THE induction of a nuclear submarine, Arihant, into the Indian Navy would trigger arms race in South Asia. The event that marks the 10th anniversary of the Kargil War would come as a big worry for Pakistan, which believes in peaceful co-existence and in maintaining a minimum deterrence. The statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the launching ceremony that New Delhi has no aggressive designs seems hardly credible because its craving for modern weapons simply makes a mockery of the concept of arms balance in the region, which would be pushed into further instability. The submarine, which is capable of delivering nuclear warheads, would considerably strengthen India's strategic position in the Indian Ocean. Such is its passion to claim ascendancy over its neighbours that apart from Arihant, which is part of its indigenous programme, it would be acquiring nuclear submarines from Russia and France, which would be added to the naval fleet within a few years. Under the circumstances, it would be hard for Islamabad to stay aloof from these developments, forcing it to follow suit. Just as the explosion of the nuclear device by India resulted in the nuclearlisation of South Asia, here we have a scenario where the sea next to the region will be infested with nuclear submarines. The move would also provoke China, with which India claims being on a friendly footing. It bears pointing out that in a bid to claim itself as a regional power, not to mention hegemon, New Delhi, increased its defence budget by a whooping 33 percent this year. This show of strength, uncalled for in the first place by any reckoning, runs counter to the goals of peace and security. It appears as if it is gearing up to hush up voices of dissent with mere force and is of the view that its military might would ultimately prove to be the solution to conflicts in the region. Its shunning of the composite dialogue process with Pakistan is a case in point. Much to one's chagrin, the nuclear flashpoint of Kashmir, remains on the backburner and given India's aggressive stance, threatens a wider conflagration. Broadly speaking, the region, one of the poorest in the world, could ill afford an arms race. The huge amount of money spent on this nuclear submarine programme also constitutes a disservice to the poor in India and Pakistan, if it were to join the arms race to ward off the Indian threat.