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The commemoration of significant historical events often serves as a poignant reminder of a nation’s resilience and determination. Among the milestones in Pakistan’s history, the Youm-i-Takbir, marking the nation’s nuclear tests in May 1998, stands as a testament to Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to national sovereignty and security. However, the genesis of Pakistan’s nuclear journey dates back to decades earlier, rooted in the imperatives of strategic deterrence and regional stability.

Historial realities and Pakistan’s inherited rivalry hold significance in Pakistan going nuclear. The aftermath of Pakistan’s independence in 1947 and significantly the Kashmir issue created a security dilemmas in South Asia. Confronted with a larger, militarily potent neighbour and historical grievances, Pakistan grappled with threats to its sovereignty and strategic vulnerabilities. The loss of its eastern wing in the 1971 war underscored the imperative of strategic parity and deterrence against India’s conventional superiority. Thus, Pakistan’s decision to pursue a nuclear weapons option, catalyzed by India’s nuclear tests in 1974, was a rational response to safeguard national security interests and restore strategic balance in the region.

Pakistan’s nuclear program evolved amidst geopolitical complexities and regional power dynamics. The quest for strategic parity and deterrence against India’s nuclear advancements necessitated a concerted effort to acquire nuclear technology and capabilities. Despite global skepticism and adversity, Pakistan remained steadfast in its pursuit, culminating in successful nuclear tests in 1998. These tests not only neutralized India’s conventional advantage but also established Pakistan as a credible nuclear deterrent force, ensuring stability and preventing all-out conflict in South Asia.

India’s nuclear posture with relation to Pakistan is comprised of various critical aspects. To begin with, India is aggressively modernizing and strengthening its nuclear capabilities. Second, India is employing limited military tactics against Pakistan, and staying below the nuclear threshold. Importantly, India’s long-standing “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons is possibly being reevaluated.  India offensive posture, taking proactive counterforce actions against Pakistan, creates concerns about inadvertent escalation.

Pakistan’s nuclear policy, characterized by principles of restraint and responsibility, serves as a crucial deterrent against India’s aggressive nuclear posture. Pakistan’s progression towards establishing a triad of nuclear forces within its full-spectrum deterrence posture, particularly in response to India’s augmented naval nuclear capabilities, serves as a strategic countermeasure against India’s military dominance. This evolution from strategic to full-spectrum deterrence aims to deter and counter India’s military advancements and limited warfare policy. The incorporation of comprehensive deterrent strategy within the concept of “minimum credible deterrence” underscores Pakistan’s commitment to bolstering its deterrence capabilities. By incorporating a triad of nuclear forces, Pakistan aims to enhance the credibility and effectiveness of its deterrence across various potential conflict scenarios, ensuring the protection of its national security interests amidst regional power dynamics.

Beyond its military implications, Pakistan’s nuclear program has contributed significantly to socio-economic development and national prosperity. Nuclear technology, harnessed for peaceful purposes, has addressed energy needs, enhanced healthcare services, improved agricultural productivity, and advanced industrial development. With six nuclear power plants operating within its borders, Pakistan generates a substantial portion of its electricity for promoting energy security. Moreover, nuclear technology finds diverse applications in agriculture, healthcare, water resource management, and industrial processes, aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fostering sustainable development.

Pakistan’s nuclear program represents a triumph of national resilience, strategic prudence, and socio-economic development. By acquiring nuclear capabilities, Pakistan has ensured its security, deterred aggression, and maintained regional stability in South Asia. The peaceful applications of nuclear technology have contributed to Pakistan’s sustainable development goals. As Pakistan navigates the complexities of the global arena, its nuclear policy remains anchored in principles of restraint, deterrence, and socio-economic progress, ensuring stability amidst evolving challenges.

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