Nuclear Security Summit and the ground realities
While President Barack Obama talked of “one of the greatest threats to global security — terrorists getting their hands on a weapon of mass destruction” at the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) held in Washington recently, and the US media interpreted it as identifying Pakistan, it was hardly the find of the century in the backdrop of the US administration deliberately looking the other way as it was Pakistan that brokered the entente cordiale between China and the US and it was the US that facilitated Pakistan to become a nuclear power. China transferred nuclear technology to Pakistan and both China and Pakistan indulged in blatant nuclear proliferation. A.Q. Khan, father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, was not even questioned by US intelligence. Pakistan’s arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) has been permitted to grow at unprecedented pace. The US that made Pakistan join GWOT on the threat of otherwise being “bombed into the stone age” could have done much better to control Pakistan’s radicalisation, export of terror and growing threat of her nukes falling into terrorist hands.
Obama also again displayed his penchant for hyphenating Pakistan with India by saying, “The other area where I think we need to see progress is Pakistan and India, that subcontinent, making sure that as they develop military doctrines, that they are not continually moving in the wrong direction.” Now how is India moving in the wrong direction with a ‘no first use’ military doctrine even while confronted by the joint China-Pakistan threat, both nuclear and pursuing their unholy partnership in waging asymmetric war against India? And for that matter, when did the Pakistani establishment have her military doctrine moving in the right direction— something that the universal policeman refuses to acknowledge.
President Obama also added “Working with other nations, we have removed or secured enough nuclear material for more than 150 nuclear weapons that will now never fall into the hands of terrorists” but then just one-two nuclear weapon falling into terrorist hands would be enough. That Pakistan has been brandishing her nuclear weapons simultaneously flouting her terrorist sinews has been established past several years, yet she continues to get the backing of China and US. It is perhaps for such reasons that Russia chose to abstain from the Nuclear Security Summit that was heavy on words but may well be limited in execution, that too selectively. So, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the clarion call by saying, “First, today’s terrorism uses extreme violence as theatre. Second, we are no longer looking for a man in a cave, but we are hunting for a terrorist in a city with a computer or a smart phone. Third, state actors working with nuclear traffickers and terrorists present the greatest risk”, there is unlikely to be very much change in Pakistan. As regards use of TNWs, Pakistan in all probability will do so through proxies, as done during 9/11. If India is targeted, the US and China will sermonise us about “showing restraint”. Alternatively, in case of the West suffering a nuclear terrorist strike, the USNATO may go for another Iraq like target instead of Pakistan – isn’t that what happened despite clear proof of funding 9/11 from within Pakistan? We must also remember that the Al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS were all created with support from the West. With reference to the NSS, Sobdar Baloch wrote on social media, “Concerned about the dangers of proliferation of nuclear weaponry and technology, the US has however, turned a blind eye to the genocidal treatment that is being meted out by its ‘ally’, Pakistan to the people of Balochistan. In fact, the US has added fuel to the fire of destruction that has been engulfing the Baloch people by agreeing to provide the Pakistani army latest F-16 fighter jets.”
Prime Minister Modi has announced several key initiatives taken by his government in the area of nuclear security and nonproliferation, including countering nuclear smuggling and deployment of technology to deter nuclear terrorism, adding that the UN needs to do much more. India sure is keen to strengthen mechanisms against nuclear terrorism but it is the genuineness of the global community that matters. China proliferated nuclear technology to Pakistan and North Korea. Russia did not attend the NSS, Iran was not invited and the UN lacks muscle in absence of all this. These are the ground realities.
President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2016
LT GENERAL P.C. KATOCH (RETD)