This procrastination in going nuclear is baffling and undesirable. Our commitment to keep nuclear option open must be matched with commitment to deployment. With the revival of Agni missile programme nuclear warheads should also be developed and deployed.
In spite of NPT, CTBT, FMCT/ MTCR etc., the nuclear nations are busy in upgrading their weapons of mass destruction and stockpiling nuclear warheads. The US has already developed new bombs, more powerful than the earthquake bombs. These bombs are said to be able to penetrate deep underground nuclear launchers, hidden reactors and buried stockpiles of chemical weapons.
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The US alibi for developing these so potent weapons is to deal with what she describes as the “roque States” like Syria, Iraq, Libya and North Korea. The development of the new B61- 11 nuclear free fall bombs are designed to deliver, most of the energy from a nuclear blast into the ground, giving it larger acceleration to destroy deeply buried targets. America has also entered into a pact with France and Britain to exchange information on weapon research. America has also expanded NATO by extending nuclear security to Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The message is loud, clear and inexorable. India’s next door neighbour China is increasing and upgrading its nuclear weapon-power.
She is on the biggest expansion spree of missile and nuclear capabilities. The return of Hong Kong has further increased its economic, political and strategically importance. India’s vulnerability to these Chinese nuclear arsenals and missiles is row an open secret and a cause of great national concern. Recently china fixed its missile muscle and tried to terrorize Taiwan. This attempt by a country to terrorize another neighbouring country was unprecedented. These dangerous developments dramatically change the global security scene in general and that of Indian subcontinent and the south-east Asia in particular. Despite nuclear non-proliferation treaty, china continues to sell and supply nuclear technology to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s nuclear programme has received a tremendous boost because of china it is now a well-known fact that China has been supplying Pakistan with ring magnets for enriching uranium to weapon grade. Pakistan has also obtained ballistic and cruise missiles from the same source. Pakistan has successfully test Haft series of missiles have been successfully test fired with a target range up to 800 km The Haft series of missiles have been successfully test fired with a much increased range. The report of these missiles was made public by the Pakistani authorities following the alleged deployment of Indian Prithvi missiles near the Pakistan border. However, Prithvi has a range of 200 to 250 km. only and it gives Pakistani Haft missiles an edge over the former. Islamabad is also in possession of M-11 Chinese missiles. Thus, the shadow of weapons of mass destruction is looming large on India from across its borders in the north and the west.
Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer, said on 16 August, 1997 that despite criticism from western world his country would go ahead with its nuclear plan which ‘would act as perfect deterrent against India. He said, “Whatever the West has said about, this programme has proved to be a blessing for us. The deterrent capability of Pakistan’s nuclear plan has been proved by the fact there has been no war between India and Pakistan since 1971.” America has also been, going ahead with its Presser amendment programme and increasing economic aid to Islamabad. In such a situation of nuclear proliferation in the subcontinent, India’s stand on CTBT and nuclear option is quite understandable. Her rejection of CTBT in its present form became imperative because India’s 970 million people, constituting one-seventh of the world population, cannot be left exposed to missile and nuclear blackmail and danger.
The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. I.K. Gujral, has stated it publicly that “deterrence has now become more relevant than ever before.” India has vast deployable capabilities but they need to be converted into deployed and operational ones.
Agni tests need to be revived and its range further increased. India can effectively deter aggression by Pakistan and China by developing its own IRBMs with nuclear warheads. India can no longer afford to take security risks and should be fully prepared to face the new challenges posed by these new developments.
India should be powerful enough to punish suitably and in an exemplary manner the aggressor. For this purpose it is imperative that India’s deterrents are made deployed and operational in near future, it will generate lot of confidence in our armed forces and inspire the public with much needed sense of security and safety of the national boundaries. Twenty years ago of 18 May, 1974, India conducted its only nuclear test at Pokhran in Rajasthan. But since then nothing has been done to exercise the nuclear option and it still remains neglected and unconsummated despite India’s expose to nuclear and missile threats from Pakistan and China. Our capacity and capability to develop nuclear weapon system remain unused and unemployed and it exposes the hollowness of our security policy and hypocrisy of its planners. It is high time that we flex our nuclear and missile muscle to deter the potential aggressor.
India’s restraint in regard to exercising its nuclear option is totally unwarranted and it has caused huge waste of political capital and money. Time is the essence and in the field of nuclear weapon system and technology things become obsolete very soon unless are updated and up-graded with the passage of time. This continued hesitation in going nuclear is likely to prove very costly. We have the delivery system in the form of Prithvi and Agni missiles but the nuclear warheads, the missiles are to carry, are not there. And no nuclear warhead, worthy of its name, can be developed without trials and tests. By putting more testes of Agni on hold Indiaah s further compounded the problem and there is much confusion on matters of strategic importance and security. It is sad to think that we are committed to nuclear option but not exercising the option and developing a suitable nuclear deterrent to match the threats from some of our immediate neighbours. It reflects the myopic vision and blindness to ground realities of our leaders and policy planners.
The Agni programme, which has opened new avenues of hope and confidence in regard to defence and security, should be revived and the test-fires continued till Agni becomes operational. The country also urgently needs the testing of nuclear warheads for its missiles to counter any region and sub-continental threats. Nuclear nations are not ready for a nuclear weapon free world. They find these weapons now even more important than ever before. The CTBT has been signed without linking it with any time bound disarmament programme.
Moreover, there are many loopholes in the treaty which allow the nuclear nations to continue their sub-critical tests. The situations warrants than India makes her own nuclear deterrents and produces missiles which can penetrate far into hostile neighbor’s heartland. It means that Indian IRBm’s must have the penetration range up to 3000 km. and 4000 km.