South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

Indian overkill plans
A. Sattar Alvi

One cannot kill a dead person and we are all pretty certain of that. Similarly, one cannot destroy a city or anything else that has already been destroyed. To remove the last iota of doubt, let me say that this holds even truer if the destruction has been brought about by a nuclear device. This would be a common belief except in the case of Indian military planners, who already possessing a stockpile of 90-110 nuclear weapons, are intent upon increasing the arsenal. Hypothetically this would sound reasonable if India was to take on the entire world as a target. Since that is not likely to be the case, Indian ambitions appear to be heading for overkill, against any adversary. Alternately, there is more to it than is visible at first glance.

George Bush gave India a de facto nuclear weapon state status and access to the international nuclear energy market, in return for symbolic concession in the non-proliferation area allowing India to increase its weapons arsenal. Obama is going a step further by extending this special exception to India and again twisting the arms of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. What an irony! First, USA violates its own code of international law and ethics and then compounds the felony by an extension totally eroding the credibility of NPT which is supposed to be the corner stone of global nuclear disarmament efforts. If this is how it is going to be, then what is good for India is also good for Israel, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and possibly others in the queue.
India has become the largest importer of military goods as it continues its expansion and modernization. A planned expense of Rs 250 billion in the next few years is beyond comprehension unless it is for offense and not defence. Who is India defending against? It seems that India is looking at itself in a concave mirror and what it sees is too big. There is no harm in that except that whilst one dreams of becoming the Titan in the real world , one is best when not preaching non-violence, protection of human rights, and the goodie goodie stuff, especially if one is a violator himself. Nobody buys that bull. Even Obama, allied as he is with India, hinted at the dismal Indian record on these issues in his recent speech at Siri Fort auditorium. To quote him, “your article 25 says that all people are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion”, and “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith”. But India is hardly likely to pay heed to such observations from the president of a country which has interfered in and attacked 70 countries of the world in the last 70 years. What an alliance it is going to be and which direction has India chosen for itself.
Obama also declared firm US support for India to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. I do not know all the necessary qualifications for such an elevation and India must be meeting the criteria but there is a big block right at the start. How can India qualify to become the permanent member of Security Council when it has deliberately and repeatedly violated the very UN Security Council’s resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir? It is undemocratic and unethical, maybe even illegal.
In the story above, there is a lesson for Pakistan; for those who want to learn from it. On the conventional side, India’s huge military buildup is going to ruin the strategic stability of the region and make India a bully. Others in the region may not be able to keep parity for multiple reasons. That could open a door for unconventional methods to achieve reasonable self defence. Pakistan must look around to seek a substantial improvement in its conventional capability. It is the government’s responsibility to arrange for that by whatever means.