Pakistani officials are saying that India's launch of a nuclear-powered submarine over the weekend threatens regional peace. Pakistan's complaint comes barely two weeks after it had agreed to resume peace talks with India.
"Pakistan will take appropriate steps to safeguard its security without entering an arms race," foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said. "The continued induction of new lethal weapon systems by India is detrimental to regional peace and stability,"
[A] spokesperson for the Pakistan Navy Commander Salman Ali told Dawn on Monday the Indian move would have far-reaching destabilising effects on the security environment not only of Pakistan but also of all the littoral states of [the] Indian Ocean and beyond. He said the induction of [the] 6,000-tonne INS Arihant in the Indian Navy had the potential to trigger a nuclear arms race in the region and all littoral states, including Pakistan, would have to take appropriate safeguards.
The nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan began in 1974 when India detonated a nuclear device. In response to Indian nuclear tests in 1998, Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons as well. According to The Times of India the launch of the submarine significantly strengthens India's ability to deter nuclear attacks.
India with [nuclear-powered submarine] INS Arihant has taken a big leap forward towards developing the all-important third leg of its nuclear triad — the ability to fire nukes from the land, air and sea…
What makes a nuclear submarine the most preferred option is that it's extremely difficult to detect and target by an adversary… this is especially important for a country like India, which has a declared no-first-use nuclear doctrine and, hence, must have a survivable and lethal second-strike capability to retaliate against a conceivable first pre-emptive strike by an enemy.
The Daily Times in Pakistan reports that India has also approved the construction of two more nuclear submarines
Writing on the Dawn Blog, Naveen Naqvi highlights Pakistan's growing unease with India's defense expenditure.
As Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Research Fellow at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, said with urgency, 'Not one of the biggest, India is the biggest defense spender in the world right now. And a 34 per cent increase in their defense budget does not send out the right signals to Pakistan.
Seeking to dispel concerns raised by the submarine launch, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that India does "not have any aggressive designs nor do we seek to threaten anyone," reported The Hindu, a leading Indian daily. In an address on Sunday, Dr. Singh said that the submarine was necessary "to safeguard our country and keep pace with technological advancements worldwide."
To be sure, talks between India and Pakistan have continued to move forward despite political opposition in both countries. On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani described his meeting with his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the fifteenth Non-Aligned Movement summit a "major breakthrough," the Daily Times reported.
On Wednesday, Singh is scheduled to address the Indian Parliament to explain the importance of improving relations with Pakistan after "facing sustained political flak from his opponents – and lukewarm support from his own party – on the issue," reports The Wall Street Journal.