To demonstrate the credibility of its nuclear deterrence, India test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometres on October 27. With Agni-5, India can strike nearly all of China. Moreover, it is already capable of striking anywhere inside Pakistan. Subsequently, India’s sharpening of its missile arsenal necessitates Pakistan to take similar measures concerning its own nuclear forces. To reinforce its defense, Pakistani policymakers need to spend resources wisely in innovations in artificial intelligence, big data analysis, quantum computing, and quantum sensing and biotechnology. Sparing more resources into science and innovation results in the modernization of both conventional and nuclear forces.
While Pakistan is passing through the worst economic crisis, the defence budget is facing constraints. An arms race initiated by India is a completion at an odd time for Pakistan to enhance its defence capabilities. Whereas other challenges like environment, Pandemic, Poverty, etc., are yet to be addressed, but Indian threats may push everything on the back burners and focus on defence. Unfortunate!
India’s confidence in the steady progress of the BMD program and struggle to develop hypersonic missiles capability adds a new variant in India-Pakistan’s competitive strategic dyad. As a result, Pakistani security experts agree that Islamabad needs to continue modernizing its nuclear forces. For two decades, it appeared that Pakistan has been investing in a calculated nuclear buildup because its strategic elite believes that developing over-kill capacity or entangling in an arms race with India is not in its national interest. Therefore, despite New Delhi’s dissent, Islamabad has endeavoured for nuclear restraint arrangements in South Asia.
Realistically, India is a rising missile power. And this is where Pakistan needs to focus as a strategic rival. It must keep a sharp eye on BMD developments and deployments. It needs to do everything it can to balance this Indian rush to offensive and defensive missile superiority. Where can Islamabad best spend to ensure its future defence. Besides the cruise and ballistic missiles, the focus should be on the new and emerging technologies that are rapidly maturing into military assets.
The global politics and security situation is deteriorating sharply. The Sino-US-Russia tension has put the whole world at stake. The US is taking aggressive policies to contain China, resist China’s rise, and counter Russian revival. In response, China and Russia are left with no option to reciprocate. The US is in the habit of lobbying and forming alliances against adversaries. Although NATO is ineffective, Quad has been undermined, but the newly formed partnership AUSKUS is the real threat. Arming Australia with a Nuclear-powered submarine may put the whole region at stake.
The US has the highest defence budget, the highest number of overseas military bases and is over-engaged in military confrontation globally. The US was enjoying the status of a unique superpower in the unipolar world. But, recently, been facing resistance from Russia and China, that is why. The US is trying to counter them. However, the US economy, social unrest, and international reputation have deteriorated significantly. So the US is struggling to regain its lost position in geopolitics.
Russia and China are also aware of American intentions and actions. So they are also preparing for the worst time. Appropriate measures are taking place to counter the American threat. China’s recent test of a hypersonic nuclear-weapon delivery system will have a strategic effect on geopolitics. President Xi Jinping is determined to achieve “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” by 2049. In 2017, he laid out two People’s Liberation Army (PLA) modernization goals to transform the PLA into a “world-class” military by 2049. Therefore, PLA is developing the capabilities to conduct joint long-range precision strikes across domains, increasingly sophisticated space, counter space, and cyber capabilities, and accelerating the large-scale expansion of its nuclear forces. It planned to quadruple its nuclear warhead numbers from 350 to 1000 by 2030.
Based on past experience, Pakistan can not be a battleground and may avoid any direct or indirect confrontation. Pakistan stands for peace, protection of human lives, and welfare of humankind only. Pakistan is a partner with anyone, anywhere, any time, but for peace only. Yet, prepared well to face any challenge imposed.