Thir­teen Years Af­ter

Pak­istani nu­clear weapons are said to be for de­fense and In­dian nu­clear weapons are for power pro­jec­tion and ac­quir­ing global sta­tus. With the ad­di­tion of the In­dian doc­trine of Cold Start, these are enough rea­sons to worry about the sta­bil­ity of South A

Southasia - - Region - By Rizwan Zeb

Nu­clear weapons have been a fac­tor in Indo-Pak re­la­tions since 1980s. They fig­ured promi­nently dur­ing the Brasstack ex­er­cise and 1990 com­pound cri­sis. Due to con­ven­tional su­pe­ri­or­ity of the In­dian armed forces, nu­clear weapons be­came the ultimate se­cu­rity guar­an­tor for Pak­istan. In 1998, New Delhi tested its nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity for the sec­ond time and Islamabad fol­lowed suit. Since 1998, In­dia and Pak­istan have strengthen their nu­clear pro­grams, es­tab­lished com­mand and con­trol struc­tures, con­tinue to work on mis­siles as main de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles and faced at least two ma­jor crises. A closer look at the nu­clear de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion il­lus­trates the fact that while Pak­istan con­tin­ues to fol­low the pol­icy of cred­i­ble min­i­mum de­ter­rence, In­dia is work­ing on a nu­clear triad and work­ing hard to get the lat­est tech­nol­ogy such as the bal­lis­tic mis­sile de­fense, en­hance its mis­sile ca­pa­bil­ity and in­crease its fis­sile ma­te­rial, stock­pile size.

New Delhi’s nu­clear pol­icy can be sum­ma­rized as fol­lows: • Build­ing and main­tain­ing a

cred­i­ble de­ter­rent; • No First Use (NFU); • Re­tal­ia­tory at­tacks only to be au­tho­rized by the civil­ian po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship through the Nu­clear Com­mand Au­thor­ity (NCA); • Non-use of nu­clear weapons against non-nu­clear weapon states; Re­tain­ing the op­tion of re­tal­i­at­ing with nu­clear weapons in the event of a ma­jor at­tack against In­dia or In­dian forces any­where, by bi­o­log­i­cal or chem­i­cal weapons; • A con­tin­u­ance of con­trols on ex- port of nu­clear and mis­sile re­lated ma­te­ri­als and tech­nolo­gies, par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Fis­sile Ma­te­rial Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) ne­go­ti­a­tions; • Ob­ser­vance of the mora­to­rium on nu­clear tests, and uni­ver­sal nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment.

Islamabad has not of­fi­cially an­nounced a nu­clear doc­trine yet one can work out a pol­icy from the state­ments and ar­ti­cles writ­ten by knowl­edge­able and pol­icy rel­e­vant per­son­al­i­ties. Islamabad’s nu­clear doc­trine has three pil­lars: cred­i­ble min­i­mum de­ter­rence, first but of last re­sort use and un­de­clared nu­clear thresh­old. The Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Strate­gic Plans Divi­sion, Gen. (retd.) Khalid Kid­wai, once stated that Pak­istan might use nu­clear weapons if: In­dia at­tacks Pak­istan and takes a large part of its ter­ri­tory, In­dia de­stroys a large part of Pak­istani armed forces, In­dia im­poses an eco­nomic block­ade on Pak­istan, and In­dia cre­ates po­lit­i­cal desta­bi­liza­tion or large-scale in­ter­nal sub­ver­sion in Pak­istan.

The for­mer Pak­istani na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor and am­bas­sador to

USA, Gen­eral (retd.) Mah­mud Dur­rani stated that there are four ob­jec­tives of Pak­istan’s nu­clear pol­icy: • De­ter­rence of all forms of ex­ter­nal ag­gres­sion that can en­dan­ger Pak­istan’s na­tional se­cu­rity. De­ter­rence will be achieved through the de­vel­op­ment and main­te­nance of an ef­fec­tive com­bi­na­tion of con­ven­tional and strate­gic forces, at ad­e­quate lev­els within the coun­try’s re­source con­straints. De­ter­rence of Pak­istan’s ad­ver­saries from at­tempt­ing a coun­ter­force strat­egy against its strate­gic as­sets by ef­fec­tively se­cur­ing the strate­gic as­sets and threat­en­ing nu­clear re­tal­i­a­tion should such an at­tempt be made. Sta­bi­liza­tion of strate­gic de­ter­rence in the South Asia re­gion. Set­ting up a ro­bust nu­clear com­mand and con­trol is a key to nu­clear sta­bil­ity hence both In­dia and Pak­istan have worked out their com­mand and con­trol set ups. Pak­istan took the lead and an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of its Na­tional com­mand Au­thor­ity (NCA) on Fe­bru­ary 2, 2000. The NCA is re­spon­si­ble for nu­clear strate­gic pol­icy for­mu­la­tion and ex­er­cises con­trol over the em­ploy­ment and de­vel­op­ment of all strate­gic nu­clear forces and strate­gic or­ga­ni­za­tions. The NCA is com­prised of the Em­ploy­ment Con­trol Com­mit­tee (ECC) and the De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Com­mit­tee (DCC), as well as the Strate­gic Plans Divi­sion (SPD), which acts as Sec­re­tariat.

On Jan­uary 4, 2003, New Delhi an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of its Nu­clear Com­mand Au­thor­ity (NCA). In­dian NCA is re­spon­si­ble for de­ploy­ment, con­trol and safety of In­dian nu­clear weapon as­sets. The NCA com­prised a Po­lit­i­cal Coun­cil, and an Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil. It com­prises the Po­lit­i­cal Coun­cil, the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil and Com­man­der-in-Chief of Stra- te­gic Forces Com­mand.

Al­though the es­tab­lish­ment of com­mand and con­trol struc­tures brought much needed con­fi­dence and sta­bil­ity in nu­clear South Asia, both coun­tries faced two armed crises since the 1998 nu­clear tests. Kargil hap­pened just one year af­ter the nu­clear tests dur­ing May-July 1999. Islamabad, it is ar­gued by a num­ber of an­a­lysts at­tempted to test the de­ter­rence value of its nu­clear weapons by de­cid­ing to up the ante in Kargil. In De­cem­ber 2001 dur­ing the Op­er­a­tion Parakram (Val­our), In­dia mo­bi­lized its mil­i­tary threat­en­ing to at­tack Pak­istan. This was an In­dian ef­fort to test Pak­istan’s fear of In­dia’s su­pe­rior nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity. Both at­tempts failed to pro­vide de­sired re­sults. In­dian Army, due to its ex­pand­ing in­ter­ac­tion with the west­ern es­pe­cially Amer­i­can mil­i­tary in in­creas­ingly get­ting un­easy with the way it is treated by the In­dian lead­er­ship, blamed the fail­ure of the 2002 mo­bi­liza­tion on their in­de­ci­sive­ness. In April 2004, In­dian Army gave the idea of Cold Start doc­trine. The aim of this lim­ited war doc­trine is to ini­ti­ate such a con­ven­tional strike against Pak­istan that would cause a sig­nif­i­cant harm to the Pak­istan Army be­fore the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity could in­ter­vene to solve the dis­pute. Un­der the Cold Start doc­trine, the In­dian army will be di­vided into eight smaller divi­sion-sized “in­te­grated battle groups” (IBGs). The ma­jor el­e­ment of the Cold Start doc­trine is speed. By rapid mo­bi­liza­tion, In­dian army will achieve its ob­jec­tives be­fore the out­side pow­ers like U.S. and China can in­ter­vene on be­half of Pak­istan. How­ever there are cer­tain anom­alies in it: Can In­dia do this with­out cross­ing Pak­istani red­lines? Al­though many In­dian strate­gic thinkers would like to be­lieve that they are aware of the Pak­istani red­lines, the fact is, they are not. In all like­li­hood, in keep­ing with the al­ready widen­ing con­ven­tional im­bal­ance be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan, an op­er­a­tional Cold Start ca­pa­bil­ity could lead Pak­istan to lower its nu­clear red line, or per­haps con­sider other mea­sures such as de­vel­op­ing tac­ti­cal nu­clear weapons. An­other im­por­tant point is why would Pak­istan play the game ac­cord­ing to the In­dian rules? What if Pak­istan de­cides to ex­pand the war? Af­ter all, why should Pak­istan limit the war, if it is not in its in­ter­ests?

Many be­lieve that the Cold Start doc­trine is ba­si­cally re­lated to the civil-mil­i­tary re­la­tions in In­dia and hence has lit­tle ap­pli­ca­bil­ity to the strate­gic sta­bil­ity in South Asia as it is not easy to ac­tu­ally im­ple­ment it since it is not clear whether the In­dian Navy and Air Force are fully on­board on this or not. How suc­cess­ful was this in postMum­bai short lived es­ca­la­tion is also not clear.

Nu­clear South Asia has been mostly sta­ble since 1998 de­spite Kargil and 2002 stand­off be­cause both sides are fully aware of the dan­gers. Pak­istani nu­clear weapons are for de­fense and In­dian nu­clear weapons are for power pro­jec­tion and ac­quir­ing global sta­tus. Even dur­ing the two post nu­cle­ariza­tion conflicts, nu­clear weapons were used as a psy­cho­log­i­cal weapon than a mil­i­tary weapon. How­ever, there are a num­ber of rea­sons why one can worry about the sta­bil­ity of nu­clear South Asia and prime amongst them is the In­dian Cold Start. It is high time that the strate­gic com­mu­nity in In­dia and Pak­istan ad­dress this prob­lem. The writer is a doc­toral can­di­date at the depart­ment of Po­lit­i­cal Science and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, Univer­sity of West­ern Aus­tralia and a for­mer Ben­jamin Meaker Vis­it­ing Pro­fes­sor of Pol­i­tics, IAS, Univer­sity of Bris­tol, UK. He is also a vis­it­ing scholar at Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion and is cur­rently work­ing on a book on the Strate­gic Cul­ture of Pak­istan.

It is high time that we learn to live in peace and har­mony with each other.

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