Strategic Analysis

Strategic Analysis:
A Monthly Journal of the IDSA

January-March 2003 (Vol. XXVII No. 1)


Pakistan’s Nuclear Strategy
Smruti S. Pattanaik *



The debate on the rationale for Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons, the concept of nuclear deterrence and the security of Pakistan has been intertwined. Many Pakistani defence analysts see both deterrence and security as synonymous. This paper analyses Pakistan’s nuclear strategy in the context of first, its threat perception, second, its plan to achieve parity with India and third, its objective after the tests to portray Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint to persuade the world community’s indulgence and intervention to resolve the issue. Pakistan, like India, has maintained nuclear ambiguity and mentioned the deterrence value of its nuclear strategy.

This paper also analyses Pakistan’s nuclear diplomacy from the perspective of its security and discusses its nuclear doctrine, its nuclear strategy in the context of the Kargil conflict and the recent standoff with India to examine the extent to which it has been able to achieve its objectives of nuclear deterrence. The ambit of the paper further includes the impact that Pakistan’s nuclear strategy has had on its Kashmir policy.



The term ‘strategy’ is used in this paper in a broader sense to define not only the context of deterrence of nuclear weapons as elaborated by various Pakistani analysts but also the nuclear diplomacy, and nuclear doctrine. The paper also cater the rhetoric on the usage of the nuclear weapon in the course of both the Kargil conflict and Indian mobilization after the December 13 attack on Indian Parliament. In this contest it is important to discuss whether Pakistan’s nuclear strategy deterred India has the strategy Percolated into Policy objectives, what are the limitations to pakistan’s nuclear strategy? It therefore becomes inferative to analyse the rational of Pakistan’s nuclear Programme.


Underlying Rationale of Pakistan’s Nuclear Strategy

(a) Deterrence Against India

A decilive factor in Pakistan’s nuclear policy is that many aspects of this policy are linked with what happens in India. 1 Pakistan’s nuclear policy is closely linked to the concept of deterrence against conventional and nuclear threats. According to a Pakistani analyst, Pakistan lacks well-trained, adequately equipped and numerically sufficient armed force & vis-à-vis India 2 and hence nuclear weapon deterrence play a significant role in its security policy and so it is projected as an alternative to conventional weapon security. The decision whether Pakistan should embark on a ‘coherent nuclear programme’ was discussed for the first time in 1963, 3 though its deterrence value was emphasised by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto publicly for the first time in 1965. To quote him, “All wars of our age have become total wars and it will have to be assumed that a war waged against Pakistan is capable of becoming a total war . . . and our plan should, therefore, include the nuclear deterrent.” 4 The military initially was not enthusiastic about the nuclear weapons programme. President Ayub Khan in fact argued that if Pakistan needs nuclear weapons it could buy off-the-shelf. However, the option was kept open. After the Chinese nuclear tests Pakistan was apprehensive that India would go nuclear 5 . Thus, Bhutto, who was a member in Ayub’s cabinet stated, “If India developed an atomic bomb, we too will develop one ‘even if we have to eat grass or leaves or to remain hungry’ because there is no conventional alternative to the atomic bomb.” 6 Two aspects of his statement are important-first, its linkage to India, second, his emphasis on atomic bomb as the ultimate weapon.

The secession of East Pakistan in 1971 with India’s support led to a serious rethinking on the issue of nuclear deterrence as part of the changed security paradigm. Pakistan’s propaganda about India’s role without mentioning the concurrent role of the West Pakistani ruling elites in the separation of East Pakistan also strongly consolidated the already prevalent perception of India as an invincible enemy. According to Bhutto the decision to embark on a ‘coherent nuclear programme’ for ‘peaceful purposes’ was taken in 1972 in Multan. 7 The decision found wider support from the military in the aftermath of dismemberment of Pakistan, which dealt a grievous blow to Pakistan’s security and its survival as a nation-state. In this context one does not see any linkages between Pakistan’s nuclear programme and the Indian peaceful nuclear tests of 1974, as many Pakistani defence analysts argue. Reacting to the 1974 tests Bhutto said, “India has acquired nuclear weapons at very great cost, very great risk and at very great sacrifice to intimidate and blackmail Pakistan. . . . To extract political concessions, to establish domination over the sub-continent, to exercise hegemony over the neighbouring states.” 8 Knowing the American keenness on nuclear non-proliferation, Bhutto used the Indian threat especially the nuclear one, to argue for a matching defence capability. Bhutto said in the National Assembly that the Indian nuclear test had a introduced a qualitative change in the situation. Now, Pakistan’s conventional armed forces would be pitted not only against India’s conventional forces but also nuclear forces. India would use nuclear weapons as an instrument of political coercion. 9 Security through nuclear weapons emerged as a potential guarantor of Pakistan’s territorial integrity.

The articulation relating to nuclear weapon security was conditioned with the apprehensions regarding the US reaction. In the New York Times interview, Bhutto said that if Pakistan’s security interests were satisfied it would not squander away its limited resources in the nuclear direction 10 . Since the signals emanating from Washington were not reassuring, Pakistan, even as it strengthened its conventional capability, continued with its nuclear weapons programme. Though Pakistan’s nuclearisation was made public only in 1987, American intelligence assessments during the late 1970s and early 1980s had indicated that Pakistan was pursuing an aggressive nuclear weapon development programme white as there was no evidence that India had sought to develop nuclear arsenal. 11

Deterrence remained a guiding principle of Pakistan’s nuclear programme for some time. The concept of nuclear deterrence was bolstered by Pakistani media propagation of imaginative incidents. A Pakistani security analyst wrote citing unconfirmed reports in the international media in 1982, about a possible Indian pre-emptive strike on Kahuta in 1984 12 , which he argued, compelled Pakistan to accelerate its nuclear programme. 13 But, A.Q.Khan, father of the Pakistani uranium bomb, disclosed Pakistan’s nuclear capability in 1984. 14 And in 1987, Khan admitted that Pakistan already possesses a nuclear bomb. General Zia later supported this view but added a rider saying that though Pakistan had the capability it did not have the intention to make a nuclear weapon. Thus, the cited incidents could not have accelerated the nuclear programme which was in any case progressing. Many Pakistani security analysts believe that the presence of nuclear weapons has prevented a conflagration between India and Pakistan and ensured peace in the subcontinent. They have argued that this is one of the reasons why there have not been any major wars between India and Pakistan after 1971. This extrapolation perhaps made the concept of deterrence attractive to garner popular support.

(b) Self Reliance

The second factor that determined Pakistan’s nuclear policy was the desire to attain self-reliance in defence and the capability to defend itself against external aggression. Pakistan’s past experiences with the US especially its decision to supply arms to India in the aftermath of Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 and later imposing arms embargo on India and Pakistan after the 1965 war contributed substantially to this view. Though the limitations of Mutual Defence Alliance of 1953 and its membership of SEATO and CENTO were already exposed, the arms embargo by the United States had hurt Pakistan’s defence preparedness. Speaking in the National Assembly on an adjournment motion pertaining to the supply of the French reprocessing plant, Bhutto said, “When an arms embargo was imposed on us in 1965, it was stated that India too would be covered by the embargo but, of course, India did not have American weapons at that time. So the embargo in effect was on Pakistan only. All the time the American’s concern was about how India would feel, how India would react . . . . I must say-facts must be admitted-that due to American assistance to Pakistan, the balance of power, in a way, was not unfavourable to us certainly till 1962 and for sometime after that . . . . Then, after 1965, the Soviet Union started pouring in large quantities of armaments into India while there was an American embargo on Pakistan. That changed the whole military balance”. 15 However, it is pertinent to mention here that the US arms supply to India after the 1962 send Indian Conflict was not sufficient to change the strategic balance in the region.

The US though remained an important factor in Pakistan’s defence calculation, the quest for an alternative to its complete dependence on the US remained paramount. Pakistan had not achieved self-reliance even in defence production. Dependence on Western sources for arms and ammunition had made heavy inroads into Pakistan’s budget 16 . It was equally vulnerable to political manoeuvring of different kinds by external powers on which it was dependent in its effort to achieve defence parity with India. 17 Thus nuclear weapons were thought of as necessary for the survival of Pakistan because of its great deterrence value and many believed that it would provide strategic parity with India and would lessen Pakistan’s dependence on Western arms for its security. The suspension of the supply of the French nuclear reprocessing plant at the insistence of the US in 1976 led to the perception that instead of punishing India for its 1974 tests Washington has pressurizing Pakistan. 18 This also strengthened the belief that Pakistan must be self-reliant.

(c) Dealing with US sanctions

The third factor that influenced Pakistan’s decition to go nuclear, is US sanctions. Many security analysts link up Pakistan’s nuclear programme to various sanctions imposed by the US earlier and especially under the Pressler Amendment in 1990. The US policies were perceived as discriminatory on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation because many Pakistanis believe that instead of targeting the state that had been deliberately pushing South Asia towards the nuclear brink, Pakistan is unnecessarily pressurised. 19 Precipitated arguments for a nuclear deterrence brought Pakistan’s nuclear programme under increasing scrutiny of the Americans. 20 In 1990 the US imposed sanctions on Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment 21 after the US President refused to certify that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear weapon. Subsequently, the US withheld the supply of F-16s to Pakistan. On the one hand, Pakistan’s defence policy-makers argued for the need to develop deterrence capability for the survival of Pakistan without relying on an unreliable partner like the US. 22 On the other hand, interestingly, throughout the 1980s Pakistan used its nuclear option to influence the US to provide conventional arms. 23 The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan also played an important role. So, to accommodate Pakistan’s defence requirement, the US allowed the continuation of private military sales to Pakistan including spare parts for the American made F-16s. 24 This also explains why the US under the Glenn Amendment in 1995 decided to supply spare parts to bolster conventional weapons capability to dissuade Pakistan from the nuclear path, Apart from this, Pakistan’s adamant position regarding its nuclear weapons programme was substantially boosted by its nuclear cooperation with China which played a key role in building up Pakistan’s deterrent capabilities. 25 The above started three factors defined the rationale of Pakistan’s nuclearisation but the following factors also contributed to its motivations in this direction

(d) Leader of the Islamic World

Fourthly, Pakistan’s global strategy, as has been stated, includes the creation of a trans-Asia axis and to emerge as a formidable Muslim country of the world. Earlier Bhutto was able to sell this idea of the Islamic bomb to garner financial support from Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya. 26 President Zia-ul-Haq in a July 1978 speech outlined, “China, India, the USSR, and Israel in the Middle-East possess the atomic arm. No Muslim country has any. If Pakistan had such a weapon, it would reinforce the power of the Muslim world”. 27 Pakistan was also able to get funds for its nuclear programme from many Islamic countries. 28 There were reports in the early 1990s that the Bank of Credit and Commerce International had channeled millions of dollars from the coffers of wealthy Arab states for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons’ project. This kept alive the speculation about an ’Islamic’ deterrent. 29 s According to a report, “Islamabad is convinced that a major showdown with India, ostensibly over Kashmir, constitutes the key to Pakistan’s new position as the lynchpin of the PRC dominated trans-Asian Axis and the Tehran-led Islamic Bloc. Pakistan and its allies are convinced that any setback for India, no matter how symbolic, will result in New Delhi becoming isolationist”. 30 As reported in June 1994, Gen. Hamid Gul, the former Chief of ISI said, a demonstrated nuclear capability would galvanise Pakistanis to support Islamabad in its pursuit to liberate Kashmir and restrain the US from interfering in that endeavour. He argued there was a need for Pakistan to make a clear choice between the continued association with the US and the pursuit of vital interests along with Iran and PRC who are ‘the closest friends of Pakistan’ 31 . Emphasising on the perceived religion-based discriminating attitude of the Western countries, K.M. Arif, former Vice Chief of the Army Staff wrote, “Pakistan’s modest indigenous effort towards developing a nuclear capability, the only one in the Muslim world, was singled out for added criticism and condemnation.” 32

(e) Protection against Imaginative Conspiracy

Concurrent with this concept of the Islamic bomb is the conspiracy theory that gained momentum with reports in the Pakistani media about a planned attack by India and Israel. 33 According to some Pakistani analysts, apart from the Indian threat, there exists a threat from Israel and the United States, who have been conspiring against Pakistan’s nuclear option. A commentator went to the extent of speculating that New Delhi might attack Pakistan on behalf of US or Israel. 34 There were reports in the Pakistani press that Israelis want to launch an attack from Kashmir on Pakistan’s nuclear installations with the help of India. 35 The Pakistani press was full of reports that their country was warned by many Arab countries regarding such a possibility. Ejazul Haq, a Federal Minister and Zia’s son, went to the extent of saying that Rajiv Gandhi had cautioned Gen. Zia-ul-Haq regarding this and as a result, the security system around the Kahuta facility was tightened. Even before the 1998 nuclear tests, Sharif talked of an Israeli plot to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear facilities in collusion with India. However, Israel denied such reports. 36

(f) National Pride

After the Indian nuclear tests of May 13, 1998 the rhetoric reached such a height that a nuclear test became associated with the question of parity between Hindus and Muslims. The Indian nuclear tests were referred to as a ‘Hindu bomb’ to which only an ‘Islamic bomb’ 37 could be an appropriate challenge. Some of the Pakistani elites argued that not only does the Indian threat necessitate nuclear tests but also, Pakistan’s nuclear programme is a matter of pride for the Muslims and it is the Jewish and Christian lobbies that do not want to see a Muslim country possessing nuclear capability. 38 After the nuclear tests, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, speaking outside Masjid-i-Shohda said, “Not only the whole nation, but the whole Islamic ummah hailed Pakistan for its great achievement and expressed their happiness over the decision.” 39 On June 2, he said, “Those who thought that Pakistan is a failed state have been made to eat their words. The world has now learnt to respect Pakistan.”


Decision for Overt Nuclearisation

Apart from the above-mentioned factors, a Pakistani security analyst commented that the Sino-Indian rapprochement also made the Pakistanis increasingly insecure. They believed that this could chip away Pakistan’s margin for diplomatic manoeuvring. So, Pakistan was unwilling to abandon the nuclear option, 40 anticipating strategic uncertainty in the fast changing global security environment. The Indian tests and its decision to sign CTBT as some Pakistani analysts perceive, made Pakistan more vulnerable and it was left without much choice. According to a Pakistani scholar, given Pakistan’s previous stand of linking its adherence to any treaty pertaining to nuclear weapons to India, Pakistan may be pressured to sign CTBT along with New Delhi. “If Pakistan succumbed to this pressure without conducting its own tests”, it was argued, “the credibility of its nuclear deterrent would always be under suspicion. Alternatively, even if it delinked its signing of the CTBT with that of the Indian decision and kept its nuclear option open, it would face immense pressure from the West, and especially the US”. 41 Apart from the above-mentioned concerns, the significant determining factor was the Indian tests. Speaking in the First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, the Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said that Pakistan restored the mutual deterrence which was disturbed by the Indian test. “A growing asymmetry in conventional military forces had created the possibility of military aggression again being committed against Pakistan, and nuclear deterrence was all that stood in the way”. 42

Pakistan’s nuclear test took place after extensive discussions both in the media and among the policy-makers. Though, very often Pakistani security analysts link their tests to the rhetoric by the Indian leaders after India’s nuclear test, intense discussion on the issue attests to the fact that Pakistan weighed all options before exercising its choice. 43 Though statements by Indian leaders whipped up domestic sentiment against India and the religious parties urged retaliatory nuclear tests, high- level decisions, like the one pertaining to the tests, were not taken on the basis of such rhetoric. According to a Pakistani defence analyst, many political leaders advocated the nuclear option to appease the Army. The Army at the same time, made public statements that the decision on the nuclear issue would be taken only by the Prime Minister. By putting the entire responsibility on the civilian government the Army retained its credibility as an institution committed to the security of Pakistan. However, this restrained the civilian government from compromising on its nuclear ambition under any international pressure, 44 without compromising its credibility as an institution committed to national security. Though the Army has a stronghold over Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the façe;ade of democratic control over it had to be maintained in public.

Pakistani security analysts in favour of nuclear weapons argued that the nuclear tests have made Pakistan sure of the type of weapons that it can develop. It will act as a stabilizing factor, though stability to a large extent would depend on the efforts to find a permanent resolution to the Kashmir problem. 45 Speaking after the nuclear tests, the Pakistan Prime Minister said, “Kashmir has become an international agenda with testing of nuclear devices by Pakistan. The explosion restored the strategic balance in the region. The five permanent members of the Security Council have pledged that they would encourage India and Pakistan to find mutually acceptable solutions through direct talks that address the root causes of tension including Kashmir.” 46 After the nuclear tests the Pakistan Foreign Secretary said, nuclear deterrence would herald a new era of durable peace. 47 Analysts objecting to nuclear tests based their view on the economic situation of the country. Iqbal Ahmed, expressing his concern, said sanctions would impair Pakistan’s conventional weapons capability. 48

Pakistan has based its nuclear strategy on the first use of the nuclear weapon. This policy is embedded in the threshold factor as well as the conventional disparity with India. Pakistan lacks strategic depth to retaliate with a second strike capacity. Moreover, the first use policy is linked to Pakistan’s deteriorating economic situation which cannot sustain the cost of larger nuclear arsenal. 49


Pakistan’s Nuclear Doctrine

Pakistan kept its nuclear option open and followed the policy of nuclear ambiguity like India. At the same time it proposed various regional initiatives to establish its credibility as a country that is against nuclear weapons. Two factors influenced its nuclear diplomacy: The knowledge that India would not accept this proposal and consequently there would be less pressure on Pakistan. Second, Pakistan initially was not sure whether it could economically and technologically sustain its nuclear weapons programme. However, the flow of substantial financial assistance from wealthy oil producing countries boosted Pakistan’s economy. The flow of remittances from Pakistani workers in the Gulf also improved Pakistan’s economic situation. This reduced economic pressure on the nuclear programme. Various statements in the 1980s attest to the fact that while giving indications regarding its nuclear weapon capability, Islamabad sent veiled threats to India against any misadventure. At the same time it retained a degree of denial regarding its nuclear weapons programme. That is one of the reasons why there were contradictory statements emanating from various sources in Pakistan. This remained the core of Pakistan’s nuclear posture till the nuclear tests of 1998.

In the pre-nuclear test period Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine was one of ambiguity. However, Pakistan rode piggyback on the Indian nuclear diplomatic posture. It talked of peaceful use of nuclear energy; 50 it linked its accession to NPT conditional to India doing it. To deflect pressure, since Pakistan was economically weaker and was dependent on the West for its defence needs, it propagated the idea of a South Asia nuclear weapon free zone. Its nuclear diplomacy was aimed at establishing credibility regarding its effort to give up its nuclear programme and portray Pakistani compulsions to pursue the weapons programme against its desire. 51 This resulted in certain policy dividends. First, it was used to pressurize India and relieve Pakistan. Second, it garnered support from the public in favour of its nuclear weapons programme citing India’s non-compliance to its disarmament efforts. According to Pakistani commentators, the initiatives by Pakistan attest to the fact that it simply followed its adversary to the path of nuclearisation 52 and played its nuclear card with finesse, as its denuclearisation proposals for a regional solution put India in a spotlight. 53 After overt nuclearisation this posture saw some change, though Pakistan still argues for a nuclear free zone in South Asia.

Pakistan is yet to enunciate a nuclear doctrine in the manner that India has. However, various statements by political leaders after the nuclear tests give an indication to its nuclear policy and the thrust of its doctrine. The nuclear doctrine is fundamentally linked to a first use policy. At the same time it does not clearly pronounce its threshold level would use its nuclear weapon. Ambiguity regarding these vital issues has become a hallmark of Pakistan’s nuclear policy. Some Pakistani analysts believe that an ambiguous posture would strengthen deterrence by not allowing the enemy to know the threshold level, thus preventing the latter from actions that would provoke a nuclear attack. 54 According to an analyst, this policy of ambiguity regarding nuclear deterrence, has contributed to the avoidance of a major war since 1971. 55 Elaborating further, Shirin Mazari, a Pakistani strategic affairs expert, wrote that Pakistan should not get into a nuclear arms race with India. However, at the same time, it is not necessary for Islamabad to specify the minimal numbers it may choose to develop. It should go for a one-rung escalation ladder knitted tightly with a highly cohesive, state-of-the-art tactical conventional military. This is necessary because Pakistan lacks spatial depth and should not unnecessarily waste its resources in a static conventional war. 56

The thinking on this aspect is reflected in the statement of the forever Foreign Minister of Pakistan Abdul Sattar. During a visit to the US in 2001 he said, if nations cannot depend on conventional weapons to deter attack, there is a “consequent increase in reliance on strategic deterrence”. 57 A content analysis of the Pakistani media on the nuclear posture suggests that most of the analysts have favoured the government posture of using nuclear weapons if Pakistan’s territorial integrity was at stake. Some of the arguments put forward by defence analysts favour countervalue targets (concentration of population and industry) rather than counterforce targets (the other side’s nuclear weapons). 58 As explained by these analysts, a counter-value target is favoured due to Pakistan’s physical size and resource constraints.

According to the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Agha Shahi, Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine should be flexible and dynamic to adapt itself to the changing security environment. “Pakistan’s minimum deterrence would rest on delivery by aircraft and land-based medium and short-range missiles”. 59 Another analyst has emphasized that apart from ‘recessed’ or ‘minimum’ deployment the maintenance of a ‘balance’ (not parity) of conventional forces between India and Pakistan is necessary. This is because “the threshold of nuclear use will be inversely proportional to the level of balance or imbalance in conventional forces.” 60 Since Pakistan lacks strategic depth, many Pakistani security analysts are not in favour of a no-first-use (NFU) policy.

The arguments in favour of a nuclear option for Pakistan are interlinked with India’s nuclear capability as well as providing protection to Pakistan’s covert operation in Kashmir. Such views are articulated by K.M. Arif, retired Vice-Chief of the Army Staff and Munir Ahmed Khan who was the former Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. 61 Both believe that India’s nuclear capability is a threat to Pakistan’s security and Pakistan’s nuclear option is for a defensive purpose to forestall nuclear blackmail and hegemony of India. This is because, as explained by General Arif, “Nuclear weapons provide the ultimate power.” 62 Former Army Chief Mirza Aslam Beg said in a seminar on April 2, 1994 in Karachi that in spite of having superiority in conventional weaponry, Indian couldnd attack Pakistan because of the fear of a nuclear retaliation. 63 Similarly, Munir Ahmed Khan believes that, “in any future conflict between the two countries, India cannot rule out the real possibility that Pakistan, when driven to the wall, will resort to using its nuclear weapons.” 64 Lt Gen. F.S. Lodi, supporting the nuclear first use policy wrote that, “we would use nuclear weapons if attacked by India even if the attack is with conventional weapons”. 65

Since the nuclear weapon is a weapon of last resort, “Pakistan can therefore declare that it will never resort to the threat or use of nuclear weapons or for that matter conventional forces, for aggression. A unilateral non-aggression proclamation automatically rules out the first use of nuclear or conventional weapons”. 66 Thus a no-first-use nuclear posture could invite aggression. Therefore, Pakistan should follow the NATO military doctrine of ‘flexible response’. Adoption of no-first-use concept on the part of Pakistan would make nonsense of the concept of nuclear deterrence. 67 The threshold level of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon use is extremely broad and includes every potential threat inviting nuclear attack. This is evident from the definition of threshold put forward by Gen. Khalid Kidwai of the Strategic Plans Division of the Pakistan Army. Defining the threshold level he said, “Nuclear weapons are aimed solely at India. In case deterrence fails, they will be used if (a) India attacks Pakistan and conquers a large part of its territory (space threshold) (b) India destroys a large part either of its land or air forces (Military threshold) (c) India proceeds to the economic strangling of Pakistan (d) India pushes Pakistan into political destabilization or creates a large scale internal subversion in Pakistan. 68 Fear of pre-emption by India makes many Pakistanis believe in a first use policy.

Interestingly, a Pakistani security analyst has given a different dimension to the nuclear first use policy of Pakistan. According to her, the military’s dependence on deterrence has increased because, “More than conventional inferiority versus India, it is the military’s engagement in non-military activities, particularly politics that has deepened this dependence. It is not surprising that with the nuclear umbrella sheltering Pakistan from a potential aggressive act by the adversary, the government could contemplate a referendum during the height of a military crisis.” 69

There are some analysts who argue for tactical nuclear weapons. Tactical nuclear weapons can be fired from standard artillery guns, rockets, and missiles; even helicopters and aircraft can be used to deliver them. These weapons would have a strategic effect and can change the course of battle quickly and decisively. Tactical weapons can be used on military targets under extreme provocation when Pakistan’s conventional defences are perceived to be on the verge of collapse. This would be ‘Pakistan’s military doctrine of necessity’. 70

Maintaining nuclear deterrence would cost Pakistan less compared to conventional weapon acquisition. According to one estimate, to maintain a small nuclear force the cost would be 150 to 200 million rupees per year, for the next five years. 71 Mirza Aslam Beg, while arguing in favour of nuclear weapons as an essential ingredient of Pakistan’s security conception, wrote that the redeeming feature of the nuclear weapon is that it is very economical for Pakistan. “Since 1975, till 1990, it can be said with certainty that the total cost incurred was below $250 million, which is less than the price of one submarine, which costs nearly $300 million”. 72 He is of the view that to redress the conventional balance vis-à-vis India a total of between 75-90 devices is required. 73 A defence analyst wrote, nuclear weapons are cost-effective and less than the cost of peace achieved through conventional weapons. 74

Pakistan’s deteriorating economic situation would make the first-use policy more attractive. To improve its conventional capability Pakistan needs to invest more on conventional weapons. However, with pressure to reduce defence budget, it would not be feasible to bolster the war machinery to match with India. In this context the only way Pakistan can counter India’s conventional superiority is to stick to the stance of nuclear first use. While defining Pakistan’s nuclear strategy Abdul Sattar said, “Minimum nuclear deterrence will remain the guiding principle of our nuclear strategy. The Indian build-up will necessitate a review and reassessment of Pakistan’s nuclear policy in order to ensure the survivability and credibility of the deterrent. Pakistan will have to maintain, preserve and upgrade its capability.” 75 Brigadier Feroz Hassan Khan, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs Division in Joint Service Headquarters, Rawalpindi, is of the view that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are for defensive purposes and Pakistan would have “balanced symbiotic relationship” with economic concerns. 76

In spite of arguments favouring a first use policy many Pakistani security analysts believe that the operation of mutual assured deterrence theory would prevent both countries from escalating the conflict. This argument is based on the premise that leadership in both the countries would behave rationally and ’the balance of terror’ and the fear of retaliation would lessen the likelihood of full-fledged war between India and Pakistan. According to Arif both India and Pakistan are not crazy countries. If the strategy of deterrence works in other parts of world it is bound to work in this region as well. It is highly doubtful if either country would use nuclear weapons against the other. 77


Has the Nuclear Posture Paid Dividends?

In the context of Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, the question arises, has Pakistan been successful in deterring India? or has Pakistan been able to attain its objectives in Kashmir? It is therefore important to understand Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and its linkage to Kashmir and in this context, the working of its nuclear deterrence against India.

An inseparable part of Pakistan’s nuclear strategy, has been the attractive concept of nuclear weapons providing a shield to Pakistan’s involvement in the low intensity conflict in Kashmir. But this factor percolated to strategic thinking only after Pakistan publicly stated its nuclear capability in the late 1980s. The nuclear capability, it was thought, would deter an Indian conventional attack while Pakistan pursued its foreign policy objectives in Kashmir. According to Nazir Kamal, a Pakistani security analyst, most fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist hardliners looked upon nuclear weapons as providing the country with a security cover for initiating government-backed operations to assist the militancy in Kashmir. This is the only way Pakistan could dislodge India from Kashmir. “Although some of them seemed unsure about the effectiveness of the nuclear security cover, they were still prepared to risk a costly full-scale war with India over Kashmir”. 78 This is because by late 1980s and early 1990s Pakistan had believed that nuclear deterrence has worked. Such arguments posed by Pakistanis have their origin in the 1987 and 1990 crises where nuclear deterrence seemed to have provided dividends in terms of restraining India 79 other than the 1980 and 1985 incidents which have been mentioned earlier. There exists however wide disagreement regarding the 1990 crisis from both the American perspective and also from the subcontinental perspectives. 80 However, many Pakistanis tend to believe that it was nuclear weapon that averted crisis. After the overt nuclearisation in 1998 Pakistan has linked its nuclear weapons to Kashmir and has been propagating the emergence of Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint.

Pakistan’s nuclear diplomacy after the 1998 nuclear tests includes exploiting US non-proliferation concerns to engage a third party to mediate on the Kashmir issue. After the tests Pakistan portrayed Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint and linked its nuclear weapons to the Kashmir issue. According to Larry Pressler, in the event of a hot conflict, the stakes would be much higher with nuclear weapons figuring in the calculation. 81 The religious political leaders in Pakistan openly advocated proactive measures in Kashmir. For example, Qazi Hussain Ahmed in September 1994, urged the Bhutto government: “Let us wage jihad for Kashmir. A nuclear armed Pakistan would deter India from a wider conflict”. 82 On August 23, 1994, during a visit to Kashmir, Nawaz Sharif warned India that an attack on Pakistan could trigger a nuclear war and declared that an escalation of the crisis over Kashmir, because of New Delhi’s refusal to surrender Kashmir to Islamabad, was inevitable. 83 In mid- 1994, the President of Pakistan Farooq Ahmad Leghari visited Pakistan Air Force base in Sargodha and declared Islamabad’s full support to the Kashmiri people despite Indian threats and stressed his confidence that Pakistan could meet any threat resulting from this strategy. 84

While arguing for the nuclear option, Assad Durrani, former Director-General of the ISI wrote that the other side must be led to believe that ‘when our national objectives are threatened for example, a major crackdown on the freedom movement in Kashmir, Pakistan would be desperate to use nuclear weapons. 85 Sartaj Aziz speaking in the Asia Society said, “A deterioration of the security climate on account of the persistence of the unresolved Kashmir dispute can lead to nuclear escalation which must be avoided. It is important that the major powers, especially the US, remain actively involved with the Kashmir issue to help India and Pakistan move forward towards a just solution”. 86 While retaining its capability to perpetuate turmoil in India, Pakistan has amalgamated its nuclear doctrine to its operational posture on Kashmir thus preventing India from retaliation across the border. Thus, according to a Pakistani analyst, it has made Pakistan bold and has given it the courage to engage in low intensity conflict in Kashmir without inviting India’s wrath. 87

The 1990 crisis convinced Pakistan of the usefulness of a nuclear umbrella to continue with its unabated support for violence in Kashmir without India’s retaliation. Though Pakistan’s nuclear bluff is questioned by Indian elites, Pakistani defence analysts have relied on the hypothesis that nuclear deterrence worked. Nuclear weapons became a key to an assertive posture in Kashmir. Shireen Mazari, presently Director-General of the Institute for Strategic Studies, while urging for a proactive role of Pakistan in the Kashmir insurgency believed that the nuclear option would restrain India from expanding the conflict to a full-scale war. 88 Arguing on a similar line, a Pakistani analyst wrote, “The probable implication for the future is that the nuclear shield doctrine will become increasingly more attractive for Pakistan as the military asymmetry between the two countries shifts further to its disadvantage.” 89 According to automy Pakistani analyst inspirts of the Pakistani misadventure as in the Kargil, These nuclear capacity has deterred a significant Indian counter-response, as that would raise the threshold of confrontation . . . . 90 . However, in that context effective diplomacy would retrieve the situation.

Interestingly, people who disagree with the deterrence value of the nuclear weapon argue that nuclear weapon per se has served very little purpose in arresting the escalation, but it was American involvement that has prevented the escalation of the crisis in the subcontinent. They cite both the crisis of 1990 and the Kargil crisis as issues in point. Pakistani nuclear escalation was called a bluff because India did not allow the situation to escalate and exercised complete caution while dealing with the Kargil crisis. However, it needs to be underlined that it is not the presence of nuclear weapons that has led to greater US involvement in the subcontinent but it is Pakistan’s posture that has resulted in greater US indulgence.

The problem according to a Western scholar is that, the Pakistani leaders do not believe that the nuclear standoff obliges Pakistan to stop running the risk of supporting the Kashmir insurgency. The risk lies in Pakistan’s efforts to make its nuclear deterrence more credible. They believe that one way is to threaten to behave recklessly during the crisis, which inevitably would bolster nuclear deterrence. Pakistani military leaders fully comprehend what is called the ’madman theory’ of deterrence. 91 The recent crisis shows that Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir cannot continue unabated in the changed international security scenario. While there would be a temptation to fall for Pakistani provocation, the prudent decision for India would be to strengthen its conventional forces while striving for a solution to the Kashmir issue. 92

Though Pakistan has exploited the US concerns of escalation, its policy of getting dividends out of the US involvement has come to nought. Rather Pakistan was forced to withdraw from Kargil and was asked to respect the Line of Control and resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally. 93 The Kargil crisis was driven by the belief that the danger of nuclear escalation would lead to the involvement of the international community in the crisis if the crisis threatens to spin out of control and some of the gains across the LoC would enable Pakistan to bargain from a position of strength. 94 The Pakistan Foreign Secretary issued a warning saying, “We will not hesitate to use any weapon in our arsenal to defend our territorial integrity”. 95 It is reported that Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for possible deployment during the Kargil war. Sharif, though, denied any knowledge of it, but as the events unfolded later, was more worried about his survival in power. The withdrawal from Kargil was agreed to after Pakistan was assured that the US President would take “personal interest to encourage an expeditious resumption and intensification of the bilateral efforts (i.e., Lahore) once the sanctity of the LoC had been fully restored”. 96 An analysis of the Kargil crisis suggests that the nuclear bluff would not pay dividends if a country were an aggressor. Moreover, an evaluation of cost-benefit should be made in terms of objectives in such misadventures. Pakistan has been internationalizing the Kashmir issue since the creation of Pakistan. But towards this objective, Kargil did not benefit it in terms of foreign policy. A repeat of ‘Siachin’ on India, as some of the Pakistani analysts argued, did not transform into reality in concrete terms. Rather Pakistan was pressurized to withdraw. Respecting sanctity of the Line of Control perhaps emerged as a new reality by giving de facto credence to the contentious dividing line in Kashmir. Moreover, the nuclear reality of South Asia made the Western powers enforce a code of behaviour on Pakistan to stay within the line while engaging itself in the zero sum game.

In the recent crisis after the mobilization of the Indian troops, Pakistan’s nuclear threat has failed to achieve anything tangible in terms of its objectives. Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence-driven Kashmir policy has brought more pressure on Pakistan. There was increasing pressure from the international community to stop exporting terrorism to India. Pakistan’s plea for greater international involvement in resolving the Kashmir crisis has been ignored by the international community. 97 Undoubtedly, the recent crisis has brought Kashmir more into international focus. To that extent, only Pakistan has been successful in drawing the attention of the international community to the need to resolve the ‘core issue’. Rather Pakistan is advised by most of the Western countries to resolve its problem with India bilaterally. In the present context, there is a need for India to pay greater attention to attend to the grievances of the Kashmiris. Though India does not have much option but to put up with international attention, it can successfully exploit international attention to expose Pakistan’s complicity in the matter. Of course, the coercive diplomacy of mobilisation has yielded policy dividends in terms of many countries pressuring Pakistan to stop infiltration along the Line of Control. This needs a deeper analysis in terms of Indian objectives in mobilizing the troops. Moreover, has Pakistan’s previously covert and presently overt nuclear capability deterred India? The conundrum needs to be analysed in the context of India’s objectives. India has never sought a military solution to the Kashmir issue. This needs to be contextualised to the 1971 war when India had a complete victory and 90,000 prisoners of war in its custody. If India did not impose a solution then and rather preferred a bilateral negotiation, then it is unlikely that India is deterred by Pakistan’s nuclear weapons now to seek a military solution. India is a status quo power and it would try to prevent any change in that. 98 Nuclear weapons have added to Pakistan’s recklessness. But in terms of policy returns it has got neither the involvement of world powers nor induced any territorial change. The nuclear strategy should be evaluated in terms of its objectives. The strategy cannot extend beyond the nuclear annihilation of Pakistan. The Pakistani military regime may have been involved in rhetorics but they also know the limitations.

It is interesting that though Pakistan after the nuclear tests has linked up its nuclear weapons to the conventional superiority of India and has a first-use strategy using the same plea, this posture also indicates double standards and Pakistan’s insincerity in advocating various disarmament proposals in the past. If South Asia becomes a nuclear weapon free zone what would be Pakistan’s approach to achieve conventional parity? The insecurity would remain. Thus, General Musharaf’s statement in the CNN interview talking of a larger framework of nuclear disarmament in South Asia than a no-first use policy, lacks credibility in the context of Pakistan’s nuclear posture. While ruling out a nuclear war or use of nuclear weapons, he said, “any sane individual cannot even think of going into this unconventional mode, whatever the pressures”. Thus, “we have called for denuclearisation of South Asia”. 99 This appears to be hogwash to hoodwink the international community and to pose himself as a rational leader who sincerely believes in peace. However, this also underlines Pakistan’s inconsistency in its approach to nuclear deterrence. Since the threshold level remains undefined, the reliability on rational thinking of the Pakistan leadership also remains doubtful. General Musharraf in an interview to a German magazine said that if Pakistan is pressurized “as a last resort, the atom bomb is also possible”. 100 The nuclear threat that emanates from Pakistan is confusing and incoherent. The only constant factor in the various statements that emanate from Pakistan is the usage of the term nuclear deterrence and a first- use policy. The Pakistani leadership portrays itself as rational users of the first- use policy in the event of world concern and sometimes they link it to the resolution of the Kashmir issue which, according to Pakistan, would bring strategic stability. What have rendered credibility to such nuclear threats are the travel advisories that were issued by US and other Western countries. This perhaps was done to make the Pakistan propagated theory of Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint sound convincing because that serves the Western non-proliferation interests or it can be simply described as ‘American paranoia’.

However, to manage deterrence and at the same time avoid a conventional conflict, Pakistan needs to stop interfering in Kashmir. The recent crisis shows that Pakistan cannot continue with its support to terrorism in Kashmir by flexing its nuclear muscle. India should continue to mobilize world opinion against Pakistan’s interference in Kashmir, because, such interference would result in increased tension in the subcontinent. According to a Pakistani scholar, Islamabad can retain its option of first-use as long as it understands that nuclear deterrence makes it imperative to have status quo in terms of territorial claims, and nuclear deterrence does not allow for proxy wars in territories of direct interest to the parties concerned. 101 The problem with nuclear stability, as many Pakistani security analysts have implied, is the issue of growing religious radicalism both in the Army and also in the society at large. According to a report, though political and religious attitudes in the Pakistani scientific community are certainly diversified, there is a growing influence of Islamic radicalism . . . the risks of nuclear proliferation in Pakistan may be more significantly linked to the acquired nuclear expertise combined with pro-radical political attitudes . . . ”. 102 However, in these recent developments the Chinese factor in exacerbating the nuclear crisis in South Asia needs to be studied. Chinese assistance in bolstering Pakistan’s nuclear capability including delivery systems and its effect on the nuclear crisis, has not received the required attention by the Western media.

The growing international pressure due to the tension on the border saw a series of high level visits from Western countries. Though the threat of nuclear war was emanating from Pakistan, the hope that the international community would engage itself to find a solution to the Kashmir issue seems a distant dream to the Pakistani policy-makers. Economic bankruptcy of Pakistan coupled with dependence on foreign aid, does not leave much room for Pakistan to manoeuvre. Japan has threatened to cut off aid if Pakistan does not stop infiltration. In a nuclearised environment, Pakistan’s first- use policy and India’s resolve that it has reached its threshold of tolerating Pakistan-sponsored violence, have invited greater attention. In the post- September 11 developments the world community refuses to buy Pakistan’s theory of ‘freedom fighters’. The distinction between terrorists and those masquerading as ‘freedom fighters’ has become increasingly blurred. In this context, India needs to weigh its options. While dealing with the governance factor in Kashmir, India needs to keep a posture of proactive diplomacy and needs to resolve the issue bilaterally with Pakistan. However, much would depend on Pakistan’s ability and sincerity to stop cross-border terrorism permanently to ensure peace and stability in South Asia. The linkage between the WMD factor and terrorism has got negative returns for Pakistan. To ensure its credibility as a responsible nuclear weapon state, Pakistan needs to return to the Lahore process to reduce the risk of a nuclear war.


Note *:   Dr Smruti S. Pattanaik, a Research Officer at IDSA, has a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She did her doctoral work at the South Asian Studies Division of the School of International Studies of the University. She specialises on security issues pertaining to the South Asia region.  Back.

Note 1:   Cheema, Pervaiz Iqbal, Nuclear Developments in Pakistan: Future Directions. In P.R. Chari Ed. Nuclear Non-Proliferation in India and Pakistan. 1996, Manohar; Delhi, p. 137  Back.

Note 2:   Rizvi, Hasan Askari, Pakistan’s Defence Policy. Pakistan Horizon. 1983, 36 (1) 37  Back.

Note 3:   Refer Bhutto’s statement in the National Assembly of Pakistan. See The National Assembly of Pakistan Debates, 3 (1-13), May 30, 1974, third session of 1974, pp. 304-5  Back.

Note 4:   Bhutto, Z,A., Myth of Independence. 1969. Oxford University Press; Karachi. p. 153  Back.

Note 5:   Ibid, p. 152  Back.

Note 6:   Jalal, Hamid and Khalid Hasan, Awakening the People. Speeches of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto 1966-69. 1970. Pakistan Publications; Rawalpindi. P..21 as cited in Zafar Iqbal Cheema, Pakistan’s Nuclear Policies: Attitudes and Postures, no. 1, p. 105  Back.

Note 7:   Bhutto, Z,A., no. 3, p. 305  Back.

Note 8:   The National Assembly of Pakistan Debates, no. 3, p. 301  Back.

Note 9:   Refer to Bhutto’s statement in the National Assembly of Pakistan. no.3, p. 300  Back.

Note 10:   Kux, Dennis, The United States and Pakistan 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies. 2001. Oxford University Press; New York. p.216. In 1974 Washington removed all limitation in arms transfer but to avoid any resistance to its move by the Congress it allowed cash sales of the weapons to Pakistan.  Back.

Note 11:   Pressler, Larry, The Restraint of Fury: US Non-Proliferation and South Asia, as cited in the Senate hearing on “Non Proliferation in Pakistan: Reaffirming the Intent of the Pressler Amendment”, August 5, 1994 available at  Back.

Note 12:   see Nucleonics Week, 25(38), September 20, 1984, p .4.  Back.

Note 13:   Cheema, Zafar Iqbal, no.6, p.112. See K.M.Arif, Working with Zia. 1995. Oxford University Press; Karachi. pp. 362-363.  Back.

Note 14:   As cited in Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, no. 1, p. 109  Back.

Note 15:   The National Assembly of Pakistan Debates, June 10, 1977 (5th session of 1977), pp. 120-121. Also See Dennis Kux, no.10, pp. 223-225.  Back.

Note 16:   Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema has attributed the slow growth of the defence industries to four factors (i) resource constraint (ii) lack of technical knowledge (iii) easy availability of imported arms (iv) weak civilian industrial base. For details see Cheema, Arms Procurement in Pakistan: Balancing the Needs for Quality, Self-Reliance and Diversity of Supply. In Eric Arnett Ed. Military Capacity and the Risk of War: China, India, Pakistan and Iran. 1997. SIPRI; p. 156.  Back.

Note 17:   For details regarding Pakistan’s nuclear policy see Smruti S. Pattanaik, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Options Before Nuclear Pakistan. Strategic Analysis. November 1998, pp. 1144-1154  Back.

Note 18:   Though Pakistan claimed that it intended to set up a large number of nuclear plants to meet its energy need it lacked technological and economic resources to create such infrastructure. The US was certain that the extracted plutonium would be diverted for military purposes. See Samina Ahmed, Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Turning Points and Nuclear Choice. International Security. Spring 1999, 23 (4)184. However, Bhutto later claimed that Pakistan was in the threshold of full nuclear capability and the nuclear reprocessing plant was needed to realize this. See Bhutto, If I am Assassinated. 1979. Vikas; New Delhi. p. 138. Also see Samina Ahmed, Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Moving forward or Tactical Retreat? Kroc Institute Occasional Paper no. 18: OP:2, February 2000.  Back.

Note 19:   Cheema, Parvez Iqbal, no. 1, p. 137.  Back.

Note 20:   Pakistan in 1994 agreed to a verifiable cap on the production of fissile materials and therefore US agreed that it would cooperate with Pakistan in various fields. “Talbott, Bhutto Discuss Non-Proliferation Issues in Islamabad”, November 4, 1994. see  Back.

Note 21:   The Pressler Amendment requires the President of the US to certify that Pakistan does not possess nuclear devices. If, it does then the US assistance to Pakistan would be stopped. However in 1984 when the US foreign relations Committee considered an amendment offered by Senators Alan Cranston and John Glenn to cut off assistance to Pakistan unless the President, on a yearly basis, was able to certify that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear device, was not developing such a device and was not acquiring technology, material or equipment for the purpose of either manufacturing or detonating a nuclear weapon. The Cranston-Glenn Amendment though much broader in scope was defeated in the face of strong Administration opposition. See  Back.

Note 22:   According to Pressler, the US export decision had steadily provided Pakistan with the wherewithal to modernize its nuclear weapons capabilities and this have created military and political consequences for all of South Asia. According to Cheema, a Pakistani analyst Pressler did make a significant contribution to pushing Pakistan towards the brink of nuclear weaponisation because of the sanctions inpossed on Pakistan through the Presster Amendment could not casure conventional weapon parity with India. See Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, no. 1, p. 137.  Back.

Note 23:   Siddiqa-Agha, Ayesha, Pakistan’s Arms Procurement and Military Buildup, 1979-99. 2001. Palgrave; New York. p. 180.  Back.

Note 24:   According to Larry Pressler the US government-licensed commercial sales of arms and military technology violate the US non-proliferation policy embodied in the Pressler amendment within the plain language of statute or its legal history. Secretary James Baker appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said “We have legislative history, and as a legal matter we do not believe it applies to commercial sales or exports controlled by the Department of Commerce, so we look at munitions and spare parts that are necessary to maintain the Pakistani military at levels on a case-by-case basis”. Larry Pressler, The Restraint of Fury: US Non-Proliferation and South Asia, as cited in Senate hearing “Non Proliferation in Pakistan: Reaffirming the Intent of the Pressler Amendment, August 5, 1994. See Many Pakistanis believe that the Pressler Amendment led Pakistan to accelerate its nuclear programme. See Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, no. 1, p. 133 and 136-7  Back.

Note 25:   Shaikh, Farzana, Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb: Beyond the Non-proliferation Regime. International Affairs. 2002, 78 (1) 33  Back.

Note 26:   Most of the meeting to garner financial support took place in Paris in 1973 because most of these countries were shopping for their defence need in Paris. The disagreement between Libya and Pakistan arose because the Libyan expected ‘full access’ to Pakistani nuclear capability. Financial assistance running into million of dollars was provided. Some of the people involved in the financial transaction have confirmed it. For details see Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb: The Nuclear Threat to Israel and Middle-East. 1981. Times Books; New York. pp. 60-65.  Back.

Note 27:  Back.

Note 28:   Weissman, Steve and Herbert Krosney, no. 26.  Back.

Note 29:   Shaikh, Farzana, no. 25, p. 40. Also see Bhutto, Z.A., no. 18, p. 138.  Back.

Note 30:   “Pakistan’s Assertive Regional Strategy”, The Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, House Republican Research Committee, House of Representative, August 24, 1994. See  Back.

Note 31:   As cited in  Back.

Note 32:   Arif, no. 13, p. 365.  Back.

Note 33:   The Bigger Threat From Israel. The Muslim. September 2, 1991.  Back.

Note 34:   Aziz , Shahid, The Muslim. September 24, 1989.  Back.

Note 35:   Refer to The Nation editorial, July 11, 1991  Back.

Note 36:   Riedel, who was President Clinton’s special Assistant for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council wrote that he asked the Israeli Chief of Staff to deny to the Pakistani Ambassador in Washington any such plan the night before the tests but that mattered little to Islamabad. Bruce Riedel, “American Diplomacy and the 1999 Kargil Summit at Blair House”, Policy Paper Series 2002. See  Back.

Note 37:   Bhutto was the first person to use the term Islamic bomb.  Back.

Note 38:   There are some people who feel that it is cost effective and less than the cost of peace achieved through conventional weapon, See Mohammad Harron Muzaffar Waraich, The News. September 3, 1991  Back.

Note 39:   SWB, Part 3, (Asia Pacific), FE/3241, June 1, 1998, p. A/1.  Back.

Note 40:   Cheema, Zafar Iqbal, no. 13, p. 120.  Back.

Note 41:   Yasmeen, Samina, Pakistan’s Nuclear Tests: Domestic Debate and International Determinants. Australian Journal of International Affairs. 1999, 53 (1) 49-50  Back.

Note 42:   Press Release, GA/DIS/3115, October 20, 1998  Back.

Note 43:   On May 14, 1998 a six-member committee was appointed to ‘deliberate over different aspects of Pakistan’s policy to deal with the threat to its security’. The commission included Sartaj Aziz (Finance Minister), Gohar Ayub (Foreign Minister), Mushahid Hussain (Information Minister), Siddique Kanjo (Minister of State for Foreign Affairs), Lt. Gen. Abdul majid Mallik (Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas) and Raja Zafrul Haq (minister for Religious Affairs and miniorities). The inner core group comprised Prime Minister, three service chiefs and Sartaj Aziz, Gohar Ayub and Zafrul Haq. The issue was debated in the Senate on 12-14 May. As cited in Samina Yasmeen, no. 41, pp. 51-52.  Back.

Note 44:   Siddiqa-Agha, Ayesha, no. 23, p. 185.  Back.

Note 45:   Voice of America June 4, 1998. See  Back.

Note 46:   PTV, English Headlines, June 5, 1998, at  Back.

Note 47:   Ahmed, Shamshad, The Nuclear Subcontinent. Foreign Affairs. July/August 1999, 125  Back.

Note 48:   Voice of America June 4, 1998. See  Back.

Note 49:   As cited in Zafar, no. 16, p. 123.  Back.

Note 50:   Bhutto said, “We give a commitment that our programme will be only for peaceful purposes. And our commitment is not like an Indian commitment because an Indian commitment is not worth the paper it is written on. So the point is that we are determined to have a nuclear programme, but this nuclear programme will be for peaceful purpose. Bhutto’s statement in the National Assembly, no. 3., p. 306.  Back.

Note 51:   Some of Pakistani proposals are (i) Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in South Asia endorsed by the UN since 1974 (ii) India and Pakistan should issue a joint declaration renouncing the acquisition or manufacture of nuclear weapon in 1978, (iii) to put all nuclear installations in India and Pakistan under inspection of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (iv) 1979- bilateral inspection of all nuclear facilities on reciprocal basis (iv) 1979-simultaneous acceptance of IAEA safeguards by Pakistan and India on all nuclear facilities (v) 1979-simultaneous accession to NPT (vi) 1987-regional test ban treaty (vii) 1987 convening a conference on nuclear non-proliferation in South Asia under the auspices of the UN.  Back.

Note 52:   See Mohammad Harron Muzaffar Waraich, The News. September 3, 1991.  Back.

Note 53:   Cheema, Zafar Iqbal, no. 16, p. 115  Back.

Note 54:   Khan, Tanvir Ahmed, Frontier Post. February 24, 2000  Back.

Note 55:   Ibid.  Back.

Note 56:   Mazari, Shirin, South Asian Peace and Security Doctrine, paper presented for a seminar on “Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Interfacing New Dimensions and Perspectives”. Dhaka 2000. (Unpublished)  Back.

Note 57:    “Pakistan threatens Nuclear Defense”,, June 19, 2001. The sanctions were lifted after Pakistan joined the United States led alliance in the war against terror especially in the operation in Afghanistan.  Back.

Note 58:   Niazi, M.A., Nation. February 20, 2000; Agha Shahi, Frontier Post February 23, 2000. Shirin Mazari, The News. February 10, 2000  Back.

Note 59:   Shahi, Agha, Frontier Post. February 23, 2000  Back.

Note 60:   Shahi, Ibid. Also See Farah Zahra, Pakistan’s Road to a Minimum Nuclear Deterrent. Arms Control Today. July/August 1999, 10  Back.

Note 61:   Refer to K.M.Arif, No Bargain on Nuclear Option. Dawn (Islamabad). December 6, 1994 and Munir Ahmad Khan, Understanding Pakistan’s Nuclear Plan. The News (Islamabad). March 8, 1995.  Back.

Note 62:   Arif, 13, p. 354.  Back.

Note 63:   See Dawn (Islamabad), April 3, 1994.  Back.

Note 64:   Khan, Munir Ahmed, Nuclearisation of South Asia and its Regional and Global Implications. Regional Studies. Autumn, 1998, 43  Back.

Note 65:   Lodi, F.S., Pakistan’s Nuclear Doctrine. Defence Journal. April 1999, at  Back.

Note 66:   Shahi, Agha, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Responding to India’s Nuclear Doctrine. Dawn. October 5, 1999.  Back.

Note 67:   Ibid.  Back.

Note 68:   Economic strangling includes a naval blockade and the stopping of Indus water, political destabilization means subversion scenarios. The Pakistani officials commenting on the report communicated to the authors that the threshold factor mentioned are ‘purely academic’ and it is the National Command Authority, which is the highest body to take decision in these matters. However the authors stress that the four thresholds is explicitly mentioned and this has not been denied. As cited in Landau Report on “Nuclear Safety, nuclear Stability and Nuclear Strategy in Pakistan” prepared by Prof. Paolo Cotta-Ramusino and Prof Maurizio Matellini. The authors are of view that Though Gen. Kidwai stresses on ‘rational decision-making” that would restrain aggressive behaviours which would ultimately prevent nuclear reaction but it seems that the combination of the diversity and broadness of the motivations may justify the usage of nuclear weapon. According to them Pakistan or presumably feels compelled to enlarge and diversify its nuclear arsenal so to increase the nuclear options. For details see This study was suggested and encouraged by Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and funded by General Direction for Asia and Oceania.  Back.

Note 69:   Siddiqa-Agha, Ayesha, The Logic of First-use. Friday Times. June 21-27, 14 (17)  Back.

Note 70:   Ismat, Saeed, Strategy for Total Defence: A conceptual Nuclear Doctrine. Defence Journal. March, 2000, at  Back.

Note 71:   Lodi, F.S., no. 65.  Back.

Note 72:   See Mirza Aslam Beg, Nation. April 3, 1999.  Back.

Note 73:   Landau Network Report. no. 68.  Back.

Note 74:   See Mohammad Harron Muzaffar Waraich, The News, 3 September 1991  Back.

Note 75:   Pakistan Army Spells Out Nuclear Strategy. The Hindustan Times. November 26, 1999  Back.

Note 76:   Khan, Feroz Hassan, Pakistan’s Nuclear Future. Presentation in the Woodrow Wilson Center on February 22, 2002, at  Back.

Note 77:   Arif, K.M., no. 13, p. 381.  Back.

Note 78:   Kamal, Nazir, Pakistani Perceptions and Prospects of Reducing the Nuclear Danger. SAND98-0505/6, January 1999. See  Back.

Note 79:   Refer to Agha Shahi, Zulfiqar Ali Khan and Abdul Sattar, Securing Nuclear peace. The News October 5, 1990. According to another a study however, the nuclear question was not a real issue during the Brasstack exercise of 1987, although the outcome of Brasstacks may have influenced subsequent nuclear decision in South Asia. See Kanti Bajpai, et al Ed. Brasstack and Beyond: Perceptions and Management of Crisis in South Asia, (Delhi: Manohar, 1997), p.40. The 1990 crisis was prompted by the massing of troops by both India and Pakistan and the fear of imminent war, led to the US intervention. The US intelligence sources reportedly suggested that Pakistan had assembled a nuclear weapon. See Seymour Hersh, On the Nuclear Edge. The New Yorker. March 29, 1993, 56-73. However, some Pakistani analysts feel that it was Pakistan’s missiles etc which was shifted to safe places due to the fear of preemptive strike by India. And these pictures were picked up by the American satellite leading to the fear that a nuclear war is impending in the subcontinent.  Back.

Note 80:   See a report prepared by the Stimson Centre in which major actors involved in the crisis participated in the discussion. Michael Krepon and Mishi Faruqee Eds. Conflict Prevention and Confidence Building Measures in South Asia: The 1990 Crisis. Occasional Paper no. 17, April 1994. See C. Uday Bhaskar, The May 1990 Nuclear ‘Crisis’: An Indian Perspective. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. 1997, 20 .319-322 and 326-329.  Back.

Note 81:   Pressler, Larry, The Restraint of Fury: US Non-Proliferation and South Asia, as cited in Senate hearing “Non Proliferation in Pakistan: Reaffirming the Intent of the Pressler Amendment, August 5, 1994 at  Back.

Note 82:  Back.

Note 83:   Dawn. August 24, 1994  Back.

Note 84:   Badansky, Yossef “Pakistan’s Nuclear Brinkmanship, January 1998 at  Back.

Note 85:   See Assad Durrani, Pakistan Security and the Nuclear Option. 1995. Institute for Policy Studies; Islamabad. p.92 as cited in Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistan’s Nuclear Future. In Samina Ahmad and David Cortright Ed. Pakistan and the Bomb. 1998. Oxford; New York. p. 71.  Back.

Note 86:   Aziz, Sartaj, “Nuclear South Asia and US-Pakistan Relations” at  Back.

Note 87:   In an interview with Dr. Pervaiz Hoodbhoy, Department of Physics, Quaid-Azam University, Islamabad 9 February 2001.  Back.

Note 88:   Mazari, Shirin , Muslim. April 2, 1991.  Back.

Note 89:   Hoodbhoy, Pervez, no. 85.  Back.

Note 90:   Lodhi, Maleeha, Anatomy of a Debacle. Newsline. July 1999, p.30. In the same article she points out that India would acquiesce to this capture just like Pakistan was compelled to swallow Delhi’s seizure of the Siachen peaks, in violation of the ’72 Simla Agreement. p.31. However, the Pakistanis have been engaged in such kind of operation after they achieved their nuclear capability in 1987.  Back.

Note 91:   Arnett, Eric, First Strike Could be Key to Islamabad Strategy. The Times. London, May 29, 1998  Back.

Note 92:   For details regarding nuclear risk reduction measures see Smruti S. Pattanaik, Ensuring Nuclear Peace and Stability between India and Pakistan. India Quarterly. October -December, 2001. pp. 53-59.  Back.

Note 93:   President Clinton told Sharif “Come only if you are ready to withdraw, I cannot help you if you are not ready to pull back” See Riedel, n.39 For Pakistan’s objectives in Kargil and the assumption on which it started the operation see Zafar Iqbal Cheema, “Pakistan’s Motivations and Calculations for the Kargil Conflict”, unpublished paper, 2002.  Back.

Note 94:   Nasir, Javed, Defence Journal. February/March, 1999. For details see Ashley J Tellis, C Christine Fair and Jamison Jo Medby, Limited Conflict Under Nuclear Umbrella: India and Pakistan Lessons from Kargil. Rand. 2001. p .49.  Back.

Note 95:   Pakistan May Use any Weapon. The News. May 31, 1999. Also for a similar statement by the leader of Senate Raja Zafarul Haq saying that nuclear weapons become meaningless if they are not see. See N-Weapon can be Used for National Security: Zafar. The News. July 1, 1999.  Back.

Note 96:   Riedel, no. 36.  Back.

Note 97:   See Ijaz Haider, India, Pakistan and Kashmir: Role Reversal. The World Today. 58 (2) 5-6  Back.

Note 98:   There are some Indian analysts that have argued that limited war is possible under nuclear umbrella. For details regarding problems and prospects of this concept see Manoj Joshi, The Indo-Pakistan Military Balance and Limited War. Harvard Quarterly. Autumn 2002, 35-43.  Back.

Note 99:   For the transcript of CNN interview with Musharraf, see  Back.

Note 100:   For the English translation of the comment see Also see The Dawn. April 7, 2002, at  Back.

Note 101:   Siddiqa-Agha, Ayesha,no. 69.  Back.

Note 102:   Landau Report, no.68. Also see reports in The New York Times on Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation to North Korea, and Seymour Hersh, The Cold Test. The New Yorker. January 27, 2003.  Back.