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What is Pakistan's Full Spectrum Deterrence doctrine?

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Full Spectrum Deterrence: An unequivocal message delivered to Indian hawks

Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA), the apex forum on nuclear matters, has delivered an unequivocal message to India; Pakistan will maintain the capability for a Full Spectrum Deterrence at all costs in order to meet the eventuality of any aggression from India’s hawkish posture it has developed in the recent past.

What is full spectrum deterrence (FSD) and why Pakistan was forced to travel from minimum credible deterrence, its initial nuclear doctrine, to FSD?

Pakistan had to become a nuclear state not by choice but by compulsion of circumstances due to growing conventional asymmetry and its threat perception vis-à-vis India who, by its own admission, fueled, manned, funded and actively supported an engineered insurgency for country’s break up in 1971. A country many times bigger in size and conventional military might which spends ten times more on its Pakistan-specific military initiatives persistently gives threatening messages and works closely with its internal and external enemies for destabilization, if not another break up.

When Pakistan detonated its nuclear device in 1998 in response to India’s nuclear tests, it like a responsible member of international community chose nuclear restraint as a part of nuclear policy and vowed to maintain its capability as a minimum credible deterrence to ward off security threats from India. This effectively meant that Pakistan would not use its nuclear devices unless provoked to do so. The provocation means that Pakistan would use its nuclear capability only when the enemy goes beyond Pakistan Nuclear Threshold.

There have been a number of developments since 1998 which has forced Pakistan to make adjustments in its nuclear doctrine and take a posture deemed more effective to maintain deterrence. There have been talks about India’s Cold Start doctrine which aims at rapid but limited retaliatory incursions into Pakistan by the Indian army to seize and hold narrow slices of territory in response to a terrorism event in India involving Pakistanis. In India’s calculations, Pakistan would not resort to the use of nuclear weapons in response to a limited Indian incursion, thereby offering space for conventional conflict even in a nuclearized environment.

Pointing to this Indian war doctrine, Pakistani decision-makers now argue that the deterrent value of their current arsenal operates only at the strategic level. According to this line of reasoning, the gap at the tactical level gives India the freedom to successfully engage in limited Cold Start-style military operations if kept below the Nuclear Threshold, without fear of nuclear escalation.

With these developments, it was becoming increasingly impossible for Pakistan to maintain its original doctrine without making adjustments. Pakistan, therefore, developed low-yield, short-range, tactical battlefield nuclear weapon, the Nasr missile which provides “flexible deterrence options” for an appropriate response to Cold Start, rather than massive nuclear retaliation against India. Nasr is a war horse in the eventualities like Cold Start and will deter India from carrying out its plan.

Pakistan’s Full Spectrum Deterrence thus gives it a flexibility to deal with conventional threats through tactical nuclear weapons like Nasr. It is a ‘qualitative’ response to new war fighting concepts of ‘Cold Start’ and Pro Active Operations (PAO), introduced by India. Full spectrum offers a range of options to the decision-makers. According to Pakistan’s narrative, tactical nuclear weapons are to balance the conventional advantage of India. On the other hand India perceives it differently. India perceives it to be a destabilizing factor in the region. In response India has announced its policy of massive retaliation according to which no matter what the nature of nuclear threat is (tactical or strategic) it would come under strategic realm and would be countered by massive retaliation.

Full Spectrum Doctrine effectively changes Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy; it no longer waits for nuclear attack to counter with nuclear weapons; it will deter conventional force by employing nuclear deterrence. The greater the conventional threat, lower would be the threshold to employ nuclear deterrence. Development of tactical nuclear weapons gives more flexibility to Pakistani strategists as it would not be forced to use strategic nuclear weapon as a first response to India’s overwhelming conventional force in the eventuality of a major aggression against it.

When Pakistan’s apex nuclear body decides to maintain Full Spectrum Deterrence at all costs, it has given a loud message to the world, in general and the adversary in particular, that Pakistan will use whatever it takes to defend its territorial integrity.

Full Spectrum Deterrence: An unequivocal message delivered to Indian hawks | The Passive Voices
 

Ghazwa e Hind

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Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA), the apex forum on nuclear matters, has delivered an unequivocal message to India; Pakistan will maintain the capability for a Full Spectrum Deterrence at all costs in order to meet the eventuality of any aggression from India’s hawkish posture it has developed in the recent past.

What is full spectrum deterrence (FSD) and why Pakistan was forced to travel from minimum credible deterrence, its initial nuclear doctrine, to FSD?

Pakistan had to become a nuclear state not by choice but by compulsion of circumstances due to growing conventional asymmetry and its threat perception vis-à-vis India who, by its own admission, fueled, manned, funded and actively supported an engineered insurgency for country’s break up in 1971. A country many times bigger in size and conventional military might which spends ten times more on its Pakistan-specific military initiatives persistently gives threatening messages and works closely with its internal and external enemies for destabilization, if not another break up.

When Pakistan detonated its nuclear device in 1998 in response to India’s nuclear tests, it like a responsible member of international community chose nuclear restraint as a part of nuclear policy and vowed to maintain its capability as a minimum credible deterrence to ward off security threats from India. This effectively meant that Pakistan would not use its nuclear devices unless provoked to do so. The provocation means that Pakistan would use its nuclear capability only when the enemy goes beyond Pakistan Nuclear Threshold.

There have been a number of developments since 1998 which has forced Pakistan to make adjustments in its nuclear doctrine and take a posture deemed more effective to maintain deterrence. There have been talks about India’s Cold Start doctrine which aims at rapid but limited retaliatory incursions into Pakistan by the Indian army to seize and hold narrow slices of territory in response to a terrorism event in India involving Pakistanis. In India’s calculations, Pakistan would not resort to the use of nuclear weapons in response to a limited Indian incursion, thereby offering space for conventional conflict even in a nuclearized environment.

Pointing to this Indian war doctrine, Pakistani decision-makers now argue that the deterrent value of their current arsenal operates only at the strategic level. According to this line of reasoning, the gap at the tactical level gives India the freedom to successfully engage in limited Cold Start-style military operations if kept below the Nuclear Threshold, without fear of nuclear escalation.

With these developments, it was becoming increasingly impossible for Pakistan to maintain its original doctrine without making adjustments. Pakistan, therefore, developed low-yield, short-range, tactical battlefield nuclear weapon, the Nasr missile which provides “flexible deterrence options” for an appropriate response to Cold Start, rather than massive nuclear retaliation against India. Nasr is a war horse in the eventualities like Cold Start and will deter India from carrying out its plan.

Pakistan’s Full Spectrum Deterrence thus gives it a flexibility to deal with conventional threats through tactical nuclear weapons like Nasr. It is a ‘qualitative’ response to new war fighting concepts of ‘Cold Start’ and Pro Active Operations (PAO), introduced by India. Full spectrum offers a range of options to the decision-makers. According to Pakistan’s narrative, tactical nuclear weapons are to balance the conventional advantage of India. On the other hand India perceives it differently. India perceives it to be a destabilizing factor in the region. In response India has announced its policy of massive retaliation according to which no matter what the nature of nuclear threat is (tactical or strategic) it would come under strategic realm and would be countered by massive retaliation.

Full Spectrum Doctrine effectively changes Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy; it no longer waits for nuclear attack to counter with nuclear weapons; it will deter conventional force by employing nuclear deterrence. The greater the conventional threat, lower would be the threshold to employ nuclear deterrence. Development of tactical nuclear weapons gives more flexibility to Pakistani strategists as it would not be forced to use strategic nuclear weapon as a first response to India’s overwhelming conventional force in the eventuality of a major aggression against it.

When Pakistan’s apex nuclear body decides to maintain Full Spectrum Deterrence at all costs, it has given a loud message to the world, in general and the adversary in particular, that Pakistan will use whatever it takes to defend its territorial integrity.
Credible Minimum Deterrence was not only in the field of nuclear but we had this policy for all of our weapon systems. Pakistan was maintaining enough military might to secure its existence but now our arch adversary is threatening us to attack with limited scale or short scale war concepts. They have a clear policy for taking Azad Kashmir back from Pakistan. CPEC is a death of "Akhand Bharat" dream so, Indian extremist government want to launch a limited war in Northern areas to halt the CPEC project. Pakistan replied to Indian threats by giving this statement that we will respond to any such aggression with full force and our response will be according to our own decisions. Arena and aptitude will be decided by Pakistan. For implementing this policy, Pakistan needs some high tech and good numbers of weapons. We will procure some new jets, tanks, APCs, howitzers, vessels for acquire this FSD. National Security Council decided that it is now inevitable to change doctrine from Minimum Credible Deterrence to something proactive. Funds will be allocated soon.

excellent ellaboration for new comers in defence.pk :cool:
I am also a new comer here but following this forum from many years! its time to participate.

Israel have a doctrine of "strategic depth" so they believe in preemptive measures because they don't have enough space to retreat in case of any aggression. Same is the case of Pakistan. We cannot adopt the defensive tactics like 'deep defence' because our main cities are almost at international border. We cannot afford to lost Burki & Phillaura once again because this time Indians are going to advance in an arch shame formation in different IBGs.

We need our deployments in such a way that we can halt a rapid Indian advance in first 24 hours and then shift the battlefield inside enemy's own territory. Just like we did in 1965 in Battle of Asal Uttar and in 1971 at Battle of Longewala.
 

kasper95

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Nothing changes on the ground .

India has announced its policy of massive retaliation according to which no matter what the nature of nuclear threat is (tactical or strategic) it would come under strategic realm and would be countered by massive retaliation.
 

AUz

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Nothing changes on the ground .

India has announced its policy of massive retaliation according to which no matter what the nature of nuclear threat is (tactical or strategic) it would come under strategic realm and would be countered by massive retaliation.
Exactly.

Nothing changes on the ground. indians remained caged by Pakistan and there can not be any attack--surgical or full scale convention--on Pakistan from indian side.

Status quo remains where a nation of india faces the humiliation of getting contained/limited by a seven times smaller nation at military level.
 

kasper95

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Exactly.

Nothing changes on the ground. indians remained caged by Pakistan and there can not be any attack--surgical or full scale convention--on Pakistan from indian side.

Status quo remains where a nation of india faces the humiliation of getting contained/limited by a seven times smaller nation at military level.
Its fine if it let's you sleep tonight.
But we have a different view which is each passing day Pakistani is less confident of taking on India conventionaly,hence reducing the thresholds.
 

macnurv

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Its fine if it let's you sleep tonight.
But we have a different view which is each passing day Pakistani is less confident of taking on India conventionaly,hence reducing the thresholds.
This is nothing but an Indian wish, but reality is rather different, Pakistan was never low on confident to take on India. People who think of some limited engagement or cold start doctrine are nothing but fools. If there is another war, no body in subcontinent will win it for sure. This whole region will be full of craters.
 

HRK

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Its fine if it let's you sleep tonight.
But we have a different view which is each passing day Pakistani is less confident of taking on India conventionaly,hence reducing the thresholds.
Yaap thats why our 'friendly neighbour' has changed the WAR doctrine from all out war to 'COLD FEET' WAR doctrine ... enough for over confident & friendly neighbour ....

Nothing changes on the ground.
Oh come on buddy THE CHANGE will become visible but it will take some time for others to realize .... so just wait ...
 

kasper95

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This is nothing but an Indian wish, but reality is rather different, Pakistan was never low on confident to take on India. People who think of some limited engagement or cold start doctrine are nothing but fools. If there is another war, no body in subcontinent will win it for sure. This whole region will be full of craters.
Yes I agree no one will win.I was replying to one of your countrymen who was all hyper.
Yaap thats why our 'friendly neighbour' has changed the WAR doctrine from all out war to 'COLD FEET' WAR doctrine ... enough for over confident & friendly neighbour ....
Our policy of no first use should tell you about our confidence.does your country has the confidence to have a policy of no first use.
 

Viper0011.

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Nothing changes on the ground .

India has announced its policy of massive retaliation according to which no matter what the nature of nuclear threat is (tactical or strategic) it would come under strategic realm and would be countered by massive retaliation.
Who says nothing has changed???? Asked your generals and the PM what has changed. They might share with you. Everything has changed. Now the borders are going to see peace IMMEDIATELY, NS and Modi will meet soon. You can believe in that and see it happen!

At this point, this policy change refers to MAD from ground 0 up. What they have come up with, is the fact that if India uses her overwhelmingly large force towards Pakistan, thinking it'll be a "limited scale war", it won't be. Now to use something like a Nasr inside Pakistan's border, who'd it kill? Indian soldiers advancing into the borders. So this was the gap, you use a battlefield weapon and then what? They'd probably wait thinking cooler heads will prevail and India would see it as an act INSIDE Pakistan's borders to protect her territorial integrity.

But this was a false assumption IMO. India will retaliate back even if Nasr was used inside Pakistan. So then what?

Does Pakistan has time to take a retaliation (and massive at that) and then officially start MAD?? There may not be enough time left. So now they've corrected that imbalance. What they are saying is, that all responses will have an element of nukes. So if you'd like to avoid a MAD war.....the best way is to talk and resolve issues. Any escalation into a "limited scale" won't be limited and flash lights will be used. LED on top of that, compact and shinier I guess.

I am a peaceful man who likes people rather competing economy wise, than fighting. So IMO, this situation, right here, essentially ends all war options. That's it. Now India can really focus on China I guess? Because any short, long or medium adventure with Pakistan will cost everyone dearly. It's high time and people want to use LED flashlights in full spectrum!!!

Let's all sing some happy songs, cool off some tension and this was shiit go. Not worth it!
 

Ghazwa e Hind

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India is purchasing those weapons which are exactly needed for a limited scale Kashmir war or a blitzkreg in case of plain terrain. Indian Army is preparing for both limited war and for a cold start to decapitate Pakistani defense under a rapid attack. Indian plan to get deep inside Pakistan inorder to prevent a nuclear attack is its policy on national level. But all these perceptions by India are practically impossible because this international border is not few gateways which can be occupied and blocked by few thousand tanks and APCs. Pakistan Army have also a vast number of tanks, APCs and howitzers and numerical ratio is not much in case of number of weapons but Indians have an edge in the arm of infantry. Mere TATA trucks don't matter in a cold start. Cold Start needs tanks and APCs (solid armor) for a solid advance. Pakistani Nasr missile is a reply to all these designs.
 

HRK

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Our policy of no first use should tell you about our confidence.does your country has the confidence to have a policy of no first use.
No FIRST USE POLICY for what ... ??? NUCLEAR ....

its like children attitude 'apna brabar wala se laar na .... baroo ki dhamki q deyta' .... same here lets fight conventional war .... Nuclear nooo nooo.... why not 'NO' for 'WAR' ... ??

Keep in mind in INDIA-PAKISTAN scenario there will no LIMITED or COLD WAR, one can only plan to initiate it but could not predict its end .... WAR WILL TAKE IT COURSE BY ITS OWN .... so do not make childish claims .... my keyboard warrior ....
 
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shahriyar haq

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Its fine if it let's you sleep tonight.
But we have a different view which is each passing day Pakistani is less confident of taking on India conventionaly,hence reducing the thresholds.
Nothing changes on ground"
The very concept of full spectrum should be sufficient to instill sense in our adversary that," Nuclear Armed States" must get out of the bully mind set and must eschew acts which lead to deterrence instability.A great deal has changed ,India needs to be cognizant of ground realities ,or else the specter of Mutually Assured Destruction awaits us
Nothing changes on the ground .

India has announced its policy of massive retaliation according to which no matter what the nature of nuclear threat is (tactical or strategic) it would come under strategic realm and would be countered by massive retaliation.
 

shahriyar haq

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Nothing changes on ground"
The very concept of full spectrum should be sufficient to instill sense in our adversary that," Nuclear Armed States" must get out of the bully mind set and must eschew acts which lead to deterrence instability.A great deal has changed ,India needs to be cognizant of ground realities ,or else the specter of Mutually Assured Destruction awaits us
Indian No First Use (NFU) is no more than a cost free propaganda in self righteousness ,which perhaps may impress the credulous Indian friends,but we have a true measure of their sincerity and can not be duped.In any case the doctrines evolved are a reflection of geo-strategic realities and need to be seen in the right context.
 

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