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The Missile Race in South Asia

The Missile Race in South Asia

A tool to expand India’s hegemony 

Proliferation of military technologies and unremitting arms race between India and Pakistan are the outcomes of the divergent threat perceptions of both countries. These perceptions are based on their respective competitive security narratives and, more importantly, their track record of unending hostility between them. Missile technology is among the major military technologies that eat up the lion’s share of both countries’ defence budgets. It is one of the costliest businesses, indeed. Despite the daunting setback of clinging to this policy, both the South Asian rivals seem unwilling to halt massive investments in this domain. However, major part of the blame for the proliferation of strategic weapons, including missiles, is on India for irrefutable reasons.

Pakistan has always been dragged into an arms race with India, owing to Indian initiatives that would create a security dilemma by disturbing the balance of power in the region. Take, for example, the nuclear weapons; Pakistan traces the origin of its nuclear programme back to India’s so-called “Peaceful Nuclear Explosions” in 1974. Later, when India again conducted nuclear explosions in May 1998, Pakistan, in order to regain the lost balance of power, was left with no option but to follow the suit as Indian leaders upped the ante with their warmongering and sabre rattling.

There is a universally acknowledged principled position in the realm of international relations that the country which takes first step toward creating an untoward situation is the real culprit because the other is left with no choice but to strive for reciprocation. So, Pakistan has always been an unwilling partner in this nuclear marathon. The case of missile proliferation is no different. Without going into the details of India’s past efforts at missile proliferation, only the developments of first half of 2018 would be enough to vindicate the stance.

India started the year 2018 with a series of missile tests, mostly nuclear-capable. It first tested its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni V that has a range of 5,500 to 5,800 km and is capable of taking 1,500 kilotons of nuclear payload. Was this test provoked by any of Pakistan’s initiatives? Not really! Take a cursory look at all the components of arms race in the region, military and strategic, India will be the reason, direct or indirect, behind the developments. Besides Agni-V, the missile tests Indian conducted in the month of February alone are listed below:

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About Mustansar Hussain Tasir

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The writer is an independent journalist and researcher. He can be reached at:

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