The completion of twenty-five years of South Asian nuclear politics has refreshed the international debates on the ongoing nuclear arms race between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The leading intellectual circles of the international strategic community have started analyzing the role of nuclear weapons in the intense regional security environment of South Asia.

New Delhi is strong-minded in opposing the formal standings of Islamabad on various regional and extra-regional affairs. Indian quest for undermining the position of Pakistan on various international issues generally and South Asia conflicts particularly, fundamentally provided Pakistan an opportunity for securing a nuclear weapon status in its home region, parallel to counterbalancing New Delhi’s regional hegemonic ambitions in South Asia. In other words, Indian persistently multiplying anti-Pakistani global and regional engagements inflicted a sense of insecurity in Pakistan’s security and compelled the government of Pakistan to declare its nuclear weapon status in 1998.

In response to the Indian nuclear weapon tests, Pakistan’s decision to detonate its nuclear devices on May 28, 1998, communicated to the whole world Islamabad’s determination to keep South Asian regions peaceful and table. Pakistan’s quest for matching its strategic capabilities with India is primarily inherited in the decades-long New Delhi-Islamabad rivalry in which Indian state officials always remained active in implementing their regionally hegemonic ambition against the territorially adjoining states of India. In reaction to the Indian objective of dominating the politics of its home region, Islamabad-based formal decision-makers of the government always tried to remain defensive against Indian offensive regional moves in South Asian regional politics. In short, it is more appropriate to maintain that the arrival of nuclear weapons in South Asia has added another chapter in the history of the South Asian subcontinent where Indian quest for keeping regional politics under its influence has witnessed various patterns of New Delhi’s increasing reliance on the extension of its strategic capabilities in the territorial and maritime affairs of South Asia.

The incompatible political communication and hostile diplomatic coordination between New Delhi and Islamabad can be analyzed by maintaining a comprehensive account of South Asian regional politics, where New Delhi has adopted strategically offensive behavior against its territorially adjoining nations. In this way, several actors are damaging the scope of peace and stability in the South Asian nuclearized subcontinent, which are strongly linked with the contesting strategic attributes of New Delhi and Islamabad.

An impartial and balanced analysis of South Asian nuclear politics depicts that the regional strategic matrix of South Asia is heavily dependent on Indian strategic aspirations.

New Delhi-specific strategic community has instructed the Indian mainstream defense planners to acquire various modern warfare technologies under the nuclear shadows. While aligning these advanced technologies with its regular armed forces, the Indian government has started diversifying its existing defense capabilities without calculating its impacts on the regional security environment of nuclearized subcontinent. With the objective of integrating modern warfare technologies into conventional and non-conventional defense planning, leading Indian political authorities have decided to keep the Indian indigenous defense industry aligned with the technologically advanced and economically developed nations. This trend has resulted in New Delhi’s emerging strategic collaboration with various states located in different regions, parallel to allowing New Delhi to formulate its strategic bilateral strategic collaborations with the states with modern warfare technologies. New Delhi-based strategic community has formally acknowledged the significance of modern warfare technologies in Indian mainstream defense planning. Additionally, various declassified government documents and several official policy papers of the Indian government have also confirmed the role of modern weapons systems in Indian defense planning. For acquiring new means of information technology, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Indian domestic weapon industry is heavily engaged in upgrading its conventional defense capabilities with the support of AI technologies. The online information available on the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) website and the official document of the Indian Land Warfare Doctrine-2018 can be seen to validate the growing connection between modern warfare technologies and the Indian indigenous defense industry. The DRDO is actively engaged in building a fully-autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons system and consistently bringing doctrinal alterations in New Delhi’s defense policies.

In the domain of AI technology, New Delhi has created various multileveled collaborations with technologically advanced nations, resulting in a complex web of New Delhi’s strategic partnerships worldwide.

Based on the scenario mentioned above, it can easily be maintained that the India-Pakistan strategic competition is the gravitational point of the South Asian regional security environment in which the arrival of nuclear weapons has dramatically changed the nature of the bilateral conflict between the two neighboring states of South Asia. An impartial and balanced analytical survey of India-Pakistan nuclear history reveals that the mainstream defense planners from New Delhi are strong-minded in keeping the regional strategic balance in Indian favor while pushing Islamabad at a disadvantageous position in the broader South Asian regional politics.

In this way, the combination of the anti-Pakistani Indian mindset and New Delhi’s quest for improving its strategic capabilities in the territorial and maritime affairs of South Asia directly undermines the scope of peace and stability in the nuclearized region. In other words, the unprecedented growth of the South Asian regional security environment under the contesting strategic attributes of India and Pakistan has validated that Indian growing reliance on advanced warfare technologies and its growing strategic engagements with different states from across the globe leave worse impacts on the scope of regional stability under the nuclear shadows.

The arrival of Modi in Indian politics as fourteen Indian Prime Ministers of India added another chapter in the history of South Asian regional politics in which the Modi government is persistently integrating advanced weapon systems with the conventional Indian defense system. Modi’s anti-Pakistani ideology and its vivid reflection in New Delhi’s strategic calculations is another essential factor that could not be marginalized in the debates of South Asian nuclearization. Akin to Modi’s determination to bring major technological developments in security and defense, the post-1998 developments in the Indian dense industry showed that the growing dependence on modern warfare technologies had become an inevitable dimension of New Delhi’s mainstream defense planning.

It can rationally be maintained that the increasing significance of modern warfare technologies poses serious challenges to the South Asian deterrence model between two neighboring states.

A comprehensive overview of the twenty-five years India-Pakistan conflict suggests that the continuation of contemporary patterns of New Delhi’s defense planning contains the substantial potential for pushing whole regional politics toward a critical future scenario where an intense strategic competition between India and Pakistan could jeopardize the security of the entire region.

The serious attention of the advocators of peace and stability from around the globe is required in this regard, and the power centers of the West are also required to rationally evaluate the ongoing strategic competition between pair of South Asia nuclear weapons states while keeping aside their India-centric economic and strategic interests.

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