The industrial revolution of the 18th century is credited with the entire progress humanity is witnessing and experiencing today. It embarked mankind on a journey, which resulted in great inventions. The computer, undoubtedly, is the greatest invention of all time. Not only has it digitalized everything around the globe, but also it has set man in his quest to discover, invent, devise and harness other forces.
Countries around the world are investing in applied research covering several Artificial Intelligence domains; automation processes, mechanization techniques, and advanced analysis through machine learning and neural networks have opened new gateways towards development in the field of science and technology. These developments are aimed to improve policy and regulation to promote human rights-based AI, expand AI applications for public interest and foster AI infrastructure and skills to support the dissemination of AI in society.
South Asian region at a Glance: The South Asian region is considered as one of the most fragile regions in the world, as it contains countries of diverse natures in terms of their strategic planning, economic and technological conditions, population accommodation, alliances, some are landlocked and others have their major territorial exposure to the Indian Ocean. This diversity which, unfortunately, has not yielded positive outcomes, is principally motivated by four major factors. These are historical memories, colonial legacies, ethnicity, and foreign linkages.
These factors have resulted in a very complex structure of the region, which further fosters the inter-state wars, intra-state insurgencies, sectarian-based violence that is increasing at an alarming pace, poor conflict resolution, an ever-increasing conventional and non-conventional arms race, particularly between India and Pakistan, interventional politics i.e. regional intervention, extra-regional intervention. In the South Asian region, it is imperative to assess the implications of emerging technologies including cyber weapons, lethal autonomous weapons, hypersonic, stealth, and precision-guided weapons, and artificial intelligence (AI) on strategic stability. India is also pursuing a military modernization program, conducting research, and pursuing modern technology in order to gain military superiority, which will have an impact on the nature of war and strategic stability. Pakistan must analyze its policy alternatives and recognize the changes brought about by emerging technology.
These new technologies are also encouraging India to pursue an anti-Pakistan stance, including a greater propensity for surgical strikes like the one at Balakot in February 2019. The growth of Indian technology has forced Pakistan to take steps to ensure the integrity of deterrence and strategic stability.
New Technologies and Strategic Theory: The emerging technologies are a new set of trends and drivers of the technological revolution in strategic affairs. Meanwhile, there is also a growing concern that emerging technologies have the potential of altering the balance of power among great and regional powers. Even in the United States, the impact of emerging technologies are viewed as disruptive and a threat to the country’s global military dominance.
Doctrinal Shift of South Asia: History is witness to the notion that since their inception up until now the nuclear weapons have fulfilled their responsibility of deterring war between two nuclear-capable states, and the same is true for the region of South Asia, in fact, it is particularly true for the situation in South Asia that the two biggest antagonists in the region have not fought any major war since they both have declared their nuclear weapons. India with the bigger conventional weapons had always resorted to NFU policy whereas Pakistan has always kept the posture of First Use since day one owing to the lesser conventional capabilities.
Therefore if India ever moves towards the First Use option it will have hideous implications for the peace and stability of the region, for if Pakistan is always under the fear of being nuked it may employ the strategy of “Use it or lose it” and use the nuclear weapons in the most unpredictable time and space, for this, has always been the posture of weaker actors in the crises situation that to ward off any attack from a bigger and unmatchable adversary the weaker party attacks first ensued in the dilemma of “get annihilated if not annihilating”.
After conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India published its first official document on the use of nuclear weapons which was called Draft Nuclear Doctrine, however, in 2003 in the wake of changing international and regional politics, war on terror, and instability inside India the doctrine was revisited and was drafted out as No First Use (NFU) of the nuclear arsenal, massive retaliation, and Credible Minimum Deterrence.
There are concerns that integrating AI technology into the military could allow governments to track and direct adversary retaliatory forces, reducing guaranteed retaliation and jeopardizing mutually assured destruction (MAD), which remains a deterrent mechanism. fundamental. As AI improves C4ISR capabilities and, ultimately, counterforce capabilities, it takes much less for AI to jeopardize strategic stability. States with AI-enabled counterforce capabilities would be able to destroy an opponent’s arsenal with a single attack.
As argued there are certain reasons or factors responsible for any nuclear proliferation and in the case of India, this statement also stands true. The most important aspect of this whole discourse is analyzing the impact of this modernization of technology on the strategic environment of South Asia. Without any doubt, this expansion is forcing Pakistan, a relatively weak state in terms of conventional capability, into s security dilemma.
However, it is also evident that due to Chinese threat and extra-regional factors involving the US, this proliferation cannot be controlled until and unless nuclear disarmament is achieved at the global level. In addition to that US old strategy to use different countries around the world for its own purpose is also creating unnecessary problems for other states to create and then maintain an environment of mutual trust among regional countries. In a conflict, AI-assisted military forces can increase the risk of unintended escalation. To sustain the deterrent against India, Pakistan will have to improve its nuclear weapons and delivery mechanisms.
As a result, deploying military artificial intelligence (AI) applications in South Asia will jeopardize strategic stability. If an environment of peace based upon mutual trust is maintained in South Asia then countries of this region can devote their resources towards reducing poverty which is the biggest problem for the people living in this area.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.