Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

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Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Rahul M » 23 Jan 2009 12:08

Where does pakistan's threshold lie ?
Are they really ready to go nuclear at the drop of a hat ?
What is the current condition of their nuke arsenal ?

One relevant article from G Parthasarathy :
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Edit ... 012592.cms

An Empty Threat
22 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, G PARTHASARATHY
Print Email Discuss Share Save Comment Text:
As Pakistan claims that India is exacerbating tensions following the Mumbai carnage, voices in Pakistan, including those of even responsible and
otherwise moderate people like information minister Sherry Rehman hold out threats of the dire consequences of escalation of tensions between two "nuclear armed countries". The Pakistani establishment believes that threat of nuclear escalation is the best way to generate diplomatic pressure to deter India from any strong response diplomatic or otherwise to terrorist outrages in India perpetrated by ISI-backed groups. But how realistic are such threats of nuclear escalation? Are Pakistan's generals who control the country's nuclear weapons not aware of the suicidal madness of any nuclear strike against India?

Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme was initiated by President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in a meeting he convened in Multan on January 12, 1972 shortly after the December 1971 conflict with India. The main reason for this quest for nuclear weapons was the belief that an immeasurably larger India would inevitably retain conventional superiority over Pakistan and that the only way to overcome this disadvantage was by the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The programme, according the Bhutto, was also motivated by concerns that while "the Christian, Jewish and Hindu civilisations" had nuclear capabilities, the Islamic world alone lacked such capabilities. Pakistan's nuclear weapons are all of Chinese designs. China has also provided Pakistan with missiles which can target urban centres in India relatively far away from Pakistan.

While Pakistan has not formally enunciated a nuclear doctrine, Lt General Khalid Kidwai, head of the Strategic Planning Division of its National Command Authority, told a team of physicists from Italy in 2003 that Pakistan's nuclear weapons were "aimed solely at India". Kidwai added that Pakistan would use nuclear weapons if India overruns a large part of Pakistan's territory and major urban centres, or destroys a large part of Pakistan's land and air forces. Kidwai also held out the possibility of use of nuclear weapons if India tries to "economically strangle" Pakistan, or pushes it to political destabilisation. Contrary to irresponsible rhetoric from Pakistan's politicians and foreign office mandarins, Pakistan's military leadership is all too aware of the destructive power of nuclear weapons. They will, as Kidwai has clarified, resort to nuclear weapons only when India's actions threaten Pakistan's very survival.

Both India and Pakistan had arsenals of nuclear weapons for over a decade, before the nuclear tests of May 1998 were carried out. India's nuclear doctrine, first officially enunciated on January 4, 2003, asserts that it intends to maintain a "credible, minimum deterrent". This deterrent is to be based on a "triad" of "aircraft, mobile land-based missiles and sea-based assets". While adopting a policy of "no first use", the doctrine clarifies that its nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a major attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere, in which nuclear weapons are used. India also retains the right to use nuclear weapons in the event of major attacks on Indian territory, or on Indian forces anywhere, in which chemical or biological weapons are used. While Pakistan's nuclear doctrine is explicitly "India specific", the Indian nuclear doctrine has been enunciated in the context of the presence of nuclear weapons in both Pakistan and China and the continuing transfer of nuclear weapons and missile designs and know-how from China to Pakistan.

Pakistan has clarified that its nuclear weapons are not assembled and that the fissile cores are stored separately from non-nuclear explosive packages and that the warheads are stored separately from the delivery systems. India has also adopted similar precautions with regard to its nuclear deterrent. Pakistan's nuclear weapons are totally under the control of its army. It is acknowledged that Pakistan has a reasonably sound system of command and control of its nuclear weapons to guard against unauthorised or accidental use. Despite this, fears of Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands remain an American and indeed international nightmare.

There are, however, indications that the US has contingency plans to "take out" Pakistan's nuclear weapons if fears arise that these weapons could get into the hands of radical Islamic extremists. As the situation spins out of control and Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province becomes increasingly Talibanised and Baluchistan remains torn apart by ethnic unrest, it is inevitable that Pakistan's nuclear weapons will be based increasingly in the Punjabi heartland of the country. This makes it even more imperative for the Punjabi-dominated Pakistan army to act with restraint on issues involving nuclear weapons.

Given the present international environment and India's traditional restraint, any conflict that Pakistan initiates against India will necessarily be of a short duration. In such a scenario, it would not be possible for India to destroy Pakistan's armed forces substantially, which would result in Pakistan resorting to the use of nuclear weapons. Moreover, India has no interest in capturing or destroying major urban centres like Lahore or Rawalpindi, or capturing large parts of Pakistan's territory.

Thus, even if there should unfortunately be a "limited conflict", initiated against, or thrust on India, there is very little and indeed virtually no prospect of either India or Pakistan resorting to the use of nuclear weapons. It is, in fact, Pakistan's strategy to pretend that if India retaliates even in a measured manner to terrorist attacks there would be a nuclear conflict. This, in the light of what Gen Kidwai has clarified, is mere propaganda, having no bearing on reality. India does, therefore, have substantial strategic space to act to safeguard its people and its territorial integrity.

The writer is a former high commissioner to Pakistan.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby somnath » 23 Jan 2009 12:21

X posting from the other thread..

India's options - nice analysis by Brahma Chellaney...Though not sure what he means by full mobilisation but intent short of war..

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/le ... tions.aspx

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby p_saggu » 23 Jan 2009 13:18

This is what I understand after going through the bits and pieces of info available on BRF (Mainly) and other internet free source info. If this is inaccurate - blame be on those who released info piece meal.

1. AQ Khan stole Uranium enrichment centrifuge designs from URENCO in Holland and came back to Pakistan.

2. Govt of Pakistan and AQ Khan got the Uranium based CHIC-4 nuclear weapon design from China - This design was tested by china FROM A MISSILE and gave a yield of 12 Kilotons.



3. China allows Pakistan scientists into its nuclear weapons facilities to train them circa mid '80s.

4. Rajiv Gandhi gets this info and orders weaponization at BARC.

5. China conducts a hydrodynamic test of a device in 1990 for Pakistan, when the US imposes the pressler amendment.India gets this info and PVN wants to test, but is held back by the Americans.

6. All this while the US Government is aware of Pakistan's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons at the highest levels yet does not do anything because Pakistan's assistance is needed for the Afghanistan war. (Are we in a similar situation today?)

7. India sees the window period for testing closing, with the FMCT, CTBT extension looming over the horizion and bearing down on India, and ABV finally tests.

8. The Indian Thermonuclear weapon is not a deliverable bomb, but more of a scientific experiment - most people say the design failed to ignite a full thermonuclear burn.
The fusion boosted fission performed as planned - this is a weaponized design and can be Missile and Air delivered. With a third stage tamper this is scalable to the 200-300 Kilotons referred to.
The three subkiloton tests are mysteries - Tactical Battlefield nuclear weapons? Attempt to use reactor grade Pu for weapons tests?

9. Pakistan wants to test its own nukes. It has disassembled nuclear weapons at Dalbandin in Balochistan (Which lies next to Ras Koh).

10. Pakistan tests its own assembled nuclear weapon from its own enriched uranium in the middle of may. Test fails. Helmut Kohl refers to this at the G-8 summit.

11. Pervez Musharraf rushes to beijing, asks the chinese to save its Taller than Mountains friend from Deeper than oceans trouble. The Chinese lend ??"ONE" Plutonium based weapon to test, which the pakistanis test along with another ONE of their weapons on the 28th of May.
The yield is only about 8 Kilotons - meaning only the chinese device went off, the Pakistani device failed to go nuclear. Pu is detected by USAF U2 planes sniffing for radioactive material overhead.
This confirms China's direct involvement, because in 1998 Pakistan can't yet make enough plutonium for a weapon.

12. Pakistan yet again tests its own device at a different site on the 30th of May, Again this test fails to trouble the seismographs - another failed test?
Experts have now recently stated that the Pakistanis have acheived the near impossible - they botched a Gun-design nuclear warhead.

:idea: Now if the Pakistanis had a Gun design - this is NOT CHIC-4.
And this is not deliverable by a ballistic missile - A gun design can't withstand the rigours of a ballistic missile journey.
A gun design is only amenable to be -
i. Dropped as a free fall dumb bomb from an aircraft.
ii. Used on a Subsonic cruise missile
iii. Delivered by a terrorist in a JDAM attack.

13. Fast forward to the Kargil invasion, and Pakistan repeatedly talking of using Nuclear weapons.

14. India convinces the US that Pakistan is not responsible enough to be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, besides Pakistani nuclear scientists are freely meeting with Al Qaida and discussing building nuclear weapons for them.

15. The US locks up Pakistan's nuclear weapons with PALs in the aftermath of 911, BEFORE its forces invade Afghanistan - to prevent any Pakistani / Taliban / Al Qaida using nukes on US forces. The status of Pakistan's uranium enrichment programme is still uncertain - there are suggestions that the Uranium centrifuges can't enrich Uranium to weapons grade levels anyway.

16. There are suggestions that the Pakistanis have spirited away 3 - 4 weapons from being locked up, they've probably told the Americans that they want these as protection from India.

17. The Chinese withdraws any weapons that it gave to Pakistan or has codes for these to prevent the Pakistanis from using them. India warns the chinese that if Pakistan uses these weapons on India - China will also suffer Indian nuclear retaliation because India sees the Pakistani Nuclear Weapons programme as a small part of the Chinese Nuclear Weapons Programme. So these are as good as locked.

18. Post the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks when Indo-Pak tensions are again high and there is a threat of war, the Pakistanis are unusually quiet about Nuclear weapons use - Zardari goes to the extent of engaging India with a NFU offer from Pakistan. There is a very palpable reduction in the threats of use of nuclear weapons between now and during the Kargil invasion - suggesting that things have changed in the Pakistan Nuclear Weapons Programme.

19. Today every time the US refers to the terrorists using a "Dirty" radiological weapon on Continental United States - they are probably referring to Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons - Since their performances put them in the category of dirty radiological weapons which will not generate a nuclear reaction when they go off, instead distribute the radioactive waste over a few hundred meters.

(So if you happen to be hit on the head by a Pakistani nuclear bomb, you are likely to die of Thyroid Cancer several years later - It is a ruthless killer alright. :rotfl: )

Now my humble request to all those who know exactly where the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme stands, PLEASE for gods sake let the Jingos (== ME ) know the truth - the suspense has been very hard on me personally :lol:

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby amardeep_s » 23 Jan 2009 14:24

good summary p_saggu ji and good thread onlee .

now , what appears is only appearing and must be differenced from what actually is. so the material ( world) is an illusion.

however isnt the eqn true about pakistani nuclear threshold - PNT ?

PNT( Boom) = fn ( BLUFF) + konstant. :mrgreen:
isnt the konstant, the only variable here?

PNT is pain relief procedure to relieve pakistanis of the pain resulting in from the burden of truth. hence time and time again, it is used to 'calm' the aggravated nerves

PNT - Percutaneous Neuromodulation Therapy

PNT uses very thin needle electrodes that are inserted directly into the deep tissues in the area causing the pain. The specific placement of these electrodes and the delivery of electrical stimulation help "calm" the hypersensitivity of the nerves.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby RajeshA » 23 Jan 2009 17:46

The Nuclear Ayotallahs in the Obama Regime would continue their project of seeing some order in the Nuclear Order of the World, with as many countries behind the nuclear rubicon line as possible.

It is good that India has some of what we wanted through the Nuclear Deal, which includes other than the need to trade in nuclear equipment and materials, also some respite from nagging (un)moralistic pressure from these Ayotallahs, which helps them to direct their energies at the likes of North Korea, Iran and hopefully Pakistan.

The reactivation of the Nuclear Ayotallhas could help shed some more light on the nuclear gender of Pakistan. Does it have a nuclear 'Lulee' or not?

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Chinmayanand » 23 Jan 2009 18:01

p_saggu wrote:India warns the chinese that if Pakistan uses these weapons on India - China will also suffer Indian nuclear retaliation because India sees the Pakistani Nuclear Weapons programme as a small part of the Chinese Nuclear Weapons Programme.


Pardon me , Sagguji but this deserves a place in humour thread, A country that can not retaliate terror strikes against bangladesh and pakistan will retaliate nuke strikes against PRC ... :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby enqyoob » 23 Jan 2009 18:07

Of course, durgesh. "New Clear Retaliation" means:
Very strong Diplomatic Demarche Couched in Terminologically Exact Terms

Question is, who will deliver it after the Pakis deliver theirs. As for Pakis having any, I believe we have discussed that enough. The only new revelation is that Pakistan does not NEED any nuclear weapons to threaten India. Just the ability to say
NEW CLEAR rather than NYOOCULAR makes them far more fearsome than the Americans, who cyaint. Listen to Jimmy Carter, Reagan, Dubya or probably even Biden.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby archan » 23 Jan 2009 18:08

The number of times every Tom Dick and Harry from pureland utters the N-word as a veiled threat to both Bharat and the rest of the world shows their insecurity (phattu-ness). To expect such a bunch of timid folks to use their nukes (if they have any under their control) and risk their own total annihilation is too much IMO. The rich RAPE pakjabis love their lifestyle and wouldn't give it up for the sake of their "deen" or "ummah", much less for kashmir. They leave it upon the pashtoons to do all the sacrifices as the pashtoons have much less to look forward to in this life and a hope for better times in the afterlives makes more sense to them. As long as the nukes or what is left of them are in pakjabi hands, it will be mere threats. If they lose it to the talibs, then its a different ball game.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby enqyoob » 23 Jan 2009 18:13

Rahul, the real question is:
What happens when the LeT threaten to use nukes on India unless India meets certain conditions?


Think about it. Flat-out, announced, public threat. From the Non-State Actors.
What do you think Indians, notable dilli billies and mumbaikars, will do? Try relating that to the reality of what we see happening, and what happened in early 2000. This is what the "restraint" and "Insaniyat" have done to India. No one seems to have thought through this question post-"Mumbai".
IOW, what if Mumbai is about to become "post-Mumbai" in short order?

As I see it the course of action is crystal-clear and consistent with demonstrated National Will:
1. :(( :(( TO THE UNITED NATIONS.
2. GIVE THE PAKIS WHAT THEY DEMAND.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby kasthuri » 23 Jan 2009 19:25

There are two issues here.

1. Using against India during a war
2. WMD falling into bad people's hands

I think the possibility of 2 are higher than 1.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Rahul M » 23 Jan 2009 19:32

kasthuri wrote:There are two issues here.

1. Using against India during a war
2. WMD falling into bad people's hands

I think the possibility of 2 are higher than 1.

1 and 2 combined has a still higher possibility. as the mumbai episode has shown it is *quite* easy.

added later : and unfortunately such chances will only increase with increasing desperation of the paki state.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Rahul M » 23 Jan 2009 19:43

narayanan wrote:Rahul, the real question is:
What happens when the LeT threaten to use nukes on India unless India meets certain conditions?
...........

I do get where your finger points. :wink:

what I want to know is :
whether or not India has some military strategic space left to maneuver iff it wants to.(irrespective of what the govt decides)

IOW is it justified to give the excuse of TSP's low nuke threshold to explain away the inaction ?

One noted expert, GP is quite clear what he thinks of the issue.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Guddu » 23 Jan 2009 19:51

I think Pak has functioning nuclear devices and that the US knows this. The US or China may control some or most of them, but there clearly are some outside their purview. If this was not true, why would the US stop India-Pak from duking it out. Why are they concerned about a nuclear war, we all know India will not be the first one to initiate it.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby John Snow » 23 Jan 2009 21:00

Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?


Dont know the answer but for Indians not to act its working very well. Hence Kaboom!

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby IndraD » 23 Jan 2009 21:10

Pakistan Nukes

Lots of info there.

Paki WMD-Wikipedia

The U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that Pakistan has built 24–48 HEU-based nuclear warheads with HEU reserves for 30-52 additional warheads.[8][9] The US Navy Center for Contemporary Conflict estimates that Pakistan possesses between a low of 35 and a high of 95 nuclear warheads, with a median of 60.[10] But these are outdated sources.

The NRDC's and the Carnegie Foundation's estimates of approximately 50 weapons are from 2002–03 estimations. In 2000, US Military intelligence estimated that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal may be as large as 100 warheads.[11] The actual size is hard for experts to gauge owing to the secrecy which surrounds the program in Pakistan. In recent developments, retired Brig. General Feroz Khan, previously second in command at the Strategic Arms Division of Pakistans' Military told a Pakistani newspaper the nation has "about 80 to 120 genuine warheads," and also revealed that Pakistan has decoy or dummy warheads to complicate any designs by aggressors.[12][13]

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby enqyoob » 23 Jan 2009 22:58

I don't see the distinction between the "1" and the "2". Do ppl here STILL believe the Paki/GOTUS line that there is any distinction between "Pakistan military" and "Pakistan terrorists"? If the answer is "YES" then it does not matter whether Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Pakistan has superior IQ on its side...

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby ramana » 23 Jan 2009 23:19

There is no distinction between Paki Army and Paki terrorists. The Paki terrorists are the irregular Army not in uniform and not under Geneva Convention. Quite often regular Army officers are seconded to train and lead them from the behind (Read Steve Coll and others). Read the Mumbai Terror attack dossier if any one has doubts. There are frequent refs to Maj General and other military ranks who are in the chain of command.

This mode of operations is a British SOE technique in WWII which was introduced to the TSPA by Maj Gen Cawthorne, who was the British intelligence director for WWII Asia operations, after he founded the ISI.

ONly WKK and other deluded fools dont recognize this fact.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby IndraD » 23 Jan 2009 23:38

Is it possible to jam the execution of N bomb by electronic or some other means?

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby SaiK » 23 Jan 2009 23:49

its a boom from them always, and its a bluff from babooze.. since paki bomb is dirty!..

lets say the first strike fails, .. or hits wrong targets, or failed to produce the effect of radiation, or we do contain it.

will our baboo logs consider serious second strike or say, the fact that it did not cause that much harm (may be only few 100s dies or 1000 poor slumdogs injured for life).. is what makes paki weapons a boom and not bluff.

imho, mumbai attack scenario will be replayed.. obama's team will again plead peace. perhaps, dispatch $10B non military aid to pakistan from USDA soy beans budget.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby p_saggu » 24 Jan 2009 00:25

Indians have never been ruthless. We are willing to 'Understand' almost any point of view, howsoever detrimental it may be to our interests. We have shown one example after another of this for the last 60 odd years.
NEVER (Barring a flash in the pan in the western sector in 1971, or Operation Meghdoot in 1984) have we struck out at the enemy in anger. Our politicians are just not capable of genocide of the enemy - an enemy who has demonstrated on several occasions that he is quite willing to maim-torture and kill our citizens and soldiers if it were given a opportunity.
I agree, if the death toll is less than say a 1000 people in any Pakistani Nuclear attack, GOI will start the SAME process of finding facts, wasting time and trying to understand the Pakistani POV before it comes around to the view that it can't order the killing of millions of Pakistanis.
This goes hand in hand with the fact that the nincompoops the Pakistanis are, they are unlikely to ever inflict serious crippling injury on India.

WRT pakistani arsenal size, there was a russian news article a few months ago which talked of pakistan having 30 warheads. Samar Mubarakmand's interview on a pakistani channel talked of pakistan having 25 nuclear missiles against india's 75. So the figures are in the range of 25 - 30 weapons that they developed - most of these are beleived to have been seized, leaving them with about 3 - 4 warheads now it seems.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby SaiK » 24 Jan 2009 02:48

whatever, china and pakistan together is a recipe for a dirty boom for any nation on the plane to fear. both have clandestine activities either beg, borrow or steal anything dirty. if the equation is correct, then we don't fit to be on either side of boom or bluff.. as we can safely assume our doctrines are just not for rogue nations.

btw, i am happy wazirstan/talibanistan is in obama trouble.. i hope something brews up in balu-stan as well. the raze has happen with in.. no point venting out our br-bluffs against paki n-threat, which is a given.

blank check to china to deal with india.. what the piglets do they think about our oldies? suffocation policy is the only way... as NoFU will never be instantiated even on a n-boom.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby sanjaykumar » 24 Jan 2009 03:16

India needs to dissuade Pakistani commentators from their their nuclear checkmate rhetoric. Doubt needs to be implanted at every opportunity. BR can say things the GOI will never.

Pakistanis need to be instructed how a Paki nuke going off in Bangalore could be detrimental to the longevity of the citizens of Makka. Let their Arab brothers in turn instruct them how Islam is a religion of peace.

There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that such a strategy has been considered as Plan B kept in some chaprasi's cowshed.

After all there really is not much left in Pakistan to blow up (not that there was to begin with).

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby ramana » 24 Jan 2009 03:28

Actually Sanjay that last brahmos test was very illuminating. It litterally can take them out convnetionally. So the Pakis should be careful where they hide their stuff.

If they hide in mountains then the bearded ones will get it or uncle will get them as precaution. Baloch has a raging insurgency going on which is not Islamist. If they hide in POK they can be taken out as legitimate targets in next escalation. So only place is Pakjab. And even that is not safe with this new Brahmos. Should have been called Zulifqar!

I will let Singha describe what can happen!

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Karna_A » 24 Jan 2009 04:03

WMD is already in bad people's hands, not yet physically but psychologically and in other senses.
This was evident in 1999 when Afghan Taliban threatened to Nuke Iran. Its not hard to imagine who turns the key to the Taliban Toy.


1. Using against India during a war
2. WMD falling into bad people's hands

I think the possibility of 2 are higher than 1.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby SaiK » 05 Feb 2009 22:52

http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holnus/002200902052029.htm When further queried whether he believed that Pakistan had built a nuclear bomb, he evaded a direct reply saying, "we have to protect our security. To do that, we need to have that assumption as they say they have (made a nuclear bomb)."


:rotfl:

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby ramana » 06 Feb 2009 01:41

For sake of completeness. Compare to G. Parthasarathy's articel at top.


EDITS | Wednesday, February 4, 2009 | Email | Print |


Not optionless on Pakistan

Ashok K Mehta

More than two months after the Mumbai terror attack, a stalemate has been reached over Pakistan satisfying India on its demands. The new Obama Administration has shifted the spotlight to the central front, Afghanistan, with ground zero Pakistan, together the epicentre of terrorism. While Pakistan and Afghanistan blame each other for their jihadi woes, the US is making a renewed effort to fix the problem that resulted in Mumbai. As Pakistan and the US buy time on Mumbai and ensure there is no second terrorist attack on India, are we learning lessons from the incident?

Briefing the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Mr Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment and Mr Brian Jenkins of Rand have warned that India would continue to face jihadi attacks from terrorist groups based in Pakistan. Worse, they said India lacked effective military options to stop and deter these attacks without triggering dangerous escalation. India’s counter-terrorism responses were inadequate, lacking a clear strategy and suffering from imperfect techniques and resources. The Rand report noted “in several respects the NSG hostage rescue plan for the Taj and Trident Oberoi hotel suffered from serious defects like storm teams went in blind with no understanding of the basic layout of either of the two buildings”.

It is not unpatriotic to be critical of our operational performance. In the first public test of its mettle, the NSG did not come up to scratch. This is the view of many professional soldiers. Our commandos are guided by outdated ideas on use of force and equipment that led the Rand study to confirm that India is a terribly soft state.

What is more regrettable is the camouflage of lapses through generous distribution of gallantry awards. These are meant for conspicuous bravery and valour in the face of the enemy not for getting killed for any adventurous or foolish professional omission or commission. This devalues the highest peacetime gallantry award. The politicisation of valour was highlighted earlier by the Batla House encounter —— recognised by the Government even as a senior Minister demanded an inquiry.

The phenomenon of fake encounters among security forces in Siachen or Silchar has been encouraged by improper scrutiny of fire fights and the lure of cash and gallantry awards. Mass awards will make genuine acts of bravery inflationary. All the policemen killed during the terrorist attack on Parliament House in 2001 being decorated and glorified was also uncalled for. By this yardstick all the 512 soldiers killed in Kargil should have got a chakra for bravery.

Government has to institutionalise preventive and punitive measures for internal security. Some steps have been taken but these will not do till there is a separate Ministry of Internal Security just as the Ministry of Defence is for external security. Equally important, the ministry has to be manned by an effective individual, not some shilly-shallying unprofessional politician.

A big lacuna in national security is the preference for IAS, IPS and intelligence officers over military officers. Assertion of civilian control over military is expressed in bizarre ways to the detriment of national interest. Why is India denied a specialised national security cadre?

Excluding the military from decision-making undermines the application of power. Nearly 80 per cent of intelligence and national security posts, including internal security, in the US are held by service officers with military background. Despite the so-called integration of services with Government just two officers are posted in the Ministry of External Affairs and a handful in the Ministry of Defence. One hopes that the quick-fix on internal security will be replaced by a comprehensive and overarching system once a new Government takes office.

Meanwhile, Pakistan will take minimum steps to bring to book the culprits and organisations responsible for the Mumbai attack and it is certain that jihadi camps and bases targeting Jammu & Kashmir and India will remain in business. The unspoken deal between the US and India is that the former will do its best to prevent the next attack till May by when the general election will have to be concluded. Do not expect any substantive action on the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure. In Davos last week, Prime Yousuf Raza Gilani said he would never allow the use of his country’s soil for terror attacks and that he was sorry about 26/11. There is nothing new in this promise except the apology which is meant for the countries whose nationals were also killed in Mumbai.

What are India’s punitive options to respond to a second attack during the life of this Government? Experts in the security and risk analysis business rate the chances of a second attack as 70:30 but 60:40 before May. They say that despite the 100 per cent deployment of security forces during Parakram in December 2001, the second terrorist attack came in May 2002, six months after the first assault.

Home Minister P Chidambaram has warned of extracting a “heavy price” from Pakistan for a repeat attack. Punitive economic and covert actions are likely to hurt more than just military means. Israel’s war against Hamas has not stopped cross border rocket attacks into Israel. Yet the most visible and least escalatory option is stand alone surgical strikes.

Writing on India’s military options in The New York Times (December 14, 2008) George Friedman chose surgical strikes against terrorist camps with area weapons (cluster bombs) as the choice least escalatory and acceptable to the US but he emphasised these would be more symbolic than effective. One notch up the scale were strikes on the ISI’s headquarters in Rawalpindi but this he rated too risky. The challenge lay in devising an option that was more than symbolic and hurt Pakistan without crossing the nuclear threshold, he said. The Indian Army’s ‘Limited War’ strategy within these parameters never materialised because Pakistan kept lowering its nuclear threshold.

During Parakram surgical strikes were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security on December 15, 2001. Military deployment resulted from this decision on surgical strikes and not any Government orders for mobilisation. Conflicting versions on who needed more time —— the IAF or the Army —— delayed and finally cancelled the strikes. One reason cited at the time was “Pervez Musharraf to paagal hai. Yudh ho sakta hai.” Surgical strikes were considered again after the second terrorist attack on Kaluchak and called off for the same reason.

Clearly surgical strikes is one way to overcome the option of being optionless in terror and to get it off the chest. But it won’t end terrorism and our problems with Pakistan.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Aditya G » 06 Feb 2009 11:36

Reading this thread is depressing. All these options we have been hearing for past 10-15 years at least.

ACM Krishnaswamy in an article mentioned that air strikes were less escalatory than attack on land.

Also, the IAF now posseses PGMs that can be fired from Indian airspace targetting deep in Paki borders.

This desh premi hopes the government hears what Maj Gen Ashok Mehta (retd) and Parthasarathy have to say and acts to protect my security and my honour which stands compromised.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Raj Malhotra » 06 Feb 2009 12:29

Rahul M wrote:Where does pakistan's threshold lie ?
Are they really ready to go nuclear at the drop of a hat ?
What is the current condition of their nuke arsenal ?

One relevant article from G Parthasarathy :
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Edit ... 012592.cms

An Empty Threat
22 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, G PARTHASARATHY
Thus, even if there should unfortunately be a "limited conflict", initiated against, or thrust on India, there is very little and indeed virtually no prospect of either India or Pakistan resorting to the use of nuclear weapons. It is, in fact, Pakistan's strategy to pretend that if India retaliates even in a measured manner to terrorist attacks there would be a nuclear conflict. This, in the light of what Gen Kidwai has clarified, is mere propaganda, having no bearing on reality. India does, therefore, have substantial strategic space to act to safeguard its people and its territorial integrity.

The writer is a former high commissioner to Pakistan.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Raj Malhotra » 06 Feb 2009 12:43

ramana wrote:There is no distinction between Paki Army and Paki terrorists. The Paki terrorists are the irregular Army not in uniform and not under Geneva Convention. Quite often regular Army officers are seconded to train and lead them from the behind (Read Steve Coll and others). Read the Mumbai Terror attack dossier if any one has doubts. There are frequent refs to Maj General and other military ranks who are in the chain of command.



I disagree with a limitation that paki terrorists ARE army regulars. If you recruit, arm, train for years, plan the strikes, send them to particular targets, protect their identity, pension their families, give salaries etc then THEY ARE REGULARS especially when they have NO proximate cause or identity or reason to hit the given targets.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Philip » 06 Feb 2009 20:12

If the Paki nuclear threat was abysmal,then there would be no need for the US to get so concerned about the safety about it.Adm.Mullen has also gone on record that it is in safe hands,whatever that means! The Pakis have benefited from the largesse of the Chinese mainly,but their constant use of the N-threat against India is more bluff and bluster from a bunch of uniformed bullfrogs,than reality.The crore commanders love the good life more than the madrasa and even from their own threats intend to use it as a last resort when their state/armed forces are in danger of total collapse against an Indian military victory,that is territorial in nature.What India should do instead to teach Paki adventurism a lesson,is to destroy the Paki military machine or elements of it,giving it the equivalent of a bloody, broken nose and smashed jaw.

The Paki navy is their weakest service and an attack against it to sink as many of its warships and subs,destroy its sub-building capability and its chief shore installations would be one way in which it could be paid back in the same coin for training the terrorists of 26/11.The IAF could also knock out key targets of interest with standoff PGMs,terror camps,etc.,while the IA could use LR artillery to obliterate terror camps and special forces to carry out special ops.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby brihaspati » 07 Feb 2009 00:13

It could be possible that any existing nuke in TSP hands are jointly held with a weapons capable foreign power, most likely candidate being PRC. Military gurus here can confirm whether it is possible to have some such arrangement in and around the Karakorum hghway, or Chinese occupied northern Kashmir. This protects the nukes from possible falling into hands within TSP that the PA is not entirley sure of. On the otherhand they can be quickly removed and hidden away by PRC if international inspection or hostile military intelligence gets too close.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Rahul M » 07 Feb 2009 00:28

that's an interesting if somewhat frightening line of thought.

need to spend some time to chew on it.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby SaiK » 07 Feb 2009 00:43

kya ho gaya brihaspati ji ko? why prc of all the Ps?

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby ramana » 07 Feb 2009 00:47

Nothing frightening about it. Indian doctrine always thought TSP nukes are PRC's with delegated launch authority.

Indian observers always point to some place in POK called Deosai Plain as a possible location of OBl and special maal after loss of strategic depths.

I think they have been coralled back to Pakjab after all the problems of having to move them due to various threats from US. Most likely in some place near Chakalala airfield.

Why dont folks use google earth and go on treasure hunt of TSP assets?

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby svinayak » 07 Feb 2009 00:48

brihaspati wrote:It could be possible that any existing nuke in TSP hands are jointly held with a weapons capable foreign power, most likely candidate being PRC. Military gurus here can confirm whether it is possible to have some such arrangement in and around the Karakorum hghway, or Chinese occupied northern Kashmir. This protects the nukes from possible falling into hands within TSP that the PA is not entirley sure of. On the otherhand they can be quickly removed and hidden away by PRC if international inspection or hostile military intelligence gets too close.


There was articles talking about PRC shipment over Karakoram.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby ramana » 07 Feb 2009 00:50

And correlate it with the target for the last brahmos test. it was a 12m high wall (could be the depot) in a 24m gorge or ravine! And use google earth to see where those palces are. And note the range of 37kms! Its in POK here we come ready or not!

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Rahul Shukla » 07 Feb 2009 01:53

Acharya wrote:There was articles talking about PRC shipment over Karakoram.

IIRC, those articles referred to the transport of M-XX series of missiles and not nuclear warheads. Warheads were flown-in directly.

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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Rudradev » 07 Feb 2009 02:34

These three links (I think somebody posted them on another thread before) contain a wealth of information on nuclear warfare that would be immensely useful to keep in mind when evaluating the nature of Pakistan's Boom-or-Bluff.

http://www.warrenmyers.com/war/Nuclear_Warfare_101.pdf
http://www.warrenmyers.com/war/Nuclear_Warfare_102.pdf
http://www.warrenmyers.com/war/Nuclear_Warfare_103.pdf


I will try to discuss some of that information here, with relevance to the Pakistani context.

1) First of all, the author explains at some length in the beginning of the 101 article, that

A New Nuclear Power makes a fundamental realization that will influence every move it makes from [the point it acquires nuclear weapons] onwards. If it does nothing, its effectively invincible. If, however, it does something, there is a serious risk that it will initiate a chain of events that will eventually lead to a nuclear holocaust. The result of that terrifying realization is strategic paralysis.

With that appreciation of strategic paralysis comes an even worse problem. A non-nuclear country has a wide range of options for its forces. Although its actions may incur a risk of being beaten they do not court destruction. Thus, a non-nuclear nation can afford to take risks of a calculated nature. However,a nuclear-equipped nation has to consider the risk that actions by its conventional forces will lead to a situation where it may have to use its nuclear forces with the resulting holocaust. Therefore, not only are its strategic nuclear options restricted by its possession of nuclear weapons, so are its tactical and operational options. So we add tactical and operational paralysis to the strategic variety. This is why we see such a tremendous emphasis on the mechanics of decision making in nuclear powers. Every decision has to be thought through, not for one step or the step after but for six, seven or eight steps down the line.


So, the direct effects of nuclear weapons in a nation's hands is to make that nation extremely cautious. They spend much time studying situations, working out the implications of such situations, what the likely results of certain policy options are.


So: according to the author, a new nuclear power finds itself in a situation of strategic, operational and tactical paralysis because of the added weight of nuclear devastation as a possible consequence of its actions.

Does that sound like Pakistan to you?

If Pakistan had nuclear weapons, and the capacity to use them, would it bluster and bluff and lower its imaginary "redlines" at every opportunity? Remember, this is the assessment of an expert in nuclear warfare that new nuclear powers are *restricted* in their options by the fact of possessing nukes. He is neither pro-India nor pro-Pakistan, so we have no reason to suspect any bias in his observation.

It follows that a nation which repeatedly ups the ante with terrorist attacks, and casually blackmails its enemy with "redlines" of nuclear devastation at every stage of the game, very probably has no capacity whatsoever to inflict nuclear devastation. Not only this, but it must be very sure that the government against which it is using such blackmail ALSO knows that it has no capacity to inflict such devastation (or it might end up getting nuked).

Therefore: there must exist, for other reasons, a compact between the Govt of India and the Govt of Pakistan to pretend that Pakistan has nuclear weapons and the capacity to use them... thereby giving the Govt. of India an excuse for its own strategic, operational and tactical inaction.

If this is true, then a fraud is being perpetrated on the Indian people by the Govt. of Pakistan AND the Govt.of India... probably with the collusion of other governments (like Unkil's) as well. The Indian people are being defrauded into accepting Pakistani terrorism as a fact of life that cannot be retaliated against because doing so will invariably lead to an escalation that causes a nuclear exchange. They are being systematically frightened into swallowing the myth of the Pakistani nation as a "fanatical Muslim nuclear-armed suicide bomber "which should not be messed with, even when its terrorists come in to their streets and markets and railway stations and kill their husbands and wives and children. And all the while, Pakistan is behaving like anything BUT a genuinely nuclear-armed nation.

This immediately suggests that Pakistan has no nukes to threaten India with; and that the GOI knows this, and is treasonously colluding with Pakistan and the "international community" to avoid mounting a military response that would invariably upset Unkil's agenda in Afghanistan.

We are being fooled into believing that Pakistan has WMD, just as the American people were fooled into believing that Saddam had WMD... though the GOI is using this pretense as an excuse for inaction while the Bush regime used it as a pretext for invasion.

But, chalo. Let's assume, just for timepass' sake, that Pakistan DOES have nukes. Let's assume that, as the FAS says, it has some 90 warheads (the more generous estimate). Let's take that as a given and game out what happens.

2) Ok, the first principle to remember in gaming things out is:

if [a nuclear state] ever uses its nuclear weapons, once they are gone, its invulnerability vanishes with them.


Let's really think this through.

When we think of the Pakistani willingness to use nukes, we think of the Paki jernail with a picture of a mushroom cloud in his office, declaring that even if Pakistan is destroyed it will be worth it to rid the subcontinent of Kufr Hindus. We imagine that a Pakistani nuclear strike on India will be the equivalent of a suicide bombing on a national scale. It is as if the Indians will retailate... there will be a flash of heavenly light in the corridors of power in Slumbad... and all the Jernails and their loved ones will be instantly transported to Zannat, consuming raisins in the laps of houris.

However, that is not the case.

India does not have a maximum deterrent such as the US or Russia did during the Cold War. We cannot completely destroy Pakistan in physical terms. What our nukes can do-- and will do-- is make Pakistan ungovernable and indefensible for the foreseeable future.

Once Pakistan uses its nukes... and the damage done by its 90-warhead arsenal, as we will see later, will be a very very long way from "destroying" India indeed... Pakistan itself will lose its invulnerability. India will massively compound the consequent vulnerability with a counter-strike... but it should be noted that even without an Indian counter strike, Pakistan would be pretty well f*cked at that stage. No spares, military supplies or fuel reserves beyond five days. No soldiers motivated enough to re-establish control over NWFP or Swat, let alone fight a full-scale war against an organized aggressor. No cash, because everybody would instantly sanction Pakistan for using nukes.

At that stage, Pakistan would be vulnerable not only to a US or Indian invasion... but to Taliban, Afghan or even Iranian invasion. Our counter-force strike against the TSPA would soften the path for the Talibs ploughing into Lahore, Karachi and Slumbad by destroying the TSPA's capacity to resist. Out-and-out civil war will result, between the TTP and the Sarkari Tanzeems, the TTP and the TSPA, and every combination of factions... and thanks to the effects of our counter-strike, the decimated TSPA will have no hope of being able to control the situation.

Ultimately there will be no instantaneous, Zannat-bringing flash of light for the Jernails... except for a lucky few. Ultimately, there will be a day-by-day hell of street warfare, of plunder and looting that will converge on the white walled Clifton-style neighbourhoods where the Jernails and the RAPE live. The Jernails will see their own wives, daughters and sons dragged off their manicured lawns and hauled away to Taliban rape rooms. They will be able to do exactly nothing about it. Such a situation will not last weeks or months, but years or decades. THAT is what they have to look forward to... not a deliverance of all Pakistan to jihadi heaven, but the excruciatingly painful death of their TSPA as an institution before their very eyes.

And for us? Once we've absorbed the damage of the TSPA nuclear strike... what will we have to worry about? The "Islamists" getting their hands on nukes? Don't make me laugh... that's already the case today.

3) The second principle is to determine how much damage the TSP nuke arsenal is actually likely to do to India.

Here there are several things to keep in mind.

a) The size of TSP's arsenal. We're being very generous to assume that they have 90 warheads ready to deploy. Of these, lets be even more generous and say that HALF are the high-yield ones they can stick onto missiles. Since they have no thermonuclear or boosted-fission bombs, a "high-yield" Paki device is probably around 25 kT... at the MOST, 40 kT (given their Chagai test claims). The low yield ones are sub-kiloton devices they will put on their F-16s.

b) What can TSP do with such an arsenal? What are their best options, to use what they have most destructively?

Remember, a limited-size and limited-capacity arsenal means that Pakistan is very restricted in its options (compared to a nuclear state like Unkil or Russia, with hundreds or thousands of much more powerful warheads). It has to prioritize targeting very carefully to try and achieve the most damage.

If you read the Nuclear Warfare articles I've linked above, it becomes obvious that they really can't do very much with what they have. "Not very much", of course, in relative terms... there will be unprecedented damage to India. In the big picture, though, it will be nothing we can't recover from. Let's see what this entails.

c) A key point from the Nuclear Warfare articles is to recognize that there are many different types of nuclear strikes that a nuclear power can choose to engage in... but Pakistan really doesn't have the capacity to carry out many of them very effectively.

Essentially, there are two major classes of options: counter-value and counter-force strikes.

Counter-force strikes are aimed at neutralizing or destroying the enemy's warfighting capability... their nuclear and conventional force assets, directly. They are difficult to conduct for the following reasons:

i) Stationary military targets are hardened, and small in size. To destroy them requires a ground burst of a nuclear weapon that physically scours them off the earth and leaves a cavity in their place.

ii) The warhead size required to accomplish this is large. Paki warheads, as we've seen, are at the most 40kT... not likely to be able to do enough damage to reliably take out an Indian military (conventional or nuclear) installation.

iii) A great degree of accuracy is required. According to the Nuclear Warfare 102 article, a 100 kT weapon has a Radius of Total Destruction of 800m... for a 25 kT weapon, assuming an inverse square relationship that becomes 400m. Given what we know about the Chinese and North Korean ballistic missiles that the Pakis possess (largely untested)... they probably do not have a sufficiently reliable degree of accuracy to accomplish a counterforce strike. Their only missile with a small enough CEP to attempt a counter-force strike would be a Babur Chinese cruise missile (maybe)-- and that will not carry a large enough warhead to destroy a fortified installation.

iv) Most hardened counterforce targets in India are not in the "A-Country" of the cities. They are in what is called the "B-Country"... the rural hinterlands with diffuse population density, which produce the resources that support the cities. Pakistani warheads targeted against B-Country military sites necessarily forego many targets of opportunity that they could also take out if targeted against cities or softer "counter-value" targets. There is usually nothing out there in the B-Country, besides the one target installation, for the warhead to kill.

v) Groundburst attacks in the B-Country will cause far more fallout than airburst attacks against cities. That's because groundbursts throw up a lot of dirt and rubble (the stuff that was in the craters)... which are sucked into the vacuum produced by the expanding fireball, irradiated with lethal isotopes and then shot up in the air to descend on a wide land area later on. Airbursts create relatively little radioactive material and pose much less of a fallout risk.


What are the likely conclusions of these observations, regarding likelihood of a counter-force strike by Pakistan?

i) Most likely, the only type of counter-force strikes Pakistan could hope to conduct successfully, would be against Indian formations in the field... using low-yield tactical warheads mounted on F-16 fighter bombers, most likely, though some may be on short-range ballistic missiles or cruise missiles. Pakistan does not have the capacity to produce nuclear artillery shells... so F-16s are the most obvious platform for low-yield counterforce strikes against military targets in the open.

It may be remembered that several military excercises by the IA following Kargil, involved heavy rehearsals with NBC gear, and were designed to simulate continuing military ops against Pakistan in the aftermath of such a tactical nuclear strike on our forces. So, we have been preparing for this eventuality for some time.

ii) Beyond this, given the small size of Paki warheads and the inaccuracy of their missiles, it is highly improbable that the Pakistanis will waste any of their nuclear assets on trying out pre-emptive counterforce strikes against our hardened military installations or strategic arsenal. They might try their luck with F-16s and low-yield warheads, hoping for a direct hit, but the chances of success are negligible even if the aircraft get past our air defenses.

iii) Finally, chances of counter-force groundbursts by Pakistan against hardened Indian assets resulting in fallout are great. This may not bother Pakistani conscience, but if the B-Country installations being targeted are near the border... particularly the upper-riparian regions of Punjab and J&K from where Pakis get their river water... they may decide against it.

So, we can conclude that most likely, Pakis will not waste many of their nuclear assets or missile delivery systems on counterforce strikes... since the cost/benefit ratio is too high. If at all, low-yield weapons on fighter-bombers may be used against Indian military forces in the open and targets of opportunity. There is a good chance that between the IAF and our air-defense, none of these will get through at all. Obtaining a system like the Phalcon will minimize the possibility even further.

d) OK, so let's think about Pakistani counter-value strikes. Counter-value means against anything which isn't directly a component of our warfighting capability... population, economy, communications, industry etc.

i) Some of these assets are in tour B-country, but a lot more are concentrated in the A-country of our cities.

ii) Pakistan does not have the nuclear capacity to destroy our communications infrastructure (in terms of number or types of warheads). Many counter-communication targets, like railway yards, are hardened and small-sized just as military targets are. So it is unlikely that the Pakis will target them, for the same reasons as it is unlikely they will attempt counterforce strikes.

iii) The same applies for industrial targets which are also hardened, requiring a direct groundburst to take out, and difficult to hit because of small size.

iv) Population and economy can be attacked by attacking the cities with nuclear airbursts. Indian cities are thus the most likely target for the Pakis to consider. Doing so gives the Pakis more "bang for the buck"... but only in relative terms, as we shall go on to see.

So what can we conclude?

i) Communications will not be targeted by Paki nuclear assets in any major way. The Pakis couldn't significantly knock out our comm capacity even if they used all their warheads against it, so why try? Same for our industrial capacity as well.

ii) Industry will only be targeted to the extent that it occurs as a "target of opportunity" near the A-country. Nuclear plants or chemical factories close to population centres may be targeted by F-16s carrying low-yield warheads. It is unlikely that they will be targeted by missiles unless the population center nearby is also a major city marked for full-scale destruction.

iii) From the Paki point of view, therefore, the best use of their high-yield, missile-based warheads is to airburst them over Indian cities... targeting their population, infrastructure and economies.

e) So far we can guess two things:

i) Pakis will use their low-yield warheads, probably mounted on fighter-bombers, to achieve two types of goals: attacking Indian military formations in the field, and making attacks of opportunity, primarily against Indian industrial sites located close to urban centers.

These will be the "disposable" component of the Paki nuclear arsenal..." either we use them or we lose them, so why not try our luck." They are also vulnerable to Indian air defense and IAF interception.

Chances are that such warheads comprise about 75% of the Paki nuclear arsenal. But for this estimate, we're being generous, so let's say 50% (or 45 warheads) are of this type.

ii) The second thing we can guess is that the remaining 45 warheads, of between 25 to 40 kT and mounted on missiles, will be used against Indian cities in counter-population/counter-economy strikes.

Does this mean that 45 Indian cities have had it?

Not at all.

I present to you a few things to consider, from the Nuclear Warfare 102 article:

Now we don't just explode a bomb in the center of the city and say bye-bye. Believe it or not that won't do any real good. Initiate a 1 megaton device over the center of London and 95 percent of the cities assets and 80 percent of the population will survive (this means that, proportionally speaking, Londoners will be better off after a nuclear attack than they were before it took place. This was the basis of at least one Get Rich Quick scheme proposed in The Business).


(Remember the Pakis don't have anything like a 1 MT device... the biggest they have is 40kT).


Missiles are not terribly reliable and a lot can go wrong. A Rectal Extraction figure suggests that only about 60 percent of them will work when the blue touchpaper is ignited. So we have to add extra warheads to allow for the duds.


(It seems only 60% of the 45 missiles we have very generously assigned Pakistan can be assumed to work at all, in the procedure followed by nuclear warfare analysts. That's 27 high-yield warheads we have to worry about. So what can the Pakis do with 27 warheads?).

To give a feel for the sort of numbers that we're talking about, the British calculated that they needed 32 warheads to give Moscow a terminal dose of instant sunrise. In other words, the British nuclear deterrent took down Moscow and that was it.


( Assuming we're talking about the highest-yield WE 76 warheads carried on British Trident missiles, that's 32 warheads of 100 kT each to take out ONE SINGLE CITY completely. Anything less than that would presumably cause a lot of damage to the target, but not destroy it beyond recovery. Again, the Pakis do not have even a single 100 kT warhead. )

Key point here on the efficiency of defenses. In the 1950s, the UK V-bomber fleet was assigned to hit over 200 targets in the Western USSR. As the 50's turned into the 60's the ability of the V-bombers to penetrate Soviet airspace came under increasing doubt. The UK shifted to Polaris - one submarine at sea, 16 missiles, three warheads per. Total of 48 targets assigned. But the USSR started to install an anti-missile system that was reasonably capable against the early Polaris-type missiles. So the UK modified Polaris in a thing called Chevaline. this took one warhead from each missile and replaced the load with decoys - then targeted all 16 missiles onto Moscow. ONE target. In effect, the Soviet defenses had reduced the UK attack plan from 200 targets to one. In other words, it was 99.5 percent effective without firing a single shot (bad news for Moscow but great news for the other 199 cities with targets in them)

That's why so many devices are needed - the inventory evaporates very fast. Thats also why defenses like ABM are so important (and the urgency behind deploying the new US Missile Defense System). The defenses don't have to be very effective to work (although the new US system is looking good), its the complexity they throw into the planning process. As long as we can assume that if we get a warhead on its way to its target, that target is going to be hit, then planning is relatively easy and the results predictable. If, however, we can't make that guarantee; if we have to factor in a possibility - perhaps a good one - that the outbound warhead will be shot down, then planning becomes very uncertain. Now put yourself in the position of somebody planning a strike - do you wish to gamble your nation's change of survival on something that MIGHT work. Of course not. So Strategic Paralysis strikes again. A defense system doesn't have to work against an attack to be effective because it works on the minds of the people who make the decisions.


( The geometric progression in effectiveness of anti-nuclear defenses is absolutely fascinating. It explains why the F-16 based component of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is essentially disposable, and will face overwhelming odds against achieving any strategic goals. It also reveals why, according to this article http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1292/1 , India's developing proficiency with PAD and AAD is of such great consequence. If Soviet ABMs were 99.5% effective against the British nuclear arsenal... our emerging missile defense program will make complete nonsense of Pakistan's far smaller arsenal. It will also totally bankrupt the Pakis if they try to keep up with our defenses by building more warheads. Initiating and outspending the Pakis on a nuclear arms race is by far one of the best means available to us for the destruction of TSP... but I digress).


4) Ok, so considering all of the above, if you were the Paki jernail in charge of coming up with nuclear war doctrine against India: what would you do?

First of all, I wouldn't start one. No matter what. Let Slumbad threaten and bluster as much as they want, lower the "redlines" wherever they like. I know what's coming if I start a nuclear war with India, just as the Fizzle Ya did when they refused to fly in support of the TSPA during Kargil.

But if it came to that, how could I use my very limited assets to best effect?

Firstly, my low-yield weapons would be a roll of the dice. Load them on to F-16s and hope for the best (I would have no time or excess warheads to mess around with Babur-Shabur and all that $hit). Use them against IA troop formations as necessary to prevent our own troops from being overwhelmed. It is unlikely that I will use them against military targets where a conventional airstrike or missile strike would serve the purpose just as well.

Other F-16s with low-yields would be sent against Tarapur, Nangal, Kota, Narora, Baroda to attempt to hit Indian nuclear installations near populated areas. If any remained, use them against urban economic centres near the border: Gurgaon, Ankleshwar, Noida, Chandigarh, other sites in Gujarat and Punjab.

Now the crown jewels. 27 missile-mounted warheads of between 25-40 kT. Given the British estimates of how many warheads are required to take out Moscow, and the relative ineffectiveness of a 1 MT warhead against London... it makes the most sense to use ALL these crown jewels against ONE Indian city. Maybe two, but I personally think just one.

Not much to guess about which city that will be. My heart is heavy to say this, because I was born and brought up there and still have close relatives living there... but I'm pretty sure that it will be Mumbai.

Mumbai affords the maximum capacity for counter-population damage (density, and lack of escape routes); counter-economic damage (it is the financial capital) and also has the Turbhe plant, BARC and TIFR. It is closer to the border than Hyderabad or Mangalore.

I suppose it's possible the Pakis might decide on Delhi instead, maybe even target three or four of their missiles towards Delhi and the rest against Mumbai. However, I think Delhi is less likely for psychological reasons. The Pakis at some level, still dream about the Dilli Bills surrendering to them and hoisting the Paki flag on the Red Fort... both of which will be impossible if they nuke the city. Mumbai, however, is not ingrained with the red-sandstone and marble of an Islamic past... it was a Hindu township and then a Western colonial capital.

5) Bottom line: (with the disclaimer that I'm anything but an expert on the subject, and only know what I've read in the public domain).

-We will probably lose Mumbai. A big hit to take, but it won't cripple a nation of one billion in the long term. Mumbai can, and will be rebuilt... and with it, much of India will be rebuilt as well. We will still have the B-country largely intact, as well as the other cities, to support and expedite reconstruction.

- We will lose between 5 and 10 lakh Mumbaikars in the initial strike, and depending on the emergency response, up to 20 lakh more in the aftermath. The latter figure can be minimized if evacuation plans and infrastructure are put into place right now; ferry boat wharfs at multiple points along the island's coast, a multiply redundant emergency response system, and regular public drills.

- Our economy will take a hit as a result of losing Mumbai... but it's more of a corporate center than an industrial center, so our industrial production capacity ( the things that directly impact our capacity to wage war or rebuild ) will not suffer as greatly as intangibles like investor confidence, the service sector or the entertainment industry.

The stock market will certainly crash, and FDI will pull out, but that would probably happen long before it came to an actual nuclear exchange. We will lose a lot financially: Mumbai contributes 10% of all factory employment, 60% of customs duty collections, 40% of income tax collections, 40% of foreign trade and 20% of central excise tax collections of India. Moreover, it produces a huge amount, of Rupees 40 billion (US$ 9 billion), in corporate taxes. After the loss of life, this will be our biggest loss in the event of a nuclear war with Pakistan.

- Depending on how lucky the F-16s get with their targets of opportunity, or whether a small number of missiles are targeted successfully at a few other urban centers (unlikely)... we may lose another 5 lakh civilians, totally, outside of Mumbai.

-It is unlikely that our military, and its warfighting ability will be significantly eroded even despite the huge losses that formations directly struck by Pakistani tactical nukes will take. We will still have the capacity, both conventional and nuclear, to deter Chinese aggression in the aftermath. The Chinese will probably not be so stupid as to attack a wounded elephant, either... we would be more ready to use our nukes against them than ever.

- Our counter-strike will not "destroy Pakistan" in the sense of turning it into a glass parking lot. I believe it will end the viable existence Pakistan as a nation state by completely destroying the warfighting capacity of the TSPA... but this post is getting a bit long, so I'll leave it to other members of the forum to wargame that part of it!
Last edited by Rudradev on 07 Feb 2009 03:00, edited 1 time in total.

ramana
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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby ramana » 07 Feb 2009 02:59

Very good. Can you put them on a ppt and make a slide show of it for wider dissemination? A picture is worth a thousand words and all that. I am thnking a 40 -60 slides with a lots o graphics and key concepts.

BTW, I dont think its the 40 kt stuff for the gaurs (gaur- buffalo). Its more like the small ping pong balls(George kaka's words not mine). And Sanjay Maharaj can tell you the gaur/nodong never re-entered to date. Its always in atmosphere phase..The Chic 4 models are all A/c delivered.

Rahul M
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Re: Nuclear Threat From Pakistan : Boom or Bluff ?

Postby Rahul M » 07 Feb 2009 03:00

RD, that made fascinating reading !
between your post and p_saggu's summary, I think I have succeeded in my original objective in creating this thread, getting BRFite's to devote their considerable knowledge of TSP psychology to this issue.

as an aside, I think you should seriously think about writing this one up for SRR.

some comments, since your scenario assumes (rightly) the worst case,
a)total no of nukes could be much lesser, even less than 20-30 according to some estimates.

b)the paki designs are unproven and likely duds. so the question hinges on how many chinese bombs they still have.

most importantly,
c)if the TSPians are left only with their own duds that would add to their paralysis, they would certainly be extremely hesitant of using duds on India but getting a nuclear response in reply. a scenario that sees their statehood crumbling at virtually no cost to India.

JMT.

ramana ji, could you explain plz ?
And Sanjay Maharaj can tell you the gaur/nodong never re-entered to date.


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