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General Khalid Kidwai, the man who headed Pakistan's strategic forces for 15 years, has said his country is close to having nuclear "second strike capability" with a "sea-based platform".
Kidwai said the 2750 Kilometer range Shaheen 3 ballistic missile has been developed in response to reports of India's plans to locate nuclear bases on Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian ocean.
On the tactical nuclear missile Nasr with a range of just 37 miles, Kidawi said it was intended to deter India's "Cold Start" doctrine which sought to exploit gaps between Pakistan's conventional and nuclear capabilities.
Kidwai was speaking at a 2015 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC recently.
Before answering questions from former US Defense official Peter Lavoy who moderated the discussion and the audience, Kidwai made the following points in his introductory remarks:
1. One nuclear power is trying to teach another a "lesson" at the line of control in Kashmir
2. Conflicts must be managed for socio-economic development in South Asia.
3. Managing conflict is not revisionism--it's common sense.
4. Fear of nuclear war can maintain peace and enable socio-economic development
5. Pakistan's tactical nuclear weapons are a response to India's offensive doctrine.
6. It's unfortunate that the debate has degenerated into lesser issues of command and control and nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands.
7. Discriminatory access to technology is wrong-headed. It does not contribute to managing conflict.
Here are some Q&As from the session:
Question (Lavoy) : History of Pakistan's nuclear weapons...greatest accomplishment and biggest regrets
Answer (Kidawi) : No regrets. I am a "satisfied soldier". Greatest achievement: More comprehensive satisfaction of taking scientific experiments to complete operationalization with a variety of nuclear weapons. It has ensured peace in South Asia. War as an instrument policy is out.
Question: How do you regard nuclear weapons...extension of conventional war fighting?
Answer: They are seen as deterrent, not as primary war-fighting capability.
Question: What's the logic of Nasr with such a short range?
Answer: US has short-range nukes. Pakistan is not unique. Our adversary was seeing gaps in Pakistan capability to find space to launch conventional strikes. Nasr filled the gap to deter "cold start doctrine".
Question: Concern is about intermingling of conventional and strategic making nuclear war more likely, not less likely.
Answer: If tactical nukes make India think twice, if not ten times, then they make sense. It's to stop India's bluster of massive retaliation and not provoke mutual destruction.
Question: The other side of the range, Shaheen 3, what is its actual range? It's 2750 Km.
Answer: Logic is to respond to reports of development of Indian bases in Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian ocean. Pakistan has no need to go beyond the 2750 Km range.
Question: Shaheen 3's political dimension is troubling with capability to hit other countries in the Middle East (Israel?) Why is Pakistan's 2750 Km troublesome while India's 10,000 to 12,000 Km not troublesome?
Q&As with the Audience:
Question: Is Pakistan's nuclear program open-ended? How many is enough?
Answer: It's not open-ended. It's to assure minimum deterrence.
Question: Saudis have often hinted at access to Pakistan nuclear weapons?
Answer: You should ask the Saudis why they are saying that. I can tell you that Pakistan will not be a source of nuclear weapons technology for any country.
Question: When would Pakistan have transparency of its nuclear program, like numbers of weapons?
Answer: No government of Pakistan will reveal number of weapons. It'll maintain ambiguity.
Question: Other nuclear weapons states call their weapons "weapons of peace"? Should you worry about their use in war?
Answer: Pakistan's nuclear weapons are bedrock of Pakistan's security.
Question: Will Pakistan develop nuclear submarine as 2nd strike capability.
Pakistan will develop 2nd strike capability to maintain balance with India.
Question: Will Pakistan's 2nd capability be sea-based?
Question: How will you coordinate army navy and air force commands in terms of nuclear weapons?
Answer: SPD is the coordination authority using elaborate C4ISR and transportation.
Question: You need a quiet submarine to avoid detection. Can you do it?
Answer: Yes, we are close to it. We'll have it in the next few years.
Question (Lavoy): Can Pakistan afford it?
Answer: There are a lot of fantastic figures quoted about Pakistan's defense spending. But Pakistan's nuclear costs are a fraction of total defense expenditures which are in the range of 3 to 3.5% of GDP.
Question: Will Pakistan sign international treaties?
Answer: Maybe in the next few years.
Question: What is Pakistan's plans in space?
Answer: Unfortunately, Pakistan's space program is lagging behind. SPD's interest in space program is in ensuring C4I2SR for our military needs.
Question: Pakistan's image after AQ Khan episode has not improved. What is Pakistan doing about it?
Answer: We are making serious efforts to join NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group).
Question (from Voice of Vietnam): Pakistan is China's only ally. Can Pakistan use its ties with China to promote peace in Asia?
Answer: I disagree that Pakistan is China's only ally. But Pakistan and China have been close friends since 1960s. Our alliance with China is not against any country but to promote peace.
Question (Lavoy): Have you asked your military colleagues to cut ties with terrorism that could start the war you are trying to avoid.
Answer: I disagree with the premise of the question. The situation we are in was thrust upon Pakistan. First lack of resolution of Kashmir issue and then superpower conflict in Afghanistan have led to militancy and terrorism we are dealing with.
Here's the full video of the session with Gen Kidawi:
Islamabad: A former top defence ministry official has claimed that Pakistan possesses nuclear second strike capability against India.
Retired Lieutenant General Naeem Khalid Lodhi, former defence secretary, made the claim at a seminar organised by the Strategic Vision Institute, an Islamabad-based think-tank.
The issue of second strike capability came up in the context of the conventional superiority enjoyed by India and the options for Pakistan.
The second strike provides a military the capability to hit back at an enemy in a situation where its land-based nuclear arsenal is neutralised.
The former defence secretary said in remarks published Thursday that despite the growing conventional imbalance, Pakistan had certain strengths including nuclear parity with India and credible nuclear deterrence.
The nuclear deterrence, he said, had been augmented by the second strike capability, efficient delivery systems and effective command and control system.
President of the think-tank Zafar Iqbal Cheema said Pakistan had improved its second-strike capability.
He said this capability has been augmented by deployment of Hatf-VII/Baber nuclear capable cruise missile that can be launched from aircrafts and conventional submarines.
It is further fortified by air-launched cruise missile in Hatf series, he added.
Technically the best mode of second-strike capability is submarine launched ballistic missile, which neither India nor Pakistan have deployed as yet, Cheema said.
Pakistani nuclear forces, 2015
Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norri
Federation of American Scientists (FAS)
The second cruise missile under
development, the air-launched, dualcapable
RaÕad (Hatf-8), has been testlaunched
four times. The test-launches
have been conducted from a Mirage III
fighter-bomber. The most recent testlaunch
was conducted in May 2012; the
span of time since then also hints at
technical challenges. After the last
test, the Pakistani government
acknowledged that ÒÔCruise TechnologyÕ
is extremely complex,Ó and
said that the RaÕad could deliver
nuclear and conventional warheads to
a range greater than 350 km, and enable
Pakistan Òto achieve strategic standoff
capability on land and at seaÓ (ISPR,
There are also signs that Pakistan is
developing a nuclear weaponÑinitially
probably a nuclear-capable cruise missileÑfor
deployment on submarines. In
2012, the Pakistani navy established
Headquarters Naval Strategic Forces
Command (NSFC) for the development
and deployment of a sea-based strategic
nuclear force. The government said that
this command would be the Òcustodian
of the nationÕs second-strike capabilityÓ
to Òstrengthen PakistanÕs policy of Credible
Minimum Deterrence and ensure
regional stabilityÓ (ISPR, 2012e).
Pakistan fires its first submarine-based nuclear cruise missile
Pakistan has successfully fired its first nuclear-capable submarine-based cruise missile, in a move that escalates tensions with neighbouring India.
The Pakistani navy said on Monday afternoon that it had launched a nuclear-capable Babur-3 missile, which has a range of 450km, from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean.
“Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step towards reinforcing the policy of credible minimum deterrence,” the military said in a statement.
It added that the missile was “capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence”.
The move comes with tensions still high on the de facto border with nuclear-armed India. Hours before the announcement of the test, India said three civilians had been killed when militants crossed the line of control between the two countries in Kashmir and attacked an army camp.
The skirmish was the latest in a series of tit-for-tat strikes across the border since 19 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on the Uri army base in India-controlled Kashmir in September.
Experts said Pakistan was thinking of developing a sea-based nuclear missile programme in case India succeeded in damaging or eliminating its land-based weapons. According to some, the country has vigorously pursued sea-based nuclear missiles for years — but before Monday’s test it had only launched nuclear missiles from land and air-based platforms.
“It’s the completion of our triad, which is important,” one senior government official told the FT.
India is pursuing a sea-based nuclear deterrent “largely to keep up with China while Pakistan is attempting to follow suit”, according to Walter Ladwig, a lecturer in international relations at King’s College, London.
“If Pakistan could succeed in developing a successful and survivable submarine-based deterrent, it could, in theory, assuage a lot of their concerns about pre-emption by India,” he said. “However, it also creates opportunities for more mistakes and accidents.”
Shashank Joshi, a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “If Pakistan fears that India may aspire to destroying Pakistan’s nukes on the ground, thereby undercutting mutual deterrence, then it makes sense to put weapons at sea, where they are more survivable.”
But he added: “This would come with a huge price tag.”
Pakistan’s test comes two weeks after India test-fired its long range ballistic missile Agni-V, which has a range of more than 5,000km.
India is also well ahead in developing an at-sea missile system, having test-launched a cruise missile from a submarine in 2013.
Nevertheless, Pakistan has stepped up its spending on armed forces in recent years. In 2015, Pakistan formally reached an agreement with China for the latter to supply the Pakistan navy with eight new submarines, the country’s largest defence contract in value terms.
A spokesman for the Indian army did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Pakistan: Military Test-Fires First Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile
creating a plausible sea-based second-strike threat requires a submarine fleet that can fire missiles. As of now Pakistan has only five of these vessels, three of which could be considered fairly modern. Nevertheless, Islamabad plans to dramatically expand its submarine fleet: In 2015, it struck a deal with Beijing to buy eight submarines similar to the Yuan-class model. Pakistan is also in the process of moving its main submarine base to Ormara from Karachi, which is more vulnerable to attack than the new location because of its proximity to the Indian border.
But Pakistan's reliance on diesel-electric submarines, rather than dedicated nuclear ballistic missile counterparts, comes with significant risks. For example, Pakistani submarines carrying nuclear weapons could come under attack from Indian anti-submarine forces that are unable to distinguish the vessels based on their mission. This could lead Pakistani commanders, who may think the attack is part of an Indian effort to neutralize Islamabad's sea-based nuclear force, to fire their nuclear missiles during what might otherwise be a conventional conflict.
This links directly to a second danger: the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Because submarines' nuclear-tipped cruise missiles must be ready to launch before they leave port, an enormous amount of responsibility and power is placed on the shoulders of the officers piloting the vessels. Untrustworthy commanders or breakdowns in the chain of command could considerably raise the risk of the unsanctioned use of nuclear weapons.
When all is said and done, Pakistan's decision to rely on nuclear weapons as a means of warding off attack from a more powerful India has increased the chance of nuclear warfare breaking out in South Asia. Though Islamabad's quest for a sea-based nuclear deterrent is hardly surprising, it is a conspicuous example of an alarming pattern of posturing between two nuclear powers that have a long and volatile history of hostility toward each other.
The Risks of Pakistan's Sea-Based Nuclear Weapons
The Babur-3 opens a dangerous era for Pakistan’s nuclear forces.
By Ankit Panda
October 13, 2017
Nine days into 2017, Pakistan carried out the first-ever flight test of the Babur-3, it’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). A variant of the Babur-3 ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), this SLCM will see Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent head to sea—probably initially aboard its Agosta 90B and Agosta 70 submarines, but eventually, perhaps even on board new Type 041 Yuan-class submarines Pakistan is expected to procure from China.
In a new article in the Fall 2017 issue of the Washington Quarterly, Christopher Clary and I examine some of the novel security challenges Pakistan may experience with its sea-based deterrent. It is already well known that Pakistan has outpaced it’s primary rival, India, in terms of its nuclear stockpile growth.
On land, low-yield systems, like the Nasr, have also raised concerns of a lower nuclear-use threshold in South Asia. The move to sea can have some positive effects on overall strategic stability; indeed, the perceived survivability of a sea-based deterrent can abate so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” pressures for Pakistan’s land-based forces. But the story doesn’t stop there.
Sea-based weapons can aggravate crisis stability concerns in the India-Pakistan dyad and present unique command-and-control challenges for Pakistan, which may be required to place these weapons at a higher level of readiness during peacetime. Finally, Pakistan’s internal security environment will remain a concern with a submarine-based deterrent. The threat of theft and sabotage may be greater in the case of Pakistan’s sea-based weapons than it is for its land-based forces. In aggregate, we argue that the sea-based deterrent may, on balance, prove detrimental to Pakistan’s security.
Pakistan, like other nuclear states, employs a range of physical and procedural safeguards to ensure that its nuclear weapons are only used in a crisis and a with a valid order from the country’s National Command Authority (NCA). The introduction of a nuclear-capable SLCM aboard its Agosta submarines would necessitate the erosion of some of these safeguards.
For instance, some physical safeguards that Pakistan is known to use for its land-based weapons — including partially dissembled storage, separation of triggers and pits, and de-mated storage — would be impractical at sea. Meanwhile, the experience of other nuclear states, like the United Kingdom, with sea-based deterrents suggests that sea-based nuclear weapons generally see fewer use impediments. Pakistan has long asserted that its nuclear command-and-control is highly centralized, but it remains doubtful that this would remain true for its small nuclear-capable submarine force in wartime or a crisis. The temptation to pre-delegate use authorization may be too great.
Similarly, Indian forces, unable to discriminate whether a detected Pakistani submarine in a crisis was fielding nuclear or conventional capabilities, would have to presume nuclear capability should the Babur-3 see deployment. All of this in turn not only would make Pakistan’s submarine force a prime early-crisis target for Indian forces, but also aggravate use-or-lose pressures for land-based forces.
Ultimately, even if India resisted attacking Pakistani submarines to avoid unintended escalatory pressures, it would at least see value in targeting the Very Low Frequency (VLF) radar facility established at Karachi in November 2016 that would allow Pakistan’s NCA to communicate with its at-sea deterrent in a crisis. This would require some confidence in New Delhi that Pakistan had not pre-delegated use authorization and that Islamabad’s sea-based weapons would still require the transmission of a use-authorization code from the NCA.
#Pakistan Says #India's #nuclear #submarine #Arihant deployment poses a threat to regional, international peace: "This development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia.... No One Should Doubt Our Capabilities" https://www.news18.com/news/india/no-one-should-doubt-our-capabilit...
Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday expressed concern over the recent deployment of India's nuclear submarine INS Arihant, saying there should be no doubt about Islamabad's resolve and capabilities to meet the challenges in the nuclear and conventional realms in South Asia.
"This development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia which is a matter of concern not only for the Indian Ocean littoral states but also for the international community at large,” Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said.
Nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant successfully completed its first deterrence patrol this week, taking India into a club of a handful of countries which have the capability to design, construct and operate such a submarine or SSBN
The spokesperson said the "bellicose" language employed by the top Indian leadership highlights the threats to strategic stability in South Asia and raises questions about responsible nuclear stewardship in India.
He said the increased frequency of missile tests by India, aggressive posturing and deployment of nuclear weapons calls for an assessment of the non-proliferation benefits resulting from India's membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The spokesperson said Pakistan is committed to the objective of strategic stability in South Asia and believes that the only way forward for both countries is to agree on measures for nuclear and missile restraint.
"At the same time no one should be in doubt about Pakistan's resolve and capabilities to meet the challenges posed by the latest developments both in the nuclear and conventional realms in South Asia," he said.
Replying to a question about the follow up of Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to China, Faisal said a high-level Pakistan delegation will have talks with their counterparts in Beijing to sort out technical matters and finalise the modalities for further enhancing the existing bilateral and strategic cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields.
On the proposed Afghanistan peace talks in Moscow, he said a Pakistan delegation led by an additional secretary will attend the dialogue.
The spokesperson said Taliban leader Mullah Baradar was released to give an impetus to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan has always been emphasising the need for seeking a negotiated settlement on the Afghan issue with the participation of all stakeholders.
He said it is a matter of concern that a recent American report points out that the Afghan administration and the foreign forces are losing control over the security situation in the war-torn country. Responding to questions on Christian woman Asia Bibi who was recently released from jail, Faisal said she is still in Pakistan at a safe location.
Early in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it wasn’t just Moscow that believed its offensive could succeed quickly. In February, even U.S. officials warned Kyiv could fall in days.
Russians had numbers on their side, or more precisely a number: the 3:1 rule, the ratio by which attackers must outnumber defenders in order to prevail. It is one of several “force ratios” popular in military strategy. Russia, it seemed, could amass that advantage.
The war in Ukraine has brought renewed interest in force ratios. Other ratios in military doctrine include the numbers needed to defeat unprepared defenders, resist counterinsurgencies or counterattack flanks. Though they sound like rules of thumb for a board game like Risk, the ratios have been taught to generations of both American and Soviet and then Russian tacticians, and provide intuitive support for the idea Ukraine was extremely vulnerable.
“I would imagine that most of them are thinking in those terms, that you need something on the order of a 3:1 advantage to break through,” said John Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago professor whose work focuses on security competition between great powers. “It’s clear in this case that the Russians badly miscalculated.”
Modern versions of the 3:1 rule apply to local sectors of combat. A Rand Corp. study determined a theater-wide 1.5-to-1 advantage would allow attackers to achieve 3:1 ratios in certain sectors.
Overall, Russia’s military has quadruple the personnel and infantry vehicles, triple the artillery and tanks, and nearly 10 times the armored personnel carriers, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the London-based think tank.
With 190,000 Russian troops concentrated to invade in February, and Ukraine’s military spread across the country, (only 30,000 troops, for example, were estimated to be in Ukraine’s east near the Donbas region) it appeared Russia had the numbers to overwhelm Ukraine.
Ratios don’t account for Western intelligence and materiel support, for Ukrainian resolve, for low Russian morale, for Russia’s logistical struggles, or for severe Russian tactical errors, like leaving tanks exposed in columns on major roadways, Mr. Biddle said.
These ratios originate from 19th-century European land wars.
In his seminal 1832 text on military strategy, “On War,” the Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz proclaimed: “The defensive form of warfare is intrinsically stronger than the offensive.” By the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Prussians distilled this to requiring triple the attackers. Prussia decisively triumphed; maybe they were on to something.
World War I, with years of stalemate in the trenches as combatants struggled to break through defenses, lent further credibility to the idea.
English Brigadier-General James Edmonds, writing shortly after World War I, recorded an early version of the rule: “It used to be reckoned in Germany that to turn out of a position an ebenbürtigen foe—that is, a foe equal in all respects, courage, training, morale and equipment—required threefold numbers.”
Still, he said of Ukraine: “It’s obvious in this case, the force ratio, the number of static units, are a very poor predictor of what’s going to happen on the battlefield.”
To Mr. Epstein, force ratios exemplify a quip from the writer H.L. Mencken—and a lesson Russia is learning the hard way:
“There is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible and wrong.”
#Nuclear arsenals of #China, #India, #Pakistan are growing. But it's not an arms race—yet. Combined arsenals of China (350 warheads), India (160) and Pakistan (165) are much smaller than #US's & #Russia's but exceed #British & #French stockpiles. #Nukes https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/08/11/the-nuclear-arsenals-of-c...
Yet, in many ways, all three countries were hesitant nuclear powers. China did not deploy a missile capable of hitting the American mainland until the 1980s. When India and Pakistan fought a war over Kargil, in the disputed region of Kashmir, in the summer of 1999, India’s air force, tasked with delivering the bombs if needed, was not told what they looked like, how many there were or the targets over which they might have to be dropped.
All that has changed. China has been adding hundreds of new missile silos in recent years. When Pakistan celebrated its 60th birthday in 2007 it had roughly 60 nuclear warheads. Fifteen years on, that number has nearly tripled (see chart). The combined arsenals of China (350 warheads), India (160) and Pakistan (165), though modest by American and Russian standards (several thousand each), now exceed British and French stockpiles in Europe (around 500 in total). All three countries are emulating the American and Russian practice of having a nuclear “triad”: nukes deliverable from land, air and sea. South Asia’s nuclear era is entering a more mature phase.
That need not mean a more dangerous one. A new report by Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment, a think-tank in Washington, explores the dynamics among Asia’s three nuclear powers. Since 1998, most Western attention has focused on the risk of a conflagration between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. That danger persists. Yet the risk of an arms race has been exaggerated, argues Mr Tellis, a former State Department official.
India’s arsenal has grown slowly, he observes—it remains smaller than Pakistan’s—and its nuclear posture remains “remarkably conservative”. The comparison with the nuclear behemoths is instructive. America and Russia both maintain huge arsenals designed to enable so-called counterforce strikes—those which pre-emptively target the other side’s nuclear weapons to limit the damage they might do. That means their arsenals must be large, sophisticated and kept on high alert.
In contrast, China, India and Pakistan, despite their manifold differences, all view nukes as “political instruments” rather than “usable tools of war”, argues Mr Tellis. Both China and India, for instance, pledge that they would not use nuclear weapons unless an adversary had used weapons of mass destruction first, a commitment known as “no first use”. America disbelieves China’s promise, much as Pakistan doubts India’s. But the Chinese and Indian arsenals are consistent with the pledges, insists Mr Tellis.
He calculates that if India wanted to use a tactical (or low-yield) nuclear weapon to take out a Pakistani missile on the ground, it would have to do so within a few minutes of the Pakistani launcher leaving its storage site. That is implausible. India does not have missiles that can launch within minutes of an order, nor those accurate to within tens of metres of their target. And, for now, China’s rocketeers also train and operate on the assumption that their forces would be used in retaliation. The result is that things are more stable than the swelling arsenals suggest.
Pakistan nuclear weapons, 2023
By Hans M. Kristensen, Matt Korda, Eliana Johns, September 11, 2023
Pakistan continues to gradually expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems, and a growing fissile material production industry. Analysis of commercial satellite images of construction at Pakistani army garrisons and air force bases shows what appear to be newer launchers and facilities that might be related to Pakistan’s nuclear forces.
We estimate that Pakistan now has a nuclear weapons stockpile of approximately 170 warheads (See Table 1). The US Defense Intelligence Agency projected in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020 (US Defense Intelligence Agency 1999, 38), but several new weapon systems have been fielded and developed since then, which leads us to a higher estimate. Our estimate comes with considerable uncertainty because neither Pakistan nor other countries publish much information about the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.
With several new delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors, and an expanding uranium enrichment infrastructure, Pakistan’s stockpile has the potential to increase further over the next several years. The size of this projected increase will depend on several factors, including how many nuclear-capable launchers Pakistan plans to deploy, how its nuclear strategy evolves, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows. We estimate that the country’s stockpile could potentially grow to around 200 warheads by the late 2020s, at the current growth rate. But unless India significantly expands its arsenal or further builds up its conventional forces, it seems reasonable to expect that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will not continue to grow indefinitely but might begin to level off as its current weapons programs are completed.