http://www.rediff.com/news/column/pakis ... 160918.htm
Pakistan tends to resemble a suicide bomber
The only effective defence against a suicide attack is 'pre-emptive' destruction of the attacker,' argues Colonel Anil A Athale (retd).
In 1855, as troops of the East India Company massed for an attack on Tanjore, the priest to the king assured him that his mantra would stop the British. It did not and the rest is history or is it?
It is worth recalling the situation that India faced in 1991. It was not merely an economic crisis, but there was also a potent security threat as well.
Some evidence suggests that even our economic woes were due to the fact that we did not toe the line of the sole superpower. Many thinking Indians feared the fate that befell Baghdad (after the first Gulf War) could also be repeated in Mumbai!
'Cap, roll back and eliminate' was the constant theme of the United States as far as Indian nuclear capability was concerned.
Those were the days when the sole superpower was suggesting that the affairs of the Indian sub-continent be outsourced to China. A major insurgency began in Kashmir with open encouragement from Pakistan as well as the US. The Americans were on a spree of punishing all erstwhile Soviet Union friends.
In the light of these momentous changes taking place in the world there was an urgent need to review our nuclear posture of 'uncertainty' in vogue since 1974 when we tested our first nuclear weapon.
But as Indians we are so fond of 'tried and tested' mantras that the Delhi elite continued to chant the theme of 'nuclear ambiguity.' Some worthies even went so far as to promote a concept of 'recessed or hidden deterrence,' a contradiction in terms since deterrence has to be by definition an open credible threat of retaliation. It cannot be hidden.
It is in this situation of great national peril that the late Lieutenant General Eric Vas, a doyen of military thinkers, Major General K S Pendse and I came together and ran a campaign, both overt and covert, to convince the government of the day to reverse its policies and go for an open nuclear posture for national security.
We nearly succeeded in December 1995, but our preparations for a nuclear test were detected and we had to abandon testing. This fact has been corroborated by then defence minister (and now President) Pranab Mukerjee.
The reason to recall this history is to bring home the fact that in matters of nuclear strategy, there is an inherent inertia in Delhi and there is tendency to secure refuge in mantras.
The reason for this state of affairs is that very few in the politico-military-bureaucratic elite have the conceptual understanding of nuclear strategy and its linkage with the logic of use of force.
Since Pokhran II in May 1998 and the Indian embrace of nuclear weapons as part of its national security apparatus, minimum deterrence and no first use has been India's nuclear mantra.
We have expanded our deterrence to cover all nuclear, chemical and biological attacks. How will we retaliate to a 'dirty' bomb attack on Indian population centres by a non-State actor?
The dysfunctional State of Pakistan tends to resemble a suicide bomber. The only effective defence against a suicide attack is 'Pre-emptive' destruction of the attacker....