So Pakistan then must frame suitable doctrines for its increasing nuclear weapons capability. To begin with, Pakistan should go for a counter- value military doctrine at the strategic level - that is, targeting India’s population and industrial centres. Of course, Pakistan cannot assume a certain inhumaness on the part of the Indians which would make them find expendable certain minimal levels of destruction of their people and industrial centres. This is what McNamara had assumed in his infamous McNamara doctrine (and McNamara curve) where he postured that, given Soviet society, the Soviets would be willing to accept certain levels of destruction of their people and industrial centres (the premise being that the US would not be able to, being a more humane society) - so the US would have to be able to have a nuclear destructive capability of higher levels to maintain a credible deterrence in relation to the Soviet Union! But Pakistan can target a few of their major industrial/population centres like Bombay and New Delhi, which are within medium-range striking distance. As Pakistan develops its nuclear weapons capability, it can then go for a mix of counter-force (military) and counter-value targets. Of course, for Pakistan there is no difference between strategic and tactical, given its lack of spatial depth, nor can it sustain an entrenched war with India. So battlefield nuclear weapons should not be the primary focus.

Of course, if Pakistan and India can come to some mutual understanding on limitations in terms of missile and warhead deployments against each other, then Pakistan could keep its nuclear deterrence at a minimal rather than a sufficient level. Again, here too Pakistan can take a policy initiative because such an agreement would not affect India’s ICBM capabilities. The focus would be on Prithvi and India’s short and medium-range missiles, including battlefield nuclear warheads.

Political dimension

The first thing Pakistan must do is to make it clear that it’s nuclear weapons are here to stay, so whether the world likes it or not, it, along with India, is a nuclear weapon power. And eventually the world will have to accept the reality of a nuclear South Asia - which also reflects the end of the power hierarchies of the post-1945 international structures on which international relations had been premised. Getting used to the new realities and redefining global structures to meet these realities will take time. Beyond this, it is at the political level that Pakistan must really capitalise on the situation. To begin with, it is now gradually dawning on the world, especially the major powers, that sanctions are not the best means to rein in a nuclear Pakistan and a nuclear India. If anything, states that impose sanctions lose their leverage with the countries sanctioned against. More important, the major powers have finally woken up to the realities of South Asia - and the foremost reality that they are now accepting is the centrality of the Kashmir dispute to the whole strategic disunity of South Asia. So there is a sudden spate of statements by Western and Japanese leaders to somehow get this conflict resolved.

Kashmir: So how can Pakistan use this opportunity? To begin with, Pakistan must reactivate the UN. Surprisingly, the UN Secretary General has not focused on Kashmir even in his post-nuclear blasts’ statements. Yet he must be made to become more active on Kashmir. Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front Pakistan needs to do the following: One, very briefly explain the dispute to the world, highlighting India’s going to the UN initially and Pakistani leaders efforts to talk to India on the issue right at the start. Two, showing the spadework done on the dispute by the UN - thereby trying to convince the world that the UN offers the best and quickest way to resolve the conflict, with the UN conducting the called-for plebiscite. Three, showing how Kashmir symbolises Indian militarism and Hindu fundamentalism that is now coming to the fore through the BJP. That is why India has been so ruthless in suppressing the Kashmiri populace - as documented by Western and Indian NGOs and human rights organisations.

The diplomatic effort should be so intense that eventually the world compels India into accepting its initial commitment to the UN on Kashmir when it took the dispute to this body. To wait for India to move on Kashmir voluntarily means buying time for India’s military in Kashmir. One option in this connection is the Proximity Talks model already suggested by this writer and printed in The News and Pulse.

Despite the seeming Indian intransigence, India is desperate to become a de jure nuclear weapon state and it cannot flout international pressure, especially from the major powers, so readily. In any case, at the very least, Pakistan can expose India on yet another front.

Moving beyond Kashmir, Pakistan also needs to offer a detailed proposal of a non-aggression pact to India. By offering a non-aggression pact to the Indians, Pakistan can once again put the Indians on the defensive - and undo the adverse impact of the Indian no-first use offer. Unlike the absurd notion of a no-war pact, which denies both sides a viable military option in the event of a crisis, a non-aggression pact does no such thing. It allows both sides the right to use military force - but for purposes of self-defence. Of course, both aggression and self - defence have no narrow, internationally acceptable meaning - but certain acts can clearly be identified as aggressive acts, such as the closing off of all transit facilities access to a land-locked state or invasion of another state’s territory, as Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was regarded by the international community, and so on. So, in fact, an aggressive act does not have to be purely military in nature to get a military response as a means of self-defence. Self-defence also has a wide range of meanings and the UN Charter even allows military pacts, or what it terms as collective defence pacts. As opposed to the notion of collective security which can be against any aggressor in the system, collective defence foresees the identification of a specific enemy against which the defence is arranged. NATO has been one of the longest lasting of such defence pacts!

Because no-war pacts are not feasible between states that have outstanding disputes, including disputes of a territorial nature, they have been used primarily to score propaganda points. Of course, in the case of Pakistan even this was not too successful and both Ayub and Zia got little out of their no-war pact offers.

However, a non-aggression pact is a notion that, when followed to its logical conclusion, has a lot of substance within the context of the present adversarial Pakistan-India relationship. And, having introduced the idea, it is imperative that Pakistan maintain control of this diplomatic offensive and see the pact to its logical conclusion. What then does the pact imply?

One, it calls on both sides to commit not to aggress against each other within a military framework. This implies that both India and Pakistan cannot simply intensify exchanges along the LoC into an all-out war against their international borders. A non-aggression pact will further build on the confidence-and security - building measures (CSBMs) involving the hot-line, communication facilities between commanders on both sides of the LoC and other such measures, some of which are already in place but not adhered to strictly. Overall, of course, like the nuclear option, a non- aggression pact allows Pakistan more flexibility in Kashmir-much to the chagrin, no doubt of the Indians.

Two, in the long term, if such a pact is signed, it demands a removal of aggressive weapon systems aimed at each other. And this is where the pact becomes significant for Pakistan, because ballistic missiles are classified as offensive weapon systems, so India would have to reconsider deploying its Prithvi missile. Of even greater significance, is the impact such a pact would necessarily have on conventional offensive weapon systems. To begin with, forward build up of military cantonments and airfields needs to be curtailed. Closing down of such airfields would be more of a CBM measure since, especially in the case of India, the range of its aircraft would allow it the same level of flexibility. Also, the larger civilian airfields are also convertible to military use in times of actual military conflict. In addition, the offensive capabilities resting in armoured and mechanised formations could be substantially reduced.

Again, both countries will also be required to move towards prohibiting the induction of the latest technologies and weapons into their conventional forces - especially those that extend the offensive military capability of either side.

Three, and perhaps most importantly, a non-aggression pact does not deny either side a mutual minimal nuclear deterrence. If anything, it allows such a mutual deterrence to be the mainstay of such a pact, because it denies either side the mad race towards ever-spiralling weapons’ acquisition. Given that nuclear weapons are here to stay in South Asia - as long as India has regional and global power ambitions and China retains her nuclear option, a non - aggression pact offers a stable strategic nuclear environment to Pakistan and India.

Along with a proposal for a non-aggression pact, Pakistan must go a step further in its moves towards joining the mainstream nuclear powers by agreeing to sign the CTBT as a nuclear weapon state. Already Pakistan has made one wise move in this field by declaring its intentions of not exporting its nuclear technology. Pakistan should also have declared its intentions of abiding by the MTCR Guidelines.

The CTBT: Pakistan has sensibly delinked the issue of its signing the CTBT from what India does. The reason for this is simple: Neither India nor Pakistan can conduct anymore nuclear tests underground - at least in the foreseeable future. So there is no need for Pakistan to hold out on the CTBT. In fact Pakistan should have signed the CTBT immediately after it concluded its tests for it may well have avoided sanctions. The diplomatic advantage would have been tremendous in helping to isolate India. Even now, if Pakistan signs before India, it can demand that the world treat it differently from India in terms of sanctions.

Nor does the CTBT have any adverse implications for our nuclear weapons development and deployment since fission weapons are more than sufficient for our defence needs. Fusion testing and fusion weapons would be an overkill at present. If at any future time we feel the need to go the fusion route also, Article 9 of the CTBT allows a state to leave the treaty in case its supreme national interest is threatened by the Treaty - after giving a notice of six months. Since computer testing and subcritical testing is allowed under the treaty, one would not be left with catching up to do from scratch as it were.

As for the CTBT itself, it deals specifically with nuclear tests which it seeks to prohibit completely. Its verification and on - site clauses also deal with test sites and not with reactors and other weapon - producing installations. Even within this, frivolous challenges will cost the country making them in terms of all the costs incurred by the international and national authorities in undertaking verifications and on-site inspections. The executive Authority of the Treaty also comprises of members divided on the basis of continents not nuclear capability. In fact, the CTBT makes no distinction between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states and the obligations are the same for all states. For instance on verification, Article IV:4 states: All states Parties, irrespective of their technical and financial capabilities, shall enjoy the equal right of verification and assume the equal obligation to accept verification. Incidentally, of the 44 members of the CD whose ratifications are needed to make the treaty operational, more than half are Muslim states! In short, Pakistan has nothing to lose now in signing the CTBT - which we will sign as a nuclear weapon state - and has many diplomatic scoring points to gain if it signs before India. And the noises India is making on the CTBT clearly shows that it is moving towards signing the treaty.

The NPT: As for the NPT, it is a redundant treaty in its present form and Pakistan cannot be accommodated in it as a nuclear weapon power - so Pakistan should stop talking of the CTBT and the NPT in the same breath. It is strange that while the rest of the world has stopped linking the NPT with the CTBT in the case of Pakistan and India, Pakistanis cannot get rid of this mould. Only if the NPT - and more specifically its Article IX - is revised can Pakistan consider this treaty. In any case, Pakistan had signed the PTBT and participated in many other non-proliferation moves but it steadfastly refused to sign the NPT because it was against its national interest. Now, when the NPT has become redundant for Pakistan, it is inexplicable while politicians continue to refer to the CTBT and the NPT in the same breath? One would hope it is only out of ignorance.

The FMCT: The Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty being negotiated in Geneva within the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is where Pakistan should take a stand. Presently, the cut-off issue itself would put Pakistan at a permanent disadvantage in terms of nuclear weapons production in relation to India for her present stock of fissile material is far greater. An interesting development that seems to be evolving is that the US would like the five de jure nuclear weapon states to meet separately with Pakistan, India and Israel, outside of the CD, to come to some baseline agreement on the course of the FMCT. If such a move materialises, then it is the beginning of a tacit acceptance of the nuclear weapon status of these three countries. But since the FMCT directly affects our nuclear weapons capability, Pakistan needs to take a firm stand on the cut-off issue.

Meanwhile, Pakistan also needs to take bold initiatives in the nuclear field with India either bilaterally or within the SAARC framework. For instance, it can offer to have multilateral nuclear fuel centres with India - for South Asia - with Pakistan and India jointly controlling the sensitive technology. Unlike the IPPs electricity generation, this would truly be cheap energy for a resource-starved South Asia.

What Pakistan also needs to do is to play a more active role in international arms control and disarmament activities. For instance, in the nuclear field there are some very useful initiatives that have been neglected by the international community-primarily because they were of little interest to the major powers.Yet, had these initiatives been followed up they would have bolstered the non-proliferation regime as well as provided nuclear energy for the energy deficient developing countries.

One such initiative was the International Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE) launched by the US in October 1977. Almost all the non- NPT countries with significant nuclear programmes participated in this to jointly study the international implications of the growth of nuclear energy by reviewing the technical, economic and institutional aspects of nuclear development. Although the INFCE was marred by the US suddenly enacting the Non-Proliferation Act of 1978, nevertheless it did establish a data base for the non-proliferation regime.

Even more important, the INFCE found that purely technical measures were inadequate to stop proliferation in the nuclear field and so a shift in focus was needed - from technology denial to the creation of international institutional structures which would allow states to develop their peaceful nuclear programmes while creating disincentives for diverting these military use.

The INFCE was followed by the institution of the Committee on Assurances of Supply (CAS) - in June 1980 by the IAEA. This was accessible to all IAEA members and the aim was to lessen the technical incentives to weapons proliferation by assuring safeguarded supply of nuclear material.

Unfortunately none of these initiatives was followed up and neither was the support which the US gave for the idea of multinational fuel centres at the 1975 NPT Review Conference. Now Pakistan needs to take a lead in reviving these moves so that there can truly be a global and comprehensive nuclear regime which deals with the issue of weapons and civilian energy. There are many more new proposals that Pakistan can also float - as a nuclear weapon power.

Now that it is clear that the narrow nuclear non-proliferation (primarily horizontal) regime premised on the NPT has become redundant, the aim should be to evolve a more comprehensive and all-encompassing nuclear regime to deal with all aspects of the nuclear issue - civil and military, security and economic. And here Pakistan can now play a major role if it so chooses for it must establish itself as a mainstream nuclear actor and accept its responsibilities as a nuclear weapon power.


1. C. Heimsath, India’s Emergence as a Great Power, in India and The World edited by A. P. Jain (D.K. Publishing House, 1972) p.49
2. K. R. Pillai India’s Foreign Policy (Meenakshi Prakashan, 1969)
3. Burke states that whereas the Pakistanis had a comforting sense of fulfilment at having achieved Pakistan, the Indians had a needling sense of frustration at having lost what they considered a natural part of Mother India. S. M. Burke, Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani Foreign policies (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1974) p. 56
4. Ibid p.93
5. K.P. Misra, Regional Peace and Security: Coalescence and Clash in Indo-Pakistan Relations, India Quarterly, vol. XL, nos. 3 & 4, July-December 1984. p.270 l