Strengthening defences

Beyond the symbolic was the first successful test of the Ababeel surface-to-surface ballistic missile

Editorial January 25, 2017
This photo released by the Inter-Services Public Relations shows surface to surface ballistic Ababeel missile being test fired on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. PHOTO: ISPR

There is no direct connection between the invitation by President Trump to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he visit the USA ‘this year’ — and a missile test in Pakistan but the call that contained the invitation went beyond the symbolic. Also beyond the symbolic was the first successful test of the Ababeel surface-to-surface ballistic missile that uses the Multi Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) to deliver its nuclear payload. The two came within days of the inauguration of President Trump and geopolitical observers have already noted that President Trump reached out to India during his first week in office. India, it would seem, is America’s new Best Friend Forever — except that there is no such thing as forever in international relationships and America has an eye to the vast Indian market for its goods, a subject dear to the Trump heart.

For Pakistan the launch of this missile, capable of delivering multiple warheads is a considerable technical achievement, and there is now the capacity to engage with multiple targets with a high level of precision with the potential to disrupt or destroy the radars that are essential to India’s own missile defence system which is currently in development. With a range of 2,200 kilometres — three times the distance between Islamabad and New Delhi — the development of this weapon is being seen within the defence establishment as a minimal measure to restore balance to the deterrence equation. This balance is seen as essential to the wider maintenance of defence systems regionally.

Pakistan now has the capability to launch missiles that give it second-strike capacity from land, sea and air. Deterrence is the watchword, but it comes at a price. Defence parity does not come cheap and is expensive to maintain once operationalised. This is the price that both India and Pakistan have to pay for failing to resolve one of the worlds’ most intractable conflicts — Kashmir. President Trump has already offered to lend a hand in its resolution, the task having defeated every other international player since Independence. The longer the failure persists the poorer are both countries, but Pakistan cannot afford to drop its guard to the east.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2017.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.


Vectra | 7 years ago | Reply One question doe this new missile add anything substantial?? Answer is no Range wise is full no and as for MIRV that's a big question mark despite tall claims by ISPR.May be the Pakistanis themselves ask question to themselves and get answer from themselves only.
Feroz | 7 years ago | Reply The strength of a nation comes from its people and not military equipment. People remain a nations most valuable resource in the twenty first century. Investing resources in educating, training and empowering people will make a stronger country.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ