South Asian nuclear stability: Anticipations and fear

South Asian nuclear stability: Anticipations and fear

Adeela Ahmed,

The advent of Nuclear weapons in the International system preserved peace and security by maintaining nuclear deterrent capability. In the South Asian framework, India and Pakistan thrive to get the status of de-facto Nuclear Weapons States in order to counter their security apprehensions.

Both nuclear rivalries’ nuclear journey is of 70 years to attain and upgrade their Nuclear Weapons capability. At present both states have marinated their arsenals in accordance with Credible Minimum Deterrence to preserve the strategic stability of South Asia.

On the demand of contemporary strategic environment, India and Pakistan bid for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to enter into legitimate Nuclear Regime to gain Global recognition, Power, Prestige, and Security. Apart from Nuclear energy needs – which are pivotal and beneficial for both states, nuclear politics is most instigating to indulge the nuclear rivalries into this race.

In Global Nuclear Order and Politics, the Great Game of big powers has great influence in Asia Pacific Region. Nuclear India and Pakistan with their Geo Strategic importance kept them in the limelight of world political setting. In the Cold War era, 5 States attained de-jure Nuclear Power Status.

At that time, they introduced the Non-Proliferation Regimes to further avert the spread of nuclear programs and maintain the peace and stability of Global nuclear order. Unfortunately, now the same States with their Great Game to grasp the Power politics of Asia Pacific Region is quaking the realities of Nuclear South Asia which is conflict Prone Region by induction of new technology in South Asia.

India bid for NSG membership is disguise as it is proved in the history of Smiling Buddha. India real desire is to have access for Nuclear technology from International market, entree to international arena of nuclear commerce, get more Uranium for Nuclear Reactors and fulfill their demands of thermonuclear weapons, Import Nuclear weapons (Russia-France), projecting in Asia nuclear politics and easy to produce missile capabilities.

The aggressive aims are undermining the guidelines of NSG and grave threat for regional stability. In addition to that, India Strategic ambitions eminent from its recent Strategic collaborations with France and $5 billion defense deals Russia showed their future plans are not just for the peaceful use of Nuclear Technology.

Moreover, India is acquiring S-400 Triumph, Eurofighter Typhoon, LCA-Tejas Mark 1A, Mig-21s, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, AK-103 assault rifles, Nuclear Submarines from different defense deals. The existence of India’s secret nuclear city Chellakere highlights India’s ambitions to become a regional power. Their stance of matching the nuclear arsenal of China and Pakistan is a big bluff.

This is the reason back in 2008 India did an intense lobbying which forced US to invest its political capital to secure a special NSG waiver for India. President Obama explicitly committed himself to facilitate India’s entry into the four components of the international export control regime, namely the MTCR, the Australia Group, the Wassenaar, and the NSG.

India recently granted with STA-1 status and avail new strategic opportunities under 2+2 Framework which opened the doors of international nuclear commerce for India. It is an open threat to regional stability and violation of NPT Regime. On contrary, Pakistan has defensive Nuclear Posture which had maintained Full Spectrum deterrence to counter Indian Cold Start Doctrine.

Pakistan Nuclear policy is not aggressive to obtain more fissile material for nuclear weapons. Pakistan is a state party to various international instruments including IAEA Code of Conduct on Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), and participates in the IAEA Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB).

It also actively participates in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and regularly submits reports to the UN Security Council 1540 Committee. Pakistan has streamlined and strengthened its export control regime and enhanced its engagement with multilateral export control regimes.

On September 2018, Pakistan diplomatic achievement is to become the member of IAEA Board of Governor. It is the Pakistan recognition as a responsible nuclear power state and the positive advances in the nuclear field. The re-election of Pakistan to the Board reflects the acknowledgment of the country’s nuclear safety and security credentials in accordance with the international standards.

By using the platform of IAEA, Pakistan must take up critical non-proliferation issues including criteria-based approaches & push again for Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. The reality of Nuclear South Asia is that whatsoever, the Nuclear Treaty, Group or Agreement have to be signed, India and Pakistan evaluate their Strategic calculations with each other to keep their National Security foremost.

Pakistan is adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, Nuclear Restraint Regime which exclusively aimed at preventing an arms race in the region. Pakistan proposed India to initiate peace signaling. But Indian Stated that “ No question to sign NPT”.

Pakistan cannot take initiative step due to Indian aggressive policies that will destabilize the deterrent capabilities of Pakistan. In the same way, If India gets the membership of NSG, it did not show its consensus for Pakistan membership and it will sabotage Pakistan sovereignty.  Pakistan wants its global recognition as the 70 years struggle of Pakistan defensive policies will be in dangers due to US and India aggressive aims.

The US exempts India from rules and regulations for civilian nuclear trade and facilitates it with a legal right for the sake of their own Great Game in Asia Pacific Region and threatens the strategic stability for South Asia.  It is vital to strengthen the criteria and norm-based approach and revisit multilateral approaches to strengthen the Proliferation Regime.

Currently, there are two groups who are supporting India and Pakistan. US administration and Congress look unwilling to lend their support for Pakistan’s cause. Out of 48, 41 members are with India while China, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, Turkey, South Africa have objections to exceptionalism and insistence on development of uniform criteria for the entry of all non-NPT nuclear states.

Accordingly, Pakistan’s case for entering as a recognized nuclear state globally is strong. Pakistan must strong its diplomatic lobbying and to collaborate with others NSG member states to defend Pakistan strong stance and regional urgencies to get membership of NSG along with India.

Tasnim Aslam, head of the UN desk at the Foreign Office stated that “Pakistan has the expertise, manpower, infrastructure and the ability to supply NSG controlled items, goods, and services for a full range of nuclear applications for peaceful uses,”.

In new emerging threats, there is a need for the dialogue process to enhance the stability. India’s policy of isolating Pakistan and the hostile attitude adopted by the Modi administration towards Pakistan is hazardous for the South Asian Stability.