New Nuclear Missile Silos in Xinjiang: China’s attempts at deterring or equalizing?
The field of international relations has been hijacked by either the proponents of realism or liberalism. The former taking a stronghold on almost all issues, with states always protecting and promoting their national interests. At the end of the Cold War, the world witnessed a unipolar world stimulated by the US-driven with national interests and painting it with what commonly is referred to as the US hegemony. The unipolar world in a way produced a verdict that indicated that the West and in particular the ideologies of the West have succeeded fairly in dominating the world. On the other hand, the new yet challenging communism had to accept the defeat. Fast forward to the present, almost two decades after the Cold War ended, another opponent is giving stiff competition to this similar hegemon, which is not only dangerous but also has kept itself veiled; China under President Xi Jinping.
The aggression chosen by China under the leadership of President Xi has become a matter of study in itself. Suddenly, the dragon has started to chase not only the bald eagle but its allies and stands out to be an extreme factor of turbulence in terms of policymaking. In any regard, China has not backed down from any matter; be it matters related to human rights or defence and security. However, the recent turn of events as reported by the American Federation of Scientists (AFS) released satellite images that clearly showed nuclear missile silos being built in the eastern Xinjiang province. The nuclear deterrent is not a new element in the field of world politics, but these developments of nuclear missiles by China is a worry not only for the US but the world in general, as the former has denied to show or quote any data on nuclear missiles being kept within the country. The US Strategic Command tweeted, “This is the second time in two months the public has discovered what we have been saying all along about the growing threat the world faces and the veil of secrecy that surrounds it.”
Although the sources are yet to be ascertained, videos released on the webpage of ‘Wisdom and Strategies for 6 armies’ drafted a well laid out plan of action for the People’s Liberation Army. The two videos highlighted the road map for the liberation of the island nation of Taiwan. Attacking Japan was another agenda on the video as mentioned. The video released on the webpage mentioned, “Attacking Japan is the main deployment. Start with Taiwan, culminating in Japan with full force, and end with Japan’s surrender.” The tone set for this is vengeance and pull-down Japan to a condition even worse than the aftermath of World War II. The video was released as soon as Deputy Japanese Prime Minister Tara Aso remarked that any attack on Taiwan by the Chinese military must be defended by Japan.
The development of nuclear missile silos can prove to be a cause of worry for not only the US but India in particular too. The border disputes between India and China have brimmed to the surface since last year and now with the development of nuclear missile silos in the Xinjiang province, it is indeed a cause of apprehension for India. Both the US and China have increased movement in the Indo-Pacific region in the name of countering each other but then the stakeholders in the region must adhere to the changing dynamics, especially a country like India that is investing equally in its defence and security structures. Any acquisition of nuclear weapons has proven to be a deterrent and an equalizer, but can the dragon be trusted? The answer to the question remains ambiguous particularly because Chinese state documents have never revealed the actual data. More so ever, the development of nuclear silos is not a new concept but the scale of development is disturbing.
The 2019 White Paper had clearly stated that China’s strategy to use nuclear weapons is diverse. The strategy is that of self-defence. Despite a call for modernization of nuclear deterrent by the US, the springing expansions of nuclear missile silos and DF-41s is a forewarning for every participant in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team