Friday, December 26, 2008

No First Use Policy;Pakistan"s Nuclear Weapons.


President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan has spoken to foreign media on recently on no first use of nuclear weapons .

NFU has been on the table for several decades original between Warsa NATO countries the erstwhile Soviet Union used to be the main proponent ,While the US and NATO rejected the idea,due to proximity and conventional weapons dominance in Western Europe.The US did not want to close any option,especially dealing with the Soviets in the European theatre.In fact the US has never comitted non- use of nuclear weapons even vis a vis non- nuclear weapons states.Nuclear threats have been given by the US several times during the postwar decades including Korean war,Veitnam conflict and Cuban crises.Interestingly the Russians after the demise of the Soviet Union,also seem to have withdrawn their interest in the NFU.Being reduced to a smaller power status,they would like to resort to a more active use of  a nuclear threat in the achievement of their foreign policy objectives and projection of power.Earlier Soviet interest in NFU was primarily to have a flexibility of having a conventional military campaign in Europe without incurring the nuclear risks,at much earlier stages in a possible confrontation.

While reading the US nuclear policy literature,it is clear that the US would not hesitate in using nuclear weapons anywhre ,whenever it is in a difficult military situation including Pakistan,Afghanistan,Iraq,Middle East etc.For example if a thousand of their soldiers are trapped and their lives are in danger.

Todate only India seems to be interested in NFU,partly for propaganda reasons and partly for clever strategic reasons,especially vis-a-vis Pakistan,the only country with which it has active conflict or confrontation.Any hesitation or delay on the part of Pakistan in starting to prepare for pushing the nuclear button would deprive it of the value of its deterrence.Plainly speaking,NFU would give India  an opportunity to launch or win  a conventional attack,without thinking of  our nuclear weapons.India does not need nuclear weapons to face Pakistan in a conventional conflict, while  the reverse may not be true.

Whether there  may or may not be a formal nuclear doctrine in Pakistan in the context of first use in a military campaign or engagement,there seems to be a  national consensus in the use of nuclear weapons,vis-a -vis India,should the need arise.There is no refrain,hesitation or compunction in general public over use or threat to use nuclear weapons.With this physical and psychological ability and preparedness to launch nuclear weapons in military conflict,the nuclear deterrence regime is established in the subcontinent.The confidence and resolve among the people and maybe the government to take on India seems to have come about due to this nuclear deterrence regime.

India has amassed forces on the border earlier and is ,these days unduly pressurising Pakistan in a wanton manner.Somehow there is no worry among general public despite poor economic conditions.The technical question ,however, remains;a definite threshhold for introducing nuclear weapons and the intensity of nuclear response.To explain this a bit,under what conditions would Pakistan resort to nuclear weapons ?Will it gradually escalate to a nuclear war and inthis it will use most or all of its 40-50 bombs at a time?Looking at the constancy and the background of the tone,India maybe after getting the answers to these technical questions.

It appears that India may launch some kind of attack to achieve these possible objectives as well.The pronouncements seem to be quite clear in this respect.Another motivation for the Indian stand could be to test and create space for power projection and achieving its policy objectives,despite a nuclear deterrence regime,namely to blunt,confuse,milden the regime.

Nuclear deterrence has also been linked to the Mutual Assured Destruction(MAD)doctrine.The regime assures that both sides would recieve unacceptable damage and destruction during a conflict.In the context of MAD our image of bieng mad people among some,comes in quite handy.The cool, happy and rational attitude of typical westerner belies his ability for a resolve and readiness in using nuclear weapons."Dama Dum Mast qalander " should be taken seriously by India.

It is therefore concluded that the recent pronouncements by President Zardari on NFU may be a mere palliative or plain simple gentlemanly wish usually untenable in realpolitik.It is quite understandable in these early days of his presidency.It has happened elsewhere also.President Ronald Reagan reportedly and quite innocently asked his advisors publicly as to why they were so particular and edgy about a few Pakistani nuclear bombs,when the US had thousands,.Reagan was anxious in entailing Pakistan"s support in Afghanistan against the "evil empire".Did Ronald Reagan prevail or the  nuclear non-proliferation policies persisted ! perhaps both continued,for Pakistan continued its nuclear progam without a major threat from the US,but amidst loud American protestations and export bans. Or President Zardari"s statement may be not so untutored as it appears to be.Afterall talking about no first use indicates the inherent possibilities.
On the other hand Pakistan"s nuclear policy makers and strategists may have to somewhat define the contours of the nuclear deterrance regime.Would Pakistan be converting every military incident to anuclear war.Would it be able to do so;should it do so?A minimum threshhold may be difficult to define and this should remain fuzzy.Keep tehm guessing!!On the other extreme, a leadership set up maybe lacking resolve due to a variety of internal and external pressures,and this may delay the introduction of nuclear weapons beyond  acritical point,beyond which national security,stability and coherence may be in severe jeopardy.Thus a maximum threshhold or critical point may better be defined than not eg., incidences such as crossing of BRB on Lahore front,or a certain locationon LOC in Kashmir or similar thresholds elsewhere.definition of such a maximum may reduce the hesitation or haste of a pressurised,beleagured or lacking-in -resolve,political-cum-military leadership.

So much for the cruel logic of the nuclear weapons use,the people and governments of the two countries should realize that the stakes are very high and the consequences of the politics of brinkmanship too dangerous.The use of force or the threat of it should be shunned in resolving mutual disputes.Let us learn to sit and talk together on all issues facing the two sides.The interrupted peace dialogue must be resumed without further loss of time.

1 comment:

  1. hi ,the frenzy pakistani and indian media is building regards war is insane.We do not want any war. We want peace,progress and cooperation between both the peoples.keep writing your expert views!