Wednesday, Sep 17, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Though India and Pakistan could "read each other" well on the capabilities on the conventional weapons front, the nuclear programme on both sides had been very secretive. Hence, each side had not been able to figure out what had been happening on the other side. "Ambiguity could lead to miscalculations," he said, delivering a lecture on `Stability-Instability Paradox and South Asia'. The lecture-cum-discussion session was organised by the Centre for Security Analysis, Chennai.
One argument advanced in favour of both India and Pakistan having nuclear weapons was that it imparted a certain kind of stability to this region. But this stability could be upset if either country introduced new military technologies.
India, which already had superiority in conventional weapons, was going in for new generation systems for surveillance, and also had a reasonably advanced cruise missile programme. Besides, there was also the possibility of India being able to develop missile defence technologies.
These capabilities were beyond Pakistan and would tilt the balance in favour of India, he said. Dr. Krepon accused both sides of posturing and said when there was a serious escalation the last time, the U.S. had extracted some promises from India.
But he was not sure if these promises would hold in the event of future escalation. Also, talking to Pakistan on these issues would not be on the top of the agenda in an election year.
M.K. Narayanan, former director of the Intelligence Bureau and vice-president of CSA, said India was under pressure, especially from the U.S., to hand over control of its nuclear weapons to its military in the name of creation of a command and control structure and asked why this was a "pressing issue" for the U.S.
Dr. Krepon said he did not want to advice India in the matter but he was "extremely impressed with the sobriety and concern for national interests" of the Indian military personnel that he had interacted with.
Also, they had "total acceptance of civilian authority".
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