How will the Indian military's upgrade and modernization of its ISR, precision strike, and missile defense affect the stability in South Asia?
Dewan, Jay P.
Lavoy, Peter R.
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India has made a concerted effort to upgrade its ISR, precision strike, and missile defense capabilities as it competes with China and Pakistan for regional power. The Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System, Su-30MKI fighter-bomber aircraft, and S-300PMU surface-to-air missile system are some examples of the new capabilities India is acquiring. I argue that if India continues its military modernization, Pakistan will become more insecure. The increase in the conventional military capabilities gap will likely upset the existing balance of power in South Asia, leading to a regional arms race, lowering the nuclear threshold, and increasing instability in the region. The strategic stability/tactical instability paradox that exists between two nuclear countries may lead them to engage in "small" wars. India's increasing military capabilities may encourage it to conduct a preventive strike against Pakistan. In such a climate, a regional arms race eventually may lead Pakistan to establish a "hair-trigger" nuclear posture. India's effort to achieve a significantly superior conventional military force over Pakistan paradoxically may reduce Indian security by causing greater instability, and possibly lead to nuclear war. Regional stability is enhanced to the extent that there is a rough conventional military balance between India and Pakistan.
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