order. Even though India, like Pakistan, is not a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has been granted a special exception to enter a safeguards agreement at the nuclear watchdog body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which could open the way for it to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group were it not for China’s opposition. As a discussant at a recent seminar in Islamabad aptly noted, Western powers are using the NPT and the Non-Proliferation Regime (NPR) for the advancement of their political, strategic and foreign policy objectives. India, of course, is a prominent player in this game.
It is also pertinent to recall here that as NPT signatories, the five original members of the nuclear club had undertaken a commitment, at the time of its signing, to make “good faith efforts” to work towards complete nuclear disarmament. But they, especially the US, have gone on to test and deploy ever more sophisticated weapons of mass destruction. Back in 2009, President Obama raised hope of a better future while speaking at a EU-US summit in Prague. Articulating his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, he had said that although that goal may not be achievable soon, “now we too must ignore the voices that tell us that the world cannot change.” Yet there is no evidence of those voices being ignored as double standards remain in vogue.
An unfair nuclear order is not going to work. Pakistan makes no secret of the fact that its nuclear program is a response to the threat it faces from its much larger rival, and is based on a credible deterrence strategy. As long as things stay the way they are, Pakistan would be within its rights to demand an equitable and inclusive nuclear policy. International security demands that the big nuclear powers work towards the realisation of the commitment they undertook to make good faith efforts towards nuclear disarmament. In the meantime, they must try and create a better order by changing the current discriminatory policy that encourages India to go on upgrading its nuclear arsenal which will only cause a dangerous destabilisation in this region and even beyond.
Source: Defense News