Indian belligerence forcing Pakistan past parity quest

Published: April 21, 2017

Continuous military expansion by India and a refusal to adhere to no-first strike policy has destabilised the region and pushed Pakistan beyond the point of settling for nuclear parity.

“This [Indian expansion] has required us [Pakistan] to move towards full spectrum deterrence for responding to threats at the tactical level, the counter-force level, and the counter-value level,” said former Pakistan envoy Zamir Akram while addressing a recent seminar on “South Asian Nuclear Doctrines: Deterrence Equilibrium and Strategic Stability”, organised by the Strategic Vision Institute.

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“We need to cover all types of threats,” Akram added.

The former envoy who represented Pakistan in Geneva, noted that threats to the country were growing in the region least because of the large scale acquisition of military hardware by India, its public rejection of the no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons, determination to carry out disarming strikes against Pakistan, and its espousal of dangerous and destabilising doctrines such as the cold-start doctrine.

These threats, he pointed out, meant that Pakistan could no longer sit content on traditional deterrence of nuclear weapons and must prepare to deal with these threats.

Akram warned that strategic stability or instability in South Asia was not just about Pakistan and India, but involved larger nations in the vicinity as well, including the likes of China and US.

This complicated equation was causing its destabilisation, which has been further “accentuated by developments outside the nuclear realm, that is developments in Occupied Kashmir… and use of terrorism by India through proxies based in Afghanistan,” he said.

Referring to a recent statement from Massachusetts Institute of Technology scholar Vipin Narang and assertions by former Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon that India could shed its no-first-use doctrine and carry out pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan to disarm its nuclear-tipped neighbour, the former envoy said this did not come as a surprise. He noted that certain quarters in the Pakistani security apparatus never believed in India’s declaratory statement of no-first-use.

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Menon and Narang’s statements, Akram observed, pointed towards Indian efforts to build capacity for carrying out ‘disarming strikes’ against Pakistan.

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, who teaches at the Quaid-i-Azam University, noted that both Pakistan and India lacked the “proficiency in decapitation capability”.

He said he was cautiously optimistic about deterrence stability continuing since the two hostile neighbours were aware of the colossal cost its failure would impose.

However, he noted that constant war-mongering by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an arms race and presence of non-state actors was constraining the deterrence stability.

SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema was hopeful that India would stay away from the ‘disarming strikes’.

“A successful disarming, decapitating or a pre-emptive strike against adversary possessing credible nuclear weapons capability is considered an impossibility as a rational decision,” he maintained hoping that India would rather act as “a rational actor and would not undertake this dangerous exercise of launching a pre-emptive strike.”

The seminar coincided with the anniversary celebrations of the Islamabad-based think tank that specialises in issues related to strategic stability.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2017.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • SuperNeo
    Apr 21, 2017 - 9:55AM

    Who is this guy with such a low IQ ?Recommend

  • Pukubanger
    Apr 21, 2017 - 10:17AM

    The simple fact is, once we cross the nuclear threshold, it does not matter what and how we do it. In that context, there is nothing wrong for India in decapitation of
    Pakistan with preemptive strikes. I have no faith in Pakistani wisdom, they will surely force a nuclear war. India will plan on that premise. Recommend

  • Mihir
    Apr 21, 2017 - 10:42AM

    So why dont Pakistan take the higher moral road and sign a ” no war, no terrorism policy” with Indian ? For how long will you guys keep reacting to India ? when will u start proactively cleaning up and most importantly ” owing ” up the mess u created ? Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Apr 21, 2017 - 11:25AM

    Preemptive strike is legitimate against those who keep threatening to use nuclear weapons as a first optionRecommend

  • Amit
    Apr 21, 2017 - 11:36AM

    Why are u begging India for no first policy when you are busy making tactical Nukes. I think India will be more than happy to agree on mutually agreed no first use policy is pakistan ready for it.Recommend

  • whatever
    Apr 21, 2017 - 11:41AM

    Dear Pakistan donot be so much afraid.Recommend

  • XoF
    Apr 21, 2017 - 12:45PM

    It neither begging not being tilting down. Its what we call as ‘a Thorn in the neck’ .. yes thats what Pakistan is againt India since 1947..and will be not matter how hard and desparate they try. PAK will always ensure as usual to keep a check at your will towards dominate. Since independecne and short size of has been a journey of embarassment and inferiority complex for the other party..and here again the thorn in the neck comes agaib for further nightmares. Chest thump..act smart…get upgraded…Pak shall keep a check as always.Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Apr 21, 2017 - 1:32PM

    It is hard to take seriously someone who cries wolf not because he sees a wolf, but is purposely working up his imagination to somehow see a wolf.Recommend

  • Sajid Ansari
    Apr 24, 2017 - 12:03PM

    The “Mess” was created by your first PM, Pundit Nehru when he created real Mess and did military action in Kashmir, Hyderabad Deccan and Juna Garh and took over these princely states by force which was against the Principle of Division of the subcontinent. Then he went to UN, in 1948, taking the plea that Hari Singh, the Nawab of Kashmir, had opted to go with India. The Pakistan delegation told the UN that similarly, the Nawabs of Hyderabad Deccan and Juna Garh had opted to go with Pakistan, so India should hand over Hyderabad Deccan and Juna Garh to Pakistan and take the whole of Kashmir.
    The UN unanimously passed Resolution to go for a plebiscite in Kashmir and the poor chap, Pundit Nehru. returned with a long face.

    India has not adhered to the UN Resolution – 1948 on Kashmir to go for Plebiscite that is why the relations between Pakistan and India are messed-up. So, who did it…? India…!!!

    Well, if the Indian people really want peaceful relations with Pakistan then ask your government to inform UN to go for Plebiscite in Kashmir and I assure you that after the plebiscite in Kashmir, the relations between both the countries may become so cordial that even the visas may be abolished and the huge amounts spent on keeping armies may be spent on the development. Recommend

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