India has started a program focused to expand the missile defense to shield large parts of the country that, in the oppinion of many analysts, for some reasons may be counter-productive to maintain the peace in the region. Let us see briefly why.
- Development of a pan-national missile interception capability is beyond India’s economic means, and for that reason may ballast dramatically the economy of the country.
- Pakistan’s inclinations to pursue low intensity conflicts under the shield of its nuclear arsenal have made India extremely uncomfortable with the strategic situation in the region.
- Many in Delhi hope missile defense will provide India a space for limited wars against Pakistan, bearing in mind the fear that there could be an unintended launch of a ballistic missile, especially given Pakistan’s vacillation between being ruled by a trigger happy military and being overrun by jihadi extremists.
- However, Pakistan is acutely sensitive to any perceived military edge, current or future, that India may be developing.
- It means in fact that even a limited fielding of a partly unproven Indian ballistic missile defense capability (as DRDO is actually planning) could be enough to compel Pakistan to grow its nuclear arsenal with all the potential dangers that this entails.
- Although DRDO’s capabilities are far from proven when pitted against Chinese ICBMs, such as the DF-41, a nationwide BMD system could create in China the perception that India it is preparing for a first strike; a perception which may be anything except good.
- At a time when India and China are making a renewed effort to secure a long-term agreement on the status of their borders, BMD developments could therefore worsen the trajectory of their relationship, all while offering India uncertain returns.