India and Pakistan in race for mutual destruction

Pakistan fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile Babur-3 on Monday January 9, 2017, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said.

According to Press Trust of India, the launch of the nuclear-capable Babur-3 missile, which has a range of 450 km (280 miles) and was fired from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean, is likely to heighten long-running tension between India and Pakistan. 

The PTI described the Babu-3 test a show of force for a country that sees its missile development as a deterrent against arch-foe India. 

The Pakistani military said the Babur-3 missile was "capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a Credible Second Strike Capability, augmenting deterrence". 

An Indian army spokesman confirmed the language meant the missile was equipped to carry nuclear warheads.

India successfully tests nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V

The Pakistani cruise missile test came two weeks after India successfully tested its Agni-V intercontinental nuclear-capable ballistic missile on December 26.

The Agni-V has a strike range of 5,000 kilometres. It had been lauded by Indian media for its ability to "cover entire China" and its value as deterrence against possible Chinese aggression.

The Times of India said: Once the Agni-V is inducted, India will join the super exclusive club of countries with ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km) alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.

“Apart from the shorter-range Prithvi and Dhanush missiles, the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has inducted the Agni-I, Agni-II and Agni-III missiles. While these missiles are mainly geared towards Pakistan, the Agni-IV and Agni-V are specifically meant for deterrence against China. Beijing, of course, is leagues ahead in terms of its missile and nuclear arsenals. But the Indian defense establishment believes the Agni-V is sufficient to take care of existing threat perceptions.”

China responds to Indian missile test

China's state-run daily Global Times in an editorial titled 'India needs to cool its missile fever' admonished New Delhi on January 3 for 'breaking' United Nations "limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile" following a missile test by India.

The Global Times editorial said that Pakistan should have "those privileges in nuclear development that India has" and warned Western countries which "accept India as a nuclear country and are indifferent to the nuclear race between India and Pakistan" that Beijing will not "stand out and stick rigidly to those nuclear rules as necessary".

The Chinese daily said that if the UN Security Council has no objection to India producing intercontinental ballistic missiles "which can cover the whole world... let it be". However, it warns, "the range of Pakistan's nuclear missiles will also see an increase."

Although China is "sincere in developing friendly ties with India", Global Times cautioned that Beijing "will not sit still if India goes too far".

The Chinese daily pointed out that Beijing does not feel threatened by India's development and does not consider it a rival in the long run. "It is simply believed that currently there is a vast disparity in power between the two countries and India knows what it would mean if it poses a nuclear threat to China. The best choice for Beijing and New Delhi is to build rapport."

The editorial emphasized that Delhi should understand "it does little good to itself" if China-India relations are "ruined by any geopolitical tricks".

“India still maintains a strategic defensive posture before China. The Chinese people should not be led astray by India's extreme words online about its deterrence ability against China. There are similar rhetorics targeting at India in China's cyber world. But, these aggressive online rhetorics count for little,” The Global Timessaid adding:

“At present, India's GDP accounts for about 20 percent of China's. China's strategic nuclear missiles have long ago realized global coverage, and China's overall military industrial capacity is much better than that of India. For India, China is something to inspire ambition and invoke patriotism. However, India should realize that owning several missiles does not mean it is a nuclear power. Even though India does become a nuclear power, it will be a long time before it can show off its strength to the world.” 

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America ( email: asghazali2011 (@)

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