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South Asian Stability

By Nadir Ali

With three nuclear powers sharing borders and one of them having territorial issues and a history of hostility or even conflict with the other two, South Asia is perhaps the most dangerous region on earth right now – maintaining peace and security in this extremely challenging region has therefore been a tremendously overwhelming undertaking. This region is primarily effected due to the global geopolitical forces that have heightened rivalry or even conflict amongst South Asia’s major actors.

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However, the relationship between Pakistan and India, which has a history of unresolved conflicts dating back many decades, is also one of the biggest problems from Pakistan’s perspective. Therefore, two significant developments have effectively wasted or undermined the level of strategic stability that was attained or evolved in 1998 following the nuclear tests by both countries. The first was India’s use of the Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) to fight a limited conventional war despite the existence of nuclear deterrence, and the second has been the evolution of the Indo-US strategic partnership, starting with the Nuclear Supplier Groups (NSG) and Nuclear Co-operation Agreement (NCA).

Therefore, in this critical environment, Pakistan needs to take countermeasures to ensure its security, which is known as full-spectrum deterrence – with the growing competition between the United States and China, especially in the past decade, but it’s more intense and fierce now than it was. The US turned to India as a net security provider – India has become the part of the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral alliance. Hence, this helps to improve India’s strategic conventional capabilities while encouraging India’s warring parties, especially under the current regime of India’s fascist Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the manifestation of this kind of belligerents is not only directed towards Pakistan, which is in term of the February 29 confrontation but also as a result of the Indian attempt to change the status of the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJK), as well as the confrontation that has led between India and China.

In recent times, Pakistan has seen several Indian experts, academics, and even retired officials viewing Pakistan as the target of a large arms embargo – since no pre-emptive move would truly eradicate Pakistan’s responsiveness, this sort of belligerence and strategic thinking would be a dangerous delusion. Apart from, there is the China-India-Russia triangle, where Russia and China are already closer against the United States – given that India’s historical alliance with Russia predates its independence, this poses a geopolitical conundrum for India.

India is currently faced with two front issues, though, in a geopolitical sense. Along the Line of Control (LoC), it faces off against both Pakistan and China. However, the Indian military elite has spoken of being able to wage two and a half wars, one each against Pakistan, China, and the Kashmiris – but the truth is that even the half-war they have waged against the Kashmiris has not been fought admirably.

On the other hand, due to strained ties between Pakistan and the US, Pakistan acts as a mediator for the US when issues of strategic importance arise – due to the requirement for India to act as China’s counter-balance and a policy of striking a balance between the two that is to some extent impossible, the situation currently differs from the US de-hyphenation of Pakistan-India relations.

The writer is associated with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. He can be reached at hafiznadirali7@gmail.com

 

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

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