Nuclear India not a threat to China: analyst

*Hou calls US-India defence deal negative for regional stability *US missile system posing serious challenges to strategic stability

ISLAMABAD – Hou Hongyue, research fellow at China People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament, has said that US-India deal and ballistic missile defence system are negative developments for regional stability and the international community must act responsibly.

Addressing an international conference on nuclear deterrence and emerging dynamics in South Asia, he said that China does not consider India as a nuclear threat. Hou also stated that the developments of global missile defence system by the US were posing serious challenges to the international strategic stability.

Earlier, defence analyst Dr Maria Sultan who is also director general of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University, said that nuclear stability in South Asia was confronted by serious challenges, ranging from ambitious limited war fighting concepts in the shape of Indian military’s cold start doctrine, and pro-active strategies to acquisition of ballistic missile system and massive increase of over $43 billion in India’s conventional defence spending.

She stated that the developments in the neighbourhood compelled Pakistan to increase its dependence on nuclear deterrence in view of evolving non-traditional threats. NASR, a short range ballistic missile system, was one of the key elements of a full spectrum deterrence strategy, she said. “The strategy is a response measure against the evolving threats, mainly emanating from nuclear armed India.”

Continuous development of nuclear muscles and rapid transformation in conventional as well as nuclear doctrines in Pakistan and India have put South Asian region into the centre of world’s attention, Dr Maria highlighted. The cold start doctrine joint with massive militarization force has capability to increase the level of an arms race, hence raising the level of minimum deterrence stability in the region, she added.

Dr Pervez Iqbal Cheema, dean faculty of Contemporary Studies at the National Defense University, said that Pakistan has unique geo-strategic position and Pakistan was destined to play a vital role regionally, and at the international level. Speaking on the issue of genesis of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, he remarked that serious threats from its eastern border led Pakistan to develop nuclear deterrent capability.

Sikandar Afzal, a retired senior army officer, said that the discriminatory policies relating to nuclear cooperation pursued by some major powers was creating insecurity and imbalance and Pakistan had been compelled to take a stand against nuclear exceptionalism, selectivity and discrimination.

Other speakers, including Masood Khattak, Adnan Bukhari and Ali Qaswar Khaleeq, also highlighted the role of nuclear deterrence in South Asia. The conference was aimed to analyse challenges to deterrence stability of South Asia, developments and transformation in conventional as well nuclear doctrines and the role of short range ballistic missiles in the strategic calculus of Pakistan.

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