By Sehr Rushmeen
India has long wished to become a prominent regional and global player. In its pursuit of superpower status, it has made advances to strengthen its defense capabilities and achieve technical dominance. India has increased its military capabilities, both conventional and nuclear, in response to the perceived threat from China.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India is the world’s top weaponry importer, which demonstrates the country’s resolve. This reflects India’s quest for regional supremacy by indicating a considerable expenditure in military weaponry.
The unusual Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver given with US support has boosted India’s nuclear ambitions even more. This waiver allows India to improve its nuclear weapons production capacity, which has been noted by the world community.
Furthermore, there are troubling indicators that India may be planning thermonuclear weapons testing, which might have disastrous effects. Hydrogen bombs, which are substantially more powerful than atomic bombs, have the potential to wreak massive destruction and loss of life.
The international world is becoming increasingly concerned about these developments, especially given India’s pledge under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to refrain from conducting hydrogen bomb tests. The likelihood of such a test by India is causing worldwide worry.
Prominent academics and experts have expressed their concerns. Ashley Tellis, a senior scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an Indian-origin professor, has urged that India execute a thermonuclear test. He also suggested that the US should not punish India for such a test since it would serve as a deterrent to China’s expanding power. Happymon Jacob, an Indian analyst, has also alluded to the possibility of a thermonuclear test, expressing concerns about the world community’s reaction.
Over the last two decades, the United States, which has seen India as an important partner in its efforts to counterbalance China, has provided enormous assistance to India. Despite reservations about India’s track record as an aggressive state, this assistance has included access to cutting-edge technologies and the NSG waiver. Notably, the US did not impose CAATSA sanctions on India after it purchased Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, demonstrating the strategic significance of the US-India relationship.
India’s regional position has been complicated by internal challenges such as religious extremism and human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to its nuclear ambitions. These considerations have complicated the regional security picture and strained India’s relations with its neighbors.
The current Russia-Ukraine conflict has heightened global tensions and great power competition, putting the world nuclear order in jeopardy. In such a volatile global and regional security context, any step that threatens strategic stability in South Asia, such as India’s prospective testing of thermonuclear weapons, raises the likelihood of nuclear escalation with far-reaching effects.
The pursuit of thermonuclear weapons by India poses a great threat to regional security and stability. The international community, notably the US, must carefully assess the consequences of these goals. To confront India’s nuclear ambitions without sparking an arms race and further escalating rivalries in the region, a comprehensive approach is required. Diplomatic efforts to reduce the hazards connected with India’s pursuit of thermonuclear weapons and its broader strategic objectives must be priority for global peace and security.