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Pakistan’s evolving nuclear doctrine

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by Devil Soul, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Devil Soul

    Devil Soul ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistan’s evolving nuclear doctrine
    By Hasan Ehtisham
    Published: January 9, 2018
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    If Pakistan has not released a nuclear doctrine, it does not mean that it has not got one. It is understandable that a small nuclear power that espouses a limited aim of deterring coercion from a larger neighbour, maintaining calculated ambiguity would be a rational choice. Clear articulation would limit Pakistani options. That said Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine can be ascertained if, for instance, statements by its National Command Authority are read closely.

    In September 2013, the NCA signalled that Pakistan would follow Full Spectrum Deterrence which surfaced during NCA meetings in 2015-16. Recently, the 23rd meeting of the NCA has reaffirmed its commitment to FSD.

    NCA’s adviser for development Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Kidwai has shed rare light on FSD and articulated that by this policy every Indian target is now in Pakistan’s striking range. Elaborating three elements of FSD, he counted the “full spectrum of nuclear weapons, with full range coverage of the large Indian land mass and its outlying territories.” In other words, FSD manifests that the authorities will utilise whatever methods are important to secure its interests.











    Analysts see this FSD approach as a qualitative response by Pakistan to counter the threat created by the Indian Cold Start Doctrine. In 2016, the Indian chief of army staff let the cat out of the bag by accrediting CSD — a politically unauthorised doctrine of a limited war under the umbrella of nuclear weapons. The shift in Indian doctrine has left Pakistan with no choice but to go for offensive options.

    Pakistan has adopted a method of gradual declaration of its nuclear doctrine, which neither clearly embraces a first use doctrine nor denies it. This bit-by-bit approach is useful because Pakistan responds to Indian actions that remain dynamic. The ambiguity in Pakistan’s posture is meant to deter a pre-emptive conventional attack and establish deterrence rather than practically initiating a nuclear war. This is why Pakistan has developed adequate conventional response mechanism to a pre-emptive conventional war doctrine. Although Pakistan’s nuclear programme is for solely defence purposes, it has always been under consistent threat from a much superior military adversary.

    There are numerous examples of threatening to utilise nuclear arsenals in order to compensate for conventional asymmetry. The US, with respect to Nato, adhered to the idea of first use in its long-standing nuclear policy. When the erstwhile USSR broke up, Russia expressly renounced the NFU pledge. The French nuclear doctrine is a hardcore form of first use in which Paris is theoretically working on nuclear weapons usage against conventional threats.

    There is an ongoing debate within India to depart from its NFU policy and to adopt a doctrine that comprises the obvious threat of first use, especially to address the asymmetry with China. In such scenario, a declared nuclear stance of a first use option would construct a dilemma for India. Unlike India, Pakistan’s nuclear strategy has always followed a pattern of providing minute information and upheld a calculated ambiguity about its nuclear doctrine.

    Henceforth, Pakistani officials will confront two challenges with respect to disclosure of nuclear doctrine. First, how to classify diverse levels of thresholds and to justify the magnitude of these redlines, where a nuclear retaliation could be seen as a possible outcome? Secondly, policymakers have to decide how to balance between clarity and ambiguity of the extent to which a declared policy could go.

    If Pakistan wants to establish FSD then along with nuclear capability, it has to expand its conventional capability. In Pakistan’s doctrine of FSD, a foremost exertion should consider improving its conventional capability and operational concepts to deal with evolving threats. Whereas the credible minimum deterrence should remain a foundation element for a flexible nuclear doctrine, ie, FSD. It is important for Pakistan to acquire an assured second-strike capability to counter widening gaps in Indian Ocean strategic stability.

    Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2018.
     
  2. Ahmet Pasha

    Ahmet Pasha SENIOR MEMBER

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    In the past Intelligence people used to communicate Intelligence to their handlers while working as journalists and writing news stories. The agwnt and handlers had a specific formula to decipher information.
    It was a classic trick in the book.

    And there are many anti-Pakistan journalists in Pakistan
     
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  3. randomradio

    randomradio BANNED

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    There is an ongoing debate within India to depart from its NFU policy and to adopt a doctrine that comprises the obvious threat of first use, especially to address the asymmetry with China.

    I wonder how many Pakistanis actually believe this.
     
  4. Retired Troll

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    Wiki

    The rationale behind the doctrine is to prevent India from any military intervention (both conventional and surgical) that would lead to the disintegration of the country, as it did in 1971 (see Indo-Pakistani war of 1971). The South Asian affairs expert, Professor Stephen P. Cohen terms the strategy of Pakistan an "option-enhancing policy".[1] According to sources, the doctrine entails a stage-by-stage level of advancement in which the nuclear threat is increased at each step to deter India (or any aggressor state) from attacking:

    A public or private warning.[1]
    A demonstration atomic test of a small atomic device on its own soil.[1]
    The use of (a) nuclear weapon(s) on Pakistan's soil against foreign attacking forces.[1]
    The use of (a) nuclear weapon(s) against critical but purely military targets on foreign soil, probably in thinly populated areas in the desert or semi-desert, causing the least collateral damage. This is possibly to prevent a retaliation against Pakistani cities.[1]
     
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  5. SABRE

    SABRE FULL MEMBER

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    Just saw this post. Even though it's an old one I thought to give it a go.

    The Pakistani military and government official never actually believed in India's NFU. In so many national and international conferences Pakistani officials alluded to this fact. Pakistan saw (& still sees) India's 1998 nuclear weapons tests largely as a move by BJP to achieve national political objectives as well as international prestige, and found the subsequent Indian nuclear doctrine as political appeasement policy to mellow down the international reaction & showcase India as a responsible state. The NFU was a prominent feature of this. Policy changes in Indian nuclear doctrine, however, do not really affect Pakistan's nuclear posture much. Pakistan's policy towards India will remain FU. The only change that may take place is that nuclear use from Pakistan may occur earlier than expected, perhaps at the onset of warfare escalation.

    Analyzing the discussions from within India over the years a significant disconnect was found between the PMO, the nuclear technical bureaucracy (DRDO) and the military. The PMO was only politically hands-on with the programme, DRDO was more driven by self-actualization then operational requirements, the military (end-user) had little a say in determining either the 'use policy' or the 'operational/force requirements.' The NFU suited such a political setup but offered very little operational benefits. This is one of the reasons why some of the hawkish Indian analysts and military personnel insisted on getting rid of the NFU. The only problem is, either or both the PMO and DRDO has to blink and relinquish significant control over the use-policy and weapons development to the military. Additionally, no mechanism exists to bridge the gap between the civilian leadership, nuclear technical bureaucracy, and the military. Some analysts in India believe that the government should emulate Pakistan's Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which serves as the secretariat for its nuclear command and control system, the National Command Authority (NCA). But seeing the gaps between how India works and what it desires there are two disturbing possibilities if it follows a similar path (a) the setup could become too democratic to function, or (b) it could lead to significant de-democratization of Indian nuclear weapons programme and use-policy.
     
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  6. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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  7. SABRE

    SABRE FULL MEMBER

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    Interesting. Have a lot to say about Obama's policies. But wondering what exactly does this have to do with the topic?
     
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  8. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    Because our policy is India Centric. Time to change that sooner or later west will come after you so start preparing for it and more nuclear warheads with MIRV based ICBMs would be a good start.
     
  9. LeGenD

    LeGenD ELITE MEMBER

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    If US perceive Pakistan as a threat, it is due to China factor alone.

    Pakistan need a strong economy to develop and manage ICBM program but if you assume that this capability will deter US then you are not paying attention or you need to study history.

    Case study # 1: USSR developed a massive ICBM strike capability but this initiative did not prevent US from working to undermine and disintegrate USSR, and the latter eventually succeeded. Russia, at present, is also facing economic hardships due to American economic sanctions.

    Case study # 2: DPRK have managed to develop an ICBM with input from China (and Russia) but this initiative did not stop US from subjecting DPRK to crippling economic sanctions and threatening it to be ERASED in a freaking UN session. As such DPRK have nuclear capability at the expense of economic prosperity, and heavily depends upon China to sustain its economic needs. More importantly, DPRK cannot afford to develop scores of ICBM under these circumstances.

    Case study # 3: China have a decent ICBM strike capability but this is not stopping US from subjecting China to economic sanctions and more in the coming years.

    Understand that WE cannot fight fire with fire in every context. Pakistan must strive for an INDEPENDENT foreign policy instead of picking sides in Cold Wars of superpowers. This is only possible if Pakistan look beyond CPEC and welcome investment from all over the world. Pakistan should openly request foreign investment from all over the world.

    This isn't to say that WE turn pacifist and/or ditch China (absolutely not) but WE must let all know that Pakistan will not entertain Cold Wars anymore. Stay clear from our borders.

    Pakistan should invest a huge sum in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum Computing (QC); to develop a massive force of impressive robots to safeguard its interests in the long-term. AI is the future, and robots will be a significant force-multiplier in battlefields of the future. These assets will uplift Pakistani defenses to new heights over time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  10. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    No they seriously don't like you and after Obama one of the major plans they have to is How to secure your nuclear weapons in case of TTP like group getting close to taking power or even if Mullahs are elected in a democratic elections. So you better start preparing for dealing with USA because they would come.
     
  11. SABRE

    SABRE FULL MEMBER

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    We do not have financial or technical means to develop an ICBM that can reach either the Eastern Coast or the Western Coast of the US. Additionally, we would be playing into the hands of the pro-BMD lobby in the US, the results of which are not only going to be negative for US-centric developments but also India centric developments. It's better and cheaper to pacify the US then to antagonise it.

    One surprises themselves when one says that Obama's foreign policy was almost a complete failure but that is the fact. It appears that Obama tackled foreign policy issues by ignoring them. It seems he believed that if you ignore a problem long enough it might go away. Either that or just leave foreign policy problems to others in the cabinet and bureaucracy to handle them. But even in leaving foreign policy issues to others he does not appear to have fully agreed with his cabinet members' and bureaucrats' opposing views. There seems to be a disconnect between him and Hillary Clinton and Chuck Hagel. Chuck Hagel had once stated that India had financed problems for Pakistan in Afghanistan. But instead of paying heed to him Hagel was shown the door (not necessarily for his pro-Pakistan statement though). Going by late Sen. McCain's analysis (on Hagel affair) it seems that Obama left big problems to others but never allowed them to solve or resolve them. Obama led Whitehouse would always intervene and try to micromanage things.

    The overall result of Obama's foreign policy? Israel has almost completely wiped out Palestine, ~70% Afghanistan fell into Taliban hands, relations with Pakistan worsened and AfPak strategy went down the drain as soon as it was introduced, the rise of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, North Korea went Nuclear and began developing ICBMs, and much much more. Obama's advisors, US think-tanks, journalists, pro-India lobbyists etc had all developed an anti-Pakistan narrative to explain why the US failed in Afghanistan and Obama bought it. He further put people in charge of Pakistan affairs who mostly appeared to have acted as anti-Pakistan firewalls. It is unbelievable that someone like Trump actually ended up nailing the question of why US' relations with Pakistan worsened when he said that 'you were dealing with the wrong people in my position', though he himself was following Obama Admin narrative initially.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  12. SABRE

    SABRE FULL MEMBER

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    And your idea of derailing such an eventuality is to develop an ICBM? If anything, such a development could prioritise US efforts to 'secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons' (as you put it) as then the threat in their perception would become relatively more immediate. Why wave the red in front of the bull?
     
  13. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    After only reading only two chapters of Bob Woodward's book Obama's Wars and few other books before that one thing is clear USA seriously doesn't like Pakistan and starting from Obama's Presidency one of the major plans they have to is How to secure your nuclear weapons in case of TTP like group getting close to taking power or even if Mullahs are elected in a democratic elections. So you better start preparing for dealing with USA because they would come. You have to prepare for them and ICBM and cruise Missiles like DF-100 are the way forward. They are the start than building economic power and with that increase your NAVY and Air Force and add Destroyers and Nuclear Submarines.
     
  14. SABRE

    SABRE FULL MEMBER

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    They will always have this plan. Nothing we can do will change their mind & developing US-Specific weapon will only prioritise their contingency planning. Since Pakistan's nuclear weapons devices are dispersed they concede they'll not be able to locate all of them. In such a case if we develop a US-specific nuclear device their first reaction would be to put economic burden that we will definitely not be able to bear. They would also deploy Aegis & THAAD BMD systems directly against Pakistan, which could drastically erode our India-centric nuclear deterrence as well. Not to forget a possible joint BMD network with Israel & India. They'll politically increase support for India, including on Kashmir, and much more. Talk about sawing off one's own foot. But here's the thing, rather than pushing for measures to ensure that Pakistan's nuclear weapons never fall in the hands of Non-State Actors (NSA) like TTP or measures to completely wipe out such NASs you want to ensure that the US is not able to do anything if such a crisis takes place? Luckily, measures have been in place and periodically improved and upgraded and the US officials seem satisfied with these measures.

    As far as DF-100/CJ-100 cruise missile types are concerned, I do believe that we do need a supersonic or hypersonic cruise missile. But that should and would be, in all likeliness, India-specific. We do not have financial and technical means to develop a cruise missile of the sort exceeding the range of 1000km-1500km. I have seen at least one source mention the range of DF/CJ-100 to be between 2000km-3000km. I think its a bit of a stretch for a super/hyper-sonic CM to cover this distance but who knows. Let's wait for the proper information to come out.

    As I said, Obama era journalists/media etc., were all scapegoating Pakistan for the US' failure in Afghanistan. Bob Woodward's book was one of the books at the forefront of this narrative and the narrative was selling like hotcakes back then. Sensationalism sells well. But the book's other hero, General David Petraeus, had a different take on Pakistan then Woodward, which relatively more positive. Other US military officials have also voiced a relatively positive opinion on Pakistan's nuclear safety and security measures and our role in the Afghan war, regardless of all the falling out.
     
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