IN existing command, a threat whether roaring from nuclear weapons or terrorism is considered valid, tangible and necessarily accountable when it is indirectly stated by the western powers and even more accurately twisty threat to US interests. But exactly similar threats are launched as a simulated and assumed perception when it originates from Pakistan and more so from the military theatre.
Repeated hue and cry spreading out from Indian and western circles, about the low-yield short-range missile, known as the Nasr, potentially offering Pakistan the ability to deliver battlefield nuclear weapons against advancing Indian forces, has presently proved the specified affirmation. Following a test fire of tactical level weapon in February of 2013, Pakistan’s technology-demonstrative missile, has been given a suitable reception by western as well as understandably Indian strategic elite. Since then, anti-Pakistan whisperers of nuclear doctrine have labelled the Nasr and alike nuclear capable weapons as a counter to India’s Cold Start limited war doctrine.
In addition, many proponents of the tactical weapons like Nasr missile programme often listen back to the Cold War era and compare Pakistan’s current military posture vis-à-vis India with NATO’s perceived military inferiority against the Warsaw Pact forces. According to such theorists, Pakistan’s conventional forces are simply not strong enough to repel an Indian military onslaught into Pakistani territory. As a result, Pakistan has developed and inducted battlefield nuclear weapons to prevent India from scoring a quick and relatively cheap victory with conventional forces alone.
Conceived by no power other than sections of the Indian Army and strategic community in 2004, ultimately endorsed by the successive regimes and redesigned by current Modi government, Cold Start foresees armored “integrated battle groups”. Its objective is to make quick shallow penetrations into Pakistan and seizing territory on the over blown mystery of response to a terrorist strike involving Pakistani nationals. In this regard efforts by Indian RAW are said to be directed to certain factions within TTP and ISIS ranks to incorporate Pakistani nationals for the specific purpose of attacking targets inside Indian territory.
In line with this strategy the seized terrain, followed by the terrorist attack, would then be used as tactic to blackmail Pakistan internationally on a surplus of issues firstly on Kashmir then terrorism and conclusively exploiting Indian planning as a regional power qualifying for permanent membership of UNSC as well as a member of NSG. On the other hand success of this type of misadventure will cause greater set back to Pakistan facing danger of declaring a failed state with a stigma of supporting terrorism by state actors leading to declaring the country a ‘terrorist state’ causing international sanctions and internationally approved legal intervention to denuclearise Pakistan once for all.
Statements by high profiles show that Pakistan has always focused to act as mature viable nation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in September, 2015 stated that Pakistan would continue to maintain minimum nuclear deterrence for security purposes, but that these weapons are ‘not against any one”. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry clearly mentioned before PM’s visit to USA that the country’s nuclear programme was not meant for war but for the prevention of war by developing deterrent capabilities. While Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif on his visit to PCNES previous week clearly conveyed that nuclear security is a sacred responsibility. In order to strengthen its nuclear security regime par with international standards, Pakistan has taken several measures, including setting up of the PCENS. General Raheel reiterated “Nuclear security is a sacred responsibility and I am glad to see that it has instilled as a culture and the progress being made in the recent past is praiseworthy,”
Earlier in September, Director General (DG) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano praised Pakistan’s impressive nuclear security record. He stated that Pakistan attached the highest priority to nuclear safety as a national responsibility and that all of Pakistan’s nuclear power plants and research reactors were under IAEA safeguards, and Pakistan was fully meeting its obligations in this regard. The National Command Authority (NCA) stated that Pakistan as a responsible nuclear state will remain actively engaged with the international community on nuclear stability and security issues, and expressed satisfaction on Pakistan’s enhanced outreach with the multilateral export control regimes.
So these supportive avowals show that Pakistan is very much aware how to safeguard its national interests as well as nuclear arsenals. Pakistan must stand firm in its current approach of carrying forward development of low-yield short-rangemissiles to not only flop Indian designs of undermining Pakistan multilaterally but also to shield its political and economic interests alongside country’s security and sovereignty. Pakistan’s policymakers must continue good relations with the US and west without compromising on the promising relations with China and Russia.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, Islamabad.