The National Command Authority (NCA) repeated their resolve to maintain full spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression and adhere to a policy of avoiding an arms race.

The claim is ironic - that we need to have a full spectrum of armament, to avoid an arms race. How does having more guns, lead to having less guns? The fact of the matter is that this is all just a way to soften the extremely gung-ho stance of the military. It needs to present its increasing expenditure and arsenal as something acceptable to the civilians and even the international community. The civilians, for now, are not an issue. Outpouring of support for the army is at an all time high. But, in case the scenario changes, the military has its argument ready.

The arms race has never stopped between India and Pakistan and we don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

This is the continuation of the logic is of ‘credible minimum deterrence’, which underlines no first use with a second strike capability. The opposite is mutually assured destruction, a doctrine of military strategy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. Both are the same, one just has a prettier name that sounds less dangerous, thus, both India and Pakistan profess to be implementing the former. The truth is that deterrence has never led to peace between states. It keeps nations so insecure and constantly on the defensive that there is no way to construct peace from the situation. Yes, it also stops an all out war, but at the cost of peace of mind and peace at large.

How about a pact not to got to war at all, rather than the Indian and Pakistani armies competing for the purpose of “peaceful” deterrence?

Imagine the money we could save, and the small armies we would need. We are both always ready to go to war – there is nothing “minimal” about the policy of deterrence. But these thoughts of peace are just castles in the air. Military strategy is, firstly, about ego and national pride. Secondly, military is big business. A smaller military will never be a reality considering the economic power and political influence they wield, even if the nation was to get behind such a contraction of the military budget and size.

This is what is called a Nash Equilibrium – when neither side, once armed, has any incentive to initiate a conflict, nor do they have the incentive to disarm. The arms race is a foregone conclusion.