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Why has Pakistan developed and successfully tested nuclear-capable MIRV (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles) and SLCM (Submarine Launched Cruise Missile)? How do these additions to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal enhance its nuclear deterrence against India? Was Pakistan forced into these technologies by India's development of anti-ballistic missiles and nuclear triad? How will India respond to these developments? Does India have multiple warhead missiles under development?

Indian Children's Book Cover. Source: New York Times

Why has Pakistan developed tactical nuclear weapons like short-range Nasr missile? Can't Pakistan use its conventional armed forces to effectively deter India's plans under its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD)? What is Pakistan's New Concept of War Fighting (NCWF) Doctrine? Would Pakistan be able to mobilize its conventional forces rapidly? Would Pakistan army, air force and navy be able to coordinate their response under NCWF Doctrine?

Why is India waging a proxy terror war in Pakistan? Why does western government officials' and western media's public narrative completely ignore the reality that has been privately unofficially acknowledged by some American and Indian insiders?

What are the chances of India and Pakistan talking peace? Has Pakistan been an obstacle to peace with India? Can Kashmir issue be set aside for India and Pakistan to have better ties?  Are Pakistanis ready for a peace deal with India?

Why do analysts like Christine Fair see similarities between India's BJP party and America's Ku Klux Klan (KKK)? Why is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described as being like a KKK Grand Wizard? Why is Nazi leader Adolf Hitler promoted as an "inspirational leader" in an Indian children's book? Why do Hindu Nationalists include Hitler among world leaders who have “devoted their lives for the betterment of their country and people.”

Does India under Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalist Modi pose a serious threat to peace in South Asia and the rest of the world? Could Hindutva fanaticism spark an India-Pakistan nuclear war?  Are India's ruling Hindu Nationalists overconfident and reckless enough to start a war against Pakistan? What do independent and Indian analysts think about the conventional strengths of the two militaries?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/3BT2rgFbkZA

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Comment by Riaz Haq on April 11, 2018 at 7:22am

Fear, loss of jobs as Indian TV brands people ‘Hindu haters’ 

http://www.atimes.com/article/fear-loss-jobs-indian-tv-brands-peopl... 

“My sister got a call from her friend saying ‘your brother’s name is Riyaz, right? His photo is on TV and they are saying he’s anti-army and a Hindu-hater,'” Riyaz Ahmed, one of the people named in the segment, told Asia Times. “My mother was in shock and crying,” he added.

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growing debate about the quality of journalism on Indian television and government influence intensified after the country’s second most watched news channel branded some people an “Opposition Troll Army” against the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party as well as “Hindu haters.”

In a segment aired last Friday, news channel Times Now showed photographs, twitter names and selected tweets from six users known to be supporters of the Congress party, and brandished them abusive trolls and “Hindu haters.”

“My sister got a call from her friend saying ‘your brother’s name is Riyaz, right? His photo is on TV and they are saying he’s anti-army and a Hindu-hater,'” Riyaz Ahmed, one of the people named in the segment, told Asia Times. “My mother was in shock and crying,” he added.

The segment also came at a grim time for 41-year-old writer and entrepreneur Sanjukta Basu, the fourth person mentioned by Times Now Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar.

She had spent the morning with her family, amid rituals to commemorate her mother who passed away in April last year. “My father was already in a delicate state of mind and we come from a humble middle-class family – it’s not like we are very rich, powerful or influential people – so [on seeing the segment] he just instantly went pale and needed to lie down,” Sanjukta said.

I am scared for my life … in my polling booth 97% of votes go to BJP,” Riyaz tweeted soon after the segment aired.

Riyaz and Sanjukta said that amid India’s current political and religious environment, the “Hindu hater” tag had endangered their lives. “Imagine some extremist Hindu somewhere adds my name and photo to a list of ‘anti-Hindus’ and just like that I’ll be on their target list,” said Riyaz. “If I’m going out to meet someone, my family keeps calling or messaging every 10-15 minutes to check 0n my safety,” he added.

Support from neighbors have helped calm Riyaz’s immediate fears, but he still dreaded his face or location being published in the news. “My neighbors will protect me, but I don’t know what thousands of others will do,” he said.

Sanjukta had similar concerns about the segment. “Tomorrow one Shambhu Lal Raigar might just feel like killing me because he heard I’m a Hindu-hater on Times Now,” she said. Shambhu Lal Raigar is a Rajasthan man who uploaded a chilling video of himself hacking and burning a Muslim migrant worker to death in December last year.

“They dehumanized and objectified me. They numbered me and put labels on me … we are tax-paying, law-abiding citizens with the same rights as Shivshankar. They can’t make such allegations without giving us an opportunity to be heard,” she said.

Riyaz was also fired from his job because of the segment. “I was working in public relations, and though I have a good a relationship with my boss, he called me and said he can’t have someone branded a ‘Hindu hater’ handling his communications,” Riyaz said.

“I am not naming my employer because he will be attacked for either firing me or simply being associated with me,” he said, adding that the information will be available for legal scrutiny.

Sanjukta also said she was worried about her value in the market as a freelance journalist after being labelled a “Congress troll.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 11, 2018 at 4:57pm

This Makes War in Syria Look Small: If India and Pakistan Fight Millions Will Die in a Nuclear Fire

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/makes-war-syria-look-smal...

The sea component of Pakistan’s nuclear force consists of the Babur class of cruise missiles. The latest version, Babur-2, looks like most modern cruise missiles, with a bullet-like shape, a cluster of four tiny tail wings and two stubby main wings, all powered by a turbofan or turbojet engine. The cruise missile has a range of 434 miles. Instead of GPS guidance, which could be disabled regionally by the U.S. government, Babur-2 uses older Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC) navigation technology. Babur-2 is deployed on both land and at sea on ships, where they would be more difficult to neutralize. A submarine-launched version, Babur-3, was tested in January and would be the most survivable of all Pakistani nuclear delivery systems.

Sandwiched between Iran, China, India and Afghanistan, Pakistan lives in a complicated neighborhood with a variety of security issues. One of the nine known states known to have nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and doctrine are continually evolving to match perceived threats. A nuclear power for decades, Pakistan is now attempting to construct a nuclear triad of its own, making its nuclear arsenal resilient and capable of devastating retaliatory strikes.

Pakistan’s nuclear program goes back to the 1950s, during the early days of its rivalry with India. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto famously said in 1965, “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”

The program became a higher priority after the country’s 1971 defeat at the hands of India, which caused East Pakistan to break away and become Bangladesh. Experts believe the humiliating loss of territory, much more than reports that India was pursuing nuclear weapons, accelerated the Pakistani nuclear program. India tested its first bomb, codenamed “Smiling Buddha,” in May 1974, putting the subcontinent on the road to nuclearization.

Pakistan began the process of accumulating the necessary fuel for nuclear weapons, enriched uranium and plutonium. The country was particularly helped by one A. Q. Khan, a metallurgist working in the West who returned to his home country in 1975 with centrifuge designs and business contacts necessary to begin the enrichment process. Pakistan’s program was assisted by European countries and a clandestine equipment-acquisition program designed to do an end run on nonproliferation efforts. Outside countries eventually dropped out as the true purpose of the program became clear, but the clandestine effort continued.

(This first appeared last March.)

Exactly when Pakistan had completed its first nuclear device is murky. Former president Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Bhutto’s daughter, claimed that her father told her the first device was ready by 1977. A member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said design of the bomb was completed in 1978 and the bomb was “cold tested”—stopping short of an actual explosion—in 1983.

Benazir Bhutto later claimed that Pakistan’s bombs were stored disassembled until 1998, when India tested six bombs in a span of three days. Nearly three weeks later, Pakistan conducted a similar rapid-fire testing schedule, setting off five bombs in a single day and a sixth bomb three days later. The first device, estimated at twenty-five to thirty kilotons, may have been a boosted uranium device. The second was estimated at twelve kilotons, and the next three as sub-kiloton devices.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 15, 2018 at 8:28pm

Complex equations
Munir AkramUpdated April 15, 2018 


https://www.dawn.com/news/1401703/complex-equations

While Pakistan’s diplomacy is preoccupied with managing the crisis with the US, other emerging trends could affect Pakistan’s strategic interests and its stable relationship with China.

The US-India alliance is pushing Pakistan into an even greater dependence on China and to promote new cooperation with Russia. Yet, Moscow still is obliged to retain its legacy arms supply relationship with India. And both China and Russia want to hold back India from a full-blown military alliance with the US.

China is progressively recognising that, despite Sino-US interdependencies and its best efforts to avoid friction, the Trump administration is ideologically committed to confronting and containing China, economically, politically and militarily. China wants to diminish the strength of the coalition the US wants to deploy against it. It is building close relations with several neighbours — Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar — and even those, like the Philippines, with which it has maritime disputes. The rhetoric against Japan has been softened.

Since the resolution of the Doklam dispute, China has made several notable overtures to New Delhi, including the mention of the anti-India terrorist groups in the BRICS Summit communiqué and, more recently, by lifting its objection to Pakistan’s listing on the FATF’s grey list. Meanwhile, some Chinese commentaries have highlighted the Sino-Indian convergent interests, including their $100 billion trade relationship, substantial Chinese investment in India and similar trade friction with the US.

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Among other things, India is likely to seek: Chinese pressure on Pakistan to act against pro-Kashmiri militant groups and end all support to the ongoing Kashmiri freedom struggle; and restrictions on the supply of advanced Chinese weapons systems and technology to Pakistan.

Pakistan should advance its own five-point positive agenda to intensify and modernise its time-tested relationship with China. While remaining responsive to China’s global and regional interests, Islamabad should urge Beijing, at the highest level, to:

— work actively for a just and peaceful solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions and an end to India’s brutal suppression of the Kashmiri people’s freedom movement. Without this, there will be no durable peace or stability in South Asia.

— express publicly its opposition to any use or threat of force against Pakistan and warn that this would evoke an appropriate Chinese response. Such Chinese support has been the fundamental foundation of the Pakistan-China strategic partnership and has been reciprocated by Pakistan’s strong defence of China’s unity and territorial integrity including its maritime claims in the South China Sea.

— affirm that the security of CPEC is the common responsibility of Pakistan and China. This project serves the strategic interests of both countries. India-sponsored terrorism from Afghanistan and elsewhere to sabotage CPEC is as much an attack on Chinese as Pakistani interests. Moreover, any incentive offered to India to join CPEC should be made jointly by Pakistan and China and in no way compromise Pakistan’s position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

— provide Pakistan, on concessional terms, weapons systems and defence capabilities required to neutralise the advanced weapons systems and technologies being acquired by India from the US or other sources. If Pakistan capitulates to India’s hegemonic designs, New Delhi’s military capabilities will be increasingly deployed against China rather than, as at present, against Pakistan.

— take conscious measures to promote large Chinese investment in Pakistan including the targeted relocation of manufacturing that is no longer competitive in China.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 17, 2018 at 7:11pm

Indian army summit weighs up Pakistan, China threat

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1286391/world

Naturally the army commanders will focus on threat perceptions, scenarios, and capabilities with respect to China and Pakistan
While India’s conflicts with Pakistan are well documented, the South Asian nation has faced growing problems with China as well
NEW DELHI: A major Indian army summit starting this week will focus on likely threats from nuclear-armed arch-rivals Pakistan and China, experts said on Monday.
Among topics to be discussed at the six-day conference are management of security infrastructure, future security threats, and how to ramp up India’s “combat edge over potential adversaries,” army spokesman Col. Aman Anand said.
Other issues include speeding up infrastructure development to increase capacity along the country’s northern border, a review of strategic railway lines, and optimizing the budget to make up for the “critical deficiency in ammunition,” Anand said.
Experts expect much of the talks to focus on Pakistan and China, which flank India on its western and eastern borders, respectively.
Referring to China and Pakistan as India’s “two primary external conventional military threats,” Sharad Joshi, assistant professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, said the two neighbors were politically and militarily aligned and had a common enemy in India.
“Naturally the army commanders will focus on threat perceptions, scenarios, and capabilities with respect to China and Pakistan and will keep in mind a simultaneous two-front conflict with them,” he said.
The two-front conflict is clearly on the mind of India’s armed forces. Last week, the country’s air force started its biggest-ever combat exercise, which also focused on preparations for a simultaneous threat from Pakistan and China.
The two-week-long exercise, which will run day and night, is being carried out in two phases. The first has been on the western side, along the border with Pakistan. The second phase, which runs this week, will be in the north and will include operations that involve landing in high-altitude areas, reportedly aiming at Chinese defenses on the Tibet front.
While India’s conflicts with Pakistan are well documented, the South Asian nation has faced growing problems with China as well.
Last year, India and China were locked in a face-off over the Doklam plateau, an area of less than a 100 square kilometers that is disputed between China and Bhutan.
That dispute began when Chinese troops attempted to build a road in the area. India, at Bhutan’s request, sent in troops to stop the Chinese. The standoff lasted almost three months.
More recently, China sold Pakistan a highly sophisticated, large-scale powerful optical tracking and measurement system, making it the first country in the Indian subcontinent to acquire a missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and one that can overwhelm a missile defense system. The Chinese team spent about three months in Pakistan to assemble the system and train Pakistani officers.
News of the sale came on the heels of India testing its Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile, which can strike almost all of China. Experts agreed that the “leak” of the sale of the tracking equipment was China’s message to India that it had ways to counter the Agni-V.
The army’s biannual conference is being chaired by the army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat and will be inaugurated by the junior defense minister Subhash Ramrao Bhamre.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 18, 2018 at 7:51am

Pakistan shuns US for Chinese high-tech weapons

https://www.ft.com/content/8dbce0a0-3713-11e8-8b98-2f31af407cc8

Pakistan is focusing instead on the rollout of the next batch of the JF-17, the fighter jet it is developing with China, and which is catching up with the F-16 in terms of capabilities.

One former Pakistani minister recalls telling colleagues the US decision confirmed his worst fears. “We have learnt over time that the Americans are terrible when it comes to honouring their promises,” he says. “This was bound to end up in divorce.”

Pakistan’s response encapsulated what had been a slow but steady shift in military procurement away from American-made weapons towards Chinese ones, or those made domestically with Chinese support. 

Since 2010, US weapons exports to Pakistan have plummeted from $1bn to just $21m last year, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. During the same period, those from China have also fallen, but much more slowly, from $747m to $514m, making China the biggest weapons exporter to its southern neighbour.

The shift coincided with Islamabad’s growing suspicion about the closeness between the US and India, but was accelerated by the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in 2011, which badly damaged relations with the US. 

This year, relations deteriorated again when President Donald Trump suspended $2bn of military aid to Pakistan, accusing it of showing “nothing but lies and deceit” in its promises to crack down on the Taliban and affiliated groups. The problem for Mr Trump is that he needs support from Pakistan as he recommits to the war in Afghanistan, and his officials are finding that Islamabad is less responsive than usual to the US message. 


Harrison Akins, a research fellow at the Howard H Baker Jr Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, says: “The Trump administration’s decision to pursue sanctions against Pakistan, alongside Trump’s fiery rhetoric . . . can only push Pakistan further into the arms of Beijing — especially with Pakistan’s shift from US military supplies to Chinese military supplies. 

“In the short term, this will make the US mission in Afghanistan more difficult and costly.”

For the US, there could be longer-term consequences that stretch well beyond its complicated relationship with Pakistan. Sales of weapons systems, often backed by preferential financial terms, have become central to the way the US has managed its vast network of military alliances and partnerships — in effect, a form of patronage.

But many of those countries are now advertising their ability to buy some of that hardware from other governments. Key allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey have signed arms agreements with Russia. From the Philippines and Thailand in east Asia, to large parts of Africa, world leaders are also increasingly looking to China to provide the kinds of weapons they always used to buy from the US. Between 2011 and 2015, China exported 88 per cent more in weapon sales than during the previous five years, according to Sipri.


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For Pakistan’s defence planners, the collaboration with China on defence technology is not only about equipping their own armed services. They are also hoping they can become a significant arms exporter and, in doing so, help to boost the country’s low foreign currency reserves.

Pakistani officials say that between 2014 and 2016 the country exported about $63m of weapons, but last year they announced an intention to increase that to $1bn a year. To do that, they say, they will focus on selling aircraft such as the JF-17, jointly made with the Chinese, to countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Nigeria. Farooq Hameed Khan, a commentator on security affairs, says: “Pakistan’s close collaboration with China has helped us build our quality of weapons. Gone are the days when Pakistan only produced small arms.” 

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 18, 2018 at 9:38am

#India is a ‘republic of fear’. #Modi's guru Savarkar writes that the #rape of #Muslim women is justifiable and that not to do so when the occasion permits is not virtuous or chivalrous, but cowardly. #Islamophobia #AsifaBano #Kashmir

India is a ‘republic of fear’. The UK must keep the pressure on Modi
Amrit Wilson
The Indian PM is in Britain. Let’s hold him to account for the horrific rapes committed in the name of Hindu nationalism

https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/18/india-republi...

The writings of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the revered icon of the Hindu right make Hindutva ideology and the notion of a Hindu nation crystal clear. In the context of rape, for example, he writes that the rape of Muslim women is justifiable and that not to do so when the occasion permits is not virtuous or chivalrous, but cowardly.

Such writings legitimised the rapes and murders of Muslim women in Gujarat in 2002, and the recent Kathua child-rape case. As feminist academic Tanika Sarkar wrote about Gujarat, “the pattern of cruelty suggests three things: One that a women’s body was a site of almost inexhaustible violence, with infinitely plural and innovative forms of torture. Second, their sexual and reproductive organs were attacked with a special savagery. Third, their children born and unborn shared the attacks and were killed before their eyes.” 

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It would be wrong however to see these cases as simply part of the violence against women which has been endemic in India. In Kathua, in Jammu and Kashmir state, an eight-year-old Muslim girl was abducted, drugged and brutally gang-raped and murdered in a Hindu temple by a group of men. According to the charge sheet of those arrested, it was planned and executed in order to terrorise the nomadic Muslim Bakarwal community to which she belonged and drive them out of the region. The attempt to lodge the charge sheet against the accused at a local court was followed by violent protests in their defence by a pro-Modi Hindu rightwing outfit, the Hindu Ekta Manch. Two BJP ministers attended the protests and urged the crowd to obstruct the prosecution of the accused.

https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/18/india-republi...

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 6, 2018 at 7:19am

Pakistan raises military budget as India faces squeeze

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1297296/world

Dispute started when Chinese troops attempted to build a road in the area and India, at Bhutan’s request, sent in troops to stop the Chinese.
China sold Pakistan a highly sophisticated, large-scale optical tracking and measurement system, making it the first country in the subcontinent to acquire a missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads.
NEW DELHI: India should be concerned at the recently announced steep rise in Pakistan’s defense budget — especially as its own budget has been squeezed, experts said on Saturday.

Late last month in its budget announcement for the financial year, Islamabad laid out a nearly 20 percent hike in its military spend, a huge boost to its defense spending and one that is likely to stir more tension with its larger neighbor India.

The two are nuclear-armed and what worries experts about Islamabad’s budget rise is that the money could go toward boosting its nuclear program, including plans for a sea leg of its nuclear deterrent program.

“New Delhi should be concerned,” said Sharad Joshi, assistant professor its nuclear deterrent program.

“New Delhi should be concerned,” said Sharad Joshi, assistant professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, “especially when the increased focus by Islamabad is on its nuclear program, its quest for a sea-based deterrent capability, including the expansion of its nuclear-capable cruise missile fleet.”

The news comes at a time when India’s military, owing to a budget crunch, reportedly has a depleted arsenal and no cash to replenish it — even as the government wants its armed forces to be ready to deal with a conflict simultaneously with Pakistan and China. 

The possibility of such a two-front war has been on the agenda for the forces. Last month the Indian Air Force held its biggest ever combat exercise — with an eye on being prepared for a simultaneous threat from Pakistan and China.

That two-week exercise, which ran day and night, was done in two phases — the first phase was on the Western side, along the border with Pakistan. The second phase was in the north and included operations that involved landing at high-altitude areas, reportedly aimed at Chinese defenses on the Tibet front.

Barely a week later, army commanders gathered to take stock of the country’s security in a bi-annual exercise in which they focused on management of existing security infrastructure, how to mitigate future security threats, how to increase India’s combat edge over potential adversaries and ways to optimize the budget to make up for the critical deficiency in ammunition.

Like Pakistan, India and China, too, are old rivals. India has lost one war to its eastern neighbor and the two continue to wrestle for dominance in the subcontinent where India likes to hold sway. More importantly, China is also a political and military ally of Pakistan.

In June, India and China were locked in a stand-off on the Doklam plateau, an area spread over less than a 100 sq km comprising a plateau and a valley between India, Bhutan and China, and which is disputed between China and Bhutan.

That dispute started when Chinese troops attempted to build a road in the area and India, at Bhutan’s request, sent in troops to stop the Chinese. The standoff lasted nearly three months.

More recently, China sold Pakistan a highly sophisticated, large-scale optical tracking and measurement system, making it the first country in the subcontinent to acquire a missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and one that can overwhelm a missile defense system.

The news of that sale came on the heels of India testing its Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile, which has a range long enough to strike nearly all of China.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 13, 2018 at 6:41pm

From Hindustan Times:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/looking-back-20-years-aft...

The immediate trigger for the Pakistani nuclear tests were the Indian tests on May 11 and 13, 1998. Although matching India had become an existential need for Pakistan, defying American pressure to get there was no easy task. It was no secret that Pakistan had been pursuing nuclear capability after India’s first test in 1974. Chinese help for Pakistan’s nuclear programme was all too well known. But the Indian tests that spooked Washington in 1998 brought Pakistan under immense pressure against going nuclear. Karl F Inderfurth, who served as assistants secretary of state for South Asian affairs from 1997-2001, later wrote: “President (Bill) Clinton was on the phone with PM (Nawaz) Sharif on five separate occasions, making it very clear that he recognized that Pakistan would be under great pressure to test, but that Pakistan’s interests would be better served not to and that if it did not.”

Significance

Two nuclear-armed neighbours outside the NPT regime, their ties marked by constant strains, couldn’t move beyond the basics in building mutual confidence on the nuclear issue. The two countries annually exchange a list of their nuclear installations. India has a nuclear doctrine of no first use. It also declared a voluntary moratorium on testing. Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine resembles that of the US during the Cold War: if the integrity of the country is being threatened, it reserves the right to use nuclear weapons. If the US was talking about the conventional superiority of Russia (then Soviet Union), Pakistan was taking about India’s. But Pakistan couldn’t establish its credibility when it came to non-proliferation. The father of its nuclear programme, AQ Khan, was found by the Americans of being involved in an illegal network that sent bomb-making designs and equipment to at least three countries. Although Pakistan achieved nuclear parity with India, its hope of getting a seat at the nuclear high table remains a very distant dream.

What happened

In a span of two weeks, the two South Asian countries and bitter rivals had tested nuclear devices . In the case of Pakistan, the US was willing to offer many sops, which included lifting sanctions that had been clamped for its pursuit of nuclear weapons; that would have led to larger economic assistance and a more profitable military relationship. In 1985, the US Congress adopted an amendment proposed by senator Larry Pressler to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, banning economic and military assistance to Pakistan unless the US President could certify annually that Islamabad did not possess a nuclear weapon and that US aid would help reduce the risk of Pakistan possessing one. As expected, international condemnation followed the tests, with the United Nations Security Council passing a resolution against them; pressure mounted on both India and Pakistan to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). US sanctions kicked in. But Pakistan had been the most trusted ally of the US in South Asia for long. Strobe Talbot, the US interlocutor with India, was also dealing with Pakistan.

9/11 was a watershed for Pakistan too. As he prepared for the war against terror, exercising the authority vested on him by the US Congress in 1999, on September 22, 2001 President George W. Bush lifted sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan for their 1998 nuclear tests. The president also removed other sanctions related to Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons. State department spokesman Richard Boucher said, “We intend to support those who support us. We intend to work with those governments that work with us in this fight (against terrorism).”

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