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Pakistan builds low yield nuclear capability amid concerns

farhan_9909

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This still image from a Pakistan military handout video shows a Hatf IX (NASR) missile being fired during a test at an undisclosed location in Pakistan April 19, 2011. - Photo by Reuters

SINGAPORE: Pakistan’s successful test of a missile able to carry short range nuclear weapons threatens to raise tensions in a region already nervous that the death of Osama bin Laden will create more instability.

Tactical nuclear weapons, as these are called, are often seen as more dangerous than the traditional strategic weapons because their small size and vulnerability to misuse. Theft makes them a risk to global security.

The biggest concern is that these low yield weapons are seen as less destructive and therefore more likely to be used than other classes of weapons, forcing most nuclear states to minimise the risk by cutting back stockpiles.

Pakistani experts say the country has been forced to develop tactical nuclear weapons because of India’s “Cold Start” plan under which Indian troops are primed to carry out a lightning strike inside Pakistan if another Mumbai-style attack is traced back to Pakistan-based militant groups.

The military said it had tested last month the 60-km (36-mile) range NASR surface-to-surface missile which carries nuclear warheads to boost “deterrence at short ranges”.

Security experts in the United States, India and Pakistan said it meant the military planned to deploy these weapons in the battlefield, escalating the regional nuclear competition that has often seemed a replay of the US-Soviet rivalry during the Cold War.

“Pakistan’s development and testing of nuclear-capable short-range missiles is a destabilizing and potentially dangerous development,” Daryl G. Kimball, the executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, said.

“It suggests that Pakistan would seriously contemplate use on the battlefield in the event of an incursion by Indian forces.”

India may yet respond by mounting nuclear warheads on its shorter range missiles to meet the Pakistani threat. It tested low yield nuclear devices in 1998 but there has been no word since then on whether it has added them to its arsenal.

“Our capability in the area of low yield fission devices is well known,” a former Indian defence scientist involved in the 1998 tests said, declining further comment.

Pakistan responded to India’s tests with explosions of its own. Both nations have since been expanding their arsenal, Pakistan even more and at a pace that Western experts say may, within a decade, make it the fourth largest weapons power, behind the United States, Russia and China.

Pakistan says it has invested a lot of resources to ensure that its nuclear facilities, materials and weapons are secure.

But Pakistan’s support for militant groups including al Qaeda and the Taliban, who have found sanctuary along the Afghan border, has always heightened concerns about its ever expanding armoury. These worries have deepened after al Qaeda leader bin Laden was found and killed in a garrison town.

If there was one nuclear-armed country that kept him awake at night, it was Pakistan, senior White House coordinator on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, Gary Samore said.

“What I worry about is that, in the broader tensions and problems within Pakistani society and polity…even the best nuclear security measures might break down,” Samore said in an interview published in the May 2011 issue of Arms Control Today.

“You’re dealing with a country that is under tremendous stress internally and externally, and that’s what makes me worry.”

DISPERSED WEAPONS

The problem with deploying tactical weapons to the battlefield is that command and control has to be dispersed down to military units on the ground.

This increases the risk of things going wrong, either through miscalculation, an accident or the nightmare scenario of infiltration by militant groups, nuclear experts say.

In either case, once Pakistan had fired off the missile, it would invite retaliation, the extent of which is unknown.

Within Pakistan itself, security experts have questioned the logic of deploying tactical weapons, arguing that it exposed the country to bigger risks rather than improving security.

Ejaz Haider, a Pakistani security expert and columnist, said if Pakistan is going to unleash these weapons as the Indian military crosses the border, it would effectively be dropping them on its own soil.

“We are, of course, not even considering how our own troops and population would be exposed to the fallout from a TNW (tactical nuclear weapon),” Haider said.

But several experts also say that India’s Cold Start doctrine, even if it is not fully operational, is seen as a real threat in Pakistan.

Cold Start is aimed at mounting rapid military incursions into Pakistan to punish it, take limited amounts of territory, and then negotiate to compel Islamabad to rein in militant groups that act against India.

It is not aimed at threatening the Pakistani state into resorting to its final, nuclear option, but it’s a risky gamble.
 

madooxno9

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Very true , that's what everyone has been saying .... deploying tactical nuke on it's own soil , how far it is justified and how they will answer the people later who will suffer from radiations and burns and collateral damage ......

and even if Pak unleashes nuke , the retaliation from Indian side would be some thing same short range missile with nuclear warhead but little more inside then the previous one launched by pak... that means both nukes are unleashed inside PAK soil.

It's really scary even to think such situation....god forbid we may never see such day.
 

Last Hope

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I read this on dawn news and before I could post, saw your thread.
What I think is this is just from a blog and not really required.

I mean literally, its a Nuclear missile, which would send radio-active waves everywhere, uncontrolable!
Who would use it in his own Nation? No one.

Nukes are made to scare of enemy and use only in the need when no other option is left!
 

Moorkh

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I read this on dawn news and before I could post, saw your thread.
What I think is this is just from a blog and not really required.

I mean literally, its a Nuclear missile, which would send radio-active waves everywhere, uncontrolable!
Who would use it in his own Nation? No one.

Nukes are made to scare of enemy and use only in the need when no other option is left!
you are right, nukes are supposed to avoid wars, not fight them.

however the development of tactical nukes does bring us closer to using them in a war instead of avoiding the war itself
 

T-Rex

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you are right, nukes are supposed to avoid wars, not fight them.

however the development of tactical nukes does bring us closer to using them in a war instead of avoiding the war itself
Avoid incursions into Pakistan and that way you'll avoid war itself.
 

nForce

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This still image from a Pakistan military handout video shows a Hatf IX (NASR) missile being fired during a test at an undisclosed location in Pakistan April 19, 2011. - Photo by Reuters

SINGAPORE: Pakistan’s successful test of a missile able to carry short range nuclear weapons threatens to raise tensions in a region already nervous that the death of Osama bin Laden will create more instability.

Tactical nuclear weapons, as these are called, are often seen as more dangerous than the traditional strategic weapons because their small size and vulnerability to misuse. Theft makes them a risk to global security.

The biggest concern is that these low yield weapons are seen as less destructive and therefore more likely to be used than other classes of weapons, forcing most nuclear states to minimise the risk by cutting back stockpiles.

Pakistani experts say the country has been forced to develop tactical nuclear weapons because of India’s “Cold Start” plan under which Indian troops are primed to carry out a lightning strike inside Pakistan if another Mumbai-style attack is traced back to Pakistan-based militant groups.

The military said it had tested last month the 60-km (36-mile) range NASR surface-to-surface missile which carries nuclear warheads to boost “deterrence at short ranges”.

Security experts in the United States, India and Pakistan said it meant the military planned to deploy these weapons in the battlefield, escalating the regional nuclear competition that has often seemed a replay of the US-Soviet rivalry during the Cold War.

“Pakistan’s development and testing of nuclear-capable short-range missiles is a destabilizing and potentially dangerous development,” Daryl G. Kimball, the executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, said.

“It suggests that Pakistan would seriously contemplate use on the battlefield in the event of an incursion by Indian forces.”

India may yet respond by mounting nuclear warheads on its shorter range missiles to meet the Pakistani threat. It tested low yield nuclear devices in 1998 but there has been no word since then on whether it has added them to its arsenal.

“Our capability in the area of low yield fission devices is well known,” a former Indian defence scientist involved in the 1998 tests said, declining further comment.

Pakistan responded to India’s tests with explosions of its own. Both nations have since been expanding their arsenal, Pakistan even more and at a pace that Western experts say may, within a decade, make it the fourth largest weapons power, behind the United States, Russia and China.

Pakistan says it has invested a lot of resources to ensure that its nuclear facilities, materials and weapons are secure.

But Pakistan’s support for militant groups including al Qaeda and the Taliban, who have found sanctuary along the Afghan border, has always heightened concerns about its ever expanding armoury. These worries have deepened after al Qaeda leader bin Laden was found and killed in a garrison town.

If there was one nuclear-armed country that kept him awake at night, it was Pakistan, senior White House coordinator on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, Gary Samore said.

“What I worry about is that, in the broader tensions and problems within Pakistani society and polity…even the best nuclear security measures might break down,” Samore said in an interview published in the May 2011 issue of Arms Control Today.

“You’re dealing with a country that is under tremendous stress internally and externally, and that’s what makes me worry.”

DISPERSED WEAPONS

The problem with deploying tactical weapons to the battlefield is that command and control has to be dispersed down to military units on the ground.

This increases the risk of things going wrong, either through miscalculation, an accident or the nightmare scenario of infiltration by militant groups, nuclear experts say.

In either case, once Pakistan had fired off the missile, it would invite retaliation, the extent of which is unknown.

Within Pakistan itself, security experts have questioned the logic of deploying tactical weapons, arguing that it exposed the country to bigger risks rather than improving security.

Ejaz Haider, a Pakistani security expert and columnist, said if Pakistan is going to unleash these weapons as the Indian military crosses the border, it would effectively be dropping them on its own soil.

“We are, of course, not even considering how our own troops and population would be exposed to the fallout from a TNW (tactical nuclear weapon),” Haider said.

But several experts also say that India’s Cold Start doctrine, even if it is not fully operational, is seen as a real threat in Pakistan.

Cold Start is aimed at mounting rapid military incursions into Pakistan to punish it, take limited amounts of territory, and then negotiate to compel Islamabad to rein in militant groups that act against India.

It is not aimed at threatening the Pakistani state into resorting to its final, nuclear option, but it’s a risky gamble.
has anybody else noticed this??The policy of Pakistan is changing to be more defensive towards India which previously used to be an aggressive one,which was based on Israel-like first strike strategy.
 

Jango

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you are right, nukes are supposed to avoid wars, not fight them.

however the development of tactical nukes does bring us closer to using them in a war instead of avoiding the war itself
nuking a neighbour is never a option....unless we fire a very low yield missile to the extreme east of india!....but sill...nukes are no option for either pakistan or india....they are a deterring force
 

pakdefender

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tactical nukes can stop a moving armour column dead in its tracks and they can decimate troop concentrations. The test firing of NASR has more to it than just a message for the enemy to the east.
 

Spring Onion

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has anybody else noticed this??The policy of Pakistan is changing to be more defensive towards India which previously used to be an aggressive one,which was based on Israel-like first strike strategy.
And who said when needed we wont go for Israel-like first strike strategy.
 

The Deterrent

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I read this on dawn news and before I could post, saw your thread.
What I think is this is just from a blog and not really required.

I mean literally, its a Nuclear missile, which would send radio-active waves everywhere, uncontrolable!
Who would use it in his own Nation? No one.

Nukes are made to scare of enemy and use only in the need when no other option is left!
Well,Pakistan is really into these weapons...the strategic missiles as Shaheen etc are for scaring,but NASR is a reality....
We will use it if IA occupies our territory...thats the policy...and there is one more to come...:pakistan:
 

tallboy123

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If pakistan uses this Nasr on Indian army when it will be moving towards them ,it's like blowing off nuke on their own soil..
and when pakistan make the war nuclearized then the Nuke from India will land on pakistan only...

So it would be 2 nukes on pakistan itself....'

Hmmm
 

tallboy123

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Well,Pakistan is really into these weapons...the strategic missiles as Shaheen etc are for scaring,but NASR is a reality....
We will use it if IA occupies our territory...thats the policy...and there is one more to come...:pakistan:
Then that makes ur nuking ur own nation!!!
 

Spring Onion

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If pakistan uses this Nasr on Indian army when it will be moving towards them ,it's like blowing off nuke on their own soil..
and when pakistan make the war nuclearized then the Nuke from India will land on pakistan only...

So it would be 2 nukes on pakistan itself....'

Hmmm
:what: :what: i think we should avoid such childish talk and also give some rest to the mods
 

Babur Han

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The use of Nasr on pakistani Soil could only make sense in Desert Areas, otherwise there will be a great colleteral Damage on the own Population !
 

Skies

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Dose Pakistan have any intension for chemical and biological weapons?
 

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