Why our bomb was a strategic blunder
Indian genius can be put to better use
I am motivated to write this post because of this great post in Pak Tea House blog by Pervez Hoodbhoy.
I am not going to quote chapter and verse from the post, except to say that if you read the whole article and substitute the word “India” for “Pakistan” in the first couple of paragrpahs in the article, it will still make a lot of sense.
I was probably among the one percent people in the country who did not agree that we needed to set off crackers under the Rajasthan deserts to make a point.
I am not a peacenik; I think those that hold cadlelight vigils every year at the Wagah border are out of touch with reality. My point that time and now is simply this:
A deterrent ceases to be a deterrent when both sides have it.
Ten years back, we had clear superiority in conventional arms over Pakistan. We did not need the nuclear deterrence. Especially since, all our intelligence reports must have already told us that Pakistan also has the necessary bomb-making kit in a SKD condition. Our explosion made us “high” on “swabhimaan” for a few days; but, more worryingly conceded the moral high ground to Pakistan where they could always claim that, “we did not do it first”.
So, from a deterrence based on conventional arms superiority we moved to a nuclear parity. For what? To what purpose?
Another example of identity politics gone haywire. And, it was done in the time of my favourite prime minister!
Of course, we are different from Pakistan. Our exports are far more voluminous, have much more technology content and as a whole we rank a lot higher than Pakistan in technological and scientific progress. But, it must be asked whether any of this progress could not have been achieved without pandering to empty identity politics. A bomb does not spawn technological advancement.
I would like to end by quoting Mr. Hoodbhoy from the article:
“Eleven years ago a few Pakistanis and Indians had argued that the bomb would bring no security, no peace. They were condemned as traitors and sellouts by their fellow citizens. But each passing year shows just how right we were.”