Nuclear Balance in South-Asia

By Moorthy Muthuswamy, June 2000

The recent American revision of nuclear balance in favor of Pakistan has shocked many Indians. If true, how did Pak surge ahead of India? Conversely, how did India fall behind, having had a head start in 1974?

Part of the answer as to why India fell behind comes from a statement made past week by the former Indian Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Rao: "Emphasizing the need for the country to develop high-speed long-range ballistic missiles within a reasonable time-frame, Gen. Krishna Rao has regretted the delay in staking claim to join the nuclear club…However, due to lack of courage and will-power of powers-that-be, the nuclear testing had been delayed, he said."

India also overestimated its abilities in building weapon systems and missiles from scratch. Having tried for more than ten years, Indian defense sector couldn’t even build an adequate tank engine for its indigenous battle tank. It failed in its efforts to build a light combat aircraft. Its missile development also suffers from similar maladies. Its long-range missile Agni is not yet ready for deployment. Agni’s development was also stopped for sometime due to Western pressure. In the final analysis, the R&D of the Indian defense industry has little to show for after spending a great deal of country’s resources.

On the other hand, realizing its limitations in skilled manpower and infrastructure, Pak has taken the approach of buying proven weapon systems and components. It bought most equipment from North Korea, China and some Western countries and put them together. The changes Pak made to its missile systems bought from China/Korea appear to be minimal. Since 1974, when India exploded its first nuclear device, Pak has had ample time, some nuclear bomb designs, Chinese help and Yanks turning the other cheek during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

In my opinion, the American revision is certainly not inconsistent with what we know. Until the time Indian civilization learns to apply a problem-solving approach, it will continue to lose ground to its determined enemies.