The South Asian Strategic Stability Institute University organized a one-day national conference on nuclearization of Indian Ocean: Implications for South Asian Strategic Stability and Environmental Safety on Thursday 26 September 2019. Dr. Maria Sultan, Chairperson and Director General South Asian Strategic Stability Institute University while delivering her welcome remarks stated that today the South Asian region regional stability is under tremendous threat due to belligerent policies pursued by the India under fascist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi who is challenging peace in the region; and is threat to international peace and security.
She stated that the illegal de operationalisation of the article 370 and revocation of 35a by the BJP government is a flagrant violation of United Nation Security Council Resolutions, Geneva Convention and the UN charter but more so it has made the 9 million Kashmiris stateless not through war but through legislation the Jammu and Kashmir reorganisation bill 2019. In Indian Occupied Kashmir, 9 million Kashmiris are held hostage under the information blackout and military power, she added.
Dr. Maria termed the imprisonment of 9 million Kashmiris as “buried alive” by the India. Furthermore, she stated that any misadventure or miscalculation by the Indian army would be met with unflinching resolve. Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state but that must not be taken as a gesture of weakness. Any potential false flag operation conducted by the Indian military centred on airstrikes on surgical strikes will lead to the outbreak of large conventional war. No war can remain limited an armoured divisions attack by India be it be in Rajasthan, Punjab whether in Multan, Lahore in Sialkot, will be met with effective counter response by Islamabad.
She said that the idea of capturing any territory in Pakistan is fraught with high risk of escalation and war, and so is the continued threat of war in the Indian Ocean; home to 70 percent of the world trading routes, 60 percent oil routes – a war in the Indian Ocean will be a war affecting the entire world. She concluded with the remarks that no crises and war will remain limited to a single domain.
Hammad Azhar, federal minister for economic affairs while addressing the conference stated that the abrogation of article 370 and 35A is an attempt to escape from the just solution for IOK. It is not a bilateral issue rather it is an international issue. He said that India’s massive acquisition of the conventional arms coupled with offensive doctrines, expansion of the strategic assets including nuclear submarines are developments will have serious implications for not only Pakistan by the world at large. India’s first deterrence patrol of its nuclear submarine Arihant since November 2018 is in fact the first actual deployment of a ready to use nuclear warheads by India is also a source of concern for the international and regional countries he stressed. Similarly, he highlighted that he anti-satellite test carried out by India in March 2019 is in fact the result of the military spin offs of high technology trade with India. India has been seeking to create space for war under a nuclear over hang, he said. Today IOK is a most militarised area in the world, having nine hundred thousands of troops deployed in the Valley to suppress the innocent Kashmiris, he stated.
In the preceding session, Mr. Zahoor Ahmed Additional Secretary (Asia Pacific) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamic the Republic of Pakistan delivered the keynote address. He said that Pakistan never introduced the new technology in the region rather it is India who introduced the nuclear technology in South Asian region in 1974. Currently, India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is rapidly nuclearising the Indian Ocean Region by introducing the nuclear submarines and arming with submarine launched ballistic missiles. He stated that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and is pursuing credible minimum deterrence policy.
Air Marshal (R) Shahid Akhtar Alvi, HI (M), Former Deputy Chief of Air Staff, Training (DCAS-T) spoke on Kashmir crises and effects on strategic stability of South Asia. He stated that Pakistan armed forces, importantly, Air Force has the capabilities to frustrate Indian military and political leaderships’ nefarious designs and offensive aspirations. He highlighted that Pakistan’s Air Force operation ‘Swift Retort’ in response to Indian Air Force aggression on 26 February 2019. He said that Pakistan’s response on 27th of February demonstrated that Pakistan has robust conventional deterrence.
Former Law Minister Barrister Zafarullah Khan stated that the UN has so far displayed selective response to humanitarian crises, as the humanitarian intervention is the most contentious issue in international politics. In fact, such responses are mostly motivated by military and economic interests of powerful states and not by international humanitarian concerns.
On his turn, Admiral Arifullah Hussaini, Vice Admiral (Retired), former force commander Pakistan Navy and President, Nation Building Initiative postulated that Pakistan must speed up operationalizing sea-based deterrence. The evolving Indian offensive posture in the Indian Ocean necessitates a shift in orientation in the sea-based deterrence policy of Pakistan, he added.
Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Mehdi Honordost said that global oil disruptions in a particular maritime domain will have global consequences. He also postulated that region should come together to deal with this crisis. Capt. (R) Aqeel Akhtar, Deputy Director, Arms Control Disarmament Affairs said that India aims to neutralize Pakistan’s deterrence credibility. Arihant is a technology demonstrator and is aimed to recapture the space it believed it had lost for conventional retaliation. Pakistan is taking safeguard measures to neutralize this threat. Paolo Zani Corporate Market Sales & Strategy, Area Manager Pakistan, Mr. M. Azam Khan, Senior Research Fellow, Pakistan War College Lahore, Dr. Shahid Amjad, DG, Former National Institute of Oceanography, head of Environment and Energy Management Department, Institute of Business Management, Mr. Anwar Habib, Former Head PNRA and Director, Nuclear Safety & Security SASSI University and Ms. Beenish Ansari, Senior Research Fellow, SASSI University also delivered their presentations.