0342 HRS, Somewhere near New Delhi, NSC Office
PM Shastri, Defense Minister Singh were sitting along with chiefs of Army, Air force and Navy in a room choke full of monitors. PM and other ministers were informed around 12:25 of the attack on Bhuttewala. But they were not here to discuss that situation as Army Chief Vijay has told them that situation was manageable, as PN forces were going against dug-in IN 12 corp, and as 12 corp is one of the defense corps and their sole purpose is to hold ground.
The situation they were here to discuss was the latest satellite imagery, which was showing that PN was assembling nukes.
PM Shastri began, “As you already know, PN forces have invaded the Jaislemer sector. Till today we were trying to resolve the matter amicably by using non-violent means. But it looks they only understand the language of force. We also have the news that PN is assembling nukes. So the situation is either we sit on our hands, rollback our forces OR take it to the next step. If we decide to take next step then we must first take care of these Nukes.”
Foreign Minister JP Yadav seemed a bit uncomfortable as he seemed to digest the news. PM Shastri asked, “Yadav, what’ on your mind?”
Yadav said, “Shastri Ji, I don’t know much about bombs and missiles, but haven’t we made their delivery systems ineffective using our new tool. What exactly is the danger here?”
Before Army Chief Vijay could say anything DRDO chief Tyagrajan chimed, “Sir, It won’t take PN long to figure out the way to find the blind spots in our new tools coverage. It is almost impossible to sanitize the PN air space 100 %. It is entirely possible that may have found one and are planning to use it to nuke us.”
Army Chief Vijay continued Tyagrajan’s point, “Sir, Tyagrajan has said it most effectively. It will take at least 72 hours to assemble a nuke. So it is entirely possible that if we don’t take action we will be left to deal with PN nuke. In addition we have already tested ways to use the blind spots in out new tools.”
Defense Minister Singh asked, “Marut, for everybody’s understanding here, please elaborate how this tool is being used with our other resources to provide monitoring or ground and airspace adjoining our borders.”
Chief of AirForce Marut said, “Sure sir, we currently have 15 AWACS in air, with 2 in reserve. These AWACS provide us real time tracking of PN assets moving across the border. We have made sure that the blind spots of tools are being monitored by at least two AWACS each to make sure nothing slips out. But all these tools are effective only for slow moving assets and by slow I mean anything moving slower then a Fighter jet. What that leaves out is missiles of all sorts. And that’s where one theatre of the threat is. I think RAW chief Ahuja can explain the other theatre of threat.”
RAW Chief Ahuja moved so slowly in his chair as he was still lost in thoughts and started speaking without any pleasantries, “Sir, the latest intelligence that we have is that ISI is coordinating with its Taliban resources to have a few component of the nukes stolen, which will be used to detonate here in India or any of the foreign targets.”
Defense Minister Singh looked at Army Chief Vijay and asked, “I’ve heard that the security at PN installation is quite tight. What do you purpose?”
Army Vijay replied, “Pakistan has established a robust set of measures to assure the security of its nuclear weapons. These have been based on copying US practices, procedures and technologies, and comprise: a) physical security; b) personnel reliability programs; c) technical and procedural safeguards; and d) deception and secrecy.
In terms of physical security, Pakistan operates a layered concept of concentric tiers of armed forces personnel to guard nuclear weapons facilities, the use of physical barriers and intrusion detectors to secure nuclear weapons facilities, the physical separation of warhead cores from their detonation components, and the storage of the components in protected underground sites.
With respect to personnel reliability, Pakistan Army conducts a tight selection process drawing almost exclusively on officers from Punjab Province who are considered to have fewer links with religious extremism, now increasingly a questionable premise, or with the Pashtun areas of Pakistan from which groups such as the Pakistani Taliban mainly garner their support.
Pakistan operates an analog to the US Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) that screens individuals for Islamist sympathies, personality problems, drug use, inappropriate external affiliations, and sexual deviancy.”
Army Chief Vijay looked at everyone to make sure the information has sunk in for what he was going to propose was ludicrous to say the least and then he continued, “In essence sir, a ground attack by commando force is not likely to succeed in a short time. Only thing I can think of; that will succeed is a tactical nuclear strike. And not just any tactical nuclear strike, we need to make sure their underground structures are destroyed and that will required first digging up the ground, so I suggest some bunker buster first to open up the ground and then a ground level tactical nuclear strike!”
The sound of silence was deafening! Only sound in the room was the hum of computers. Everybody was flabbergasted at the suggestion.
PM Shastri took the cue and said, “Vijay, what’s the guarantee that we will be able to hit all of their locations?”
Army Chief Vijay replied, “Sir, simply put we don’t have enough bunker busters and tactical nukes to disable all of their facilities at one go.”
What PM Shastri said next made everybody thought he has gone senile. PM Shastri said, “Vijay, what if we can get enough resources to take out all of their location simultaneously!”
Vijay replied rather wryly, “Sir, with all due respect! If we can do that then I can guarantee that we will have one less nuclear adversary to worry about. Ahuja, do you agree and do you think we have the list of all probable locations.”
RAW chief Ahuja who was very attentive to the discussion going on replied, “Yes sir, I am sure that we have a complete list of all locations. But where are we going to get the massive amount of resources that we need.”
PM Shastri stood up and said, “Gentlemen, make you plans. I will let you know in 24 hours if we are going to go ahead. And if we don’t, then the Operation Ahimsa will have to be rolled back, we can’t have nukes falling on India, even if that means we are not going to take back Kashmir.”
END of CHAPTER 3: The Tiger Shows Its Teeth
Next Posting. Begin CHAPTER 4: The Tiger Roars