“Pakistan’s Nuclear Developments And Indian Strategy And Doctrine”

“Pakistan’s Nuclear Developments And Indian Strategy And Doctrine”


A Round Table Discussion (RTD) on “Pakistan’s Nuclear Developments and Indian Strategy and Doctrine” was organised on 04 September 2014 at the USI. Lt Gen PK Singh, PVSM AVSM (Retd), Director, USI, introduced the guest speaker, Dr Neil Joeck, Visiting Scholar, Institute of International Studies, University of California. The session was chaired by Lt Gen Vinay Shankar, PVSM AVSM VSM (Retd). Dr. Neil Joeck spoke on Pakistan’s Nuclear Developments” and Dr. Roshan Khanijo, Research Fellow, USI, discussed “India’s Strategic Response and its Nuclear Doctrine”.

The issues discussed, were Pakistan’s development of Tactical Nuclear Weapons, an increase in the production of nuclear fissile material, Pakistan’s Doctrine, Proliferation issues, and finally the Indian response. It was stated that Pakistan’s “Nasr”, the Tactical Nuclear Weapon, was partially a Pakistani response to India’s Cold Start Doctrine. Their recent Azm-e-Nau 3 exercise was meant to create battlefield readiness. Also Pakistani Nuclear doctrine was India centric and that they have been increasing their nuclear fissile material stockpile especially Plutonium. It was also stated that Pakistan was concerned about India’s BMD programme, as they think that it can neutralise Pakistan’s offensive posture. Question like India’s response with massive retaliation was also discussed .The western view is that it would be difficult for India to eliminate Pakistan’s retaliatory capabilities due to its diverse and modernizing missile capabilities, therefore; feasibility of other options like proportionate response, use of conventional weapons, and to have counter force targets was deliberated. It was also debated that in the light of proxy wars and the limited wars, how can one have acceptable levels of violence, under the nuclear threshold.


The diverse viewpoint between the Western and Asian strategist regarding the “Theory of Deterrence”, where discussed.  Many nations in Asia consider nuclear weapons integral to their strategic calculus, whereas; Western nations were trying to revive the use of conventional weapons through their Conventional Prompt Global Strike Weapons. Secondly it was enquired whether Tactical Nuclear Weapon is operationally feasible and also is it an effective Pakistani counter measure? It was stated that they   had developed the TNWs to counter their apprehension about the so called India’s “Cold Start Doctrine” .The question that arises is, will the number of TNWs actually deter the large Indian army? So is it not just another Pakistani aggressive posturing?.  Also TNWs, (which are a potential threat if it falls in the hands of terrorists), will increase nuclear terrorism. Considering their is an increase in the number of nuclear power plants being constructed in Pakistan  and most of them are not safeguarded by the IAEA. Hence they become a potential target.

 As far as India’s response is concern, Indian doctrine amply elucidates a nuclear response if its territory or armed forces were attacked with the same. During discussions, it was also questioned whether the international community has done enough to stop Pakistan from developing TNWs? It was suggested that the use of nuclear weapons should be banned and any country using it first, should be considered a pariah state and sanctions should be imposed on that nation. On the question of nuclear proliferation it was highlighted that the international community had ignored Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation efforts especially the A Q Khan network. It was stated that America had not done enough to stop Pakistan from expanding its nuclear assets especially plutonium stockpiles because expecting the same from China is not possible as strong Sino-Pakistan relation (where China considers Pakistan as its proxy) would prevent China from taking harsh measures. Also It was highlighted that Pakistan’s strategic depth was not in term of territory but in term of placing the strategic assets in nations like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

 It was also highlighted that the American aid to Pakistan should be monitored as most of the time it is diverted for military purposes. Considering, the situation in Middle East is becoming unstable; this aspect should be given serious thought. Also it is not fair to constantly compare India and Pakistan as India in the coming years is going to grow economically and this comparison puts pressure on Pakistan to achieve the illusive parity and also constantly overhyping issues often fulfills Pakistan’s need to divert its attention from its internal dynamics.. Finally Dr. Joeck commented that the use of nuclear weapon in South Asia can be of low probability but high causality.


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