China-pakistan nuclear capabilities destabilising the region
In February this year, China and Pakistan signed a formal agreement to construct a third nuclear reactor at Chashma in Pakistan, creating ripples internationally. The US has stated that this violated Beijing’s promise under an international anti-nuclear weapons accord.
China National Nuclear Corp is to construct the 1,000 megawatt power plant at Chashma, located in the northern province of Punjab where two earlier Chinese reactors were built. There is no denying the fact that Pakistan’s nuclear arms programme has been majorly supported by China. Alarming reports are emanating from the US on how Pakistan is on course to modernise its nuclear arsenal which is estimated to contain as many as 110 nuclear warheads. The two countries are getting aggressive, ‘destabilising’ the region.
In an analysis, Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra has traced nuclear development programme in Pakistan and how it is supposedly developing nuclear weapons. Pakistan has openly stated that “it will use nuclear weapons ‘even if India did not use’ atomic weapon first”. This is their way of deterrence to a superior conventional threat. The success of such a doctrine was visible from India’s subdued response after the attack on the Indian Parliament and the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan feels that they have achieved the cold war deterrence scenario as India’s reaction militarily in the recent past have to be seen in this background. Air Marshal Chopra asks are we now branded a weak nation?
What is more scary is the nuclear arsenal falling into rogue elements in Pakistan. The US has confirmed from satellite images that Pakistan has dispersed its nuclear weapons across the country, increasing the risk of falling into terrorist hands.
In his fortnightly column, Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch has disapproved of the Indian Government’s soft attitude towards Pakistan and China. He states that it is amusing to observe some Indian media’s view that we should only look at positive aspects of Rehman Malik’s visit—easing visa norms et al. He hopes that the same logic will not apply to Siachen and Sir Creek. He wonders has the government turned to ‘total’ pulp?
Coming to acquisitions, Air Marshal Chopra has dwelt at length on the process of acquisitions and states that the total cost of acquisition (TCA)-based L1 determination is a good model, resulting in significant cost saving over the life of the aircraft.
Although there are delays in acquisitions and indigenous programmes, one thing for sure the Indian armed forces are driven by a sense of commitment and this was displayed in full strength when the Indian Air Force conducted its largest exercise ever, ‘Live Wire 2013’. Operations with Indian Navy were conducted in Exercises ‘Tropics’ and ‘Dakshin Parhar’ as a prelude to the main exercise. Around the same time, HAL conducted the maiden flight of the last aircraft in the limited series production programme of light combat aircraft Tejas (LSP-o8). It is heartening to note that the different organisations are working hard to get the LCA going.
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