Pervez Hoodbhoy at Chowk:
By generating a pro-test environment, India’s nuclear hawks hope to make life difficult for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s moderate government whenever India’s signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) comes up for discussion. Santanam’s revelation has been spurred by the fear that if President Obama succeeds in his initiative to revive the CTBT – which had essentially been shot dead by the US Senate in 1999 – the doors on nuclear testing could be shut world-wide. A race against the clock is on.
There are not the only ominous developments. India has begun sea trials of its 7000-ton nuclear-powered submarine with underwater ballistic missile launch capability, the first in a planned fleet of five. India became the world’s 10th-highest military spender in 2008 but now plans to head even further upwards. In July 2009, Indian defence minister, A.K. Antony announced that for 2009-2010 India plans to raise its military budget by 50% to a staggering $40 billion, about six times that of Pakistan.
On the Pakistani side, the desire to maintain nuclear parity with India has caused it to push down the pedal as hard as it can. Although the numbers of Pakistani warheads and delivery vehicles is a closely held secret, a former top official of the CIA recently noted in a report released this month that: “It took them roughly 10 years to double the number of nuclear weapons from roughly 50 to 100.”
This is bad news for those Pakistanis, like myself, who have long opposed Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. More: