Monday, July 27, 2009

India Launches a "Non-Aggressive" Nuclear Submarine

Over the weekend India launched its first domestically-built nuclear-powered submarine, one capable of carrying K-15 ballistic missiles with a range of at least 700km.
Certainly the INS Arihant (or "Destroyer of Enemies") represents a technological breakthrough for India, but why launch it now, just as peace talks with Pakistan are resuming over Kashmir? Pakistanis are paranoid enough about India; one Pakistani journalist, Ahmed Quraishi, commented on one of my posts that India was paying Baitullah Mehsud to attack Pakistani nuclear facilities so that they would look vulnerable and the United States would pressure Pakistan to get rid of them. Following the old rule that if you go out of your way to say what something is not, it usually is that ("it's not your father's Oldsmobile"), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that "We don't have any aggressive designs nor do we seek to threaten anyone."
India needs to be smart as it seeks to become a great power. The capability to build nuclear-powered submarines puts it in a league with the United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, and China. It is a rising power both in the region and the world, but its inferiority complex regarding Pakistan is holding it back and making it look petty. Just as Pakistan needs to acknowledge that its biggest threat is the militants, India needs to recognize that the only thing it has to fear from Pakistan are Mumbai-style attacks from militants, and the more it threatens Pakistan the less resources Pakistan will be willing to spend on fighting those same militants, be they LeT or Taliban.
Part of being a great power is showing restraint, wisdom, and timing. Those are lessons India has yet to learn.

1 comment:

  1. Typically myopic article from a westerner(american?). India needs nuclear submarines to give it a good enough second strike capability, more so since India has declared a "no first use" policy w.r.t nukes. India does not need nuclear subs to target Pakistan, it is actually directed at China which is hell bent on encircling India militarily.