Pakistan's Nuclear Propriety
Pakistan's security - internal and external, is precariously compounded by a host of interacting factors. The threat is incremental. The gravity warrants a dispassionate and cool assessment of options and modalities to be able to meet the imperatives of the challenge, because national security is uncompromisable. The geography has uniquely placed Pakistan, sharing common borders with countries having rich civilizational heritage. Iran's civilizational roots are profound and deep as that of Afghanistan, Central Asian states and China. The Gangetic civilization of India and that of rich Indus valley of Pakistan, are great treasures of history. To be at the cross-roads of such cultural configuration, has endowed Pakistan with a hybrid identity of a civilizational bouquet. The construction of the Friendship Highway has strengthened the bond of amity and cooperation with China. Pakistan's relations with its neighbours are reflective of trust and understanding, except India, where, there is a historical antipathy. Even after lapse of over half a century, India has not reconciled to the existence of Pakistan, and to annul the division of the Subcontinent is its overriding passion. Three wars have been imposed upon Pakistan. The terror and barbarism so callously being perpetuated on the hapless people of occupied Kashmir, reflects a dehumanized sensibility of a kind, which is much too rare in history. On the line of control (LOC) in Kashmir, there is a running battle with the horrendous consequences as both India and Pakistan have gone nuclear.
In blatant disregard to South Asia's non-nuclearised identity, India propelled by its need to reign supreme in the region, exploded the nuclear device in 1974. Pakistan, even though nourished no nuclear ambition, was left with no choice, but develop its own nuclear programme, so that at least, a non-weaponised nuclear status could be achieved. It had resolved not to make an overt test, as it would be a precursor to a nuclear race in the region. But Pakistan's complacence lasted for only over a decade as India, shocked the world by carrying out a series of tests in May 1998. All progress with respect to non-proliferation regime, thus came to a naught. Three nuclear bombs denoted on May 11, 98 and two sub critical tests on 13 May, 98 were a miscalculated attempt to become the Sixth member of the nuclear club. They also thought that Pakistan was operating under a nuclear bluff and that India's detonations would expose it.
Pakistan's nuclear credibility however, was fully established by counter-explosions on May 28 and 29 May 1998 which not only baffled the Indian strategic mind, but brought a tinge of realism, and the tone and temper of the Indian leaders which were of marked bellicosity, suddenly changed into that of pleasant accommodation and understanding with Pakistan. This, however, can not be taken as a sincere gesture, as it may only be a tactical shift in modality, without renunciating the objective of seeking permanent dominance in the region, which indeed is the greatest threat to regional peace and harmony and if not timely countered, it may prove perilous. There are even potent dangers that nuclear ambitions of India may have spill over effects on Central Asia, which my be impelled to enter the nuclear race with ominous consequences for the region. India therefore must not saddle into power with unbridled rein, and cognize the imminent threat looming over the region. Sagacity demands that it enters into a sincere dialogue with Pakistan to control the nuclear programme of both the countries so that the dread of nuclear war is eliminated.
Pakistan has to objectively assess as to what extent it can limit its nuclear capability without jeopardizing its security imperatives. It is in this perspective that, Pakistan's policies with respect to CTBT and FMCT may be determined. These two have relevance in the overall context of NPT, which is aimed at ensuring the non-proliferation regime. This Treaty has been signed by 182 countries, and the Five Nuclear Nations are committed to nuclear disarmament. Only four countries - India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba have not yet signed it. The world attention was drawn towards India and Pakistan when they both carried out nuclear tests in May 1998. Pressure on Pakistan has particularly mounted so that it signs the CTBT, by September 1999. The specific steps to be taken in this respect are:
Exercise strategic restraint
Put a ban on further nuclear tests.
Cut off production of fissile material.
Ban the export of nuclear material and technology.
Initiate Confidence building measures (CBMs).
It is interesting to know that Pakistan, on its own volition, had undertaken all the above steps which were in keeping with the spirit of CTBT and FMCT, which are now being propagated. As early as 1989, the policy of strategic restraints was adopted by Pakistan, based on the rational assessment that Pakistan had achieved the objectives of the nuclear programme which late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had set for Pakistan in 1975 and that there was no reason why Pakistan should pursue it any further. The following were the measured decisions taken by Pakistan's Nuclear Command Authority in 1989:
A low level, non-weaponised minimum credible deterrence, will be maintained.
Ban on nuclear tests.
First use option will be retained as an essential element of deterrence.
Cut off in fissile material production.
Ban on export of nuclear material and technology
An important element of the above decision was that Pakistan's nuclear programme was India specific and therefore it was of no consequence to Pakistan what other nuclear power nations decided for themselves. Thus Pakistan adopted the policy of strategic restraints, as early as 1989, and had India not exploded its devices in May 1998, the nuclear race would have been kept at bay. The non-weaponised deterrence, which Pakistan deemed a functional imperative, was changed by India, and now a near reality of weaponised deterrence has emerged. One can easily differentiate that, while Pakistan has been following the moral imperative of strategic restraint, Idea's mind is obsessed with nuclear jingoism. To baracket them together, is indeed a gross distortion of reality and a failure to distinguish who nourishes 'peace' and who is propelling nuclear dread!
CTBT, therefore may be signed by Pakistan as it would not make any material difference. It would only tantamount to a formal declaration of what it had already done voluntarily in 1989 and subsequently vindicated in 1998. All apprehensions about CTBT therefore are ill founded, yet the following must be kept in view:
CTBT is not targeted to the roll back of our nuclear programme.
It does not entitle foreign agencies to inspect our nuclear installations, and that our freedom in this respect would be maintained.
There is no discriminative clause in the CTBT, and all nuclear nations would be treated at par.
The inspection teams will inspect only that site, which would be earmarked for nuclear tests and that too not without concurrence of Pakistan.
It would be in the best interest of both India and Pakistan, simultaneously sign the CTBT. With respect to FMCT, which may come up some two years later, the following aspects are important:
To sign FMCT, would mean that both India and Pakistan freeze their stock-pile of fissile material.
Both India and Pakistan will have to allow inspection of their nuclear sites.
By signing the Treaty the nuclear race would considerably be reduced. · Pakistan would be entitled to seek the symmetry in relation to Indian stock pile.
It would be proper if both India and Pakistan sign the FMCT, simultaneously.
Pakistan has achieved the objective of a minimum low-level credible nuclear deterrence, and it is vital that it is maintained at that level. Pakistan has remarkably achieved its security needs and it need not worry any more. It has stockpiled sufficient number of nuclear weapons and the fissile material. To determine what is the minimal deterrence, is the responsibility of Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). It is the nuclear attitude which makes the difference. Pakistan certainly is for limiting it rather than accelerating it, which is evident from the philosophy of nuclearism which grips the mind of Indian strategic thinkers. In other words, the decision to keep the deterrence to a minimal credible level is the responsibility of the military experts and political leaders.
Pakistan's nuclear programme was not of its choosing, but the redeeming feature is that contrary to popular belief, it has been very economical for Pakistan. Since 1975, till 1990, it can be said with certainty that the total cost incurred was below $ 250 millions, which is less than the price of one submarine, which costs nearly $ 300 million. Viewed in this light, it is all the more necessary for Pakistan to keep the minimal nuclear deterrence as it is not only economical but very crucial for our security. The facilities thus created are now been utilized for production of commercial grade uranium for our nuclear power plants. If one takes an overview of the land forces, out of India's twelve lac soldiers, six lac (600,000) are engaged in Kashmir to quell freedom fighters. In view of this India can not even think of ground offensive against Pakistan, particularly in view of the offensive Defence Strategy of Pakistan, India's ground forces quantum is relatively insufficient. However one can not deny the relative air and naval superiority of India. The recent exercises conducted by India was to intimidate Pakistan with its superior naval and air power. But such intimidations can not unnerve Pakistan. Perhaps the time to hold an exercise like Zarb-e-Momin (carried out in 1989), has come to send a clear message to the adversary that even in conventional field, Pakistan is quite a formidable force. True to the dictum 'Face the Sun and all the shadows will fall behind you', Pakistan is well poised to face any ordeal.
Nuclear Substances and Equipment for Sale
There is an old adage: “when business is good, it pays to advertise; when business is bad you’ve got to advertise”. It is the latter, which seems to be at the root of the insightful move to publish a full page advertisement, by the Ministry of Commerce, for issuance of “No Objection Certificate”, by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), for export of Nuclear Substances, and the requisite equipment for production of nuclear energy and harnessing it for the well-being of the humankind - electricity generation being one. It is a concrete step towards what President Eisenhower, had once promised, but never delivered - Atom for peace. Military power monopolized “atom”, and ‘peace’ receded into the realm of utopia. When the trauma of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was overbearing, the only user of the dreadful mass destruction weapon - USA - made a solemn commitment that the nuclear knowledge would be shared particularly with the developing world and helped to acquire the technology, so that the energy unleashed through splitting atom, could be channelled for bringing the deprived segment of humanity to a respectable level to fulfill the imperative of equity.
The Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in its preamble contains a paragraph:
“Affirming the principle that the benefits of peaceful applications of nuclear technology, including any technological by-product which may be derived by nuclear weapon states from the development of nuclear explosive devices, should be available for peaceful purposes to all parties of the Treaty, whether nuclear weapon or non-nuclear weapon states.” It was further elaborated to state: “Convinced that. in furtherance of this principle, all parties to the Treaty are entitled to participate in the fullest possible exchange of scientific information for, and to contribute alone or in cooperation with other states, to the further development of the applications of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.”
Article IV, 1 and 2 of NPT are specifically devoted to the desirability of using nuclear energy for “peaceful purposes” and that the “need of the developing areas of the world”, were specially to be taken into account. Human proclivity, however, for destructive pursuits, side-tracked nobler sentiments, and the five nuclear powers, in varying proportions, emerged to form an exclusive “Club”, and in their frantic obsession to build nuclear arsenals, transformed the world into what someone characterized in a metaphoric depiction: “It would indeed be a tragedy of the human race, proved to be nothing more than the story of an ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump. Far from being an imaginary apocalyptic prediction, Nuclear Winter conjures up the most frightening prospect of the End of the World Scenario - the seductive lure of the Death Wish. The Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, under whose tenure the ‘bomb’ was first used, later characterized it as “dreadful”, “awful” and “diabolical”.
As if five nuclear powers were not enough, the Sixth one - India also joined the nuclear club - first in 1974 - under a contrived “ruse” to camouflage the test explosion as ‘peaceful’ one and naming it Smiling Buddha - the most outrageous perversity to associate the apostle of peace with such heinous an activity. Later on India, renunciating its covert nuclear status, opted to seek global visibility as a prestigious nuclear power, by conducting five tests on 11th and 13th May 1998, at Pokhran. The ostensible objective was to take South Asia, in its firm strategic grip, and to intimidate Pakistan to a magnitude that the Kashmir uprising would be brought to a naught, and extra regional dividend would be the gaining of ‘veto-power’ status in the Security Council. Killing two birds with one strategic arrow, perhaps could materialize, had Pakistan exhibited nuclear timidity. Pakistan was thought to be a nuclear ‘bragger’ and ‘bluffer’. Before it could achieve the capability, India would not only burst upon the world as a China - equalizer - a strategic need of the West, but also so restore the ‘nuclear order’ in their favour. Seventeen days waiting on the part of Pakistan, was to see how the western powers reacted to this strategic protégé’s act of nuclear irresponsibility, reinforced India’s nuclear will. Pakistan, was shocked and dismayed that nothing beyond cosmetic criticisms were expressed, and it was left with no strategic options, and gave a befitting response on May 28, and 30, by six counter nuclear blasts to unequivocally convey that nuclear intimidation would not work as a “control” mechanism. It is indeed ironical that instead of appreciating Pakistan’s compulsions, and sympathizing with its predicament, it was subjected to economic sanctions, and all other pressure techniques were unleashed, to render it weak and fragile in economic terms and thus compound the miseries of the common people, and resultantly to destabilize its political structure. The deferment of IMF loans and the excruciating conditionalities, are with a view to constricting its strategic options, and bringing it to accept the fact that without signing CTBT, NPT and FMCT, Pakistan would become a strategic orphan. No sensitivity exists to take cognizance of the fact, that Pakistan’s nuclear choice, can not be treated at par with India, and that as far back as 1979, Pakistan, when it had reached nuclear capability, it had, out of its own volition, embarked upon a Policy of Nuclear Restraint, which contains all that constitute the spirit of CTBT:
- A low level, non-weaponised minimum credible deterrence, to be maintained.
- Ban on nuclear tests.
- First use of option to be retained as an essential element of deterrence.
- Cut off in fissile material production.
- Ban on export of nuclear substances and transfer of technology.
To ensure all these a very fool proof Command and Control Structure was created, which is functioning effectively till today. What is intended to convey is that, the restraint, Pakistan has chosen to exercise, was not due to external pressures, but in fulfillment of the moral imperatives. Pakistan is neither nuclear proliferator nor a hoader of nuclear materials.
The policy of the Government to sell nuclear materials requiring NOC include a list of specified substances, with full transparency and there is no ambiguity involved. Similarly the list of nuclear equipment has also been identified and any agency seeking these can place orders and only after assuring who be the End-Users, and for what purposes, the NOCs for export would be issued. Pakistan wants to share the facilities for productive and useful uses, as ensured in Eisenhower’s proclamation. The fear that it would promote proliferation regime, is baseless and unfounded. Actually, the reverse is true. Nations for want of hard currency dollar have been selling these in the global market through surreptitious means. “Nukes in brief cases”, available for acts of “terrorism” are frequently heard. The policy Pakistan has initiated, is a respectable way of the much needed foreign exchange, just as nations are embarking upon exporting Information Technology. Why nuclear technology can not be used for constructive enterprises, and also fetch money to get rid of economic hardships Pakistan is currently facing? It is indeed a very sagacious way to pay off debt which is an enormous burden on the national ‘psyche.’ Pakistan has a right to earn legitimate dollars.
Martin Luther King Jr., made a very apt observation. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but when he stands at times of challenge and controversy. What is true of a human, is also true of nations. Pakistan is passing through perilous times, which is essentially one of a challenge. The way out is what the Nuke advertisement has set forth to achieve.
Indian Nuclear Intimidation - Grim Challenge and Rational Response
There is a Chinese adage: "It takes more that one cold day for a river to freeze three feet deep". Indian obsession to become nuclear power to be able to seek entry into the prestigious nuclear club as its sixth member, extends nearly over half a century, when Dr. Bhabha established the Indian Atomic Energy Commission in 1944, three years prior to gaining independence. Since then the spree with which it has gone to add nuclear prefix to its power preponderance in the region, is indeed phenomenal. The explosion of the device in 1974 camouflaged as the peaceful one, only depicts a typical mind-set of the Indian Congress to hoodwink the world by virtue - loaded words - like secularism, peace and non-alignment, but in essence, working for the fulfillment of the same dream - the revival of the past glory - the essential Hinduness of India. The present Bhartiya Janata Party Government (BJP) has only bluntly communicated the same through bang and not whimper - the explosion of three nuclear devices - low yield, fission and fusion - on the same day, 11th May 1998 and two on 13th May 1998 to complete the so-called series. The attempt seemingly is to clear the cloud of confusion and ambiguity and unequivocally assert that India has the full capability of making all types of nuclear weapons including tactical to be hurled by artillery guns; Hiroshima type atomic bomb and the most ferocious and devastating, in its kill capability - the hydrogen bomb.
To describe the blast effect, the first nuclear fission bomb, dropped on Heroshima, Japan in 1945, released energy equaling 15,000 tons (15 Kilotons) of chemical explosives from less than 130 pounds (60 kilograms) of uranium. Fusion bombs, on the other hand, have given yields upto almost 60 megatons (one megaton equal to one million tons). Fusion devices are inherently vastly more powerful than those utilizing only fission. The strongest opposition against proceeding with the hydrogen bomb programme came from the nuclear scientists chaired by Oppenheimer. In their report, they recommended strongly against initiating an all-out effort, believing "that extreme dangers to mankind inherent in the proposal wholly outweigh any military advantages that could come from this development". A Super bomb, they went on to say might become a weapon of genocide. Despite the consensus not to produce the Super bomb the US military minds prevailed to go ahead with the hydrogen bomb programme and President Truman gave a green signal for manufacturing various kinds of nuclear bombs including hydrogen bombs.
The-Truman-like callous sensibility and the triumph of the military mind, found its replay in the Indian strategic thinking resulting in the recent blasts, particularly taking the fact into account that a good number of retired Indian military higher-ups, who constitute the think-tank of the BJP, do reflect on avowedly Jingoistic Hindu spirit. Display of the nuclear power is the compulsion of the Indian psyche, irrespective of whichever government happens to be in the saddle of power. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, projected otherwise as an apostle of peace, had very impatiently enquired from his nuclear mentor - Bhabha, around 1957 as to how soon he would be able to give the nuclear bomb to India. The gratifying answer was: "within two years", and eversince, every conceivable logistical support was provided towards this end. By now, over forty nuclear bombs are ready on the shelves, besides a vast quantum of fissile material (Platinum and Uranium), for instant manufacturing of these when required. Equipped with eight nuclear power reactors and a constant zeal to increase it further, reveals that India is out to become a mighty nuclear gargantuan and has practically gone berserk to fulfill this ambition.
This is evident from its establishment of elaborate research programmes - nearly forty five organizations wedded to the development of thermonuclear bombs and a whole array of missile systems. These are indeed mind boggling. No strategic mind can ever be convinced that these emanate from the need for security. It is only an attempt to rationalize a far deep-seated urge to dominate and be the successor to the British hegemony in the region. So over-powering is the urge that the reactions to the nuclear blasts, five in a span of forty eight hours-have found, by and large, approval from all the major political parties. The Congress supporters attribute this capability to the strategic vision of their stalwarts. The former Prime Minister Gujral said that India had proved that it was second to none in the area of high technology, and that the credit went to his government for the efforts to achieve this objective. The euphoria was also articulated by President Narayanan: "This event is a major break through in the realm of national security".
Why should India at this stage demonstrate its nuclear prowess, when no one ever doubted its scientific and technological capabilities. After all the massive testings of five types of missiles -developed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) including Trishul - the short range tripple-role missile, surface to surface, surface to air and with added use of the Navy, was fired on the same day when nuclear blasts were made. After all, missiles are nuclear delivery systems and what else?
The BJP government s decision to fulfill one of its major commitments of integrating nuclear weapons in its defence system, was the major prime-mover, for on this issue there was an overwhelming national consensus. It was thus a very shrewd way of stabilizing otherwise sinking political boat, under pulls and pressures from its coalition partners. Moreover, in the event the government collapsed and new elections had to be conducted, the BJP deemed it expedient that the dramatic impact of the explosions would serve as an insurance policy to come back with a massive mandate. The implicit message to the voters would be that, BJP was capable of implementing what it promised, and that its manifesto was not a sheer rhetoric or window-dressing.
There are other determinants which can not be brushed aside are:
a. India was finding it utterly difficult to suppress the freedom movement of the Kashmiris, despite massive induction of the armed forces. There were also reports of their soldiers getting demoralized, and discipline was hard to maintain. Failure to suppress the uprising had thus marked frustrating impact on the minds of the Indian leaders as well as the Army top-brass. The nuclear explosion, in a way was an attempt to rescue the sinking morale, and an over-compensatory mechanism as a manifest expression of excessive frustration due to failure of its policy in quelling the freedom struggle in Kashmir, exacerbated by accentuating fissiperous trends, in. practically every major province of India. In this context, one may mention a brilliant analysis made by John Bright, considered a great orator in the House of Commons in 1858. Incidentally, the book from which this extract is taken was presented to Beverly Nicholas by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. "How long does England propose to govern India? Nobody can answer this question. But be it 50 or 100 or 500 years. Does any man with the smallest glimmering of common sense believe that so great a country, with its 20 different nationalities and its 20 different languages can ever be bounded up and consolidated into one compact and enduring empire confine. I believe such a thing to be utterly impossible".One only wonders,if nuclear power alone can really act as glue to weld the nation together? The Soviet experience does not lend support to this hypothesis. Viewed in this light one can interpret the display of nuclear might not as much an attempt to convince others as it is to convince oneself.
b. If India is pressurised to sign the CTBT when President Clinton visits the sub continent, it would do so with a position of strength - a fait- accompli situation - that it was at par with other five nuclear powers of the world. In other words a quid-pro-quo could be negotiated so that India finds a coveted seat in the Security Council and gains a prestigious nuclear power status.
c. Realising that USA has a strategic compulsion to contain China and also the so-called Islamic Fundamentalists in Iran and the region, India deems it wise to play its diplomatic cards dexterously so as to maximise the economic and military benefits. What was a minor border skirmish of a very short duration between China and India in 1962, has been cashed by India to its maximum.
d. Both Soviet Union and USA provided massive help to India to augment its power potential. There is also a historical legacy of USA s leaning towards India to counter the so called Chinese power and influence. Senator Hubert Humphrey, as far as back as 1964, had said that USA must make India "strong enough to exercise leadership in the area".When China detonated the atomic bomb in 1964, Chester Bowles made a solemn promise; 'a closer military alliance with United States could bring the entire nuclear power of the Seventh Fleet into frontier struggle on the side of India, and India would have not only the atomic bombs, but the much more devastating hydrogen bombs at her disposal in the Fleet arsenal of weapons . So markedly skewed was American pubic opinion in favour of India that New York Times and Washington Post even went to the extent of advocating the bizarre idea of confederation between India and Pakistan, linked by a joint defence over Kashmir.
e. It is therefore not without significance that just prior to the detonation of the nuclear bombs, Indian Defence Minister George Farnandes, out of the blue, came out with a startling revelation that China posed a great threat to India, when indications were totally to the contrary, as the ties of friendship and cooperation were being built between these two vital geopolitical actors of the region. Such statements were not spontaneous expressions but were calculated to extract a favourable dividend from USA.
f. On 2 April 1998, the government of Pakistan warned the five nuclear states and other friendly countries, that India was making preparations for the nuclear tests and therefore India must be restrained from taking such irresponsible step, but this warning fell on deaf ears. Pakistan therefore would now be fully justified to take necessary steps to safeguard its national security interests.
g. What lends credence to the above appraisal is that there could be a connivance and a tacit approval on the part of USA and that its sophisticated surveillance satellite system could not detect the preparations for detonating five nuclear devices. If at all, it is true, then it speaks very poorly of the US intelligence net-work, or could it be that all its vigilance is for Pakistan, because within no time sanction was imposed on Pakistan for test firing of Ghauri, on the whimsical plea that Pakistan acquired it through North Korea.
h. When Bill Richardson Ambassador of the US to the United Nations, visited India and Pakistan, he did not bring the question of Kashmir, which is the major irritant and the only impediment towards peace in the region. However he had the audacity to warn Pakistan, "not to be the perpetrator of terror in Kashmir". Knowing fully well if Kashmir issue were resolved, there would be no need for India to build even conventional weapons what to speak of nuclear ones.
j. Samuel Huntington, a master architect of civilizational conflict, paid a recent visit to India to lend intellectual support to Hindu chauvinism and vociferously pleaded for USA (as a Christian civilization leader) to have attitudinal harmony and understanding with Hindu civilization to jointly face the so called menace of Islamic Fundamentalism and its collaboration with Confucian civilization. It was indeed a very pernicious theme to build up a case for BJP, out to establish a monolithic Hindu culture in India.
k. Imposition of sanctions against India is being taken very lightly by the strategic analysts, as they seem to nourish an idea that USA will have to renege its decision in this respect as soon as India agrees to sign the CTBT. Russia and France have already sided with India on this issue. So a very vital strategic gain would be achieved by India to become a nuclear power and not encounter any international wrath or punishment on that account.
The situation as it emerges, is indeed very critical for Pakistan demanding "a meticulously calculated response, untempered by the least bit of reflexive impulsiveness and outrage". Apart from other considerations, the two main aspects of this response should be:
a. Prepare to carryout tests at a time of our choosing and demonstrate all range and variety of our nuclear capabilities. We have in our possession a credible nuclear deterrence, which shall remain our functional imperative.
b. Task the armed forces of Pakistan to provide material help and support to the freedom fighters in Kashmir and bring to an end the barbarity and the brutality being committed endlessly on the helpless people of Kashmir by the Indian occupation forces, while remaining prepared to fight an all-out war with India.
While remaining within the framework of the above two policy decisions, Pakistan has to weigh these options with prudence and not with passion. The following should be the vital considerations:
a. We have not been the initiators of the nuclear or the missile race. Rather, traditionally we have followed a policy of restraint, for building-up our defenses against India; After the nuclear detonation by India in 1974, Pakistan took almost fifteen years to establish the much needed deterrence and then in 1989, decided to restrain the programme. Similarly, Indian missile programme, initiated in early 80 s was matched in the late 90 s with the firing of the Ghauri missile. And now in the present situation, let us keep ambivalence, and workout a well calculated response, to ensure security to our all vital interests.
b. A policy of restraint, which we have followed so far, would pay dividends in that, we can test USA intentions and the response of other countries to punish India for their intransigence, while we can ask for the quid-pro-quo, mainly on two issues mainly: Firstly, in its own right Pakistan must be free to re-establish the nuclear power balance in the sub-continent, while India is made to pay the price for disturbing this balance. Secondly, the free world must come forward to solve the Kashmir problem, before it is too late.
c. Sizing the mood and temper of USA and its erstwhile supporters, who are out to gun for Pakistan at every opportune moment, our gain would not be commensurate with the losses that we would encounter and India would get the relief. In any case, rationality demands that irrational overtures of our adversary should not be paid back through similar irrationality.
d. The changed regional paradigm demands that, in order to ensure peace in the region and to contain the hegemonistic and expansionist ambitions of India, Pakistan should work towards establishing a nuclear power equation between nuclear capable states in the region China has to play its due role in maintaining the nuclear balance.
e. Nuclear deterrence has helped maintain peace in the sob-continent since 1971 like it did in Europe during the cold war period but it was experienced that deterrence being volatile and unstable has to give way to detente, which must be pursued with force, to achieve the objectives of peace.
India must be made to realise its folly and a world opinion be aggressively mobilized to see that the nuclear adventurists do not get away so easily, who threaten regional and global peace. One is reminded of John F. Kennedy, who once said: "The men who create power, make an indispensable contribution to the nation s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution as indispensable."
The DAWN, May 21, 1998
What entails Signing CTBT?
There is a Spanish adage: “Drink nothing without seeing it, sign nothing without reading it”, and one may add “accept nothing without understanding it”. Confucius rightly cautioned: “If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.” CTBT is indeed not an easy matter to resolve as it has far reaching consequences for every individual of the country. Prudence, sagacity and caution are the pre-dispositional pre-requisites before exercising the excruciating choice.
Pakistan’s present predicament is awfully morbid and distressing. The economy is in distress, and life of ordinary citizen, due to spiraling prices of essential commodities, is miserable, to say the least. The Kashmir issue, in metaphoric sense is the bleeding wound, which has assumed cancerous proportions and the remedy is no where in sight, due to the obduracy of the Indian mind, fed on excessive military prowess. In the neighbouring Afghanistan, due to the excessive meddling of foreign powers, the situation has turned much too complicated and frightening. Added to the overall geopolitical dread, is the surreptitious design to degrade Pakistan’s nuclear capability and limit it to a point where it ceases to fulfill its deterrent objective. The pressure to ink signature on CTBT, therefore, is increasingly mounting. What must Pakistan do, requires a dispassionate appraisal..
India made nuclear adventure in 1974, by exploding a device, euphemistically terming it for “peaceful” purposes, which in turn, disturbed the power equilibrium of South Asia. It undoubtedly goes to the sagacity of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who in the supreme interest of the country, resolved to restore the imbalance: “If India builds the bomb, we will get one of our own, we have no alternative.” He further elaborated: “It would be dangerous to plan for less ... our plans should, therefore include nuclear deterrent.”
Within a span of twelve years, Pakistan, through relentless efforts, acquired the requisite nuclear capability. In 1989, when Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister, a strategic decision of far reaching consequence was made. The policy of “Nuclear Restraint” was adopted, based on the rational assessment that Pakistan had achieved the objectives of the nuclear programme which late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had set for Pakistan in 1975 and that there was no need for Pakistan to stockpile fissile material. Therefore, the measured decision was taken by the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) in 1979, contained the following elements:
· Enrichment of the fissile material, to be brought down to 3% and below.
· A low level, non-weaponised minimum credible deterrence to be maintained.
· Ban on nuclear tests to continue.
· Ban on export of nuclear material and technology to continue.
· First use option will be retained as an essential element of deterrence.
This historic decision was not made under duress, or due to limitations. It was a volitional act based on objective assessment of our strategic options. This policy was religiously adhered to until India once again made display of its overt nuclear power status, through a second blast in 1998. Pakistan was left with no option, but to establish the patent reality that its nuclear capability was not a bluff, and consequently a counter blast was an apt reply.
As for signing of CTBT was concerned, Pakistan had nothing to worry about, as its ‘Policy of Restraint’ had symbiotic relationship with the objectives contained in the CTBT. Pakistan could have signed it, as it would have make no material difference. It would only tantamount to formal declaration of its policy of “strategic restraint” it had voluntarily adopted in 1989 and was subsequently vindicated in 1998. All apprehensions about CTBT, therefore were ill founded, because:
· CTBT is not targeted to the roll back of our nuclear programme.
· It does not entitle foreign agencies to inspect our nuclear installations, and that our freedom in this respect would be maintained.
· There is no discriminative clause in CTBT, and all nuclear nations would be treated at par.
· The inspection teams will inspect only that site, which would be earmarked for nuclear tests and that too not without our concurrence.
Now, the time to sign the CTBT has passed, because the situation has significantly changed after India’s atomic tests of 1998 and promulgation of its Nuclear Doctrine containing within it, the passion for nuclear power and transcending the weapons capability to a pathological obsession to adopt nuclearism in its “strategic culture”, thus drastically altering the South Asian nuclear power balance. The Indian Nuclear Doctrine, envisages the grand ambition to be the nuclear lord of the region and beyond. It is not difficult to follow India’s nuclear ambitions, as the strategic thinker Subrahmaniam makes it no secret: “None should expect India to negotiate away its significant capability against Pakistan’s possession of a couple of bombs which they dare not use.” Pakistan “dare not use” its nuclear capability nor India has the courage to use it either – a situation which precisely serves the purpose of nuclearance deterrence, which is the objective of our policy of Nuclear restraint. Pakistan has no desire to stockpile nuclear weapons, or missiles and enter into an armed race with India. Status quo is the answer
Under the present constraints Pakistan cannot embark upon clipping its nuclear wings. It has to dispassionately reason out its options and give a serious thought to restrain itself from signing the CTBT. Bhutto very explicitly stated: “If Pakistan restricts her nuclear advantage, [it would] impose a crippling limitation on the development of Pakistan.”
“One must not take down the fence, unless one took into consideration why was it raised”, said a wise man. This we must adhere to with respect to the nuclear fence, as well. The political fall out of compliance to signing the CTBT, would be incalculable, compounded by the existing frustration of the broad masses; political suffocation and radical forces looking for such an opportunity to ride the bandwagon.
Some one rightly said: “Every age needs men, who will redeem the time by living with a vision of things that are to be “. That vision is the imperative of the time.