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Pakistan’s Nuclear Capability: Cost And Benefit

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by ArsalanKhan21, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. ArsalanKhan21

    ArsalanKhan21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Pakistan’s Nuclear Capability: Cost And Benefit – OpEd
    January 9, 2015 Eurasia Review Leave a comment
    By Hasan Ehtisham

    The “opportunity costs” of nuclear weapons is a thought provoking concept in Pakistan, North Korea and India; where the development of nuclear weapons take place against a backdrop of prevalent poverty and unmet basic needs. Therefore some prominent nuclear physicists in Pakistan, i.e. Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy and Dr. A.H. Nayyar, insist that development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan is a main source of its economic deprivation and Paranoia. For them, the nuclear testing of 1998 was the main reason for the economic crises in Pakistan. This is exactly a guns versus butter debate—a selection between taking care of the people who serve, or the development of equipment needed to contest and prevail in current and future conflicts.

    Nuclear weapons and the debate over the necessity for such weapons have persisted for several years. As opinions against nuclear weapons increase, so too do more and more countries yearn to possess these weapons and demonstrate their power. This means that we have to discover those benefits which are of such significance that a country prefers to divert a huge portion of its finances from public sector to become a nuclear capable state.

    The rational for Pakistan to develop a nuclear weapon was so that the country could have the self-reliance to ensure its security. After the hefty losses in the wars of 1948 and 1965, and the debacle of 1971, Pakistani leadership understood that none of the great powers were going to support Pakistan in times of crisis against any Indian aggression. Therefore self-reliance was the crucial idea of Pakistan’s policy makers to make sure that only Pakistan should be responsible for defending their country against any Indian offensive. In this regard, we must understand that being a nuclear power is crucial for Pakistan’s survival and sovereignty. Preserving and improving national security is vital to the national interest, and expenses from the state budget in support of this objective are permissible.

    For a country like Pakistan, having nuclear weapons means that it has the ultimate strategic defense. Wars are bad for the economy and nuclear deterrence is a best tool to avoid wars. A short conventional war between India and Pakistan would cost Islamabad U.S. $ 350 million per day. Now one can easily estimate the economic deprivation if Pakistan had to face another 1971 debacle without having any nuclear weapons. In contrast, to conventional warfare, nuclear deterrence has made wars between nuclear states rationally non-viable.

    In this regard, the possession of nuclear weapons serves not only military and political purposes, but also economic functions. The acquisition of nuclear weapons appears to be associated with the long-term decline in conventional military spending. This is acutely accurate in the case of Pakistan. Pakistan’s conventional military expenditure has been constantly on decline since the nuclear tests. Military expenditure (% of GDP) in Pakistan was measured at 5.3 % in 1998, according to the World Bank. In 2012 that expenditure was 3.13 %. This is a clear instance where nuclear capability served as a major cause to diminish military expenditure in Pakistan.

    Moreover, we have to not forget that the Pakistan nuclear establishment is also progressive in the peaceful use of nuclear technology. The use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes especially in energy sector can generate some of the largest economic benefits due to the size and the number of workers needed to operate the nuclear plants. The 100 nuclear units in the U.S. are generating substantial domestic economic value in electricity sales and revenue up to $40-$50 billion each year. Canada’s nuclear energy industry has revenues of about $6.6 billion. Pakistan can also achieve the same feat by the extent of civilian benefits from nuclear weapons spending.

    Pakistan has the experience of operating nuclear technology, which spans over four decades. Pakistan has the qualified manpower and professionals and it is now constructing a fourth and fifth nuclear power plants. Pakistan has reached a remarkable milestone in scientific research by becoming an associate member of the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN). Pakistan can utilize nuclear science and technologies for its national programmes for the benefit and improvement of the society especially in energy sector. Thus, Pakistan will be able to facilitate other countries of the region in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and this cooperation will generate revenue to stabilize our economy.

    The constructive uses of nuclear science are visible in applied sciences, food, agriculture, biotechnology, human health, energy and industry. Today Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission PAEC has numerous institutes to render facilities for Research & Development in these benign areas. The major institutes which are performing research in nuclear physics are Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH); Nuclear Institute of Agriculture (NIA); Nuclear Institute of Agriculture and Biology (NIAB); Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA); National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) and National Institute of Lasers and Optronics (NILOP). These all institutes are sharing their part in social inspiration.

    I feel wrought up when people say, what is the use of being a Nuclear power when people are dying of poverty? This is the fact that social development should be the first and primary focus, but cutting down on our nuclear budget is not the answer. So we have to understand that Pakistan’s economic deprivation is not because of its nuclear weapons, however these weapons are source that provide channels to take economic strides and develop the nation. Hence, economic progress can also be achieved as Pakistan accomplished its nuclear feat; all we need is devotion and sincerity of purpose.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  2. ArsalanKhan21

    ArsalanKhan21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    The nuclear future of Pakistan

    The nuclear future of Pakistan
    The faster the world is entering the age of space technology coupled with electronic jamming systems and missile defence systems, the quicker nuclear bombs are losing their importance as annihilating instruments

    It is said that the end of the Cold War in 1991 marked the advent of the second nuclear age, the first being the Cold War era itself. The second nuclear age can be divided into two phases. The first phase was from 1991 to 2000 in which Pakistan refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and tested its nuclear weapons in May 1998. Nevertheless, the era ended with Pakistan (like India) struggling to cope with economic sanctions (under the Glenn Amendment) imposed by the US in reaction to their nuclear tests. The second phase (from 2001 onward) began with the gory incident of 9/11. This phase is marked by Pakistan’s entering into the war on terrorism. Consequently, two concessions were given to Pakistan: first, economic sanctions were lifted and, second, the (alleged) activities of the nuclear proliferation network of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan were condoned (though the stigma of nuclear proliferation is still attached to Pakistan’s name). Economic sanctions on India were also lifted in 2001 and it joined the war willingly.


    Pakistan is a de facto nuclear state but it is still at the level of an unrecognised one (or not a legitimate nuclear power). Pakistan intended to sign both treaties as a legitimate nuclear power and not as a non-nuclear power. Pakistan, like India, had been refused to do so. Nevertheless, there can be identified five main facets that have individual or collective bearing on the nuclear future of Pakistan. First, Pakistan has so far shown a reactive nuclear posture towards India. Pakistan did not sign the NPT and CTBT simply because India did not sign them and Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons because India tested its own (second time) in 1998. In this way, Pakistan has selected to hide behind India’s nuclear posture instead of erecting its own.


    Second, Pakistan claims that its nuclear capability is for deterrence against any Indian aggression. In relation to the phrase, nuclear deterrence, Pakistan may be thinking in terms of first strike or second strike capability as a nuclear-use doctrine, though it is understandable that first strike (convenient for Pakistan) against India is difficult because of India’s huge Muslim population and the second strike (not convenient for Pakistan) against India is itself full of technical complexities in the given (longitudinal) strategic depth of Pakistan. However, it seems that Pakistan is approaching a time when the relationship between nuclear and deterrence (whether minimum or maximum and whether quantitative or qualitative) may become irrelevant. Similarly, the time is moving beyond strike options, as counter-strike capabilities are the talks of a nuclear warfare that has practically never taken place except theoretically. The faster the world is entering the age of space technology coupled with electronic jamming systems (electronic warfare) and missile defence systems (missile warfare), the quicker nuclear bombs are losing their importance as annihilating instruments. Pakistan is not ready yet for these types of warfare.


    Third, Pakistan still takes refuge in various theories of encirclement such as China encircling India, India encircling Pakistan and the US encircling China. These theories help Pakistan to be fearful of one country and to count on another country to readjust its foreign policy accordingly. However, the post-2001 era has brought to the fore the necessity of economic cooperation. For instance, in 2008, the US signed the 123 Agreement with India to sell it nuclear fuel and reactor components for civilian nuclear consumption to generate energy. The US expected to earn something in return. Similarly, the US-China trade volume (import plus export) was $ 521 billion in 2013 in comparison to two billion dollars in 1979, despite differences between both countries on various disputes over the South China Sea. One of the major reasons compelling the US to engage China and India was to make them contribute politically and economically to the war on terror, and they did. In a way, three independent economies (US, China and India) are trying to share something financial amongst them. Pakistan is relying on two of them financially and is hostile towards one of them militarily. Pakistan has not yet realised that encirclement theories are more congruous to the Cold War era than afterwards.


    Fourth, Pakistan relies overly on China to gain strength of its (nuclear and physical) survival regionally. However, the post-2001 era is witnessing a gradual shift in China’s position both regionally and internationally and with that the comfort zone (where Pakistan used to bask) is also shrinking. China and India are both trying to foster trade relations with each other (despite their differences on Tibet) and seek benefits from each other’s growing economies. For example, there are earnest efforts from both sides to develop a land trade route such as the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor and sea route such as the Maritime Silk Road (MSR). Both countries also intend to deal with each other politically and economically at the platform of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) where Russia is their third main partner. Both countries are willing to invest in each other and enhance people-to-people contact. Similarly, both are willing to settle for border peace through mutual settlement or through the status quo. Pakistan has not learnt yet how to survive both regionally and internationally without China’s help.


    Fifth, Pakistan is beset with a huge foreign debt and liabilities amounting to $ 65 billion in September 2014. These debts and liabilities are bound to keep Pakistan technologically backward and economically dependent on other countries and international financial institutions. Pakistan has not yet learnt the lesson on how to live economically independent as a proud nation.

    The writer is a freelance columnist and can be reached at qaisarrashid@yahoo.com
     
  3. gslv mk3

    gslv mk3 BANNED

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    I thought they were Chinese designs.
     
  4. ArsalanKhan21

    ArsalanKhan21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    The Kahuta Nuclear plants are designed by Pakistani Nuclear Engineer Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood.
     
  5. gslv mk3

    gslv mk3 BANNED

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    links ? What kind of reactors are they ?
     
  6. ArsalanKhan21

    ArsalanKhan21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Mehmood joined the PAEC in 1968, joining the Nuclear Physics Division at the Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology working under dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan. His collaboration took place with Samar Mubarakmand, Hafeez Qureshi and was a vital member of the group before it got discontinued in 1970.[6] Mahmood was one of the foremost experts on civilian reactor technology and was a senior engineer at the KANUPP I— the first commercial nuclear power plant of the country.[7] He gained notability and publicity in the physics community for inventing the scientific instrument, the SBM probe to detect leaks in steam pipes, a problem that was affecting nuclear plants all over the world and is still used worldwide.[1]

    On 20 January 1972, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto approved the crash program under Munir Ahmad Khan for a sake of "national survivor."[9] Though, he continued his work at the KANUPP I engineering division.[10]

    In the aftermath of surprise nuclear test conducted by India, Munir Ahmad appointed Mehmood as the director of the enrichment division at the PAEC where majority of the calculations were conducted by dr. Khalil Qureshi– a physical chemist.[11] Mehmood analyzed the diffusion, gas-centrifuge, jet-nozzle and laser methods for the uranium-enrichment; recommending the gas-centrifuge method as economical.[12] After submitting the report, Mehmood was asked to depart to the Netherlands to interview dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan on behalf of President Bhutto in 1974.[13] In 1975, his proposal was approved and the work on uranium project started with Mahmood being its director, a move that irked more qualified but more difficult to manage dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan who had coveted the job for himself.[14]

    In 1980s, Munir Ahmad secured him a job as project manager for the construction of the Khushab-I where he served as chief engineer and aided with the designing the coolant systems.[1] In 1998, he was promoted as a director of the nuclear power division and held that position until 1999.[1]

    After the reactor went critical in April 1998, Mahmood in an interview had said: "This reactor (can produce enough plutonium for two to three nuclear weapons per year) Pakistan had "acquired the capability to produce.... boosted thermonuclear weapons and hydrogen bombs."[1][15] In 1998, Mahmood was honored with Sitara-e-Imtiaz in a colourful ceremony by the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif.[1]

    In 1998, he was promoted as a director of the nuclear power division and held that position until 1999.[1]
     
  7. gslv mk3

    gslv mk3 BANNED

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    Yes,thank you.

    Khushab-I was commissioned in March 1996 and had gone critical and began production in early 1998. It is a 50 MWt Heavy water and natural uranium research reactor for production of plutonium and tritium for advanced compact warheads.

    KANUPP I was a CANDU reactor supplied by the Canadians.
     
  8. fck new world order

    fck new world order FULL MEMBER

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    I think India has Canadian and Russian designs too, right ? oh sorry they are india's indigenous designs. :secret:
     
  9. gslv mk3

    gslv mk3 BANNED

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    Nopes buddy ...We have CANDUs, and Russian WVER 1000s -but most of Indian reactors in operation/construction today are indigenous PHWRs (of 220,540 & 700 MWe)and Fast Breeder reactors.
     
  10. I.R.A

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    The opportunity cost that would always be relevant in any financial decision, somehow in my opinion does not matter when your survival is at risk. And in Pakistan's decision to go nuclear, I do not see any opportunity cost as no ongoing projects were stopped because of Pakistan’s pursuit of nuclear objectives, so if you look at it there never was any opportunity cost involved, may be for politicians and bureaucrats (they earn kickbacks from civil development projects) it matters, but for people of Pakistan it does not matter at all.

    And the benefits of going nuclear out weigh the associated costs.

    I find this individual highly frustrated, demotivating and biased. He will never be happy no matter what you do. He belongs to the class who think themselves as champions of everything and others as idiots who are always wrong. So he can bend his back and kiss his own a$$ I give a damn about him, good we have remotes to switch TV channels.
     
  11. Krate M

    Krate M FULL MEMBER

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    Both articles use nuclear weapons and nuclear power interchangeably. That is wrong.

    The benefits of nuclear power are great, while nuclear weapons are a liability, to quite an extent.

    They are a shield of sorts, which can be heavy for a country to carry. The articles do not discuss the nuclear weapons and doctrine of Pakistan sufficiently, which would be critical for such cost benefit analysis.

    There should be a debate in Pakistan on the type of nuclear weapons and how they would ensure the protection of Pakistan as a nation state. How many is too many and how much is enough.

    Also consideration of weather patterns and directions of airflow and water sharing also need to be thought about.
     
  12. wiseone2

    wiseone2 BANNED

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    Having nukes to deter India is one thing

    but Pakistani military has used their ownership of nukes to support Taliban, to shelter Osama and back militant groups. i am not sure the costs of those adventures are being weighed in.
     
  13. I.R.A

    I.R.A ELITE MEMBER

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    This is the main reason, in fact the only reason for Pakistan to have nukes.

    Awww come on be practical what nukes have got to do with covert wars?
     
  14. wiseone2

    wiseone2 BANNED

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    I think the Pakistani military brass are pursuing all this silly ideas because they have nukes to fall back.

    Trust me if Iran backed the Taliban and the Taliban sheltered Osama Iran would not gotten off so easy.