It has been more than four decades since the era of nuclear proliferation began in the South Asian region with Indian first-ever successful nuclear tests at Pokhran in 1974. India’s attainment of nuclear weapons was purely for the mighty purpose of gaining regional dominance and it had led her to conduct a second nuclear test in 1998, many years after its first tests. A menacing Indian nuclear power was manifested to bring its conventional adversary, Pakistan, to have a nuclear program of its own and so in May 1998, Pakistan also followed suit and conducted five nuclear tests at Chaghi Hills.
Both of the states achieved nuclear arsenals which are a probable threat to global peace but there is an apparent difference in the objectives of both countries for the procurement of nuclear weapons. India instigated efforts for a nuclear weapons program based solely on achieving regional dominance and to foist threat on its neighbors whereas Pakistan opted for the nuclear tests as a last resort to self-defense and preserving national security.
Because of the nationalist policies of past and present Indian leaders, it has always been evident that India’s nuclear program is a skimp for development and substantial for violence and extremism around the region. The perpetual values and policies of Pakistan, either democratic or non-democratic; prove that if its nuclear program exists, it is merely for stabilizing peace around the South Asian region and maintain sustainable political and economic relations with its neighbors.
A report published by Stimson Centre publicized the annual military expenditures of various countries according to which India spent $66 Billion whereas Pakistan had spent a total of $11.4 Billion, which is five times lesser than India who has been squandering billions and billions of dollars to highly equip itself with WMDs and for what, to gain a gigantic position in the region.
The latest fetter in this concatenation is India’s Rafael deal with France under which five French jets arrived at Ambala India in June 2020 amid the Indo Chinese tensions. These 5th generation air machines, highly capable of carrying nuclear arsenals; are parked at the airbase in Ambala, merely 200 kilometers away from Pakistan and China. Under the disguise of self-defense against China, India has become more menacing for the region by reinforcing its air forces. On one hand, the RSS brainchild BJP government’s premier Narendra Modi drives the idea at various occasions on uplifting the standards of living and eradicating poverty from the South East Asian region by working mutually on human development. Contrary to this, on the other hand, India received her first consignment of French warfare technology. India de-railed the balance of equilibrium in the region just to be on the upper hand.
Apart from the military purposes, India also has had its share of political objectives behind the achievement of nuclear weapons. Several Indian strategic analysts have inferred that nuclear weapons of India played a more important political role than a military one. It has become one of the useful and important tools of election campaigns in India. A serious threat to the existence of mankind is treated irresponsibly inside India for the purpose of domestic politics. On the other hand, political parties in Pakistan never used India-hatred card to win loyalties of the voters. This shows the seriousness of Pakistan; as a nation towards the issue of war, a nuclear war. It can be fairly deduced that the main purpose of India’s nuclear arsenals is deterrence against its neighbors specifically Pakistan.
The perennial efforts of India for nurturing its military and nuclear arsenals are also to give an immense blow to the fraternal and constructive relationship between its nuclear neighbors Pakistan and China. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has reinforced the perpetual economic relationship between Pakistan and India. CPEC and certain other projects among Pakistan and China are a huge threat to India for its intentions on regional supremacy and that is another one of the many reasons for nuclear India. India has the wicked intentions of taking over the South Asian region as the biggest power and to overpower the greatest economic might China. In the Global Issues in the 21st Century, India and China have been declared as the biggest emerging powers that can give a grave competition to the USA, and thus India is fostering its nuclear and military capabilities with every passing day and putting in minds of people without imagining the severe results. In 2019, the Pakistani premier had given out a statement assuring that the government is going to be spending more on human development and peaceful coexistence with its rivals than on giving out expenditures to nuclear weapons race. Although India’s Human Development Index is more than Pakistan, these ostensibly peaceful and developmental policies of Pakistan in comparison to the extremist and violent policies of Modi’s India is going to portray a very constructively pragmatic reputation for Pakistan and an extremely gloom-ridden intemperate reputation for India in the international context. India will need to cut down on its military and defense expenditures and establish amicable policies with the neighboring states for a stable and harmonious South Asia otherwise it is going to be a rollercoaster ride of desolations for the region. The result will be nothing but poverty, on both sides of the border.
Ali Asad has completed his masters in Political Studies from the University of the Punjab. His main area of interest is in capacity building, governance, education, human development, socio-political and socio-economic state of affairs in South East Asian region; focusing Pakistan. He is pursuing M Phil in Public Policy.