Monday, July 27, 2009

India N-sub to trigger arms race: Pakistan

Maqbool Malik and WAQAR HAMZA
Pakistan Navy (PN) will soon come up with a strategic plan to tackle the situation that has emerged after Indian Navy inducted nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant. “The induction of nuclear submarine in Indian Navy is a step towards destabilising the region,” PN sources told TheNation on Monday.The sources were of the view that Indian move would leave far-reaching implications not only for Pakistan but also for other Indian Ocean littoral states. “It is a step towards destabilising the entire region, which can be dangerous for regional peace and balance of power, as it is bound to spur nuclear arms race,” sources said, adding Pakistan was not seeking any tit for tat response to the development.However, they said that strategic brainstorming sessions were underway at PN Headquarters to evolve safeguarding plans that could help minimise the adverse impact of the Indian move. “This is an unusual and untimely step, especially after the efforts seeking to help normalise relations between the two south Asian nuclear neighbours,” sources said.The submarine INS Arihant built with the cooperation of Russia can carry the Sagarika (K-15) missile capable of hitting targets at a range of 700 kilometres. The submarine completes a nuclear triad encompassing land, air and sea of Indian forces that already have fighter aircraft and missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.Speaking to journalists in Karachi, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said Pakistan was considering the matter of India’s launch of its first nuclear-powered submarine very keenly. He said Pakistan Navy was capable of facing any sort of challenges to the country and the government would use all available resources to make its naval forces impregnable. Our Monitoring Desk adds: Defence Minister Mukhtar termed the induction of an indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine by India as a “destabilising step” and said Pakistan was capable of defending itself in face of all such regional challenges, reports The Times of India. “The government of Pakistan is fully aware of this issue and is prepared to counter it at all levels. Pakistan’s defence is fully prepared to face this challenge,” Mukhtar said in response to a question about India’s launch of ‘INS Arihant’. “We don’t want any wars but we know how to defend ourselves,” he said, adding, Pakistan is capable of defending itself against all such challenges.According to a private TV channel, Defence Minister Mukhtar said “Pakistan’s defence is impregnable and the nation fully prepared to defend itself from all sides - land, sea and air.” He said Pakistan was ready to counter India's challenge of nuclear submarine. He said Pakistan did not want war with any country including India but no aggression would be tolereated.Meanwhile, Continued induction of new lethal weapon systems by India was detrimental to regional peace and stability, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, reported a private TV channel Monday. Commenting on the launching of the Indian nuclear submarine, he also made it clear that Pakistan believed that maintenance of strategic balance was essential for peace and security in South Asia without entering into an arms race with India. The spokesman said Pakistan would take all appropriate steps to safeguard its security and maintain strategic balance in South Asia.

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