Indian Military Modernization and Dream of Arms Control Between Pakistan And India

Arms Control is mainly about reducing the danger of war, mitigating the damage that might otherwise be endured in war and dropping the burden of peacetime military preparation. Arms Control can stabilize the strategic relationship between India and Pakistan. The predicament is that there is no mutually agreed framework and Risk Reduction Measure for strategic stability in South Asia. India’s build nuclear weapons on May 18, 1974 and Pakistan simply followed India. In fact, Pakistan pursued a nuclear program to secure its borders from Indian aggression and maintain strategic stability in South Asia. Pakistan nuclear policy based on Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrence, which means its nuclear program has no other role except counter the aggression of its enemy. It believes in arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament procedures which are impartial and play important role in the stability of South Asian region. While, India is not agree to resolve its disputes with Islamabad through negotiations and talk.

Pakistan has proposed different Arms Control CBMs to India as Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) in 1974, non-acquisition of nuclear weapons in 1978 , the reciprocal check of each other’s nuclear facilities in 1979 and IAEA full scope safeguard that discourage nuclear weapon development between both states. Additionally, Pakistan has not signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and  Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for the reason that India has not signed. Whereas, India military modernization has increased under the rule of Modi. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Factsheet March 2020 identified that India is changing no-first-use nuclear doctrine that it adopted in 1998. India’s military modernization is gradually moving state towards the more hostile nuclear policy Counter Force First Strike (CF) with the desire of regional hegemony.  The reports also highlighted that there are five major arms buyers as Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China in the world that are responsible for 36% of total arms imports in the years 2015-2019 where India stands the second largest arms importer of the world. It has increased 6.8 percent military spending in 2019 that makes India third largest military spender country in the world since WWII. India defence budget for the year 2020 is 73.5 billion dollars. It has increased 9 percent its defence budget in this year. Similarly, defence spending grew by 259 percent over a thirty-year period between 1990 and 2019. The enhancement in India military budget indicates that Indian government has placed the security and peace of South Asian region in a confrontational limbo.

India is building a number of disruptive weapons that includes a variety of missile defence systems as S400, a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II), Barak-8, Prithvi Air Defence and Area Defence Systems, ballistic missile submarines with ready-to-shoot nuclear weapons, inter-continental ballistic missiles with ranges beyond 10,000 km, the development of thermo-nuclear and hypersonic weapons, and keeping huge stocks of un-safeguarded fissile material. It is not only continuously enhancing disruptive technological weapons, but it astonished the world in 2019, when it launched an anti-satellite missile. The weaponization of space is a very serious matter for not only South Asia, but entire planet because of its long term implications for global peace and security. Pakistan has identified the danger connected with the weaponisation of outer space that is a threat for peaceful space activities. Moreover, the introduction of nuclear weapons by India at the Indian ocean is also a threat while, Pakistan endorses that Indian ocean should be free zone from nuclear weapons.The discriminatory policies of certain international players also played significant role in the instability of South Asia. The US made enable India to obtain highly sophisticated technology in the all military fields because it is countering China through India in South Asia.

 In a nutshell, It is obvious that India has entered into an aggressive arms race with the growing militarism under its hegemonic ambitions. India’s current status of third largest global military spender and the second largest arms importer is a clear manifestation of its mania with arms inspired domination. It wants to dominate small powers and compete China through its enhancement of strategic power in the region. It spawns a classic military security dilemma for Pakistan by enhancing the proliferation of military technologies and arms. If one state increases its military capabilities that always encourage others to increase their capabilities. In the result, it boosts competition between rival states. The lack of trust and mutual confidence increases the chances of first strike. The lack of communication during a crisis leads to uncertainties, and then the risk of a war becomes more manifest due to the mistrust on each other’s capabilities. Thus, deterrence is the only credible option that reinforces strategic stability and can stop war in the nonexistence of arms control. Unfortunately, the traditional notion of strategic stability has been eroded by the Indian desire of dominance, competition and hegemony in South Asia.

The nuclear war between both states would not affect only South Asia but the world at large. Arms Contol is imperative between both countries to bring peace in the region. Arms Control between india and Pakistan would not only help to bring strategic stability, but would also help in transformation of the political environment. India should understand that arms control is necessary for strategic stability and peace of the region. It should close down arms race in the region and work for the Arms Control as it would be beneficial for both states. The US should play a role to make understand India that arms race is not in the favor of  South Asia. In view of the fact that without the cooperation of India the dream of Arms Control between India and Pakistan cannot be fulfilled. Pakistan’s foreign policy believes in arms control and peace, besides it does not want parity with India. In addition, it cannot afford an arms race with India due to its economic constrains. It developed weapons to maintain strategic stability in South Asia. Hence, it is the right time for the US to stop India from aggressive arms race and encourage it for Arms Control  as it is essential for regional and global peace.

Sonia Naz
Sonia Naz
Sonia Naz is a visiting Lecturer at International Islamic university and university of Lahore Islamabad. The writer has a degree of M. Phil in International Relations from the COMSATS University Islamabad. She has done Masters in Defence and Diplomatic Studies from Fatima Jinnah University. She frequently writes on Regional Security, Nuclear Terrorism, Nuclear Security and South Asian Nuclear Politics which have been published in various national, international blogs and newspapers. She can be reached at nazsonia68[at]