Ballistic missile race impacting deterrence stability

Ballistic missile race impacting deterrence stability

By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Instead of fuelling a ballistic missile powered arms race in the region, India and Pakistan should engage in a strategic dialogue with each other.

This was stressed during a roundtable discussion on “After Prithvi, Ashvin & Ababeel: Prospects for Missile Stability in South Asia”, organised by the Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) on Thursday.

Chairing the talk, SSII Director General and Member National Assembly Dr Shireen Mazari said that there had been a race to develop missile technology in South Asia for nearly three decades which was endangering the region.

It had got to a point that between 2016 and 2017, India and Pakistan conducted 13 and six missile tests respectively, she pointed out. While both countries had invested significant resources in adding different types of missiles to their respective arsenal, the pattern and types of missiles suggested they may be for different purposes.

Dr Mazari said that while India is widening its missile programme, Pakistan had been focusing on enhancing its missile stability equation vis-à-vis India.

She explained that India had been working on developing its multi-layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system since the 1990s. This system was aimed at providing an effective missile shield against incoming enemy ballistic and nuclear missiles.

The first test of this new interceptor system was conducted in 2006.

Since, interceptor missiles had been tested over 10 times, negatively affecting deterrence stability in the region. As an example, she pointed out how the system had forced Pakistan to vary its ballistic missile arsenal to ensure its survival.

In this regard, Pakistan had flight tested its surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ababeel, on January 24, 2017. The missile was capable of delivering multiple warheads using Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology – a move to circumvent India’s BMD.

She concluded that since both the countries had limited resources, they would have restrained their nuclear and missile programme and instead engage in a strategic dialogue with each other.

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