SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
China has repeatedly stressed that the cooperation between the United States, Britain, and Australia on the nuclear submarine program not only poses a serious nuclear proliferation risk, it also affects the international nuclear non-proliferation system, intensifies the arms race, and undermines regional peace and stability.
At present, Pakistan’s undersea nuclear capability is currently limited to a single submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), the Babur-III, but in 2018 Pakistan vowed to counter India’s successful launch of a nuclear-powered submarine, a move that it calls has thrown off the delicate military balance between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Chinese Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarines are often docked at the Karachi harbor and the nuclear cooperation between both countries on the construction of nuclear reactors or in the development of delivery mechanisms is ongoing with decades of unchecked proliferation that western countries have often ignored.
Under the AUKUS deal, UK and US will supply nuclear submarine tech that includes a nuclear reactor for the program also means that Western countries are again playing to Chinese hands that will likely retaliate and offer the same to Pakistan which has been trying to get its hands-on nuclear submarine tech after India activated its first nuclear submarine INS Arihant.
India’s second-strike capability is insurance that is keeping its no first strike policy in place, if Pakistan with Chinese help can develop the second-strike capability that will make it difficult for India to maintain its no first strike posture nor will be comfortable with Pakistan acquiring second-strike capabilities. AUKUS deal is created only to benefit Australia which is a key ally in Quad but the same tech transfer is not on offer to India which means Pakistan’s delivery mechanism will improve and India will lose the edge it has worked so hard for decades now.
AUKUS deal benefits only Australia without India getting the same tech will have a disastrous outcome for India’s security measures, especially on its second strike capacities. China is already manufacturing 8 hangor class diesel class submarines that will be armed with a tactical nuclear-tipped warhead in its submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) like Babur-III, which is an interim capacity building development of Pakistan’s second-strike capability, AUKUS deal will only fasten Pakistan’s quest to acquire true second-strike capability that is a nuclear- powered and nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missile.
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