The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) hurts a lot of neighbours across the spectrum of borders that Pakistan shares in the region but more troublesome for Pakistan is something that is occurring right beside it; India’s ever-growing strategic footprint. Testing rockets is one thing, willing to buy and manufacture advanced surface-to-air missile technology is another but further still is the willingness to make sure that Pakistan remains unable to use the nuclear threat through deployment of survivable strike capabilities as well as effective countermeasures. India has tacitly put in motion a plan to look into revising the way it hopes to ‘tolerate’ a nuclear worst-case scenario whilst still maintaining a No First Use (NFU) option, i.e., try to squeeze its way into loopholes in the NFU to allow pre-emptive measures. Underlining principle would be to somehow make the use of pre-emptive measures justifiable or even operationally utilisable in order to render Pakistan incapable of retaliation in any future conflict and that is where the whole Cold Start mobilisation and the 2016 Uri charade comes to play. India’s whole post-Uri scenario of somehow para-dropping behind enemy lines and conducting a successful operation did come out of a Hollywood action movie and so did their justification of such a fabled operation but behind this fairytale is something very corrosive; consistent violations of LoC as well as working boundary can be termed a war game attempt to actually rationalise this scenario. This is not only an alarming postulate for Pakistan but one that requires an immediate redressal, one that is not only restricted to DGMO’s office. Imagine this for a moment; what is India hoping to achieve with advanced ballistic missile defence shields, nuclear submarines, enhanced international defence agreements, thermonuclear bombs, transregional strategic investments and frequent attempts to perforate India-Pakistan border? The answer to this question is multifaceted but it points to a something that Pakistan is either silently discussing or is not ready to open to audience for feedback. The CPEC might provide the right kind of recess needed to contain India through a Chinese deterrent as was the case in 2016 when China was more than willing to go beyond certain thresholds in South Asia but it does not mean that India will ever stop. Consequently, Pakistan followed suit and Pakistan Navy and Air Force started exploring new horizons to support the ground forces should things go wrong. The dilemma, however, is different; with Pakistan only relying on China, while India spreading across the globe, is Pakistan really strategically being pushed towards isolation or is this just a perception? Indian nuclear submarines might not have gone ballistic for the moment but they do offer survivability and endurance, two key ingredients in maritime engagements and its air force does possess sea-based platforms offering more mobility and less vulnerability. This raises India’s confidence in actually contemplating means to ‘dismantle’ Pakistan and this thought is dangerous. On the flip side of this theory is Pakistan; too busy with terrorists and far too concerned with protecting itself from Indian aggression. In this, we have an angry Iran, an upset Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea sector seeing sectarian rifts leading to polarisation. This is not too welcoming a story considering that we have internal political instability and a frenzy of provincialist undertones. Much has been written highlighting how Pakistan is slowly heading towards a meltdown and might be the cause of ‘something dangerously destabilising’ but what I feel most troubling as a Pakistani is that we might be trying to prove that all this is right. Ignoring a dynamic political response on working boundary violations beyond the conventional complaints to the United Nations is a common denominator with all the political parties currently and prospectively seeking reins of government quarters in Pakistan. On top of that, Pakistan’s counterterrorism plan is keeping Pakistan’s army too internally busty and not externally cautious. The issue is of a clear-cut nature; political quarters collectively handle diplomacy, civilian administration handles internal management and military quarters are dedicated to contemporary external threats and prospects. A thermonuclear, ballistically protected, submarine survivable India is a nightmare for Pakistan while an internally confused, border vulnerable and diplomatically cornered Pakistan is equally troubling and though credible minimum deterrence is out the door so to speak, deterrence itself is, whether classical or existential, will be put to a test it might not be able to endure. Stability is the art of managing animosity even under cooperating arrangements as seen in NATO or the skill of partnering up with the ones you hate the most as in the case of the European Union but either way it is a situation where conflicts will rarely claim unnecessary collateral. Nuclear stability is all this with the bomb in your hand and an attitude not to throw it. South Asia is polarising between India and Pakistan and whenever a region polarises it tends to opt for an arms race, followed by isolation, sanctions and eventually either a full-scale war or longstanding skirmishes leading eventually to a war; something that cannot be afforded or strategised with such arsenal in the stocks. The key to a more stable South Asia is a revisionary evaluation threat perception without precedent losses or victories as painful reminders to boost warmongering. For Pakistan specifically, the need to enhance its domestic indigenous academic footprint for purposes in research and development is more necessary than previously contemplated. This would mean opening more horizons for civilian academic institutions to take security more seriously as a curriculum and produce indigenous capacity for future use because in international relations, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies but survival of the state is everlasting. Pakistan and India are mutually destabilising equilibrium in the region but India’s capability to outgrow Pakistan may be the one imbalance we can neither afford nor adjust to. Reliance on strategies employed in different times and places and by very different sets of competitors can not only pit us into problems they endured but might even be too complicated for us to handle.