Asia’s Nuclear Powers Switch Focus to New Missile Technologies

January 30, 2018

The News Lens:

If the Cold War was one long arms race, the modern era could be accurately described as an arms jog. Countries are defined less by how many nuclear warheads they have, and more by what they can do with them. This is particularly the case in the Pacific, where a significant missile competition is underway.

Last year saw a step up in the pace of missile testing and the operationalization and deployment of capabilities that have been in development for some time. North Korea’s missile program and the responses of South Korea and Japan, as well as the successful testing of several long-in-development systems from Pakistan, India, and China, are examples of this. The leaked draft of the U.S. government’s Nuclear Posture Review only adds to the pile.

Last week, India chalked up another successful test of its Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with a range of more than 5000 kilometers. In a concerning sign of escalation, during the Doklam standoff with China last year, India’s political leadership reportedly inquired about the deployment of the INS Arihant, one of New Delhi’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

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