Pune: India is fully capable of responding to any misadventure by Pakistan despite the west-side neighbour acquiring nuclear weapons, a top Indian Army commander said here Tuesday.
"Since the 1998 nuclear tests, India and Pakistan have been through limited war (Kargil) and a major military crisis (Indian Army exercise `Operation Parakram`), making clear that the nuclearisation of both the countries has not made conventional war between them an obsolete concept," Lt Gen AK Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Command, said.
He was delivering the Gen BC Joshi Memorial lecture at the Pune University MBA (PUMBA) campus.
Speaking on "Prespective on war in 21st century", Lt Gen Singh said, "Acqusition of nuclear weapon by Pakistan has not altered the strategic balance in the subcontinent and it has not been able to neutralise India`s conventional war fighting superiority."
"Notwithstanding the nuclear deterrence in place, there is adequate strategic space for India to respond to a Pakistani misadventure, which might arise out of its miscalculated confidence," he asserted.
Lt Gen Singh pointed out that nuclear capability may limit the objective, scope and intensity of war and despite views to the contrary, the nuclear threshold would not be as fragile and low as was made out by many strategists and academicians.
"The biggest concern for nation states is the acquisition of weapons of mass Destruction (WMD) by non-state actors (extremist groups). How will the dynamics of deterrence, coercion and escalatory control work against non-state actors? It is a nightmare scenario and remains a very real threat," he said.
Lt Gen Singh said that in order to be effective against non-state players, deterrence, coercion and escalatory control must rely on international protocols to prevent proliferation through sanctions and other tough measures.
"Most important of all, international cooperation is needed among intelligence agencies to detect moves by identified non-state actors to acquire WMD, so that timely counter-action can be initiated."
"Future wars will be hybrid and conventional forces the world over will have to constantly adapt and evolve to face new challenges," the commander said.