Pakistans nuclear arsenal comparable to Indias

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by Neo, Aug 26, 2006.

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  1. Neo
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    Neo RETIRED

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    Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal comparable to India’s: report


    WASHINGTON, Aug 25: Pakistan has between 24 and 48 nuclear weapons made from enriched uranium and perhaps three to five more powerful plutonium-based weapons, estimates the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

    In a recent report, the official Voice of America radio quoted FAS estimates of nuclear arsenals in South Asia, which showed India as possessing 30 to 35 nuclear bombs and warheads, far less than similar estimates by other organisations.

    FAS is a non-profit organisation formed in 1945 by scientists from the Manhattan Project who built America’s first nuclear bomb. Endorsed by 68 Nobel Laureates, FAS now focuses on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    Paul Leventhal, a nuclear weapons analyst, at the independent Nuclear Control Institute in Washington, said that Pakistan was “working on significantly increasing its ability to produce plutonium for weapons”.

    Corey Hinderstein of the Nuclear Threat Initiative monitoring group in Washington said that Pakistan’s desire to maintain a military parity with India “motivates … its quest for a larger atomic arsenal”.

    “The Pakistanis have been behind India in their strategic arsenal of nuclear weapons. And they’ve been trying to catch up,” she said.

    “Part of that is to achieve some sort of strategic parity. But also, there are domestic and regional audiences, and the Pakistanis need to show their own population that they’re not falling behind India.”

    “If a nation’s nuclear weapons are to serve as a deterrent against an attack, there has to be a way to make good on the threat to use them,” notes the VOA report while explaining Pakistan’s efforts to improve its weapons delivery system.

    India has weapons-capable aircraft and several types of ballistic missiles, including one that can carry 1,000 kilogram payload some 2,500 kilometres, the report adds.

    “In contrast, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons delivery systems are more limited,” Michael Levi, with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said.

    “Pakistan is certainly capable of attempting to deliver a nuclear weapon by aircraft. As far as missile delivery goes, it’s unclear what their capabilities are, but they are probably not able to have a significant missile delivery,” said Mr Levi. “It probably has the capability to deliver something by truck, though that’s a bit trickier to do.”

    Mr Levi also made a surprising revelation claiming that part of Pakistan’s nuclear war strategy might be to ‘detonate atomic weapons on its own soil to slow or halt an advance by India’s army.”

    Corey Hinderstein at the Nuclear Threat Initiative suggested that the US needs to make nuclear safeguards a top priority in its relations with Pakistan.

    “When it comes to Pakistan, it has never been the first item on the agenda (between Washington and Islamabad),” said Ms Hinderstein. “And unless it is, we (the United States) are not going to be able to exert influence on (President Gen Pervez) Musharraf, or on any Pakistani regime, to take seriously the risk of leakage or theft of their nuclear materials.”

    http://www.dawn.com/2006/08/26/nat1.htm
  2. Janbaz
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    Janbaz SENIOR MEMBER

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    NICE
    Happy to hear this
  3. RAPTOR
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    RAPTOR FULL MEMBER

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    I read a version of this article too. I dont know whether to laugh or cry over the idiot analyst's claims. Its a biased view obviously. He claims that Pakistan does not have a "significant" missile delivery system??:lol:
    Pakistan will deliver a nuke by Truck? :lol:
  4. sigatoka
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    sigatoka SENIOR MEMBER

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    Why is this suprising? If Indian forces make a large break through Pak. lines, Pak. would most probably drop a nuclear device on them rather than escalating directly onto nuclear attack on India's cities. However, because of the limited number of Pak. devices, they would very quickly be forced to escalate to strategic strikes.
  5. sigatoka
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    sigatoka SENIOR MEMBER

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    I think what he means is that Pak. ability to miniturise warheads is not very sophisticated, it has missiles and but few warheads that can fit on top of them.
  6. RAPTOR
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    RAPTOR FULL MEMBER

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    Do you really believe that? Or is he just another idiot trying to tell everyone india nukes are so much better than Pakistans nukes .
  7. RAPTOR
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    RAPTOR FULL MEMBER

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    Ok, think about it...During the 90's, Pakistan actually had F-16s fully capable of delivering Nuclear weapons on india . In 1998, 6 devices were exploded....out of which 3 were miniaturized sub-kiloton tactical nukes. Now do you really believe that 8 years later Pakistan still doesnt have the capability to mate its warheads on SHAHEEN and GHAURI missiles .....??
    Just last year it was announced that Pakistan is developing Plutonium Bombs small enough to be mounted on the BABAR Cruise Missiles..

    I personally think the guy who wrote this needs to take his meds.
  8. Neo
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    Neo RETIRED

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    Not surprising at all!
    Small subkiloton nukes are more effective against forwarding ground troops than cluster bombs.
    A small nuke can take out whole batallion at once!
    Three out of six nuke tests in 1998 were measured to be subkiloton.
  9. RAPTOR
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    RAPTOR FULL MEMBER

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    Very true, The Pentagon has developed tactical nukes to use against military targets. They are more effective if you want to actually use them against a batallion or underground bunkers. If you want to destroy whole cities..then you need the 5 megaton Hydrogen fission bombs.
  10. Officer of Engineers
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    Everyone outside of Pakistan consider those sub-kiloton claims to be just a red herring covering up dud nukes that failed to initiate.

    This being said, Pakistan doesn't have tac nukes. It doesn't make sense for them to have them. Even taking the largest claims of 100 nukes, wasting a nuke in a tac strike wouldn't do squat in the overall picture, especially against a line bn, not when there's 9 bns in a div.

    For Pakistan to even consider tac nukes, release authority must be given to div and bde cmdrs ... and that ain't happenning. And you've got to have training, alot of training, not only to deploy the nuke but to avoid the nuke as well. The last thing you want is your own nuke blowing a hole in your own lines for the enemy to pour through. We have seen no such training.

    If nukes are to be used on the battlefield, then it would more than likely be targetted against at least the corps level. Anything below that would not change the battlefield.
  11. sigatoka
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    sigatoka SENIOR MEMBER

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    I agree with you that the 100 nukes is the upperside, but if it is true, then why couldnt 20-30 of them be used in the tactical role?

    If more realistically Pak. has only 30-40 nuc. weapons, then yes they cant afford to use them in tactical role because at least 20 have to be reserved for strategic strikes and then another 10 have to be in reserve in the contingency that the IAF in a suicidal attack destroys F-16's with their weapons.

    I disagree that it doesnt make sense for Pak. to have tactical weapons. For eg in 99 instead of taking Kargil the Indian broke through in Punjab around 50km. That wouldnt not be reason enough to hit Indian cities with nucl. weapons, however it would be quite difficult if not impossible to remove the Indian forces with pak. army (they would be engaged heavily across the entire line). In such a case having 200-300 tactical nuclear weapons allows the possibility to destroy Indian forces in Pak. territory without targetting Indian cities.

    Keeping only a strategic deterrent being a weaker power (Pak. situation) is very dangerous becasuse the strategic deterrent becomes a white elephant and cant be used credibly. In fact Pak. military establishment realised this (painfully after 99) and have therefore initiated major expansion in nuclear weapons and delivery for such tactical weapons with purchase of F-16's.
  12. Officer of Engineers
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    So, you waste 20-30 battalions in individual engagements. How many more battalions does Indian have?

    You believe in limited nuclear exchange then. *** rolling my eyes ***

    That's strategic, not tactical.
  13. sigatoka
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    sigatoka SENIOR MEMBER

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    1. I dont understand what you mean?

    2. Tactical nuclear weapons should be used on Pak. soil to destroy Indian armoured divisions that break through which cant be removed with conventional forces. It also prevents India from reducing the effectivness of Pak. nuclear deterrent with salami tactics (that is making small advances none of which individually could justify strategic nuclear strike- this is apparent for all to see in Kashmir. Pak. strategic nuclear deterrent wasnt able to prevent India from undertaking to remove the militants. Would it have been able to deter Indian from advancing in Punjab or Sindh? Tactical nuclear weapons will prevent a golan heights situation, whereby India wins some land in Punjab or Sindh and tries to bargain it for Pak. to concede Kashmir or some other equally humiliating concession).

    The capacity to engage in tactical nuclear warfare is essential for the conventionally weaker party (Pak.). My opinion has undergone a total U-turn, before studying theory of games i too believed that tactical nuclear weapons served no purpose, I have come to realise now that they are essential.

    3. The increase in production of nuclear weapons with the extra F-16's will allow Pak. to devote the necessary amounts of weapons and planes to the tactical role while still keeping alive the ability to destroy major Indian cities in the strategic deterrent role.


    p.s. Officer I really am curious for your reply to point 2. You have always claimed that strategic nuclear weapons didnt prevent Indian thrust in Kashmir, I would have believed therefore it was natural that you would understand the reason for increasing Pak. tactical nuclear capability.
  14. Officer of Engineers
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    It means that hitting the lines ain't going to do squat. At the Fulda Gap, where we had nukes in the 1000s, they're restricted for airfields, assembly areas, and div and corps level HQs. You smash the shaft of the spear, not the tip.

    You really believe that they won't nuke your divisions?

    You really believe this BS. Ask yourself this, what if you're wrong?

    Tac nukes have their purpose but not the way you believe. They're to prevent the decapitation of the national command authority. Once a nuke war starts, command authority is delegated to div and bde commanders with the sole purpose of unleashing complete and utter destruction of all enemy forces within reach - regardless if the POTUS has been taken out or not.

    In other words, complete, unrelenting, unswerving nuclear war. We may not be able to reach Moscow but we sure will kill the reach of Moscow.

    What's stopping them from keeping it "tactica?" They kill your divisions and not your cities.

    Simply because no one who has ever threatened limited nuclear war ever got away with it. The Soviets tried - 3 times and 3 times, the US went to the full trigger. The Chinese tried - 3 times. 1 time against the USSR, the Chinese backed down. Twice against the US (both unintentional) and both times, the Chinese backed down.
  15. sigatoka
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    sigatoka SENIOR MEMBER

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    1. If India made a limited break in Punjab or Sindh, attacking Indian airfields, assembly areas, and div and corps level HQs would be an unacceptable escalation. Hitting Indian troops within Pak. territory would not.

    2. 4. They could, however Pak. strategic nuclear weapons will be used (hitting Indian cities) if 70% of Pak. ground forces are destroyed. The Indians would realise this and would therefore not use tactical nuclear weapons on Pak. ground forces within Pak. because it would force the threshold to be crossed too quickly.

    3. That doesnt make sense, how do they prevent decapitation? Isnt complete utter destruction the use of strategic weapons on cities? Remeber Pak. nor India have enough weapons right now to destroy the others military AND cities at the same time.

    5. Tactical nuclear weapons are not for threatening only (like strategic weapons are), they are meant to be used. If Indian troops make significant breaks in LOC, tactical nuclear weapons can be used to remove them. Also China dedicates the vast majority of its nuclear weapons to tactical role while Russia retains the capability to quickly produce hundreds of tactical weapons.