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Pakistan's Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by Zarvan, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    [​IMG]

    Chinese Weishi-2 Ballistic Missile renamed by Pakistan at the NASR (Hatf-IX)
    Hatf IX (Nasr)
    is a Pakistani ballistic missile which can deliver a sub-kiloton nuclear warhead over a range of 60 km, or 37.3 miles. It is supposed to have entered service in 2013 and is believed to be fully integrated into Pakistan’s C3I (command, control, communications and intelligence). Its purported role is as a low-yield battlefield deterrent against mechanised columns. Should India – and the world – take Nasr seriously?

    The development and deployment of Nasr by Pakistan was inevitable and the impact of this tactical nuclear weapon (tac nuke) on the emerging India-Pakistan deterrence relationship is inherently destabilizing.

    Defining Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Pakistani Context

    There are four different yardsticks by which tac nukes could be defined and classified. The first is the range of the missile: it must be short range, that is less than 80-100 km. The second is yield of warhead, conventionally benchmarked at less than 5 kilotons (kT) with reference to a 1994 US Congressional definition prohibiting R&D in US nuclear weapons laboratories below this yield. The third is function – Pakistan would use its tactical nuclear weapons in an anti-armour role; bunker busting is the primary role envisaged by US proponents of research into low yield nuclear weapons. The fourth yardstick is impact, which in the case of tac nukes is limited to the immediate battlefield, or in other words, the sub-theater.

    Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Problem than a Solution?

    Why are tac nukes usually seen as a problem rather than as a solution? In the first place, they lower the nuclear threshold by blurring the distinction between conventional and nuclear war. Secondly, tac nukes accentuate the ‘always-never dilemma’ inherent in all nuclear weapons: they must always work when you want them to, yet never be used when you do not want them to be used. The possibility of unauthorised or accidental use increases significantly with tac nukes: unlike ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), whose commanders have delegative control, in the case of tac nukes delegative control may go down to subaltern/NCO levels under battlefield conditions. Thirdly, battlefield deployment of tac nukes, especially in situations of rapid armour movement, creates an enormous pressure to ‘use them or lose them’. Finally, there is a much greater possibility for tac nukes to fall into ‘wrong hands’ due to theft, pilferage or sabotage.

    Given these problems, all of them well known for decades, why has Pakistan gone down the tac nuke route? In order to understand why, it is important to underline that Pakistan has, from even before South Asia’s overt nuclearisation, signalled a nuclear doctrine of not only first use but also early use. This doctrine has created problems for Pakistan, whose nuclear planners have had to grapple with the issue of nuclear thresholds, that is the point beyond which Pakistan would have no option but to use its nuclear weapons. As far back as 2002, the Landau Network–Centro Volta team (Cotta-Ramusino and Martellini) had identified four Pakistani thresholds: geographic (space threshold), military, political (domestic destabilisation) and even economic. Tac nukes are Pakistan’s solution to the military threshold.

    Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Here to Stay

    There are three essential features of Pakistan that suggest that its tac nukes are here to stay. Firstly, as the weaker power in the India-Pakistan dyad, Pakistan faces significant conventional asymmetries. Only nuclear weapons provide Pakistan with a sense of strategic parity with India. Faced with the possibility of an Indian armoured thrust in the plains or desert sectors, Pakistan is signalling that it will use its tactical nuclear weapons despite their escalatory potential.

    Secondly, Pakistan is a quintessential ‘homeland state’ with deep existential anxieties. Its entire national identity has been constructed as a homeland for an endangered people facing a historically implacable foe. No matter how many internal security challenges it faces, Pakistan will not drop its guard vis-à-vis India and will always give the external threat primacy. In such an identity construction, nuclear weapons give Pakistan and its people the assurance of national survival and civilizational certitude that they are second to none. Furthermore, they encapsulate the sense of ‘we will all go together when we go’ – akin to the Samson Option of that other nuclearised homeland state, Israel.

    Finally, Pakistan is a revisionist power that has systematically pursued asymmetric strategies to overturn the territorial status quo. In this context, the nature of the ‘Kashmir issue’ comes into sharp focus. As a wise person once said of the Kashmir issue, ‘Kashmir is with India, the issue is with Pakistan.’ While admittedly a neat play on words, this observation identifies two core elements in the ‘shadow of the future’: (1) The Kashmir issue will be resolved only when Pakistan considers it resolved; (2) any change in the territorial status quo would be inimical to India. Pakistan’s dilemma is the nuclear weapons give it strategic parity but also buttress the territorial status quo. This explains why Pakistan has no compunction in deliberately shortening its nuclear fuse vis-à-vis India by deploying tac nukes.

    An arms control agreement between India and Pakistan over tac nukes is unlikely: there is no incentive for Pakistan to remove a redline that begins at the international border (IB) itself. The strategic challenges that Pakistan’s tac nukes pose for India will be explored in a future column.

    Pakistan's Tactical Nuclear Weapons
     
  2. war&peace

    war&peace ELITE MEMBER

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    A typical rant of an Indian or Indian origin (Varun Sahni) against Pakistani nuclear missile..Nothing new
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  3. Tipu7

    Tipu7 SENIOR MEMBER

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    You love opening such threads, don't you @Zarvan :azn:
     
  4. Sheikh Rauf

    Sheikh Rauf SENIOR MEMBER

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    whos that smart A&& said that Kashmir is with india and issue is with Pak.. i think 700 thousands army in one place is not without reason the issue is uncontrolable ..
    i would say if anything happen between Pak and ind, Pak sud not fight in Kashmir chose thar or thal then india will have to move some or their army from there and i think Kashmiri would know what to do then .
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  5. herono1

    herono1 BANNED

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    All such stupid strategies led to division of bangladesh in 1972.
     
  6. Umair Nawaz

    Umair Nawaz ELITE MEMBER

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    @Zarvan Oye Sufi grenade, why do u have to post all these indian dreams?
     
  7. Hakikat ve Hikmet

    Hakikat ve Hikmet ELITE MEMBER

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    As far as I have understood Indian strategy is to make an armored thrust along a broad lateral theater to completely destabilize Pak defense. Didn't they try it 1965 with the largest tank battle after WW2? Every now and then the World wakes up to see the entire Indian Army at the Pak border. Is it Pak's fault that India's generals haven't got their Rommel/Montgommery/Zukhov/Patten moment yet? Next time maybe!!
     
  8. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    Well my choice dude
     
  9. Sheikh Rauf

    Sheikh Rauf SENIOR MEMBER

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    :) you cant keep Kashmir you can move in and out its so hard for you cuz its Naturally with Pakistan.. imagin 4000 miles apart and between a nation who Hates them... wow survive 24 years isnt that enough...
    we have same patren for army police berucracy school system religious it wont be hard to unite ...
    indian cry me river~
     
  10. war&peace

    war&peace ELITE MEMBER

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    That's a new for me :rofl::rofl:
     
  11. knight11

    knight11 BANNED

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    NASR Tactical Ballistic Missile is a Renamed Chinese Weishi-2 (WS-2) SRBM

    Barack Obama Urges Pakistan to Avoid Raising Nuclear Tensions with New Weapons

    WASHINGTON:
    At a time of heightened tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, US President Barack Obama urged Pakistan on Thursday to avoid developments in its nuclear weapons program that could increase risks and instability.
    In talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House, Obama also sought help in getting the Afghan Taliban back to peace talks, something vital to his faltering bid to bring US troops back from Afghanistan.
    With tensions high between Pakistan and India, Washington has been concerned about Pakistan's development of new nuclear weapons systems, including small tactical nuclear weapons, and has been trying to persuade Pakistan to make a unilateral declaration of "restraint."
    However, Pakistani officials said Islamabad will not accept limits to its weapons program and argue that smaller tactical nuclear weapons are needed to deter a sudden attack by India.
    In reference to Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Obama "stressed the importance of avoiding any developments that might invite increased risk to nuclear safety, security, or strategic stability," a White House statement said.
    In a joint statement, both leaders said "all sides" should act with restraint and work toward strategic stability in South Asia.
    The statement said Obama and Sharif expressed their commitment to the Afghan peace process and called on Taliban leaders to enter direct talks with Kabul, which have stalled since inaugural discussions in Pakistan in July. The talks broke down after the Afghan intelligence agency said Taliban leader Mullah Omar had been dead for two years.
    "It's a setback, no doubt, and it will take some time to overcome this setback, but we will try again," Sharif told reporters after his meeting with Obama.
    In his talks with Sharif, Obama also raised concerns about Americans held hostage by militants in the region and welcomed Sharif's offer to assist in ensuring their safe return, the White House said in an apparent reference to an American couple kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012.
    A senior administration official declined to elaborate. "For their safety and security, we are not going to offer specific details beyond the fact that we are aware of a small number of American hostages in this region," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
    The Taliban insurgency has escalated since tens of thousands of US-led NATO combat troops withdrew from Afghanistan ahead of an end-2014 deadline, hampering Obama's efforts to withdraw remaining US troops.
    Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center think tank said that as well as seeking help to revive the peace talks, Obama would have stressed to Sharif the need for Pakistan to do away with militant sanctuaries inside its borders used as bases from which to target the US-backed Afghan government and US forces.
    "Obama knows that a political solution is needed to end the Afghan war, and for that you need help from the Pakistanis," he said.
    However, Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution said it was not clear Sharif had the clout with his own army to get military leaders to pressure the Taliban back into talks.
    Despite the tensions, the Obama administration is preparing to sell Islamabad eight F-16 fighter jets in a bid to bolster ties, a US source familiar with the matter said.
    The joint statement made no mention of the sale, which Congress could block, but said Sharif "expressed satisfaction with the cooperation achieved in defense relations."
    The joint statement said the two leaders discussed the continuing threat of nuclear terrorism and stressed the importance of improvement in Pakistan-India relations.
    The Federation of American Scientists said this week that since 2011, Pakistan has deployed two new nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles and a new medium-range ballistic missile and was developing two extended-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and two nuclear-capable cruise missiles.
    It estimated Pakistan's stockpile had grown to 110 to 130 warheads from 90 to 110 in 2011 and could reach 220 to 250 by 2025, making it the world's fifth-largest nuclear-weapons state.
    Washington worries that the smaller size of tactical nuclear weapons makes them more tempting to use in a conventional war - and harder to prevent from falling into militant hands.
    Pakistani officials say Washington is demanding unreasonable limits on its nuclear weapons while not offering much in return apart from a hazy promise to consider Pakistan as a recognized recipient of nuclear technology.
    – It is developing the NASR (Hatf-9), a short range, solid-fuel missile with a range of only 60km (37 miles), according to the report. The missile is meant for use in a war if India launches an attack.
    – Pakistan is also developing two new cruise missiles, the ground-launched Babur (Hatf-7) and the air-launched Raoad (Hatf-8), the report said.
    – Pakistan is also developing a nuclear submarine, a Pakistani official told Reuters. The reasons is to have a sea-based second strike capability in case an attack destroys nuclear weapons on land.
    – Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also expected to make it clear to US President Barack Obama that Pakistan will not accept limits on its use of small tactical nuclear weapons.
     
  12. Umair Nawaz

    Umair Nawaz ELITE MEMBER

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    Saeen b Saeen, Saeen ki Choice b Saeen.
     
  13. Immanuel

    Immanuel FULL MEMBER

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    You are mistaken, Indian strategy is not to make an armored thrust alone, armor is small part of the doctrine. Rather the key strategy has been to revamp 10 holding corps and 3 strikes into around 5 strike corps and 10 Pivot corps. The key here is to have self contained battle groups that have plenty of mobility and firepower. 10 Pivot Corps now add the availability of striking roles when needed. While BSF, ITBP & SSB and other border guarding forces will be repositioned, strengthened in number for stronger defenses. These paramilitary units now have commando units to stage formidable defenses against an attacking force. Combined these 3 paramilitary forces will add over 60-100 battalions in the next few years.
     
  14. Talwar e Pakistan

    Talwar e Pakistan SENIOR MEMBER

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    Pakistan is only investing in nuclear weapons (funded by KSA) because all of our focus is on the western front, meaning we'll be vulnerable from an attack on the East. Our conventional strength has the capability to thwart any Indian aggression.

    Our military forces will be too concentrated for India to make major gains, they usually get shallow gains in Punjab while we thrust into Rajasthan and try to gain territory there. We are increasing artillery ordnance, meaning we'll be able to bombard Indian advances for months on end; while our Infantry digs in. Pakistan has also gained Air superiority in every war despite being outnumbered.
     
  15. wiseone2

    wiseone2 BANNED

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    If the PAF had air superiority the Pakistani army would have beaten the Indian army