SVI- International Seminar (Bi-monthly Seminar Series): Report – October 17, 2018 Nuclear Doctrine and Strategy: Implications for Strategic Stability in South Asia

SVI- International Seminar (Bi-monthly Seminar Series): Report – October 17, 2018 Nuclear Doctrine and Strategy: Implications for Strategic Stability in South Asia

Compiled by: Asma Khalid
Reviewed and Edited by: S. Sadia Kazmi
STRATEGIC VISION INSTITUTE (SVI), ISLAMABAD

Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) organized an International Seminar as part of its Bi-monthly Seminar series on “Nuclear Doctrine and Strategy: Implications for Strategic Stability in South Asia”at Islamabad Marriott Hotel on 17th October, 2018.

The seminar was well attended by the military personals, representatives from Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), nuclear scientists, bureaucrats, scholars, academicians, journalists and members of civil society.

Inaugural Session

In the Inaugural session, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, President/Executive Director SVI, presented his welcome remarks and thanked the worthy speakers and participants for affording valuable time out of their busy schedule and gracing the occasion with their presence. Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema offered a detailed overview of India‟s shifting nuclear doctrine and its implication on strategic stability in South Asia.

 

Dr. Cheema opined that after the overt nuclearization of South Asia in 1998, Indian National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra announced Draft Nuclear Doctrine (DND) to the public. In DND, India follows three key pillars: Credible Minimum Deterrence, No First-Use, and Punitive retaliation. However Indian military build-up and technological developments demonstrate that these three pillars of DND have undergone certain changes. These changes are insinuated by the Government of India but are not officially recognized. Changes in India‟s nuclear doctrine are supported by its strategic elites and security experts. Dr. Cheema observed that India always keeps a margin and follows an interpretative dimension to infer various situations and policies. For instance the Cold Start
Doctrine (CSD) was announced by the former Indian Chief of Army Staff General Krishnaswamy Sundarji, but the government of India has not officially adopted the CSD. India is deviating from its commitments of Credible Minimum Deterrence. This reality is further augmented by the fact that India is developing its strategic triad not only for Pakistan but also to fulfill its aspirations to achieve the status of global power. India‟s military build-up and technological developments such as its missile development program (Prithvi, Agni, Brahmos), Ballistic Missile Defences, Space capabilities and fleets of SSBN and SSN (Arihant class and Akula class respectively) clearly present that its nuclear doctrine is no more a doctrine of credible minimum deterrence.

Dr. Cheema stated that “No First Use” has also been tempered by the Government of India and is being differently interpreted by India‟s strategic colleagues. While explaining the changes that Indian nuclear doctrine has undergone, Dr. Cheema said that it was in 2003 when India announced the option to use nuclear weapons against the threat or use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against Indian territory or Indian armed forces anywhere in the world. This provision extended the threshold of nuclear usage and is a fundamental departure from India‟s No First Use doctrine. Nonetheless India continues to insist that it adheres to the “No First Use Doctrine”. Furthermore, India‟s counter-value-strategy is now shifted to counter-force strategy. Former Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon in his book titled “Choices: Inside the Making of India‟s Foreign Policy” indicates that India might be inching toward a counter-force doctrine from its current counter-value-based doctrine.

While discussing the principles of Pakistan‟s nuclear doctrine, Dr. Cheema opined that Pakistan reserves the right to use nuclear weapon first against any imminent nuclear weapon or conventional threat from India as the last resort. Secondly, Pakistan follows the policy of minimum credible deterrence. While explaining the changes in Pakistan‟s nuclear doctrine he said that Pakistan has enhanced its strategic posture from Minimum Credible Deterrence (MCD) to Full Spectrum Deterrence (FSD). He reiterated that according to officials‟ statements, Pakistan‟s policy of FSD is in line with the policy of Minimum Credible Deterrence. Dr. Cheema summarized his remarks by maintaining that in the emerging security landscape of South Asia, Pakistan has to rely on its nuclear weapons for deterrence and to avoid full fledge conventional war with India. Recently through development of short range ballistic missile (Nasr) Pakistan extended its nuclear deterrence at tactical level to counter threats arising from India at all spectrums of conflict.

Session II

The session was chaired by Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema (President/Executive Director, Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad). The four eminent speakers for this session were Dr. Tughral Yamin (Associate Dean of the Centre for International Peace & Stability (CIPS), NUST), Dr. Zafar Khan (Assistant Professor, Strategic Studies Department, National Defence University, Islamabad), Dr. Tariq Rauf (Former Head of Verification and Nuclear Security, Office of the Director General, IAEA, Vienna), and Mr. Paul Ingram (Executive Director, British American Security Information Council (BASIC), London).

First speaker of the session, Dr. Tughral Yamin presented his views on “Strategic Stability in South Asia”. Dr. Yamin explained that strategic stability stands on a tripod of financial health, political stability, and military balance. While discussing significance of financial health for the state security, he said that the countries are responsible for their own financial development. He expressed his serious concerns regarding Pakistan approaching the IMF, which according to him has only caused problems for Pakistan. Though China has endorsed Pakistan‟s efforts to deal with financial crisis but US $12 billion IMF bailout reflects on Pakistan‟s adverse economic health. The significant determinant of a country‟s security remains to be the health of its economy and its society. Dr. Yamin further maintained that political instability is one of the predominant threats to strategic stability of any state. Talking about the military balance, he mentioned that it is more like a pentagon comprised of five elements i.e. conventional forces, strategic forces, satellite program, cyber security, and doctrines (both conventional as well as nuclear).

He further indicated that Pakistan‟s official stance regarding regional strategic stability is that in South Asia it is being threatened by the offensive posture and induction of lethal weapons by India. India‟s weapons modernization and force posturing is viewed as a threat to the strategic stability and deterrence equilibrium in South Asia. India‟s air defence system and latest addition of S-400 has the ability to disturb the regional strategic stability. S-400 is a long range surface to air missile system and has the ability to access aerial targets up to 400 km away. It has the potential to counter threats from ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and aircraft. Short ranger Spyder, Akash, medium range Barak 8 and latest S-400 are the significant components of India‟s threatening missile defence system. India is intentionally involved in developing ballistic missile defence shield prompting the regional counterparts struggle to maintain a strategic equilibrium with India. Dr. Yamin gave an overview of the developments and military acquisitions by India which over the time considerably threatened the strategic stability of South Asia:

First, India signed a formal agreement with France to buy 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets for a reported US $8.8 billion in 2016. India-France Fighter Rafale deal is one of India‟s biggest defence deals in decades. Rafale fighter jet comes equipped with Meteor, arguably the world’s most advanced air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 km, making it a strategic weapon in the hands of Indian Air Force (IAF). Although a game changer yet an expensive acquisition, Rafale is among the most advanced operational fighter jets in the world. It provides India with a sense of air superiority, reconnaissance capability, and enables it to launch attack on land and sea targets through nuclear strikes.

Second, India‟s deal with the US to buy 22 Predator Guardian drones worth around US $2-3 billion after approval by the State Department, is being hailed as a ”game changer”. This trade will mark a major step in India-US relations as it would endorse India‟s status as “major defence partner” of the US.

Third, the “Blue Water” Navy is considered as central force to fulfill the strategic goals of India; to emerge as a major global player. Today, India is a member of the exclusive club of countries that have built their own nuclear powered submarines. Other countries on the list are the US, Russia, the UK, France and China. India is into “serial production” of nuclear powered submarines with three more being built in Visakhapatnam (Vizag). Dr. Tughral Yamin further added that Arihant gives India the status of a nation possessing a blue-water navy. This naval expansion by India inevitably carries strategic and regional implication.

Fourth threat to the strategic stability in South Asia is India‟s missile program. India has developed a series of tactical, medium and long range missiles in line with its regional interests. In this regard, India‟s successful test of short range ballistic missile Prahaar has considerably increased firepower of the Indian forces. Therefore these lethal weapons acquired by India are changing the strategic equation between India and Pakistan. Dr. Tughral Yamin expressed that in 2017, India announced the joint military doctrine to counter “full spectrum military conflicts” while one of the important advancements in India‟s doctrine is its obsession with surgical strike. Though the surgical strikes allegedly conducted by India were much doubted upon but most of the Indian officials specifically the Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat are considering it as a preferred option. The same was recently hinted upon by India‟s Defence Minister where he stated that “there was a need for another surgical strike”. With reference to this emerging trend and Indian Army Chief‟s statements, Dr. Yamin enquired if the surgical strike is replacing the Cold Start Doctrine? which looks to be the case considering the statements by Indian officials.

While concluding Dr. Yamin pointed out that even though India is acquiring these advanced technologies on the pretext of threat it perceives from China, the settlement of Doklam dispute and good trade volume between India and China raise a serious question that where and against who India will use these sophisticated weapons? India‟s proactive strategies, the military modernization, and build-up of its forces are negatively affecting the regional strategic balance for Pakistan.

Second speaker of the session, Dr. Zafar Khan while providing an overview of “Pakistan‟s Nuclear Force Posture: Strategic Stability in South Asia” maintained that it is imperative to argue that the broader rationale of Pakistan‟s nuclear force posture is to deter India‟s advanced conventional and nuclear attacks comprising both India‟s counter-value and counter-force targeting strategy. Pakistan‟s nuclear posture may have the combination of both; deterrence by punishment, and deterrence by denial strategy to overcome the 21st century challenges with regard to its nuclear strategy. Deterrence by punishment essentially means that a nuclear weapon state successfully convinces its adversary that it is not sensible for the latter to attack the former because doing so will lead to unacceptable costs. While deterrence by denial means that a nuclear weapon state convinces its adversary that any type of attack will be prevented and that the adversary cannot win. Furthermore, this can be undertaken by consistent practices of keeping credible and survivable deterrent forces under the umbrella of credible minimum deterrence. Dr. Khan maintained that Pakistan can have multiple options by producing effective countermeasures like Russia and China have against the US key deterrent forces by potentially creating vulnerabilities for the US command and control system which in turn can undermine the credibility of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets of the US.

Subsequently, Pakistan will need to closely monitor India‟s acquisition of advanced technologies that adds up to the increase of its security particularly its Signal and Intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities. There is a possibility that India might be working for its full-spectrum counterforce strategy against Pakistan through which India will have the confidence to locate Pakistan‟s deterrent forces and destroy them before Pakistan could use them. In the later part of his talk he elaborated on whether or not this ambitious strategy of India is flawless and workable, but first he highlighted upon the imperative to unpack the major rationales of Pakistan‟s deterrent force posture and the challenges and pressure it continues to confront.

According to him security remains the predominant and compelling factor for Pakistan to acquire and sustain the credibility of its deterrent forces to deter its adversary in order to ensure sate‟s security. The empirical evidences in the existing literature right from the founding father of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah to the famous “eating grass” statement by the charismatic leader of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto entails the importance of security that eventually is knitted together with the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Presumably, but more logically, Pakistan continues to have robust deterrent forces as long as other nuclear weapon states continue to possess them.

Consequently, it is interesting to note that Pakistan‟s nuclear posture addresses India-centricity i.e. all of its deterrent forces are developed against India for security reason. If one closely unpacks Pakistan‟s nuclear policy, one comes to the logical conclusions that Pakistan unlike India has not been trying for longer ranges up to the ICBM level. It does not have an extended deterrence force posture to assist other friendly countries with its nuclear weapons. Its missile ranges – small or big – intend to cover all of India and Indian military facilities from where India could preempt Pakistan without being risked for retaliation. As a defensive realist state, unlike India, Pakistan‟s deterrent force posture is not meant for power projection, escalation dominance, and security maximization. Therefore, India-specificity is very much obvious and one that becomes the focal imperative of Pakistan‟s evolving nuclear posture.

Consequently, it is interesting to note that Pakistan‟s nuclear posture addresses India-centricity i.e. all of its deterrent forces are developed against India for security reason. If one closely unpacks Pakistan‟s nuclear policy, one comes to the logical conclusions that Pakistan unlike India has not been trying for longer ranges up to the ICBM level. It does not have an extended deterrence force posture to assist other friendly countries with its nuclear weapons. Its missile ranges – small or big – intend to cover all of India and Indian military facilities from where India could preempt Pakistan without being risked for retaliation. As a defensive realist state, unlike India, Pakistan‟s deterrent force posture is not meant for power projection, escalation dominance, and security maximization. Therefore, India-specificity is very much obvious and one that becomes the focal imperative of Pakistan‟s evolving nuclear posture.
Dr. Khan further stated, since the existing literature shows that Pakistan does not go for power projection and escalation dominance strategies that in turn would push Pakistan for bigger number of forces, it is imperative to observe whether Pakistan opts for parity (that is, an option for weapon to weapon strategy against its adversary) or retaining balance in the South Asian region (that is, to produce effective deterrent and counter-deterrent forces to deny or prevent the adversary from harming Pakistan intentionally). Pakistan may keep both the options, but each option may have implications. One, by opting for weapon to weapon strategy, Pakistan will be pushed for a bigger arms race which could later become complex to manage and control. Two, by retaining balance, Pakistan will need to ascertain when, where, and how deterrence gaps can potentially and smartly be filled up without being pulled into a bigger arms race. Also, it needs to be sure that by retaining a balanced deterrent force strategy, Pakistan produces effective countermeasure against each potential threatening adversary‟s deterrent force. If Pakistan fails to meet the standard deterrence requirements by retaining the balanced deterrence force posture, this could undermine the credibility of its nuclear strategy specific to India. Failure to do so could allow India to exploit and further escalate to dominate in the South Asian region.

While observing the link with deterrence by denial strategy, Dr. Khan opined that Pakistan‟s evolving posture appears to have been pursuing the First Use nuclear option which is largely seen as an asymmetric nuclear strategy i.e. the ability to convince the adversary that Pakistan could use its nuclear forces first if India threatens to preempt Pakistan through its advanced conventional forces and/or nuclear weapons through its so-called counterforce targeting strategy. It is imperative to note that Pakistan has already rejected adversary‟s offer for the so-called No-First Use (NFU) nuclear use option long time ago. Islamabad will not be surprised much if New Delhi declares officially to eventually shift away from No-First-Use to First Use of nuclear option in its Draft Nuclear Doctrine (DND). Given the past empirical evidences in bringing changes to its DNDs, India can potentially do it in future too. Nevertheless, it is not clear when, where, and how Pakistan and/or India will use its nuclear weapons in the event of serious crises escalating to a nuclear level. Arguably, no nuclear weapon state including the established nuclear weapon states declare openly when it comes to the option for nuclear weapon use. The least that they would declare is that they would be used in an “extremis condition” without providing a detailed elaboration. Pakistan may say as part of its asymmetric nuclear strategy that it could use nuclear forces in an “extremis condition” to keep its adversary guessing about it.

In this context he said that all these essentials remain consistent with the credible minimum deterrence as one of a broader rationale of Pakistan‟s nuclear policy. Pakistan has been following minimum deterrence since the induction of nuclear weapons in South Asia. Pakistan may not need to shift away from minimum deterrence. Minimum deterrence has been deterring its adversary for the last twenty years preventing India from waging a bigger conventional and nuclear war. If minimum can deter, why to consider a shift? Pakistan can go for interesting developments within the essentials of its minimum deterrence. Those claimants of minimum deterrence such as India, China, France, and Britain have more nuclear weapons, sophisticated delivery systems, and effective countermeasures than Pakistan has at the moment. Even if Pakistan shifts away from its contemporary broader policy of minimum deterrence like the United States did during the Cold War period in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the central argument will remain unchanged i.e. to create fear and manipulate the mind of adversary.

Briefly discussing the essential pillars of Pakistan‟s evolving deterrence force posture, he said that Pakistan will continue to face challenges and pressure from what its adversary does. The induction of new technologies, restructuring of deterrent force postures towards full-spectrum counterforce strategy, and competing war fighting strategies in South Asia are some of the evolving challenges Pakistan faces in the second atomic age. However, the theory of nuclear revolution predicts that fraught with security dilemma, Pakistan will consistently produce effective countermeasures and plug deterrence gaps where absolutely necessary in order to create mutual vulnerabilities. In doing so, nuclear revolution entails that there is no military or nuclear victory when both sides have credible and survivable deterrent forces. Once rational actors possessing nuclear weapons understand the meaning of nuclear revolution by deeply contemplating that it will not be an over-kill but a mutual-kill, the stronger side intentionally harming the weaker side will reconsider its costly choices for waging a preemptive attack with a strategic sense that the weaker side can also cause an unacceptable damage to the stronger side.

In the end, Dr. Khan raised a few key questions: Can India wage a full-spectrum counterforce attacks against Pakistan without provoking Pakistan to use its nuclear weapons? Is it guaranteed that India will be able to destroy all of Pakistan‟s strategic and battlefield nuclear forces before Pakistan uses them even if India develops sophisticated ISR systems? Will Indian military and civilian leadership entangle into a risk for deadly escalation that could produce mutual vulnerability? Can there be a limited war in the presence of credible nuclear forces? Can nuclear weapon states consider having nuclear victory in the contemporary nuclear age? While revisiting the meaning of nuclear revolution in South Asia, the theory of nuclear revolution answers these questions in No. If the answers to these questions become No, then nuclear revolution predicts well that the fear of nuclear use will prevent nuclear states to wage wars against each other, show mutual restraint, extend nuclear peace, and above all ensure deterrence stability in South Asia.

Third speaker of the session, Dr. Tariq Rauf shared his views on “Nuclear Politics and Emerging Trends in South Asia: Strategic Options for Pakistan”. Dr. Tariq Rauf started by presenting the broader perspective of global nuclear politics and its ramifications on South Asia, especially on its strategic stability. He stated that in the recent chain of events Russia and the US are modernizing their policies of weapons preparedness and deployment. Moreover, they are working toward the modernization of their strategic triad especially by adding the theatrical weapons again. These steps taken by the Cold War rivals are not taking place in a vacuum but rather in a very volatile situation, where nuclear rivals like Pakistan and India are involved in nuclear arms race as well, which includes small range nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, hyper sonic, and subsonic cruise missiles. Additional element of conventional surprise attack is increasing the existing strategic instability in South Asia.

Particularly in case of South Asia, India‟s determination to build strategic triad of nuclear delivery vehicles, including small range nuclear weapons, hypersonic cruise missiles, next generation MIRVed ICBMs, possessing the range beyond its policy of „Credible Minimum Deterrence‟ carries damaging consequences for not only the regional but global peace. On the other hand Pakistan‟s technological developments such as Small Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) are under heavy criticism from the international community. However, same technological developments and its operationalization is suggested in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review by the US. India is also building its arsenals of small range nuclear weapons but international reviewers have turned a blind eye on the issue of strategic stability. It is only Pakistan whose small range nuclear weapons are regarded as a cause of instability in South Asia internationally. Even though Pakistan has made it clear on many occasions that its SRBM Nasr is to deter India from implementing the Cold Start Doctrine, thus it is regarded only as a defensive weapon for preventive purposes.

However, India‟s case regarding the small range nuclear weapons like Prahaar is different. In the wake of India‟s changing nuclear doctrine of massive retaliation to preemptive strike, the development of Prahaar can be regarded as a tit for tat or a precautionary weapon to use at lower level of strategic conflict. These current trends of small range nuclear weapons in South Asia reveal that deployment of theatrical nuclear weapon is happening in South Asia. But, the point to reckon here is that Pakistan is not only criticized for its small range weapons but also for the long range ballistic weapon capabilities, for being able to target India‟s Nicobar and Andaman islands.

Nonetheless, another significant threatening development of nuclearizing the Indian Ocean by India through building fleets of SSBNs and SSNs is intentionally pushed under the rug by the international community. In the complex South Asian threat matrix, another growing concern which requires significant attention is the emerging threat of cyber weapons, cyber conflict and cyber threat. Dr. Rauf further added that in the backdrop of growing usage of computers, information technology, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in civil and military spheres, the vulnerabilities are rapidly rising. He said that cyber weapons capabilities add uncertainties to nuclear conflict and also has an escalatory component. It is nearly impossible to identify the culprits in cyber-attack because of the capabilities like spoofing (which is a threat launched from unknown source disguised as known source), thus making retaliation impossible.

In his concluding remarks Dr. Rauf acknowledged the diplomatic efforts done by Pakistan to make its case strong to acquire NSG membership. He also shed light on why Pakistan‟s proposition of criteria based approach is not accepted by all the states. He said that it is primarly because the criteria based approach will restrict the political influence of states on the decision making in granting the NSG membership.

Fourth Speaker, Mr. Paul Ingram shared his views on “Establishing a Dialogue on Nuclear Responsibilities in South Asia”. He said that it is far from being ideal that nuclear weapons are involved in India-Pakistan relations. He stressed that it is important to recognize that nuclear weapons can be used; hence the need to talk about the responsibilities of nuclear armed states assumes great significance. He was candid in stating that many of the mechanisms established within Europe to control the nuclear weapons and related systems have largely been forgotten. Also the nuclear postures have reverted to thinking far more about capabilities rather than how we control and reduce them where at times the mechanisms to control are discriminatory, as is the case with NPT. This necessitates a rethinking by taking into account all perspectives as to what it means to be a responsible nuclear state. He held the view that South Asia is ahead of other parts of the world as the South Asian nuclear rivals keep the systems de-mated and have the agreement not to attack each other‟s civil-military nuclear facilities; a good sign for others to follow.

Talking about three principles of nuclear responsibility, he expressed his agreement with the first principle that a country needs to defend its citizens and national security at all times. He however said that there is another responsibility which simultaneously comes into play i.e. responsibility to the international community in the era of interdependence. He stressed upon the fact that there is a need to recognize mutual vulnerabilities and mutual interests, strategic stability being one of them. It is also to be realized that talking about nuclear responsibility is not simply about getting rid of nuclear weapons rather it is about the declaratory policies and mechanisms. Highlighting particularly the case of India-Pakistan nuclear deterrence issue, he said that it is not unique to India that it practices a certain level of ambiguity in its declaratory policy, where it says one thing and does another. Ambiguity has always been an essential part of nuclear deterrence, he maintained. However, he argued that ambiguity is not necessarily a good thing; it deeply harms states‟ ability to cooperate and communicate transparently. He was just as critical of British nuclear ambiguity as of any other state seeing it as an irresponsible behavior by the states to have too much ambiguity and lack clarity when it comes to nuclear signaling deterrence because engaging in nuclear deterrence requires signaling. Nuclear posture, another important element of nuclear responsibility, is very important for any nuclear weapon state to consider how they minimize the risk of nuclear use and to communicate the risk clearly. He was emphatic in stating that there was no such thing as safe nuclear deterrence, no matter how much states try to achieve a level of balance, there is always a risk of nuclear exchange. He was of the view that this nuclear posture responsibility requires us to abandon efforts at achieving strategic dominance. He further elaborated that strategic stability is different at times of peace and at times of crisis and that states need to make efforts to avoid unintended incidents.

Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD), another responsibility of all nuclear armed states, is an essential (though insufficient) part of any strategy to avoid arms racing. What is meant by CMD is inevitably a matter of interpretation and specific to particular situations and moments in time. The UK claims to have a minimum deterrent, delivered by a continuous patrol of a ballistic missile submarine carrying 40 thermonuclear warheads. He maintained that nuclear deterrence is about affecting the decision-making of one‟s adversary and is fraught with fundamental uncertainties. However, a valid question still arises as to whether this number really is necessary for the UK in its declared nuclear deterrent posture. Unlike any other nuclear armed state, the United States and Russia do not operate under a minimum deterrence posture. Mr. Ingram stated that it is irresponsible, and has been the cause of the most damaging and risky arms race in human history, one that could yet return.

While highlighting the state‟s role, Mr. Ingram added that states have a responsibility to consider effective means for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in their doctrines, nothing less, as this reduces the risk of use and also encourages other states to do so. The concept of tailored deterrence, now in vogue in South Asia and something that is long being practiced by the US and Russia, may have an internal logic but it weakens the idea that the use of nuclear weapons is always strategic, and strengthens the idea that they could be used for advantage on the battlefield, thus increasing the chances of their use. Nuclear weapons are not an extension of conventional capabilities. He was vocal to mention that counterforce is anathema to CMD.

While stressing on the need for public engagement, he added that another dimension of responsibility is to figure out how can the public be involved in the conversation in a manner that strengthens genuine accountability and prompts an informed debate while contributing to security rather than undermining it? It is important to control expectations. For example, it is irresponsible for President Trump to claim that DPRK will disarm its nuclear weapons in the near future. Irresponsible because when the truth emerges, it is likely that the United States will use this as a pretext to threaten military action. An independent observer could be forgiven for thinking that this may even be a deliberate strategy to engage in future military brinkmanship.

Mr. Ingram added that there is a need is to control how we describe the strategic adversaries. If we continually describe them as inevitable enemies then this will be self-fulfilling. It is irresponsible to judge an adversary as being deeply irreconcilable or as behind each and every threat or terrorist action, just as it is for states to engage in terrorist actions in the first place.

While concluding, Mr. Ingram said that states also have a responsibility to engage in disarmament and arms control with others. This requires dialogue and a genuine attempt to understand the actions and beliefs of the other side. Thinking of incremental improvements and movements in the right direction that are always available to decision-makers is the need of hour. An agenda of discussion around what responsibility means gives us a chance to discuss the generalities of responsible behaviour so that states can discover the mutual security which arises out of an understanding of economic and social interdependencies. States can have these conversations by communicating how their security is undermined by each other‟s actions and before long they are engaged in a dialogue.

Afterwards, the session was opened for questions and answers.

Ambassador (R) Ali Sarwar Naqvi (Executive Director CISS) expressing his disagreement with Dr. Yamin‟s idea that surgical strike is replacing the CSD said that the surgical strikes are not a doctrine but tactical reaction. In fact both CSD and surgical strikes are kept ambiguous intentionally by the Indian government. He asked, has there been any evolution in Indian thinking with regard to its posture towards Pakistan and its adversaries? Dr. Yamin answered that surgical strike is a military attack intended to go deep in enemy‟s territory or may involve air strikes or missile strike. But India‟s claim of surgical strike of 2016, didn‟t involve any such offensive action or targeting. Therefore, difference between CSD and surgical strikes is that surgical strikes are held along the Line of Control (LoC) and not along the international border. Because along the LoC, forces are deployed close together and can hit the enemy without going deep in the adversary‟s territory. Surgical strikes are smaller operations and much below the nuclear threshold. On the other hand, CSD is a proactive strategy involving large number of forces, armed divisions, brigades, air support, and more resources.

Mr. Riaz Khokhar (Research Assistant CISS) asked Dr. Yamin whether India will get the S-400 system with same specification as the one that Russia has, and how will the S-400 deal counterbalance the Rafael deal scandal and election campaign of Prime Minster Narendra Damodardas Modi? Dr. Yamin responded that the S-400 is Russia‟s fourth-generation air and missile defense system, accessing aerial targets up to 400 km away, and has the potential to counter threats from ballistic missiles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and aircraft. It is unclear what will be the specifications of air defence system that Russia will supply to India. Deal is signed along with 17 other cooperation agreements between India and Russia, despite the fact that India can be sanctioned by America‟s Countering of America‟s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Dr. Yamin added that the defence deal with Russia could not be much significant for the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‟s election campaign.

Mr. Khalid Banuri (former Director General ACDA, SPD) while expressing his view on resuming bilateral dialogue with India, commented that the prevailing trends in South Asia are comprised of India‟s acquisition of modernized technology like S-400, Prime Minster Narendra Damodardas Modi‟s offensive rhetoric and absence of dialogue between nuclear adversaries. Advent of all these developments need some kind of responses. He asked within the emerging scenario, what can be done in the near term? While responding, Dr. Zafar Khan stated that it is significant to find out the mechanism for prevailing situation in the region in which one side is producing anarchy and the other side is taking counter measures. It is important to keep in mind that security dilemma is operational between India and Pakistan, and improving co-operation amidst security dilemma is quite difficult. Being nuclear weapon adversaries, both states will agree to cooperate with each other once both understand the mutual vulnerabilities. Therefore, co-operation, arms control regime, and strategic restraint regimes are significant to reducing escalation or crisis instability in South Asia.

Dr. Tariq Rauf added that significance of space technology in security arrangements of state cannot be ignored. Without space capabilities states cannot have credible nuclear force. He further added that Pakistan‟s space program is very minor; Pakistan relies on Chinese space assets for early warning or on traditional assets. Pakistan should emphasize on space deterrence or options must be explored in space technology.

Mr. Paul Ingram described why BASIC believes that nuclear responsibilities are a powerful frame to structure dialogue on managing the existing nuclear weapon relationships. Responsibilities involve a number of elements that fit within nuclear declaratory policy, posture, public engagement, and diplomatic approach. Each state has a responsibility to engage in activities that minimize the risk of exchange and maximize the chances of nuclear disarmament. This is not an agenda to challenge the nuclear policies of states head-on or to judge some as right and others as wrong, so much as an attempt to frame the conversation in such a way that security between states is strengthened.

Rear Admiral (R) Saleem Akhtar posed a question to Mr. Paul Ingram regarding significance of dialogue. He said that India has always rejected Pakistan‟s offer to engage in dialogue and efforts to establish strategic restraint regime in the region. In this regard what are the options for Pakistan to serve its national security objectives? Mr. Ingram responded that responsibility frame would provide an opportunity to India and Pakistan to engage in a dialogue. Responsible behavior from both sides is inevitable in this regard. India, in many ways, is acting irresponsibly, undermining the strategic balance, but both states need to think beyond specific issues in order to initiate dialogue instead of pointing the finger of blame on each other. He further added that along with a responsible behavior, the stable deterrence is also important because deterrence is all about signaling and how effective that signaling is, would strengthen states‟ own national interest or security.

Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan Jadoon HI (M) (DG Institute of Maritime Affairs) stated that due to conventional asymmetry between India and Pakistan, the latter is relying on nuclear deterrence to ensure its security. Therefore, due to the discriminatory policies of the West, the gap is further widening between India and Pakistan. How it is affecting the security calculus of region? Dr. Rauf agreed that Pakistan is facing discrimination by the West on the issue of nuclear technology and military hardware. He also added that Pakistan lacks efficient policy makers, however on the other hand there are many competent policy making champions to represent India on the international forums. He further highlighted that the reason of discriminatory attitude towards Pakistan is trust deficit. Pakistan must realize that, it has to put its own house in order instead of looking for support from other states. He highlighted that Pakistan must identify its responsibilities and redefine its national security objectives. In previous years, major dilemma for Pakistan was that it was not engaged with international community due to the absence of foreign minister. On political level, recent visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi to the US was quite positive to represent Pakistan on international forums. Furthermore, to strengthen Pakistan‟s case as a responsible nuclear weapon state, Pakistan should take measures on national as well as international level to build trust within the international community. Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan Jadoon also asked about the impact of US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on South Asian Strategic Stability. In response Dr. Tughral Yamin stated that the US withdrawal from JCPOA didn‟t carry any implication for the strategic stability of South Asia.

Dr. Adil Sultan (Visiting Research Fellow, Department of War Studies, King‟s College London) commented about development in Indian nuclear doctrine and said it is not about ambiguities in its nuclear doctrine, it is deliberate misleading of the doctrinal position of the state. While commenting on national responsibilities, he added that the international community pursues discriminatory trends towards Pakistan. That is why the strong perspective exists in Pakistan regarding the discrimination of West towards Pakistan. Dr. Sultan also claimed that S-400 deal between India and Russia is a significant development. India buys military equipment from the West, Russia and also from other states. It creates problem of operationalization of these weapon systems into an overall military strategy of India. The most significant impact of S-400 would be on the possibility of conventional conflict between India and Pakistan. Because India‟s focus is on air supremacy not on air superiority. Now having this capability, India thinks it could shoot down every Pakistani aircraft within the Pakistani territory. Therefore, such weapons will develop probably the possibility of conventional conflict below the strategic belt under the nuclear threshold.

Afterwards, the session chair Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema asked the worthy speakers to summarize their remarks briefly.

Dr. Yamin said that political stability and financial health had a strong bearing on strategic stability. Dr. Khan maintained that Pakistan will consistently produce effective countermeasures and plug deterrence gaps where absolutely necessary in order to create mutual vulnerabilities. Dr. Tariq Rauf said that while there is acceptance of India as a nuclear weapon state in the world, there was at the same time reluctance to give same status to Pakistan. He opined that, “Pakistan is tolerated, but not accepted. That is why there is discriminatory treatment of Pakistan”. Mr. Paul Ingram stressed upon the need for responsibilities for the nuclear weapon states.

Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, in his remarks maintained that nuclear responsibility and safe management of nuclear weapon is essential. While agreeing with Mr. Paul Ingram, he stated that management of nuclear weapons is more important than deterrence competition. Dr. Cheema also maintained that a strong economy is inevitable for maintenance of strategic stability and deterrence in the region. Without a sound economy, Pakistan would be at a disadvantage in keeping stable deterrence with India. He said that in the existing environment, Pakistan has to rely on its nuclear weapons for deterrence to avoid full fledge war, while India is constantly trying to achieve escalation-dominance in the region.

 

Lt. Gen (R) Syed Muhammad Owais (former Secretary Defence Production) performing the duties of Rapporteur summarized the overall proceedings of the seminar. He stated that each presentation was full of knowledge, based on analyses and evaluation of learned speakers. He highlighted the important issues mentioned by the worthy speakers and agreed with Dr. Yamin‟s statement that strategic stability is a combination of political stability, financial health and military balance. In addition to that, in the emerging geo-strategic landscape in South Asia, it is imperative that Pakistan should increase its focus on high-technology warfare to maintain strategic stability. He also highlighted another point in Dr. Yamin‟s talk that strategic implications of emerging nexus between US, Israel and India cannot be ignored. Therefore, significant mechanism at national level should be developed to counter emerging security threats.

 

He further took note of the statement made by Dr. Zafar Khan that the rationale for nuclear posture of Pakistan rests upon deterrence by punishment and deterrence by denial and Pakistan‟s compulsion to respond to India‟s emerging offensive force posturing. Therefore, India‟s quest for militarization has the ability to trigger arms race between nuclear neighbors, threatening the strategic stability in South Asia.

While summarizing the presentations he further stated that the economic development and financial stability cannot be ignored in defence policy of a state. In order to make deterrence credible in the face of ever growing Indian military capabilities, significance of economic development and stability must also be realized by Pakistan. Secondly, political stability is important not only for the national development but also for the economic growth. It is a responsibility of parliament to raise the important issues regarding the national security to formulate policies for national development. He identified three significant areas: First, the Naval development; second, Space development; and third, Cyber security. Lt. Gen Muhammad Owais further claimed that due to nuclearization of Indian Ocean, strategic balance of power in South Asia is eroding rapidly. Status of Pakistan Navy demonstrates that platforms are deemed grossly insufficient. In view of emerging extra-regional threats and India‟s naval developments, Pakistan must focus on maritime security as a strong naval force is vital for country‟s geo-economic and geo-strategic interests. S-400 is another significant development and demands calculated response by Pakistan. He said that the present global trends in the militarization of outer space highlight the importance of outer space for military purposes. With the occurrence of militarization of space, the states may follow the policy of “space weaponization” which will cast a negative impact on deterrence and peace. Therefore, achieving indigenization in space, satellite and surveillance capabilities is necessary for Pakistan to maintain credibility of its deterrence especially in crisis situation. He was of the view that Pakistan must be active at diplomatic front as Pakistan faces a number of challenges there. He said in view of emerging regional security issues and negative impacts of arms development, the only way forward is nuclear and conventional restraints and bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan. In the end, Lt. Gen (R) Syed Muhammad Owais observed that no one will come to save Pakistan; it has to put its own house in order.

Finally, Lt. Gen Syed Muhammad Owais extended the vote of thanks to all the worthy speakers and audience and commended the SVI team for its efforts without which the seminar would not have been made possible.

Media Coverage:

Print and electronic media covered the proceedings of the international seminar. Following are the links of print and electronic media coverage.

Dawn

Daily Times

The News

PTV World News

 

 




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