NUCLEAR ARMS RACE IN SOUTH ASIA AND ITS
IMPACT ON REGIONAL SECURITY
The nuclear age opened during World War II with a blinding light; a deafening roars fire and blood. The world’s first nuclear bomb exploded at Alamogordo on 16 July 1945. It had a very complex history. The sensational discovery of nuclear fission first came in Germany in December 1938. British research then showed that the manufacture of a nuclear weapon was almost possible. The American technological, scientific and industrial effort in the “Manhattan Project”, that actually built the bomb. At last initial test was carried out in the wastes of New Mexico desert. The American first used nuclear bomb against Japan in August 1945 in World War II.
The veil of strategic ambiguity on the nuclear question, that had existed for about a decade in respect of India and Pakistan was lifted with the detonation of five nuclear devices by India on the 11th and 13th May 1998. Pakistan returned the compliment by detonating six nuclear devices on 30th May 1998. This has forever changed the security environment of entire South Asia. Despite being the world's largest concentration of poverty; lack of mutual trust has given rise to one of the heaviest arms build up in the world over the last three decades. The implications of regional nuclear syndrome are diverse. With the danger of nuclear holocaust, the prospect of security and stability in the region has become desolate. It may be argued that nuclear deterrence will keep the nuclear powers at bay and thereby reduce the possibilities of a full-scale war. This may help maintain a state of equilibrium in South Asia. It may also be assumed that tensed security situation shall continue to prevail which will cause increased intra state and internal conflicts alongwith the rise of fundamentalism. It may render South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and other regional co-operation forum further ineffective. Non-nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) of South Asia may seek protection of nuclear umbrella from other nuclear states. This is likely to have a deep impact on the alignment and realignment of great powers, which may make the region more volatile. In this scenario, the threat to the regional security becomes more ominous.
After the initial euphoria and ecstasy that followed the tests in India and Pakistan had subsided, overtures were made by India by way of offering the “no first use” option. There has also been a modification on India’s stand on Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Pakistan’s stand on CTBT has however undergone a radical change in that it has now been delinked from India. Both the countries have summarily dismissed each other’s proposals for loose control regime. A nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan or China cannot be ruled out. Should that happen, the whole region will have to bear the scar as much as the two belligerent nations. The small neighbours of India and Pakistan might have to suffer heavily for no fault of theirs Therefore; the neighbours are left with very little option to prepare for such an eventuality. Therefore it is important to study the impacts of nucleararms race in South Asia on regional security. This paper would briefly study the background and politico-strategic situation for India and Pakistan to take such a critical decision for conducting the nuclear explosions. The relevance of Indo-Pak nuclearisation from the security point of view will also be analysed. Thereafter the focus would also be made to study the possible influence of the changed geo-political and geo-strategic scenarios of the region affecting the balance of power. Finally the paper will suggest measures that could be undertaken to improve the security situation in the sub-continent.
The aim of this paper is to analyse the impacts of nuclear arms race in South Asia on regional security.
THREAT PERCEPTION AND SECURITY CONCERN
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