With INS Arihant Nuclear Submarine completing a patrol in the Indian Ocean recently, experts believe that this development that has the potential to escalate the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan. EurAsian Times analyses how INS Arihant can be detrimental to Pakistan and counter-challenge China in the region.
Contrary to conventional submarines, which run on diesel or electricity, nuclear-powered submarines like INS Arihant do not need to surface frequently, can operate for long periods of time underwater, and remain undetected.
“The development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia which is a matter of concern not only for the Indian Ocean littoral states but also for the international community at large,” Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman said in his weekly news briefing, state-owned Radio Pakistan reported.
Critics in Pakistan state that Indian move could trigger a nuclear arms race in South Asia. “The latest Indian move could trigger a nuclear arms race in South Asia, which will not be a good sign for the entire global community.”
“India feels jittery against China and to an extent Pakistan. It is, on the one hand, trying to match Beijing’s defence capability, while on the other it wants to prove to the world that it is a robust nuclear power in the region,” the experts stated
Samar Mubarik, a Pakistani nuclear scientist who led the team that conducted six successful nuclear tests in May 1998, claims that Islamabad already possesses a “more effective and better” nuclear-powered submarine technology developed in 2017.
“The U.S. is supporting India in its nuclear pursuance to challenge China, while China wants to see Pakistan as strong in terms of nuclear capability to counter India. “China knows that the U.S. is pushing India against it in the region. So in case of any misadventure against Pakistan, Beijing would stand with Islamabad,”
According to Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India currently possesses 80-100 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan holds 90-110. A number of international think tanks blame China for assisting Pakistan’s nuclear program, claiming that Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal will cross the 200-mark within the next five years.