INDIAN BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENCE SYSTEM AND SOUTH ASIAN DETERRENCE EQUATION
Keywords:Ballistic Missile Defence System, Strategic Stability, Deterrence, Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), Arms Race
Since the overt nuclearization of South Asia, nuclear deterrence has been prevailing between India and Pakistan owing to their mutual vulnerability. India, however, is trying to develop a Ballistic Missile Defense System primarily motivated by hegemonic pursuits. This paper analyses India’s development of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and its effect on the deterrence equation in South Asia. It argues that the introduction of Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) in South Asia would supplement volatility in the region threatening the precarious strategic stability. India is doubling down on its hegemonic designs by riding on multiple boats and is trying to diversify its counterforce options. This Indian behavior challenges the very essence of deterrence as India is endeavoring to eliminate the existing mutual vulnerability in South Asia. This prestige and power-driven pursuit of India will exacerbate the security dilemma, which undermines the strategic stability. Pakistan, alluding to the Indian BMD, has rationalized the development of Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), cruise missiles, and other technological modernizations to ensure the perseverance of strategic stability and deterrence equation in the region.