Strategic weapons modernisation in South Asia is increasingly becoming a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. With India recently introducing its first squadron of indigenously produced Tejas fighters – combined with its development of a nuclear triad, ballistic missile defence and intercontinental ballistic missiles – the contours of this strategic rivalry are evolving.
In a recent volume edited by the Stimson Centre titled The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age, Feroz H. Khan and Mansoor Ahmed, both renowned Pakistani nuclear scholars, envision three potential strategic choices for Islamabad in response to India’s evolving nuclear capabilities and MIRVs in particular: the ‘ignore’ option (no response), the ‘tortoise’ option (a gradual, measured response) and the ‘hare’ option (a rapid response). Khan and Ahmed contend that Pakistan will reject the ignore option because of the dominance of the ‘military-bureaucratic-scientific enclave’ in Pakistan and the history of its strategic arms competition with India.
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