INDIAN HYPE ON PAKISTANI MISSILES
Posted on September 9th, 2009

By: Anwaar Ahmad

The United States has again showed its trust deficit in its relationship with Pakistan when it accused the latter with doctoring of Harpoon missiles ranges recently. The petty dispute is reflective of a deeper split in US administration that still appears to be looking for a sustainable benchmark as to how far the relationship with Pakistan is to be carried. The purported claims of trust worthy and long lasting friendship though is made every time that a US official visits Pakistan. Whether the baseless accusations have enough credence to influence the awaited approval of yet to be approved Kerry Lugar Bill for Pakistan by the US Senate or not, remains to be seen.

Pakistan has categorically denied the Harpoon Missile doctoring allegations and has agreed for US inspection of the same in its inventory. Some of the experts on the subject have also doubted the US claims. One amongst them is Rob Hewson, editor of world acknowledged Jane’s Air “”…” Launched Weapons, a year book and web-based data service who confirms that the Harpoon missile did not have the necessary range for a land “”…” attack missile. He further said that Pakistan could buy more modern missile technology from countries such as China and South Africa. In a telephonic interview he went on to say, “They are beyond the need to reverse “”…” engineer old US kit. They are more sophisticated than that”. Hewson also said that the new ship-to-shore missile that Pakistan was testing was part of a concerted effort by the country to develop an array of conventional missiles that could be fired from the air, land or sea to address India’s much more formidable conventional missile arsenal.

Despite acknowledgements from various international quarters that ranges of the missile cannot be played with for attacks on land, India did find a new avenue for yet another Pakistani bashing. This time around also it appears to be successful in shifting the focus of those monitoring Indian military and nuclear developments away from its preparations for another nuclear test. Every time that India has engineered such a cover up, it has always carried out some clandestine nuclear and military development. If the nuclear test by India does take place, it will be a blatant violation of moratorium between the two South Asian countries with potential of a renewed arms race.

Going back to the passage of Pakistan specific aid Bills by the US Lawmakers there is a certain pattern that whenever they reach the Congress or US senate, the influential Indian lobby becomes active and influences the US Lawmakers either stall or alter the text of those Bills to reshape their original spirits. This time also the timing for publication of Pakistani Harpoon missiles related article by New York Times, just a week before the US $7.5 Bn aid to Pakistan Bill is processed in the US Senate, indicates the ill motives of its perpetrators. The is a deliberate effort through engineered “ƒ”¹…”leaks’ to either defeat or add poison pill amendments to any legislation likely to aid Pakistan. Inspired by the Indian lobby in America, New York Times stands tall to publish the invented “ƒ”¹…”leaks’ to influence Pakistan specific aid legislations. To add salt to the issue what could be more sinister from the authors than purposely injecting India’s name as being under potential threat from the alleged increase in ranges of Harpoon missiles. The outgoing Indian Naval Chief, on the occasion of handing over his command to the new Chief, did acknowledge by saying, “The Harpoon cannot be changed much”. But still this much hue and cry in India on the issue! One fails to understand.

The fact is that Indians continue to suffer from a strange combination of trepidation, reverence and invidiousness that has always characterized the typical Indian bigotry towards Pakistan’s legitimate defense needs. Probably it finds itself at unease with Pakistan’s defense prowess and considers it as a stumbling block in its quest to hegemonies South Asia. Despite the repeated cut offs and sanctions, Pakistan is working hard to maintain the least deterrent to thwart Indian designs. Unable to comprehend Pakistani advances, India continues to resort to all kinds of allegations and false stories to diminish, even ridicule, the accomplishments of Pakistan’s defense industry.

 

India itself possesses a huge arsenal of around one hundred nuclear weapons and various types of ballistic missiles with highly technical air, surface and sub-surface platforms to deliver them. It continues to produce weapons grade plutonium unchecked by the flag bearers of non proliferation regimes. As per the November 2008 bulletin of Atomic scientists, India has 70 assembled nuclear warheads, with about 50 of them fully operational. At present India has in its inventory eight different types of nuclear capable operational ballistic missiles that can be launched from multiple platforms, with ranges up to 5500 kms. The work on three more ballistic missiles is going on that would have ranges in excess of 12000 Kms. Maximum payloads they would carry is up to 3000 Kgs. The Brahmos cruise missile and its part technology gifted to India by Russia, as for others also, can also reach 300Kms whereas one with hypersonic characteristics is being worked upon.

Imagine the kind of massive funding India has to inject into its production and maintenance of nuclear and missile stockpiles every year. Pakistan, as compared, spends very little part of its defense budget on research and development. In this backdrop especially when the US and other major powers are propelling India into a mini super power, how can Pakistan afford to take its focus away from its eastern borders that only continues to stem from Pakistan specific Indian nuclear and missile advances? That we unluckily have a hostile, stubborn and non compromising neighbour in India is a reality. The repeated aggression on Pakistani soil by India be it its treacherous involvement in East Pakistan and now its persistent involvement in Balochistan and FATA, Kashmir and water disputes etc, is something that we have got used to. India has always carried out aggression by perceiving us as a soft state due to our inherent cultural diversity. That India will always be aggressive towards Pakistan and will continue to arm itself to teeth and continue to ridicule Pakistan at all forums is not a surprise. For India, the end justifies the means so whether it is nuclear stockpiling, building up of Pakistan specific missile inventory or stopping downstream of Indus waters into Pakistan, all point to Pakistan, as India’s final target.

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