“Indian Naval Modernisation and its Impact on Strategic Stability in South Asia”
Islamabad : The Arms Control and Disarmament Centre (ACDC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted a webinar on “Indian Naval Modernisation and its Impact on Strategic Stability in South Asia”.
While welcoming the guests, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General ISSI, stated that the global maritime domain would be greatly affected by the geostrategic realities. India is now embarked upon hegemonic desires in South Asia. The rapid indigenous military modernisation and access to emerging technologies would further enhance the threats for Pakistan.
Earlier in his introductory remarks, Malik Qasim Mustafa, Director ACDC-ISSI, said that India has not only introduced nuclear weapons in South Asia but has also added a nuclear dimension in the Indian Ocean. India’s building of triad and offensive military preparedness is aimed against its neighbours. Its ongoing naval modernisation has severe implications for regional peace and security.
While providing a comprehensive quantitative overview of India’s naval capabilities and its future plans to achieve the blue water navy in her briefing, Ms Ghazala Yasmin Jalil, Research Fellow ACDC-ISSI, said that the extensive naval acquisitions would immensely improve the Indian reconnaissance capabilities, warfighting capabilities, anti-submarine capabilities and would provide the Indian Navy with a strategic outreach in the Indian Ocean. The nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean is a threat to all the littoral states, especially for Pakistan that aims to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent against India.
In his remarks on “Dynamics of Competition in the Indian Ocean Region,” Vice Admiral (Retd) Khan Hasham Bin Saddique HI(M), Managing Director Bahria Foundation, highlighted the overall strategic, geopolitical and geo-economic landscape of the Indian Ocean where future maritime conflict and great power competition will emerge and Pakistan’s role in it. He opined that the Indian Ocean region is not only complex and diverse but also greatly militarised by the littoral states and external major powers due to a spectrum of armed conflict. The region is also facing non-traditional threats like terrorism, piracy and Climate Change. However, the regional and bilateral security arrangements are not robust.
While expressing his views on “Indian Maritime Modernisation: Implications for Balance of Power in South Asia,” Commodore (Retd) Baber Bilal, Director, National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), opined that Indian naval muscles in the Indian Ocean and future planned induction will make it a “Bull in China Shop” which will challenge the combined naval arsenal of all other states of the Indian Ocean region and global powers. It will also have far-reaching effects on the naval environment in the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern oceans. Therefore, Pakistan and like-minded states should increase interaction, cooperation and inter-dependence to safeguard their legitimate interest against the Indian challenges.
In his remarks on “India’s Development of Sea-Based Nuclear Capabilities and Deterrence Stability in South Asia” Captain (Retd) Dr Syed Aqeel Akhtar Naqvi (PN), former naval aviator addressed three key areas: assessment of regional strategic stability; the conception of sea-based nuclear forces in the postures of India, China and Pakistan and impact of Indian naval development on deterrence stability in South Asia. Indian naval development especially nuclear submarines will not only generate an escalatory effect during the crisis but also drive a new arms race in the region.
In his remarks on “India’s Maritime Strategy: Repercussions for Regional Security Architecture,” Mr Sufian Ullah, Research Fellow, Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS), Islamabad identified five key aspects of India’s maritime strategy: acquiring the massive naval capabilities, expanding great power role in the Indo-Pacific region, acquiring emerging military technologies from Quad alliance to contain China; projecting India’s image as a net security provider in the region and acquiring nuclear triad by developing nuclear submarines. In addition to these aspects, the Indian postural shift to counter-force operations will undermine the strategic stability in the region.
The presentations were followed by an extensive question and answer session.
Concluding the webinar, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG ISSI, said that India’s motivations are to acquire the status of regional hegemon global power and US partnership to contain China. Towards that end, it is heavily militarising and nuclearising the Indian Ocean. Pakistan must not seek parity and look for smart ways to maintain deterrence. Talking about the role of the US, Russia and Western powers, he said that their military assistance has played a greater role in disturbing the regional military balance.