Confronted with multifaceted security threat, almost all of it emanating from across its eastern border where a belligerent BJP government has upped the ante of a ‘limited war’ leaving Pakistan with no other option but to give a notice that should there be a war, it would be a total war with no holds barred.
This was conveyed by the Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, in his address at the September 6 commemoration last week, and now by the country’s apex strategic planning set-up, National Command Authority.
Given that India’s “rapidly growing nuclear programme and absence of a conflict resolution mechanism were upsetting strategic stability in the region”, Pakistan is compelled “to maintain full spectrum deterrence capability,” said an NCA statement issued after its meeting on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s position, as stated by the Authority, is well known as it is embedded in its policy of maintaining minimum credible nuclear deterrence. It is already in place and needs no augmentation, as against the claim propagated wrongly by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
But what is new about it now is its timeliness, warranted by India’s consistent border violations, its leaders’ heightened clamour for war and its intelligence agency RAW’s unmistakable footprint in subverting peace and tranquillity in Pakistan. Pakistani authorities have come to possess ample evidence of RAW’s involvement in fomenting insurgency in Balochistan and bank-rolling terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
Rubbishing the claim that Pakistan is amassing nuclear warheads, the National Command Authority has reiterated its adherence to a policy of avoiding an arms race – though, as indicated in a study done by the Islamabad-based Institute of Strategic Studies, India has a huge pile of enriched fissile material stocks to help develop some two thousand nuclear warheads. That is the hidden face of India.
Pakistan on the other hand, “shares the goals of non-proliferation and is committed to playing its due role as a mainstream partner in a global non-proliferation regime”. Imbibed as it is with this spirit, Pakistan would like to join the multilateral export-control regimes, including membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
But that would have to be only “on a non-discriminatory basis”. How come then nobody wants to take account of India’s existing fissile material stocks and insists upon Pakistan to sign the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). In fact, by acceding to the FMCT, without India having complied with its prerequisites of stock-checking the existing fissile position, Pakistan may run afoul of the UN General Assembly resolution that calls for a “non-discriminatory” and “effectively verifiable” implementation of this treaty.
So, in the absence of a level-playing field, it would be impossible for Pakistan to lift its veto on Disarmament Conference’s initiative to start work on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
But that said, one should not miss the proviso to the National Command Authority’s promise of a full-spectrum response should India go for a short or long war, which no less assertively points out “absence of a conflict resolution mechanism”.
Can there be any other definition of the Kashmir dispute if not a ‘conflict’ and what is ‘conflict resolution mechanism’ if the national security advisors’ scheduled meeting was not to be. Pakistan is a reality, and the BJP, which has already accepted this reality, albeit grudgingly, under the prime minsitership of Atal Behari Vajpayee, would do well to accept this reality and think of moving along the path of peaceful coexistence.
If a nuclear North Korea can withstand the pressure of world’s sole superpower, the United States of America, why not then Pakistan. Not thousands, nor hundreds and not even a dozen nuclear bombs are required to destroy life in South Asia. Just one bomb can do that work, as it did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If cross-border terrorism is such an issue that India should keep the common borders tense, then how does it explain stiff punishments awarded by court to six Indian soldiers including a colonel who killed three innocent Kashmiris in a fake encounter?
It is up to India; should it want there would be a nuclear war in South Asia. The rulers in New Delhi must come out of their mythical past; the Mahabharat was no doubt once a reality but that was in the past and it is no more a possibility. The two sides have plenty of commonalities to share given the pervasive poverty and backwardness both in India and Pakistan.
Source: Business Recorder