Sartaj Aziz, adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister on foreign affairs, has said that India’s nuclear-armed missiles deployed on nuclear-powered submarines pose a threat to the maritime security of the Indian Ocean Region and could disturb the “balance of power” in the region.
Talking about India’s successful testing of a ballistic missile defense system on May 15, Aziz said that apart from this air defence system, India has also recently conducted tests of nuclear capable, submarine based K4 Ballistic Missiles.
“Simultaneously large nuclear powered submarines are being built to carry these nuclear armed missile as a part of its second strike nuclear capability,” Aziz alleged while making a statement in the Senate, the Upper House of Parliament.
“These two developments are part of the massive conventional, nuclear and missile development programmes being pursued by India and are contributing to nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean,” he said.
He vowed that Pakistan would take “all necessary measures” to augment its defence capabilities.
He said that he would consider having Pakistan introduce a resolution at the United Nations that would urge the body to declare the Indian Ocean a “nuclear free zone.”
He said Pakistan might ask the 32 littoral states to co-sponsor the move. Some of these states are Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.
Aziz also plans to raise the matter with all major world powers, both at bilateral and multilateral fora.
India had earlier tested nuclear-capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) from its nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant as part of its efforts to develop second-strike capability. In addition, it has also tested its Advanced Air Defence Missile Ashwin for its upcoming multi-layered Ballistic Missile Defence system.
He further said that Indian actions were against the spirit of a peaceful and friendly neighbourhood.
However, Pakistan needs to remember that the United Nations won’t be able to solve this problem anytime soon. Also, India is not the only country looking to operate nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) in the waters of the Indian Ocean. China started operating Song- and Shang-class submarines in the Indian Ocean in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.