Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit and the ground re­al­i­ties

SP's MAI - - MILITARY VIEWPOINT - The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the author.

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)

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