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Comparing Military Strengths of India and Pakistan


By Air Marshall (Retd) Ayaz Khan of Pakistan Air Force

Unfortunately India and Pakistan had adversarial relations since sixty years. After the Mumbai carnage Pakistan is under threat of pre-emptive strikes. The Fourth Indo-Pakistan war could be triggered by another terrorist attack anywhere in India. This is a dangerous scenario.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and war drums for the fourth war are getting louder. It is in order therefore to comprehend Indian military capabilities, and Pakistan’s ability to defend itself.

Defense capability is an interplay of economic and military potential. Indian economy is booming and its GDP growth is in double digits. The global recession has impacted Indian economy, but its defense capability remains intact. Military power and capabilities are sustained by economic and industrial potential. Geography, demography, population, oil resources and reserves, industrial capability including defense production, dollar reserves, self-reliance, education, quality of manpower and leadership have a bearing on military power. Seven lakh Indian troops are tied down in Jammu and Kashmir. India has over one hundred billion dollar reserves. The West, Israel and Russia are India’s weapon suppliers.

Pakistan is an emerging democracy, which will take time to stabilize. Pakistan’s economy is in a poor state, and the industrial and agricultural sectors are badly affected by power outages. The seventeen billion dollar reserves left by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz have depleted to four billion and the PPP government has asked the IMF for a bailout. Pakistan has a robust defense industrial infrastructure, which has made the country self-sufficient in small and heavy arms. Pakistan is geographically linear, with north to south communications-roads and railways close to the international border, and at striking distance of the Indian Army. Pakistan’s lack of depth makes it vulnerable to thrusts by Indian armor and Rapid Action Divisions on narrow corridors.

The above Indian attributes are of advantage for a prolonged war, but for short battles, and pre-emptive strikes, and response, ready military capabilities, i.e. preparedness, deployment of forces, POL and weapon reserves, quality of fighting personnel, morale and motivation, and bold civil and military leadership are important requisites.

The 2.5 million Indian Army comprises 1,300,000 personnel in active service, 1,200,000 reserve troops, and 200,000 territorial force. The mission of the Indian military is: (1) "Safeguard national sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of India, (2) Assist government agencies to cope with proxy wars, and internal threats and aid to civil power. The structure and strength of Indian armed forces do provide such a capability.The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force are structured into six commands, viz. Northern, Western, South Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Command. Eighty percent of troops and armor are under the Northern, Western and South Western Commands, i.e. in Jammu and Kashmir, and along Pakistan’s border. Indian Strike Corps are exercised for attacks in corridors from Southern Punjab, and Rajasthan and Thar deserts. The Indian Army has eighteen Corps with 34 Divisions including four Rapid Action Divisions, which would spearhead ground offensives.

The Pakistan Army has ten Corps and twenty-five divisions. Indian Army has eighteen Infantry, ten Mountain, three Armored, and two Artillery Divisions. Besides, it has five Infantry, one Parachute, thirteen Air Defense, and four Engineering Brigades, designated as independent formations. In addition, there are two Air Defense Groups, and fourteen Army Aviation Helicopter units. This is a sizable force, capable of launching major offensives from several fronts. The decentralized command structure will be an advantage, as compared to Pakistan’s centralized Army command organization.

The Pakistan Army has an active force of 620,000 well-trained personnel, with 528000 reservists, and 150000 para-military troops. Pakistan armed forces are the seventh largest in the world. Pakistan Army’s doctrine of "Offensive Defense" evolved by General Mirza Aslam Beg was put to test in 1989 in Exercise Zarb-e Momin. The doctrine is to launch a sizeable offensive into enemy territory rather than wait for enemy strikes or attacks.

In case of an Indian land offensive Pakistan Army and Air Force will respond with land and air offensives to gain and hold enemy territory. Before embarking on further offensive, gains shall be consolidated. In 1990 the Central Corps of Reserves was created to fight in the desert sectors, where enemy land offensives are expected. These dual capable formations trained for offensive and holding actions are fully mechanized.

The Pakistan Army has ten Corps including the newly formed Strategic Corps. The Army has twenty-six divisions (eight less than India). Two more divisions were raised as Corps reserves for V and XXXI Corps. The Army has two armored divisions, and ten independent armored brigades. Presently one hundred thousand troops are stationed on the Pak-Afghan border to fight terror. The Special Service Group – SSG - comprises two airborne Brigades, i.e. six battalions. Pakistan Army has 360 helicopters, over two thousand heavy guns, and 3000 APC’s. Its main anti-tank weapons are Tow, Tow Mk II, Bakter Shiken and FGM 148 ATGM. The Army Air Defense Command has S.A- 7 Grail, General Dynamics FIM-92 Stinger, GD FIM Red Eye, and ANZA Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III and HQ 2 B surface ti air missiles. Radar controlled Oerlikon is the standard Ack Ack weapon system.

The ballistic missile inventory of the Army is substantial. It comprises Ghauri III and Shaheen III IRB’S; medium range Ghauri I and II and Shaheen II, and short range Hatf I- B, Abdali, Ghaznavi, Shaheen I and M -11 missiles. All the ballistic missiles can carry nuclear warheads. Nuclear and conventional weapon capable Babur Cruise missile is the new addition to Pakistan’s strategic weapon inventory. The number of ballistic missiles and warheads are almost the same as those of India. So there is a parity in nuclear weapons, which is a deterrent.

The Indian armor is of Russian origin. Out of 2295 Indian Army’s Main Battle tanks, 2235 are of Russian origin. The main battle tanks are: 310 T-90-S Bishsma's (300 are on order), 1925 T-72M Ajeya’s.. The T-90 and the T-72 have 125 mm smooth barrel guns. T-72 though old is the backbone of Indian Armor Corp’s. 268 Ajeya’s have been upgraded with Israeli Elbit thermal imaging systems. 1000 T-72 MBT’s are awaiting up-gradation. There have been several instances of T-72's gun barrel bursting. 124 Indian made Arjun (heavy 56 ton) MBT are on order. Sixty Arjuns are in operational service. Arjun’s engine overheating problem has not been solved. Arjun has a 120 mm gun, but is unfit for desert operations.

The Pakistan Army is equally strong in armor, capable of giving a fitting response to any Indian military adventure. Main Battle tanks Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar are the backbone of Pakistan armor Corps. Both are Pakistan made. Pakistan’s tank armory comprises: five hundred Al-Khalid MBT’s; 320 Al-Zarrar type 85 II MBT’s, 500 Al-Zarrar MBT’s; 450 79II AP (Chinese type 81 upgrade, and 570 T-80 UD MBT of Ukranian make. In addition, Pakistan has 880 Type 59, which were procured from China in 1970.This makes a total of three thousand six hundred and twenty tanks. All Pakistani MBTs except T-59s have 125 mm smooth barrel guns.

Indian armor offensives in Kashmir, Punjab, and Sindh would be effectively challenged by Pakistani armor and mechanized formations, depending on PAF’s ability to keep the skies over the battle areas clear of Indian Air Force. India’s modern air defense system has Israeli Arrow anti-missile missiles, and 90,000 surface to air missiles -SAMs.

India has one hundred nuclear armed ballistic missiles (Agni-1 and Agni II), and Brahmos the new supersonic cruise missile. The Indian Army is well trained, equipped and highly professional, and so is the Pakistan Army.

Air power is likely to play a key, if not a decisive, role in any future major or minor India-Pakistan armed conflict. The aim of Indian pre-emptive strikes will be the maximum destruction by surprise air attacks, combined with shock commando action. A possible scenario is intensive bombing of the target to be followed by attacks by armed helicopters and ground assault by heliborne commandos.

An overview of Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force will help comprehension of IAF’s offensive capabilities, and the defensive capabilities of Pakistan Air Force. Indian Air Force has 3000 aircraft including training, transport, helicopters and 800-1000 combat aircraft, which operate from sixty air bases, including the Farkhor airbase in Tajikistan. Six hundred IAF’s strike and air defense fighters are expected to be operational. Pakistan Air Force has 630 aircraft, which include 530 combat aircraft, with 400 operational at any time.

In 1996 India signed an agreement with Russia for the purchase of 90 Su 30 Mk-1 multi-role fighter-bombers. In 2004 a multi-billion license was signed for building additional 140. 240 Su30-Mk-1's were ordered, 120 are already in service. With a maximum speed of Mach 2.3 and range of 8000 Km with refueling and ability to carry tons of conventional munitions and nuclear weapons, it is a lethal and menacing weapon system for the strike and interception role. Other IAF’s advanced strike and combat aircraft are: 51 Mirage-2000 (of Kargil fame), 60 Mig-29's (for air defense), 250 old Mig-21's (110 have been refurbished with Israeli help), 47 Jaguars and 70 Mig-27's for ground attack. 220 LCA Teja’s under manufacture at HAL Bangalore will start entering service in 2010. IAF’s fighter pilots are well trained and have out shone American pilots during joint exercises.

Pakistan Air Force has 200 rebuilt Mirage- 3's (for night air defense) and Mirage-5's for the strike role. They can carry nuclear weapons. They have been upgraded with new weapon systems, radars, and avionics. Additionally, the PAF has 42 F-16's, 150 F-7's including 55 latest F-7 PG’s. Manufacture of 150 JF 17 Thunder fighters (jointly designed) is underway at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra. The JF-17 Thunder is a 4th generation fly by wire multi-role fighter aircraft. Eight are already in PAF service. An order has been placed with China for the purchase of 36 JF-10, a Mach 2.3 -5th generation multi-role fighter, comparable in performance to the Su-30 Mk-1 with the Indian Air Force.

PAF is on Red Alert, and is maintaining full vigil to intercept and destroy IAF intruders. During the recent air space violation, the IAF intruders were in the sights of PAF’s F-16's, but were allowed to escape unscathed to avoid a major diplomatic crisis.

PAF pilots and technicians are well-trained professionals, who will be able to prove their mettle in the future battle with India.

A comparison of Indian Navy and Pakistan Navy reveals that Pakistan Navy could inflict substantial damage on the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy has 16 submarines. Pakistan Navy has ten, some are brand new. Indian Navy has 27 war ships, Pakistan Navy has ten. Indian Aircraft Carrier Veerat will be a menace, and must be sunk by submarine or air attacks, if it attempts to block Pakistan’s sea lanes or ports.

It is hoped that better sense would prevail and India would desists from attacking Pakistan. If it does, the consequences will be horrible for both the countries.

Source: Pakistan Link


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Indian Attempts to Scuttle F-16s For Pakistan

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Tags: Air, Armor, India, Military, Missiles, Mumbai, Pakistan., Power

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 16, 2012 at 8:45pm

Here's a Times of India story on Indian Navy's submarine plans:

While India is still years away from getting an AIP-equipped submarine, Pakistan already has one in the shape of PNS Hamza, one of the three French Agosta-90B submarines inducted by it over the last decade. Moreover, work is also underway to retrofit the French "Mesma" AIP in hulls of the other two submarines, PNS Khalid and PNS Saad.

The six new-generation submarines from China, the improved Yuan-class boats with "Stirling-cycle" AIP, will further add a punch to Pakistan's underwater warfare capabilities.

India, in sharp contrast, has so far refused to consider the Mesma AIP option in the ongoing Rs 23,562-crore project (P-75) to build six French Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Docks (MDL), already running three years' behind schedule with the boats now slated to roll out from 2015 to 2020.

"There has also been a huge cost escalation. To incorporate the steam-based Mesma AIP in the 5th and 6th Scorpenes would cost another $100 million or so," said a senior defence ministry official.

"Moreover, Navy is more keen on fuel-cell AIP. DRDO is developing one such system, which has been tested on shore. If it comes through, it can be considered for the 5th and 6th Scorpenes," he added.

To further compound matters, there is excruciatingly slow progress on P-75I, which envisages acquisition of six new stealth submarines, equipped with both tube-launched missiles for land-attack capabilities as well as AIP, for over Rs 50,000 crore.

The RFP (request for proposal) to be issued to foreign collaborators like Rosoboronexport ( Russia), DCNS (France), HDW (Germany) and Navantia (Spain) will be possible only towards end-2011 at the earliest.

"If one foreign shipyard can give AIP, it cannot provide land-attack missile capabilities, and vice-versa. So, P-75I is very complex...it will take at least two years to even finalize it, and another six-seven years after that for the first submarine to be ready," he said.

The plan till now is to directly import two submarines from a foreign collaborator, with three being built at MDL in Mumbai, and the sixth at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam under transfer of technology.

Incidentally, Navy will have only five of its existing 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines by 2020. Consequently, even with the six Scorpenes, India will be far short of its operational requirement of at least 18 conventional submarines for the foreseeable future.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-11/india/294059...

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 19, 2012 at 4:54pm

ere's a PTI report on Pakistan Naval Strategic Command HQ: The Pakistan Navy on Saturday completed the establishment of a new Naval Strategic Force Command, described by the military as the custodian of the country's nuclear second strike capability.

Naval Strategic Force Command headquarters was inaugurated by naval Chief Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila. The event was attended by Strategic Plans Division Chief Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Kidwai and senior naval and military officers.

Vice Admiral Tanveer Faiz, commander of the Naval Strategic Force Command, said the Naval Strategic Force Command, which is "the custodian of the nation's second strike capability", will strengthen Pakistan's policy of credible minimum deterrence and ensure regional stability.

The headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command will perform a "pivotal role in the development and employment of the naval strategic force", Faiz was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the military.

Admiral Sandila said the inauguration of the headquarters marked the "formal establishment of the Naval Strategic Force Command".

The statement did not give details of the weapon systems and delivery platforms that comprise Pakistan's second strike capability.

Unlike India, Pakistan does not have a "no first use" policy for its nuclear arsenal. India adopted the "no first use" policy shortly after its nuclear tests in 1998.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/pak-navy-inaugurates-strategic-force-hea...

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 24, 2012 at 7:54am

Here's a DefenseNews article on Pakistan's sea-based nukes:

Pakistan has acknowledged the existence of a sea-based nuclear deterrent with the recent inauguration of the Headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) by the head of the Navy, Adm. Asif Sandhila.

A May 19 press release by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations stated the NSFC “will perform a pivotal role in development and employment of the Naval Strategic Force,” and was “the custodian of the nation’s 2nd strike capability.”

Mansoor Ahmed, lecturer at Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, and who specializes in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs, said this is all but specific confirmation of the widely speculated submarine-launched variant of the Babur/HATF-VII (Vengeance-VII) cruise missile.

Analyst Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank said Pakistan has been working on its sea-based deterrent for some time.

“When the Babur was first revealed in 2005, it was claimed that it is mainly designed to be deployed from submarines. There was at least that speculation,” he said.

The Navy “has pretty good experience in using similar systems, for example, both submarine-launched Harpoon and Exocet use a similar system, and [the Navy] has operated both for a long time.”

Shabbir speculates that the launch method may be similar to the UGM-84 Harpoon’s method of being fired from torpedo tubes.

However, other analysts are not so certain the Navy can afford to undertake the responsibility of the nation’s second-strike capability.

Former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad Brian Cloughley said the size of Pakistan’s submarine force is too small to carry out this task.

“Pakistan’s current submarine fleet is not adequate in numbers [although well-trained] to be able to undertake detection and effective interdiction of the Indian fleet, given its size — which is increasing, even if slowly,” he said.

Currently, Pakistan’s submarine flotilla comprises two refurbished 1970s-era Agosta-70s and three 1990s-era Agosta-90B submarines. The latter are equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP) or are in the process of being retrofitted with the AIP module, and incrementally entered service from 1999.

Cloughley said interdiction of India’s fleet “must remain [the Navy’s] first priority,” and considers “conversion of the present assets to take Babur not only costly but a most regrettable diversion of budget allocation.”

“I would go so far as to say that, in present circumstances, it would be a grave error if such a program were to go ahead,” he added.

The Navy, however, has a requirement for new submarines and wants to increase their number. The Agosta-90B design has been superseded twice, once by the DCNI Scorpene, and briefly by a paper design called the Marlin before it was absorbed into the Scorpene family.

There is a confirmed requirement for 12 to 14 submarines to meet Navy expansion plans. This would allow for a constant war patrol of at least one deterrent-tasked submarine, leaving other submarines to carry out more traditional tasks.

However, Cloughley is still certain that Pakistan does not require such a capability.

“[Pakistan] has plenty of nuclear-capable SSMs and strike aircraft, and does not need a Navy-oriented second-strike capability,” he said.

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120523/DEFREG03/305230004/Paki...|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 5, 2012 at 4:08pm

Here's Daily Telegraph on India-Pakistan nuclear arms race:

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan has expanded its short-range missile capability while India is developing weapons systems which can fire nuclear warheads from land, sea and air.

The escalation in nuclear capabilities has caused alarm because, despite recent improvements in relations between the two countries, the threat of a nuclear conflict remains.

There were fears of a military clash in 2008, shortly after Pakistan-based terrorists launched a multi-target attack on Mumbai, while in 2002 there were real concerns that rising tensions could lead to a nuclear attack.

Those concerns are based on Pakistan's development of "first-strike" tactical short-range warheads to counter India's superior conventional forces and weak mechanisms to avoid misunderstandings between the two countries in a military build-up.

According to the Stockholm-based think tank Pakistan has expanded its arsenal of short-range tactical missiles, which can be used to strike smaller targets like bridges, tank columns and other installations.
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India unveiled its first nuclear-powered submarine earlier this year and is expected to launch its first nuclear-armed submarine some time next year to complete its land, sea and air capability.

Pakistan is believed to have slightly more nuclear warheads than India – 90 to 110 compared with New Delhi's 80-100. But experts say the figures may not include Pakistan's growing number of short-range tactical weapons.

Dr Anupam Srivastava, leading nuclear security expert and director of the Centre for International Trade and Security at Georgia University, said the concern over Pakistan's build-up of tactical nuclear weapons is that it has a "first-use policy". "In a conflict between India and Pakistan, Pakistan's policy is that it can and will be the first to use nuclear weapons. Faced with India's conventional military superiority, they've tried to build an additional layer of security for themselves to deter a conventional strike," he said.

The danger is that the two countries have yet to develop the channels of dialogue between their military chiefs to ensure there are no catastrophic misunderstandings over troop movements and military exercises. "This doesn't exist for tactical weapons between India and Pakistan," he added.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9312139/Ind...

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 18, 2012 at 10:51am

Here's a Rediff report on Israeli help for India during Kargil:

In a startling revelation, the Israeli Ambassador in New Delhi, Mark Sofer, has said that his country had assisted India in 'turning around' the situation during the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.

In an interview with a weekly, the envoy disclosed how defence ties between the two countries got a boost after Kargil when Israel came to India's rescue at a critical time, helping turn around the situation on the ground.

'I think we proved to the Indian government that you can rely on us, that we have the wherewithal. A friend in need is a friend indeed,' he said.

He also disclosed that Indo-Israeli defence ties would go beyond mere selling-buying of arms.

'We do have a defence relationship with India, which is no secret. What is secret is what the defence relationship is? And with all due respect, the secret part will remain secret,' he said in the interview to Outlook weekly magazine.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/feb/08kargil.htm

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 29, 2012 at 9:28am

Here's an Indian analyst Abhijit Singh of IDSA on Pak sea-based nuke plans:

Recent reports from Pakistan seem to suggest the Pakistan Navy (PN) may be on the cusp of developing a naval nuclear missile capability, even as its plans for acquiring a nuclear submarine capability gradually become clearer. The first indication of this came in May 2012 when Pakistan tested the Hatf VII (Babur)—an indigenously developed Cruise Missile with high precision and manoeuvrability. Reports suggested that the missile was launched from a state-of-the-art multi-tube Missile Launch Vehicle (MLV), which significantly enhances the targeting and employment options of the Babur Weapon System in both the conventional and nuclear modes. Importantly, this is the third test of the Babur in the recent past, of different capacities and loads.

Then, in another significant development, on May 19, the PN inaugurated the Headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC). A statement from the Pakistan military’s Inter Services Public Relations said that the NSFC “will perform a pivotal role in development and employment of the Naval Strategic Force,” and was “the custodian of the nation’s 2nd strike capability” – presumably for use against India, in case the need ever arose. This is noteworthy because Pakistan is not known to have a sea-based second strike capability. Therefore, a public statement that the NSFC would be in-charge of such a capability is an open admission of sorts that Pakistan is in the process of developing a naval variant of a strategic nuclear missile.

For long, the Pakistan Navy has viewed the Indian Navy (IN) with suspicion. The IN’s sustained growth over the past few years has, in fact, become an excuse for the PN to push for its own development and expansion of assets. In an article written for a Pakistan daily in May 2012, Tauqir Naqvi, a retired Vice Admiral of the PN, suggested that the ‘hegemonic’ elements of the Indian Navy’s maritime strategy have been the main drivers of the resurgence of the Pakistan Navy. The article, when read closely, is a dead give-away of Pakistan’s real ambitions with regard to nuclear weapons and nuclear submarines.

Naqvi writes extensively about India’s strategic vision, characterising it as a “hegemonic” impulse that has led the IN to aim for control of the seas over an area extending from the Red Sea in the West to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. While Pakistan, he contends, is a “peace-loving” nation, India has never been serious about developing friendly relations, fixated as it has been with the “idea of projecting power”. Surprisingly, he showers Indian scientists and the IN with some unexpected, even if ‘motivated’ praise, by mentioning the sterling efforts of the Indian scientific community and shipyard workers in operationalising a strategic maritime capability. The complimentary references are, in effect, a none-too-disguised message to Pakistan's political leadership and mandarins in the defence ministry about the ineluctable need for Pakistan to buttress its own strategic arsenal with naval nuclear missiles and a nuclear submarine, without which, the PN can forget about countering the “evil designs” of the Indian Navy.
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Pakistan’s naval leadership will also be aware of the risks and financial costs of developing and operating a nuclear submarine—the need to constantly refine equipment and train personnel; of razor-sharp communications and command and control systems; and the requirement of mastering safety procedures. In the final analysis the SSBN is not an asset if it is not mastered well and operated optimally. Merely possessing one offers no strategic advantages.

http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/PakistanNavysNuclearAspirations_Abh...

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 8, 2012 at 4:18pm

Here's a Khaleej Times report on India-Pakistan Navy talks to avoid incidents on high seas:

Pakistan and India are discussing the establishment of a mechanism of direct contact between the navies of the two countries to avert military confrontations on high seas.

The mechanism could involve a communication system like hotline between senior officers of the two navies akin to the one between the armies.

“These are issues we are discussing and certainly with respect to Pakistan, it forms part of the discussion between the two foreign ministries which is the protocol to prevent incidents at sea,” Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said.

The development comes in the backdrop of incidents involving Pakistan Naval ship Babur and Indian ship INS Godavari in the Gulf of Aden last year.

The Navy Chief was asked about the progress made by India in establishing such a protocol with China for avoiding conflicts on high seas. Admiral Verma said, “With China, this is something which would be in place when we have requirements to talk to each other.”

Indian and Chinese warships have also been reportedly involved in difficult situations as last year in South China Sea Indian ship INS Airavat was asked by the Chinese Navy to leave the maritime area.

Asked about the need for having Confidence Building Measures with the Chinese Navy as their aircraft carriers would also soon operate in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Verma said the two navies were cooperating in the Gulf of Aden and the issue was “out of place”.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/internati...§ion=international&col=

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 18, 2012 at 8:34am

Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable Babur Cruise Missile, reports Express Trib:

..The military described the Hatf-VII Babur missile as a “low-flying, terrain-hugging missile, which can strike targets both at land and sea with pin point accuracy” and has a range of 700 kilometres.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the missile is equipped with modern cruise missile technology of Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC), and is also capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.

The ISPR said Monday’s launch was carried out from a “Multi Tube Missile Launch Vehicle (MLV)”, which it said improved the Babur system’s targeting and deployment capabilities.

The test was witnessed by Director General Strategic Plans Division Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) Chairperson Muhammad Irfan Burney and other senior officers from the armed forces and strategic organisations. The Strategic Command and Control Support System (SCCSS) was employed for the test, which allows real-time remote monitoring of the missile’s flight path.

Defence and missile expert Syed Muhammad Ali, while talking to The Express Tribune, highlighted the significance of the missile test.

“The Babur cruise missile is a far more advanced, miniaturised, accurate, stealthy and cost-effective nuclear delivery means available to Pakistan and after (its) induction, imposing a naval blockade on Pakistan will be impossible for any power in the future. In addition, the range limitation relevant to ballistic missiles deployment is not applicable in the case of cruise missiles because they can be launched from both land and sea-based mobile platforms,” Ali said.

He added that Pakistan now had the capability to exercise a complete and robust command and control over its cruise missiles throughout its flight trajectory and can be employed in both countervalue and counterforce targeting strategies.

Furthermore, Ali said that the Hatf-VII Babur missile was a cost-effective delivery system, adding that Pakistan could manufacture more than a dozen cruise missiles at the cost of a single ballistic missile.

“The upgraded capability of cruise missile Babar to hit mobile sea-based targets with both conventional and nuclear warheads has further augmented the value of our nuclear deterrence by proving to the world that Pakistan can protect not only its territory but also its maritime security from all powers at all times,” Ali added.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/438336/pakistan-test-fires-hatf-vii-bab...

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 24, 2012 at 10:30pm

Here are some excerpts of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nuclear Book on "non-strategic" nuclear weapons possessed by Pakistan:

In this Nuclear Notebook, the authors write about nonstrategic nuclear weapons—starting with the difficulty of finding a universal definition for them. Although the United States and Russia have reduced their nonstrategic stockpiles, significant inventories remain. And other nuclear weapons states appear to have nonstrategic nuclear weapons as well. Today, at least five of the world’s nine nuclear weapons states have, or are developing, what appears to meet the definition of a nonstrategic nuclear weapon: Russia, the United States, France, Pakistan, and China. The authors present information on the weapons at each of these arsenals.
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Like France, Pakistan characterizes all its nuclear weapons as strategic. However, Pakistan is developing a new short-range rocket with nuclear capability that certainly would be characterized as a nonstrategic nuclear weapon if it belonged to Russia or the United States. Moreover, even the Pakistani statements about the weapon clearly place it in a different category.

The new weapon, the Nasr, is a 60-kilometer ballistic missile launched from a mobile twin-canister launcher. Following its first test launch in April 2011, the Pakistani military news organization, Inter Services Public Relations, described the Nasr as carrying a nuclear warhead “of appropriate yield with high accuracy,” with “shoot and scoot attributes” that was developed as a “quick response system” to “add deterrence value” to Pakistan’s strategic weapons development program “at shorter ranges” in order “to deter evolving threats” (Inter Services Public Relations, 2011).

This language, which has been repeated after subsequent Nasr tests, strongly indicates a weapon with a new mission that resembles nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

http://bos.sagepub.com/content/68/5/96.full

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2012 at 7:57pm

Here's Maleeha Lodhi's Op Ed on "Pakistan's Nuclear Compulsions" published in The News:

Much alarm has been raised in the West about Pakistan’s enhancement of its nuclear capability and the position it has taken at negotiations in Geneva on a treaty banning the production of bomb making fissile material. Western analysts have often depicted this as a mindless, irrational drive motivated by the unbridled ambitions of the nuclear scientific-military lobby.

This is far from true. To understand the strategic rationale for Pakistan’s fissile material needs – achieving credible nuclear deterrence at the lowest possible cost and level – the issue must be placed in a proper, broader perspective. It means taking into account the chain of rapid developments that have undermined the region’s strategic equilibrium and affected Pakistan’s nuclear threshold. They include the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, exemption for India by the Nuclear Supplier’s Group, India’s conventional military and strategic build-up, enunciation of offensive doctrines involving ‘Proactive Operations’ and efforts to develop a missile defence capability.

Many of these developments were aided and abetted by the international community in pursuit of their strategic and commercial interests. Pakistan’s warnings were repeatedly ignored that discriminatory nuclear actions would be consequential for the region and oblige Islamabad to act to preserve the credibility of nuclear deterrence and ensure strategic stability.

The interplay between a changing strategic environment – Pakistan’s perception of increasing regional asymmetry in both nuclear and conventional capabilities – global non-proliferation efforts and technical compulsions help to explain why Pakistan has been building fissile stocks.

The historical context is important. The nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998 helped to establish strategic balance and provided Pakistan the reassurance of possessing a strategic equaliser to India’s conventional military preponderance.
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To hedge against this, Pakistan will likely multiply its missile numbers, including cruise missiles, and increase operational readiness to avert the destruction of its strategic assets in a pre-emptive strike. This too has a bearing on the amount of fissile material Pakistan would want to acquire.

These are the principal factors driving Pakistan’s fissile material requirements. The purpose is not to match the quantities or stockpiles that India has – which it can enhance if it wants to by diverting indigenous production for weapons use because of the nuclear fuel supply guaranteed by the US and similar agreements with other nations. Pakistan’s aim is not to engage in relentless production but to attain sufficiency for a spectrum of nuclear weapons, strategic, operational and tactical and to assure a second-strike capability.

As Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to persuade India to establish a strategic restraint regime have yielded nothing, it has had to evolve a force development strategy at home and an effective negotiating position in Geneva to secure its national security interests.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-141314-Pakistan%E2%80%99s-n...

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