In pursuit of prestige, Indian premier Modi created a pre-election controversy after hailing his country’s first test of Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile by himself not ISRO. India claimed to have demonstrated capability of destroying one of its own satellites 300 kilometers away in Low-Earth orbit in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode. The U.S. government sources have indicated that India has also conducted a failed ASAT missile test in low-earth orbit on February 12, 2019. Indian government pre-notified the U.S. a vague hint of an experimental weapon test without precisely mentioning ASAT missile test.
NASA administration termed Indian ASAT missile test a “terrible, terrible thing” which created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris. Experts are viewing this test as a dangerous precedent for global security where the escalation of military technology in conflict-free space is likely to disturb the fragile strategic equation of South Asia. Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation criticized Indian government and blamed Trump administration for pushing rhetoric of war-fighting in the space domain. Weeden further analyzed the test as prearranged because the target of the ASAT missile was Microsat-R satellite, which launched back in January 2019. He suggested small satellite companies to react this ASAT launch by boycotting India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which is a big source of revenue for Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
Weeden has accurately remonstrated a scenario of war-fighting in space affairs when India is proliferating space technology capable of military use. And, the worst part is India turning Space of Benefit into Space of Conflict with international cooperation. ISRO is heavily depending on international space cooperation under the rubric of peaceful scientific space development. Despite apprehensions about the absence of detailed separation plan for India’s civilian and military rocket programs, the U.S. and Britain are participating in the Indian space programme.
India has a history of proliferating advanced space and nuclear technologies for military use, which were meant for peaceful scientific research. For instance, India diverted peaceful nuclear cooperation with Canada to make nuclear weapons. Similarly, the U.S. leveraged India by relaxing export restrictions on equipment for the civil space programme. The U.S. assistance enticed India to militarize space and the wrong perception was build that Indo-US space partnership is for peaceful purposes. The driving force behind the extended pace of Indian space modernization is Indo-US space cooperation which has accelerated in the last decade.
India is intensifying the war in outer space by exploiting peaceful space technology for military and strategic use. India has always relied on the dual nature of space-related technology to enhance its military and strategic strength in outer space. In 2005, when the U.S. eased export controls for India on dual-use space technology and satellite navigation, reports were circulating about Indian efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). But the U.S. downplayed those red alerts and continued its support for ISRO under the perception of China-India competition. Consequently, in 2018, India test fired Agni-V nuclear capable ICBM which covers China, Russia and several European capitals. Not learning from history, the U.S. is still reluctant to condemn recent India’s ASAT test. Meanwhile, the American support in terms of India’s inclusion into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has generated new opportunities and started to increase the efficiency of Indian missile capabilities.
Dr. G Sateesh Reddy, Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has said that by testing an ASAT weapon it was feasible to target multiple satellites of the rivals. He also revealed that India has the technology to hit at targets at a distance of 1,000 km in space. Therefore, India’s ASAT capabilities could ominously threaten the ability of its nuclear neighbours to defend their strategic assets. The ASAT missile can damage key communication system while disrupting intelligence and surveillance collection. India’s choice to hit communication satellites is not a defensive measure because it targeted its opponents’ ability to defend their strategic interests.
India is harbouring the conflicts of space to humanity without realizing that it is not really a security route but an offensive strategy. This offence will not only contest the security of opponents but it will trigger a fresh arms race in the region. And finally, the Outer Space Treaty has stretched to its limits, hence the world should come up with tangible solutions to attend space security concerns. The UN must invigorate the Disarmament Commission and Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to cooperate on the issue of space militarization.
In a Dark Time: The Expected Consequences of an India-Pakistan Nuclear War
Twenty-one years ago, in 1998, Dr. Louis René Beres, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Purdue University, published an authoritative article in the AMERICAN UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW (Vol. 14, No.2.). Titled “In a Dark Time: The Expected Consequences of an India-Pakistan Nuclear War,” this piece looked closely at underlying disagreements and strategies of the two adversarial states, with special reference to plausible consequences of any eventual nuclear weapons exchange. Though no such exchange has ever taken place, current tensions in the region are sending prospectively fearful signals in both capitals. In addition to rising concerns over Kashmir, Pakistan not long ago codified a new nuclear war fighting strategy of deterrence. Known in formal strategic parlance as a “counterforce” strategy, it is premised on the notion that the threat (implicit or explicit) of shorter range/lower yield nuclear missiles will enhance Pakistan’s deterrent credibility. Yet, if this dramatic change from a more traditionally “countervalue” nuclear strategy should sometime be linked with certain corresponding “launch-on-warning” tactics, the likelihood of an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange could then become unacceptably high. What might be the tangible outcome of any such ominous exchange? To answer accurately, this informed 1998 assessment by Professor Beres will be well-worth reading or re-reading, as the case may be: read or download the pdf
Kashmir: A Nuclear Flash Point
India has challenged the whole world with nuclear war, the Defense Minister announced to review its policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. It is very serious and threatened the “Peace” of not only of this region but with serious global repercussions. India and Pakistan have a history of 4 wars in the last 7 decades. But these wars were different from today when both countries are nuclear powers and keeping enough piles of weapons to destroy each other completely. Under this scenario, Indian Defense Minister’s remarks are an irresponsible and direct threat to “Peace”.
India staged a drama of “Pulwama” in February 2019 and used this excuse to attack Pakistan. Indian Air Force entered into Pakistan and Dropped Bombs deem inside Pakistan. In spite of the fact, Pakistan possesses the capabilities to retaliate immediately, but observed restrains and patience. Because Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and a responsible state. The visionary leadership of Pakistan understands the consequences of War and smartly averted a full-fledged war. However, two days later, Pakistan demonstrated its strength cautiously and conveyed its strong message that Pakistan loves peace and does not want war, although, having the capacity to respond reciprocity.
Pakistan has been a victim of war for 4 decades in Afghanistan and knows the suffering of war. But has learned a bitter experience and become mature enough to avoid any war.
India has occupied part of Kashmir in 1948 at the time of getting independence from the British. United Nation has passed resolutions on the resolution of Kashmir issue. But India has been delaying and has not implemented any one of UN resolution on Kashmir during the past 7 decades. It is disrespect and humiliation for the UN too.
But the recent Indian move to accede Kashmir unilaterally is a very serious breach of UN and International norms. There is a reaction from almost all over the world. China has condemned Indian move, Russia has opposed, the US has not accepted Indian action, British has criticized, European Parliament has objected, OIC has condemned, various human right Organization and NGOs has rejected the Indian accession. A wide range of protests was witnessed in all major cities of the world, Washington, New York, London, Paris, Brussel, Berlin, Tehran, etc.
Some of the countries care about their economic interests with India, but even the people of these countries are voicing for people of Kashmir. Trust, all nations, and individuals, who care about humanity and value Peace, must stand up to protect the rights of Kashmiri people.
Pakistan extends its full support and stands with any International Organization or platform, any Nation, any Country, any Individual, who stands up for the just cause of Kashmir. It is a principled stand to extend full moral and diplomatic support to Kashmir.
I am scared of Indian desperate behavior, where India is has increased violation of Line-of-Control (LoC), using cluster Bombs, Using Heavy Weapons, Targeting Civilian Population inside Pakistan along the LoC. India has evacuated all foreign tourists and local visitors from Kashmir. Educational Institutions are closed, Media has been stopped from reporting the facts, telephone, mobile and Internet Service has been closed down, Kashmir has been isolated from the rest of the world. One million troops equipped with lethal weapons are controlling 15 million un-armed civilians. Killing, Torturing, Rape, Kidnapping, Arrest and all types of war-crimes are taking place. Draconian Law introduced to shoot at spot any suspect without any legal formalities. Curfew for the last 12 days has made life impossible due to the shortage of food and basic necessities of life. 15 Millions Lives are at stake and at the mercy of the International Community. Indian butchers are ruthless and as a state policy, engaged in genocide.
There are pieces of evidence that India may initiate a war with Pakistan to divert the World-Attention from the deteriorated situation of Kashmir. India may try to hide its war-crimes in Kashmir by engaging Pakistan in a full-scale war. Pakistan Foreign Ministry has issued a statement “The substance and timing of the Indian Defense Minister’s statement are highly unfortunate and reflective of India’s irresponsible and belligerent behavior. It further exposes the pretense of their No First Use policy, to which we have never accorded any credence. No First use pledge is non-verifiable and cannot be taken at face value, especially when the development of offensive capabilities and force postures belie such claims. Pakistan has always proposed measures relating to nuclear restraint in South Asia and has eschewed measures that are offensive in nature. Pakistan will continue to maintain a credible minimum deterrence posture.”
Any misadventure by India may cost a heavy loss to humanity. Its impact may not be limited to Pakistan only but may harm the whole region and the whole world. International Community, must act immediately before it is too late.
China’s Defense Policy: Questions and answers
The Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China has published a paper titled the White Paper “National Defense in New Era”. The document is designed to become a response of the Chinese leadership to other countries’ fears over the growing military power of the PRC. The paper outlines the main points of China’s national defense agenda. They envisage the containment of any external aggression, the safety of the population, social stability, protection of the territorial integrity and the marine and space interests of the PRC.
The White Paper for the first time outlines the priorities of the Chinese army in the new era on the basis of the “four strategic pillars”. According to the paper, the Chinese army, acting in accordance with the strategic requirements of national security and development, carries out the assignments set by the Party and the people and provides strategic support for strengthening party leadership and the socialist system and for protecting the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the country. In addition, the army guarantees strategic support to protect the interests of China abroad and contributes to peace and development on the planet.
This document details defense expenditures and their structure. Over the past decades, the PRC has significantly reduced its military spending in proportion to national GDP and the state budget, but has increased its absolute value. In 1979, the country’s defense expenditures accounted for 5.43% of the GDP, while in 2017 – 1.26%. At present, China is the world’s sixth in the ratio of military budget to GDP (after the United States, Russia, India, Britain and France), while it holds second place in the absolute volume of military expenses.
What triggered most interest is the statement under which the Chinese leadership vows to never be the first to use nuclear weapons whatever the circumstances. Beijing, the document says, has no intentions to participate in the nuclear arms race and will maintain and strengthen its nuclear potential only for ensuring national security. “China calls for a complete ban and destruction of nuclear weapons, is not going to compete with any country in an arms race, and will maintain its nuclear potential at a level appropriate to meet the needs of national security,” – the White Paper says.
This provision has caused the greatest number of questions: for one, why, in this case, China refuses to join the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty? What is often mentioned in this regard is that the US President has announced his intention to conclude a large-scale nuclear agreement with Russia and China on arms control. Perhaps, this is possible in the future.
But the important thing is that national defense policy and operational issues of arms control go separate. We remember Barack Obama’s speech on nuclear-free world, which he delivered in Prague in 2010 and for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize. But this did not mean and does not mean that the United States is ready to immediately dump nuclear weapons.
Incidentally, in the 2011 White Paper on Defense Issues, China (the only of the globally recognized nuclear powers) was the first to declare non-use of nuclear weapons. As for Beijing’s participation in disarmament negotiations, it is determined by the balance of strategic deterrence forces worldwide.
That is why, after D. Trump’s statement about the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, China, whose nuclear potential is considerably smaller than that of the US, refused to join the treaty until the two countries’ potentials became, if not equal, then at least comparable. Meanwhile, Beijing will welcome participation in the negotiations of other members of the Nuclear Five – Britain and France, as well as unofficial nuclear powers, such as India and Pakistan.
In addition, it is important to separate such issues as reduction of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, which comprise ballistic missiles, including medium and short- range. The latter, according to the Chinese doctrine, are classified as strategic weapons.
In general, the White Paper gives you a feeling that China will be ready to join the process of control of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery when the time is right and the relevant conditions are in place. This, in Beijing’s opinion, meets the interests of national security. And the time to do so may well come in the foreseeable future.
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