Tag Archive for 'Nuclear Pakistan'

An extremist takeover of Pakistan is probably no further than five to 10 years away

Pervez Hoodbhoy in Dawn:

Over time, then, the country’s nuclear bayonet has gained more than just deterrence value; it is a dream instrument for any ruling oligarchy. Unlike Napoleon’s bayonet – painful to sit upon – nukes offer no such discomfort. Unsurprisingly, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf often referred to them as Pakistan’s “crown jewels”. One recalls that immediately after 9/11 he declared these “assets” were to be protected at all costs — even if this meant accepting American demands to dump the Taliban.

But can our nukes lose their magic? Be stolen, rendered impotent or lose the charm through which they bring in precious revenue? More fundamentally, how and when could they fail to deter?

A turning point could possibly come with Mumbai-II. This is no idle speculation. The military establishment’s reluctance to clamp down on anti-India jihadi groups, or to punish those who carried out Mumbai-I, makes a second Pakistan-based attack simply a matter of time. Although not officially assisted or sanctioned, it would create fury in India. What then? How would India respond?

There cannot, of course, be a definite answer. But it is instructive to analyse Operation Parakram, India’s response to the attack on the Indian parliament on December 13, 2001. This 10-month-long mobilisation of nearly half a million soldiers and deployment of troops along the LOC was launched to punish Pakistan for harbouring the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which, at least initially, had claimed responsibility for the attack. When Parakram fizzled out, Pakistan claimed victory and India was left licking its wounds.

A seminar held in August 2003 in Delhi brought together senior Indian military leaders and top analysts to reflect on Parakram. To quote the main speaker, Major-General Ashok Mehta, the two countries hovered on the brink of war and India’s “coercive diplomacy failed due to the mismatch of India-US diplomacy and India’s failure to think through the end game”. The general gave several reasons for not going to war against Pakistan. These included a negative cost-benefit analysis, lack of enthusiasm in the Indian political establishment, complications arising from the Gujarat riots of 2002 and “a lack of courage”. That Parakram would have America’s unflinching support also turned out to be a false assumption. More:

Pakistan and the Bomb

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, in the Wall Street Journal. A former CIA officer, Riedel chaired President Obama’s strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan is a unique nuclear weapons state. It has been both the recipient of technology transfers from other states and a supplier of technology to still other states. It has been a state sponsor of proliferation and has tolerated private sector proliferation as well. Pakistan has engaged in highly provocative behavior against India, even initiating a limited war, and sponsored terrorist groups that have engaged in mass casualty terrorism inside India’s cities, most recently last November in Mumbai. No other nuclear weapons state has done all of these provocative actions.

The origins of the Pakistani nuclear program lie in the deep national humiliation of the 1971 war with India that led to the partition of the country, the independence of Bangladesh and the destruction of the dream of a single Muslim state for all of south Asia’s Muslim population. The military dictator at the time, Yaqub Khan, presided over the loss of half the nation and the surrender of 90,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dacca. The Pakistani establishment determined it must develop a nuclear weapon to counter India’s conventional superiority. more: