In-House Discussion Meeting
“Hypersonic Missile Race: Regional and Global Implications“
January 26, 2021
The Arms Control and Disarmament Centre (ACDC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized an in-house discussion meeting on “Hypersonic Missile Race: Regional and Global Implications” on January 26, 2021. The ISSI research faculty and members of the ACDC Advisory Board attended the event. Malik Qasim Mustafa, Director ACDC, moderated the discussion.
In her presentation, Ms. Ghazala Yasmin Jalil, Research Fellow at ACDC-ISSI, provided a comprehensive technical overview of the hypersonic missiles and their three main types: guided ballistic missiles; boost-glide missiles; and hypersonic missiles. “What makes hypersonic missiles lethal is not just their speed but their post-launch maneuverability,” she said. Russia is already using the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle for its Avangard ICBM in addition to the hypersonic cruise missiles like Kinzhal and Tsirkan. The United States of America also has hypersonic missiles that are aimed at neutralizing Russian and Chinese hypersonic missile development. This great power competition will affect the strategic calculations, undermine nuclear deterrence, and increases the chances of a strategic conflict.
While highlighting the regional security implications, she said that development of hypersonic missile technology would start a new arms race that would change the nuclear deterrence calculations between India and Pakistan. India has now joined the global race and only five to six years away from developing hypersonic missiles. India is working on a hypersonic cruise missile BrahMos-II in collaboration with Russia. It would create first strike temptations on the part of New Delhi, which will further make the South Asian nuclear theatre more unstable.
Earlier in his introductory remarks, Malik Qasim Mustafa, Director ACDC, said that a new arms race to develop hypersonic missile technology would have severe regional and global implications. This technology will not only disturb the existing balance of power among major nuclear-armed states but also raises question mark on nuclear security, nuclear and conventional readiness.
The presentation was followed by an interesting question and answer session.