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Think Tank Seminar: Unveiling Missile Threats in South Asia

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In commemoration of Youm-e-Takbeer, the Arms Control and Disarmament Centre (ACDC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted a significant seminar titled “Missile Developments in South Asia: Global and Regional Implications.” This event, featuring key experts and military strategists, explored the evolving missile capabilities in South Asia and their broader impacts.

Keynote Address by General Zubair Mahmood Hayat

General (R) Zubair Mahmood Hayat, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, delivered an impactful keynote address. He emphasized that missile development in South Asia, particularly by India, is deeply intertwined with ideological and strategic shifts driven by the current political regime in New Delhi. Highlighting the ideological transition from ‘India to Bharat’ influenced by the RSS, he argued that India’s aggressive missile advancements reflect a broader expansionist and revisionist agenda. This shift, he noted, diverges sharply from India’s historical strategic culture, driven by principles from historical figures like Chanakya, emphasizing power and deception. General Hayat underscored the regional and global security threats posed by India’s missile developments, including the deployment of the BrahMos missile and the development of Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs). He called for Pakistan to maintain a vigilant and comprehensive response to these developments.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood’s Welcome Remarks

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, DG ISSI, reflected on the pivotal moment in South Asia’s nuclear history marked by Youm-e-Takbeer on 28 May 1998. This day commemorates Pakistan’s response to Indian nuclear tests, restoring strategic balance in the region. He lauded Pakistan’s commitment to maintaining robust deterrent capabilities and highlighted the nation’s status as a responsible nuclear state. Emphasizing the significance of adopting a proactive and multidimensional approach, he discussed the necessity of diplomatic, technological, and military initiatives to counter the threats from India’s missile advancements.

Insights from Malik Qasim Mustafa

In his introductory remarks, Malik Qasim Mustafa, Director of ACDC at ISSI, emphasized the significance of Youm-e-Takbeer in reinforcing Pakistan’s national security and strategic stability. He pointed out that India’s nuclear and military modernization, including the development of advanced missile technology and recent tests of MIRVs and hypersonic missiles, directly challenge regional strategic stability.

Expert Perspectives on Missile Developments

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal discussed the global evolution of missile technology and its proliferation. He highlighted the increasing security dilemmas posed by the rise in missile capabilities among major powers, including China, the U.S., Russia, and India. Dr. Jaspal noted the weakening of Cold War-era arms control frameworks and the strategic implications of integrating nuclear technology with missile systems.

Air Commodore Khalid Banuri focused on India’s ambitious missile programs, including the Agni-5 and MIRV technologies, and their strategic implications for Pakistan and China. He underscored the challenges posed by the technological advancements and increasing range of Indian missiles to regional security.

Ms. Ghazala Yasmin Jalil provided an in-depth analysis of India’s missile defense and hypersonic missile developments. She discussed India’s pursuit of hypersonic missile technology, including the development of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), and the potential destabilizing effects on regional deterrence stability.

Dr. Naeem Salik addressed Pakistan’s missile development options in response to regional threats. He emphasized the importance of developing and deploying ballistic missile defense systems and enhancing rapid response capabilities with hypersonic missiles. Dr. Salik suggested policy measures for Pakistan, including adopting a launch-on-warning posture to counter India’s missile advancements.

Conclusion

The seminar concluded with a comprehensive Q&A session, reflecting the critical discussions on regional and global missile developments and their implications for security and stability. Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BoG ISSI, offered a vote of thanks, emphasizing the importance of continued dialogue and strategic analysis to navigate the complex landscape of missile technology and its implications for South Asia.

This seminar underscored the urgent need for regional powers to understand and address the evolving missile developments and their strategic implications. It highlighted the necessity for Pakistan to remain vigilant and proactive in its defense and strategic planning to ensure regional stability and security.

Abu Bakr Alvi
Abu Bakr Alvi
Mr. Abu Bakr Alvi, Senior Journalist Based in Faisalabad

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