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Featured The Efficiency of Pakistan’s Nuclear Posture During Brasstacks Crisis

PanzerKiel

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It is interesting to see the nature of nuclear deterrence between Pakistan and India basing it on the works of famous French Strategist Andre Beaufre.

It has been established by him that deterrence in a bilateral situation results because of an unfavourable comparison between the risk and the issue at stake. Mathematically, deterrence should begin to operate when the risk becomes greater than the stake.

Between two nuclear rivals, one with first use policy and the other with no first use policy, the distinction lies between the side which fires first and the side which replies in retaliation. He who fires first would appear to have all the advantages.... a point worthy of noting in the state of Nuclear Deterrence between India and Pakistan.

During the evolution of nuclear doctrines in cold war era, for some time interest centered upon the first strike. Then gradually the likelihood of first strike became more remote as the second strike began to appear more certain and more destructive. Conversely, if the first strike were highly effective, the second strike would be weak or problematic and in this case first strike became increasingly probable. The conclusion, was therefore, reached that capacity for riposte (term used by Andre Beaufre for second strike) was the key to nuclear deterrence, whereas capability to reduce the riposte was the key to nuclear initiative.

Andre Beaufre gives out some typical bilateral nuclear situations, which can be taken as a guide to evaluate the nuclear stability and viability of deterrence in sub-continent. These situations are:-

  • Absolute Stability. When both sides consider that they are threatened by a riposte which is unacceptable whatever the stake?
  • Absolute Instability. When each side is confident that there will be no riposte provided he fires first.
  • Absolute Superiority. To one side, or the other (two situations), when one or the other is confident that if he fires first there will be no riposte.
  • Deterrence Stability and War Prevention. Thomas Schelling and Morton Halperin further reinforce the nature of Absolute Stability by indicating that, “A balance of deterrence – a situation in which the incentives on both sides to initiate war are outweighed by the disincentives is stable".

Pakistan therefore needs to see its nuclear deterrence in terms of disincentives for an aggressor.

Some points which can help us reach some logical conclusions....

  • Changing Geo-Strategic Environment and Its Implications for Pakistan Nuclear Deterrence. India and USA are moving towards a strategic relationship. As such they have defined international peace within their terms and their relations with other states within these parameters. As India’s strategic relationship with the US increases by leaps and bounds, it can also increase belligerency towards Pakistan. The changes in emerging geo-strategic environment therefore impact the deterrence stability, which comprises three essential elements: crisis stability, arms race stability and political stability.
  • Relevance of Indian Nuclear Capability . Indian Credible Nuclear Deterrence as V. N. Khanna puts it may change according to the changing environment in the Region. Therefore it remains open ended. It can therefore be concluded that it is not Pakistan specific. However, the proponents of Indian nuclear targeting philosophy invariably keep Pakistan as the focus of planning for nuclear strikes.
  • Concept of Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrence. Pakistan’s Concept of Minimum Deterrence is based on a small nuclear force with a first use option. It is evident that a deterrence built around handful of weapons, declared commitment not to indulge in arms race can lose its value in not so distant a future.
  • Enemy’s First Strike. It is dependent on numbers, yields, surveillance capability, range and accuracy of delivery means. Our deterrence in this case will depend on survivability and numbers in nuclear arsenal. It therefore requires that we have enough numbers and yield left with us to cause unacceptable damage after riding through enemy’s first strike.
  • Quantitative Aspects. It is dependent on hardening, dispersal, passive and active defensive measures. Our geographical depth is limited and the cost of ABM systems makes it unaffordable.
  • Efficacy of Own Delivery Means. It hinges on the quality of own delivery means and the defensibility of airspace by the enemy. This factor was considered so important in upsetting the state of mutual deterrence during Cold War between USA and USSR, that they signed an ABM treaty for limiting such anti-missile systems.
  • No Arms Race But Sufficient Credible Nuclear Deterrence. In order to have a credible deterrence, some sort of enhancement of our nuclear potential both quantitatively as well as qualitatively is inevitable to maintain the stability of mutual deterrence.. However we need not to get into an open-ended arms race. Numbers beyond optimum become irrelevant. General (Retired) Mirza Aslam Baig opines what comprises Minimal Nuclear Deterrence is a national issue, a function of the political and military judgment related to adversary’s capability.
  • Financial Implications. Indian economy is growing at a phenomenal pace. We cannot afford to get into a conventional as well as nuclear arms race, as our adversary is bent upon exploiting this weakness. However, a false perception needs to be cleared that maintenance and enhancement of nuclear capability is cost prohibitive. Enhancement of nuclear potential for Pakistan is far cheaper than conventional capability.

Some recommendations......

  • Sufficiency. All future planning of war will be predicated on the viability and credibility of our nuclear deterrence therefore we must continue development of a credible 'sufficient' nuclear capability in terms of warheads and delivery means vis-à-vis perceived threat.
  • Second Strike Capability. In view of ambiguity about first use in Indian Nuclear Doctrine, Indo- US and Indo Israel nexus and uncertainty in West about safety of Pakistan's Nuclear arsenal, an assured second strike capability based on a triad of delivery means, is extremely essential to maintain a credible minimum deterrence.
  • Command and Control. An extremely efficient command and control system based on multiple and layered channels of command and control will enhance survivability and reliability of credible deterrence.
  • Control of Escalation. As unconventional warfare is likely to be the dominant form of warfare in foreseeable future, therefore there is a need to have reliable deterrence to avoid escalating to all out conventional war which Pakistan may not be in a position to fight.
  • Strengthening State Institutions. Due to the full spectrum nature of future war straddling over all elements of national power, there is a need to suitably reinforce our other state institutions dealing with issues like diplomacy, economic management, media, internal security etcetera to ensure acceptability of our nuclear deterrence.
 

VCheng

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Every descion you make has reprecussions, you have to weigh which is better, and move forward. Like @The Eagle keeps saying "we can only speculate", since he is no more.
Granted that General Zia took decisions that appeared to be suitable to him in the short term, it is quite clear that, in the long run, what he planted turned out to be disastrously poisonous to the country, with the mainstreaming of drugs, guns and religious extremism.

I have been fervently investigating ACdre Mansoor Shah’s quote of Zia’s Nephew claim in his book “The gold bird” that Zia was actually fluffing up the Mullahs only to deflate them in one fell swoop ala Ataturk.

While unlikely, the idea that your generation would have had it so much with the Mullah class that by 1989 they would be okay with mass executions or incarceration of them does sound like an interesting what if..
Such claims are hypothetical, and serve only as an attempt to sanitize the dictator's poisonous legacy. Having seen the process up close and personal, it was painfully evident what the consequences would be for the country. There is no deflating this genie back into the bottle from whence it was released.

It does sound fanciful but more doable than today - the lack of social media and state control over everything else would allow suppressing any alternative views from the extremist class versus today.

Now if you touch TLP you have an entire TV and social media defense well prepared for them by vested interests.
The direct-to-mainstream audience made possible by modern social media can let conspiracy lunacies run wild, just take a look at what is happening in USA right now as an example. There is no suppressing the extremist views in a scoiety like Pakistan, with fissures aplenty to be exploited by both internal and external actors, almost at will.

Strengthening State Institutions. Due to the full spectrum nature of future war straddling over all elements of national power, there is a need to suitably reinforce our other state institutions dealing with issues like diplomacy, economic management, media, internal security etcetera to ensure acceptability of our nuclear deterrence.
And this last part is the most important, and the most likely failure point too. If I may be bold enough to draw parallels with USSR, Pakistan's nuclear deterrence will not mean much if it ends up collapsing economically, either by its own incompetence, or engineered from elsewhere. The trends continue to indicate a downward trajectory with no indications of any meaningful attempts to change it.
 

PanzerKiel

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Rajiv had no clue about Operation Brasstacks: book



Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had no clue about Operation Brasstacks, which was staged by his army chief and a cabinet minister without apparently informing the premier, a family friend and former civil servant Wajahat Habibullah has claimed in his new book, My Years With Rajiv.

Habibullah’s poser to the February 1986 opening of the gates of the Babri Masjid: “Was Rajiv Gandhi involved in the decisions leading up to this unlocking”? This is the answer Rajiv Gandhi gave Habibullah: “I had not been informed of this action, and have asked Vir Bahadur Singh (then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh) to explain. I suspect it was Arun (Nehru) and Fotedar (Makhan Lal) who were responsible, but I am having this verified. If it is true, I will have to consider action.”

Excerpts of the book by Wajahat Habibullah, quoted by TV journalist Karan Thapar in a column in The Asian Age on Friday, claimed that Gandhi was also not informed also about the opening of the locks of the Babri masjid for Hindus to begin worshipping at the disputed site before its eventual destruction in 1992.

It has been widely claimed that Gandhi used the Ayodhya concession to Hindus to balance his communal award to appease Muslim orthodoxy over a Muslim divorcee’s right to alimony.


The Operation Brasstacks of 1986-87 was viewed as unwarrantedly provocative and many feared it could spark a conflict with Pakistan.

Apparently again, it emerges Rajiv Gandhi had no idea of its planning or that it was actually happening. Mr Habibullah reveals he only found out as a result of a casual comment to Lt. Gen. P. N. Hoon, the then Western Army Commander, at an Army Day reception.

 

Thorough Pro

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DO you see the even bigger holes drilled by Modi, or are you selectively blind to the facts?

A great analogy showing the success of Gen Zia's diplomacy. However, little did he know that the holes he drilled in the boat during his dictatorship would gradually cause it to list lower and lower in ever rising seas as the entire society moved more and more to the right to its own detriment. Or may be he knew?
 

VCheng

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DO you see the even bigger holes drilled by Modi, or are you selectively blind to the facts?
I see everything fairly, and here it would be appropriate to point out that those who are in the boat being sunk by PM Modi should be the ones to worry about him.
 

Awan68

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Pakistan Army is a tightly controlled and well oiled force. The insurgency has created a generation of trained officers and soldiers in symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare. However, it’s lacking greatly in neutralizing targets at long range, set aside the Air Force the military needs a force multiplier on The ground to detect, assess and eliminate. As we’ve seen in Baluchistan with videos released throughout the year, lack of armor and scouting leaves the Military open and taking undue losses.

We need an approach along the lines: Engage with a spear, target with a bow and kill with a sword.
That is not the military, its the FC, if Army was deployed, the BLA problem will be siwftly over but direct deployment of military in Balochistan will leave festering wounds in the long run.
 

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