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India;s Insecure Nuclear Programme, Threatening Regional and Global Peace By Sajjad Shaukat

India’s Insecure Nuclear Programme, Threatening Regional and Global Peace

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

In its report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) disclosed on 18, this year that an estimated 110-130 Indian nuclear bombs are stored in six or so government-run sites across India. Within the next five years to one decade, as many as 60 reactors will also be functional in India with the active cooperation of the US-led western and far eastern allies.

 

In the past, several incidents of leakage and theft in addition to alarming episodes of lax security on existing nuclear sites given a history of civil tumult have occurred in India. India is notorious for highly lax security of its nuclear facilities. The episode of 8 October 2014 at Kalpakkam, when a soldier of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) responsible for protecting nuclear materials, went on a rampage to destroy the security of the facility leading to nuclear material theft by criminals. Many incidents in the past including theft and leakage incidents of 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2013 are alarming examples of what inside and outside officials depict as serious short-comings in India’s nuclear safeguards.

 

India and Japan have a terrible record of nuclear reactor leakage due to various reasons which consequently proved disastrous. But, Indian poor nuclear security has broken all the records.

 

Indian media reported on July 5, this year that the Kolkata police have arrested five men with 1 kg of uranium valued at around Rs. 3 crores ($440,000).

 

The Times of India elaborated that the men had come to Kolkata in the state of West Bengal to try to sell the substance. Police was quoted as saying that two packets of a “yellow-coloured substance” were seized.

 

It is notable that when the US former President Barack Obama hosted the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on March 31, 2016 to check the spread of nuclear weapons, showing concerns about the ambitions of terrorist groups such as the ISIS in acquiring a nuclear weapon or radioactive material, , the US President Donald Trump had taken a different stand in his interview with the CNN by stating, “More nuclear weapons could make the world safer…US can no longer afford to bankroll the defence of its allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East…Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia may need arsenals to confront threats in their region on their own.”

 

Similarly, by pursuing the double standards of America and some Western countries in its worst form, President Trump also favoured India, while opposing the nuclear weapons of Pakistan. Because, being the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, Pakistan annoys the US, Israel and some Western countries. It is Zionist agenda to ‘denculearise’ Pakistan. However, like Obama, Trump has brushed aside the ground realities that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led by the ruling fundamentalist party BJP has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda.

 

 

 

 

As part of their double game, these US-led countries have ignored poor Indian record of nuclear security, non-proliferation, lack of safety of workers, working at Indian nuclear facilities and lack of any appropriate regulatory authority.

 

Indian record proves various kinds of security and safety lapses regarding various nuclear plants and the related sensitive materials, including events of leakage, nuclear theft, smuggling and killing.

 

In this regard, in November 2009, more than 90 Indian workers suffered radiation due to contamination of drinking water at the Kaiga Atomic Power Station in Karnataka.

 

On July 27, 1991, a similar event occurred at the heavy water plant run by the Department of Atomic Energy at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan. Nuclear radiation had affected and injured many labourers there.

 

In July 1998, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seized eight Kg. of nuclear material from three engineers in Chennai, which was stolen from an atomic research centre.

 

On November 7, 2000, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) disclosed that Indian police had seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men for illicit trafficking of radioactive material. IAEA had revealed that Indian civil nuclear facilities were vulnerable to thefts.

 

On January 26, 2003, CNN pointed out that Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd. shipped ten consignments to Iraq, containing highly sensitive equipment entailing titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps.

 

In December 2006, a container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai.

 

In June 2009, India’s nuclear scientist, Lokanathan Mahalingam missed from the scenario and after a couple of days; his dead body was recovered from the Kali River. Indian police concocted a story that Mahalingam had committed suicide by jumping into the river. It is a big joke to hide some real facts behind his death because wisdom proves that if an educated person decides to commit suicide, he will adopt a soft way to eliminate his life. Afterwards, Dr Haleema Saadia said that the death of the scientist was a conspiracy.

 

Nevertheless, such events in connection with nuclear material continued unabated in India, putting the security of atomic weapons and their related components, including the lives of workers at high risk.

 

It is mentionable that during his first visit to New Delhi, on November 6, 2010. President Obama announced the measures, America would take regarding removal of Indian space and defence companies from a restricted “entities list”, and supported Indian demand membership of four critical global nuclear nonproliferation regimes.

 

And as part of the double standards about India and Pakistan, America set aside the poor Indian record regarding the safety of nuclear weapons and related materials. Despite, Indian violations of various international agreements and its refusal to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Additional Protocol with the IAEA, Washington signed a pact of civil nuclear technology with New Delhi in 2008. During American

President Barack Obama’s visit to India, on January 25, 2016, the US and India announced a breakthrough on the pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology.

 

Notably, America is a potential military supplier to India. The US also pressurised IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to grant a waiver to New Delhi for obtaining civil nuclear trade on a larger scale.

 

Evidence indicates that India has not fulfilled the conditions of the NSG waiver. At least, eight of India’s nuclear reactors are outside safeguards which are a big question mark on the credibility of its nuclear safety and security standards. Two reports from the King’s College–respectively titled ‘India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism’ and ‘India’s Strategic Nuclear and Missile Programs’ also claim that India has already accumulated nuclear material for over 2600 nuclear weapons, including all of its unsafeguarded reactor-grade plutonium, which is weapon-usable, and raised concerns over this stockpiling.

 

In fact, in the pretext of countering China, Washington has continued favouring India’s programme of advancement and modernisation of nuclear weapons. The US supports the Indian nuclear programme in the guise of anti-China and anti-Pakistan approach. Beijing is apprehensive about the emerging threat, as, during the last visit of Obama to New Delhi, the intent of President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi was quite clear while mentioning about free sea lanes and air passages in the South China Sea. President Trump is also pursuing the policy of his predecessor in this respect, as in the recent past, during his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, he showed a similar approach.

 

Nonetheless, arms deals with America, which also include nuclear submarines to New Delhi, would increase Indian hegemonic designs in the region. And NSG’s membership in India will create concerns for regional strategic stability.

 

Besides obtaining atomic weapons from the US and other Western countries, New Delhi is, clandestinely, importing nuclear arms, components and submarines from Tel Aviv. In this connection, Zionist-led Indo-Israeli secret diplomacy could be assessed from the interview of Israel’s ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, published in the Indian weekly Outlook on February 18, 2008. Regarding India’s defence arrangements with Tel Aviv, Sofer had surprisingly revealed, “We do have a defence relationship with India, and “with all due respect, the secret part will remain a secret.”

 

Although these atomic weapons seem to be mysterious, yet still could be within reach of some Hindu terrorists with the help of RAW which might have also got these destructive arms from Mossad. Such atomic weapons or radiological materials could have also been smuggled inside India by the Hindu fundamentalists with the covert assistance of RAW.

Frustrated in isolating Islamabad, RAW in connivance with Mossad might have prepared a most dangerous plan to use nuclear weapons or dirty nuclear bombs inside the US homeland or any major European country to implicate Pakistan for having allegedly used these weapons through some Taliban militants.

 

Mainly, RAW and Mossad may also employ these lethal weapons against NATO forces in Afghanistan, as India and Israel want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which have become the centre of their covert activities against Pakistan, Russia, China and Iran. RAW and Mossad may use terrorists of the Islamic State outfit (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) which are strategic assets of the CIA for employment of these unconventional weapons. While, India, Israel and America are also playing double game against one another, hence, by utilizing the vicious circle of terrorism, New Delhi can alone use these weapons through Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and ISIS which are also being backed by RAW, CIA and Mossad, and have claimed responsibility for several terror assaults inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the recent ones. So, RAW’s sole aim will be to provoke Americans and its allies against Islamabad which is challenging Indian hegemony in the region. Thus, Indian RAW could create a dangerous misunderstanding in which the US could use small nuclear weapons against Pakistan or could ask the latter of rollback its atomic programme.

 

Undoubtedly, in such an environment, considering India qualified for acquiring of nuclear technology through “global powers” led NSG and IAEA and obstructing Pakistan’s safe nuclear energy programme is discriminatory as well as an effort to hinder peace and economic progress of Pakistan. And hazardous materials in nuclear facilities patrolled by low morale CISF troops across India are also liable to be stolen by insiders having grievances against employers and typical Hindu mindset of Indian leadership. Indian sponsored ISIS elements could use these stolen materials. Washington and its other allies, instead of pressing India for quick nuclear reforms are encouraging India to expand its nuclear stockpiles. The US-led West need to take cognisance of such ventures rather than criticising Pak-China civil nuclear cooperation.

 

In light of these adverse developments, we can conclude that Indian insecure nuclear programme is threatening regional and global peace. Therefore, the world’s various forums such as EU and UNO, including Russia should also take cognisance of New Delhi in this regard.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: the US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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How vulnerable are India’s nuclear power plants to disaster

 
Last Updated: Thursday 17 September 2015

earthquack

Nuclear power plants are designed to withstand natural disasters like earthquakes. In France, for instance, nuclear plants are designed to withstand an earthquake twice as strong as that experienced in the past 1,000 years. In India, the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station, Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, Tarapur Atomic Power Station and Narora Atomic Power Station operated safely when earthquakes of lower intensity were felt. The plants, however, could not withstand a tsunami. The campus of Kalpakkam Atomic Reprocessing Plant was flooded when the tsunami hit Tamil Nadu’s coast in 2004.

Catch-22 situation

In India, every region falls in the seismic zone in some way, said Durgesh Rai of IIT Kanpur. “Most of our nuclear plants are in weak seismic zones but lie in coastal areas. Their structure is earthquake-resistant but they have not been tested against tsunami. The entire coastal region is believed to be vulnerable to tsunami,” he said. Nuclear plants are built near the sea because sea water is required to cool the reactor.

What happened during the Fukushima incident in Japan

The power plant survived the earthquake and was shut down. Limits are set on the levels of velocity, acceleration and displacement in every power plant. The plant stopped functioning when the limits exceeded. The atomic reaction thus stopped. When the plant stopped functioning, seawater used to cool the reactor stopped flowing. The diesel generators that were to feed water to the power plant also apparently shut down. Thus, the cores began to heat up.

Though the fission of radioactive elements was stopped, some reactions continued generating a great deal of heat. Without cooling, the temperature rose, boiling off the remaining water and increasing pressure leading to an explosion.

The plant that survived an earthquake earlier in Japan 

In 1995, the Kobe-Osaka earthquake did not affect the nuclear power plant just 110 km from Kobe. After the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, a panel was set up to review the safety of nuclear facilities in Japan and design guidelines for their construction. The Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) approved the panel’s report. After recalculating the seismic design criteria required for a nuclear power plant to survive near the epicentre of an earthquake of high intensity, the NSC concluded that under current guidelines the plant could survive a 7.75 magnitude quake.

Location of nuclear power plants in India 

Earthquake-prone regions are categorised between Zones I and IX from least earthquake-prone to most earthquake-prone. Indian nuclear power plants are situated in Zone II and III except the Narora plant in Uttar Pradesh, which is situated in Zone IV. Japan’s nuclear plants are in Zones VII, VIII and IX.

 

 

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Geostrategy : Nuclear Pakistan: Hot-Headed or Rational?  Syed Ali Zia Jaffery

Geostrategy

Nuclear Pakistan: Hot-Headed or Rational?

Kenneth Waltz”The spread of nuclear weapons: more may be better.”

The essence of the Westphalian state system lies in the concept of territorial sovereignty. Inherent in the sanctity of the mainland is the need for national security. This has become an indispensable vital national interest of all states. The colossal damage caused by the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki bears testimony to the annihilation capacity of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). However, there is a lot more to the use of the “deadly” nukes.

The veritable value of going nuclear can be gauged in the hostile Indo-Pak theatre. The partition of the Indian Subcontinent saw the emergence of this intense rivalry from the very outset. The reasons are well documented and even a cursory look at them would enable students and observers to decipher the anatomy of adversarial ties. Both states grappled with their perceived and actual fears, and to withstand threats to their interests embroiled in armament, both conventional and nuclear. The need for treading on the nuclear path was different for both countries.

It is imperative to briefly differentiate between the reasons for both South Asian titans going nuclear. India’s gargantuan foreign policy goals and security thinking shaped by long-held misgivings shaped her nuclear ambitions. Pakistan, on the other hand, faced with a quantitatively superior eastern neighbor, which was instrumental in its dismemberment, had to look for “internal balancing”. Indeed, the growing conventional asymmetry necessitated Islamabad to bear its own teeth.

Pakistan was left with no choice but to induct a force equalizer to deter India from any military misadventure. Hence, Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine and the development of a cohesive nuclear force are intended to ward-off threats emanating from India. In all earnestness, Pakistan’s nuclear incursions are solely India centric.

This assertion can be corroborated by the fact that Pakistan maintains the doctrine of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD). The idea behind CMD is that an enemy larger in size can be dissuaded with small but a credible nuclear force. The doctrine is well-suited to Pakistan’s evident limitations.

Pakistan’s persistence with CMD has been effective in averting wars and also the “nuclear bogey” among other factors, ensured that low-intensity conflicts did not escalate into a full-scale war. The Kargil conflagration is perhaps a classic case of how the knowledge of the “nuclear possession” kept the conflict limited to a series of tactical skirmishes.

Pessimists opine that deterrence theory failed when both locked horns over strategically vital peaks. However, it must be stressed that a 1965-like escalation was avoided, with the help of international intervention because both India and Pakistan had a nuclear device in their caches.

Nuclear capabilities do not rule out the occurrence of low-intensity conflicts, for they bring about a stability-instability paradox, wherein things remain stable at the higher end of the conflict spectrum. One could argue that nuclear weapons provided both states with a cushion to wrest control of Kargil through tactical engagements, but it also acted as an equalizer, which baulked nefarious designs. During the whole episode, the nuclear umbrella gave Pakistan much-needed psychological security as she felt less vulnerable to a 1971-like Indian onslaught. The events of 1971 were monumental in shaping Pakistan’s nuclear campaign.

International pressure prevailed on two other occasions. The first was in wake of Operation Parakram when after the parliament attacks, India amassed its forces on the International Border. Warmongering did not result in any physical engagement after the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

The success of “Nuclear Pakistan” in preventing a full-scale war can be evidenced by the fact that the incendiary forces which caused previous wars and battles still persist. To-date there are opportunities akin to those present in 1971 for India to capitalize upon. Moreover, if accusations are to be believed there exists a pre-1965 war situation. Indeed, the possession of an assured nuclear capability has changed the type of threat emanating from the eastern flank. The ongoing non-kinetic war must and cannot be labelled as a failure of deterrence theory, for Pakistan’s nuclear posture is intended to make the pursuance of a military option untenable for India to use against Pakistan.

Press Release

Rawalpindi- February 13 2017

Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Strategic Plans Division today. He was received by Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lieutenant General Mazher Jamil and was given detailed briefing regarding various facets of Pakistan’s Strategic Programme.

COAS underlined the centrality of Pakistan’s Strategic Programme against a specific threat to our security. COAS lauded the efforts of Scientists and Engineers involved in the development programmes, which made Pakistan’s defence formidable. He highly appreciated operational preparedness and training standards of the Strategic Forces. He particularly expressed satisfaction on the comprehensive security regime of SPD.

STRATEGIC  PLANS DIVISION

Image result for pakistan strategic plans division

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan officially maintains that it does not aim to attain nuclear parity with India and will continue with the Minimum Credible Deterrence. Minimum is not a number but refers to the acquisition of no more nuclear weapons than necessary to deter the adversary from launching a nuclear attack. Thus the word “minimum” is relative at best and hence Pakistan has to monitor and evaluate the developments across the border. The question that one needs to answer is whether Pakistan’s increasing stockpile is a rational policy? Is there a need to bolster means of second-strike and inducting long-range ballistic missiles in the scheme of things?

First, the development of a second-strike capability is central to deterrence. India, with a well developed second/counter strike capability and a greater geographical depth, had the propensity to withstand a surprise or a pre-emptive strike from Pakistan. However, Pakistan bereft of the very advantages would not have been able to thwart a retaliation. Thus, the addition of an assured second-strike capability is imperative to make deterrence credible. Second, the need for modernizing delivery systems is all the more important because of deterrence hooks upon the ability to make the enemy aware of the ability and the willingness to use the device if and when the need arises.

Eyebrows have been raised regarding two aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear program. One is the growth in the number of warheads whilst the other is concerned with the design of Tactical Nuclear Weapons.

As aforementioned, deterrence is more effective when a country has adequate second-strike prowess.The number game hence becomes all the more important especially given the threats posed to CMD by India’s ever-increasing economic and technological muscle. Second-strike elicits its strength of the “residual” capacity hence Pakistan can feel relatively safer by the mere accumulation of warheads before making them more credible. The quantum has gained currency especially after India’s deployment of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Albeit in a rudimentary stage, the likelihood of intercepting Pakistan’s main delivery vehicles can greatly undermine the efficacy of Credible Minimum Deterrence. India’s BMD is likely to undermine Pakistan’s retaliatory capacity but a greater amount of warheads can reduce the precision of India’s Ballistic Missile Defense.

In sum, India’s grandiose aspirations and the initiatives taken to augment her military muscle, coupled with Pakistan’s limitations necessitate the latter to add to its deterrence value. This is being rightly done by not only focusing on credibility and survivability but also on the quantum of warheads. This is in-line with Pakistan’s quest to provide for her own security in an environment dictated by anarchy and self-help. Perhaps, it is pertinent to quote Waltz once more amidst doubts about the perils of a “Nuclear Pakistan”.

“If a country has nuclear weapons, it will not be attacked militarily in ways that threaten its manifestly vital interests. That is 100 percent true, without exception, over a period of more than fifty years.”

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The Faulty and Dangerous Logic of Missile Defense by Laura Grego in Scientific American

Russia Sells India an anti-Missile System of Dubious Effectiveness- A Win-Lose Contract-Russia wins $ 5 Bn, India gets a Lemon.

Russia has sold India S-400 anti-missile missile system, whose effectiveness in battlefield conditions have not been proven. Such systems are defensive toys, which costs India $5 billion. In a massive air-attack from 5th generation fighter jets, followed by a barrage of thousands of missiles, such defensive systems fail. Israel tried to use, the US manufactured THAAD system against HAMAS and HIZBULLAH Tin Can Rockets FAILED. MIRVs such as NASR, RAAD, and ABABEEL make  S-400 ineffective white elephants, like the Indian use of 155 mm BOFORS GUNS in the rarified air of Kargil Heights.

North Korea’s recent and dramatic tests of long-range missiles have created a sense of urgency and vulnerability in the United States, leading to renewed calls for expanding missile defenses. The administration and Congress have approved huge funding increases for existing systems, and call for developing new types of defenses—potentially including interceptors in space.

Is this the answer? How should one think about missile defense: as a protective shield or a dangerous illusion?

Missile defenses have as long a history as missiles do, and in the late 1960s, American and Soviet scientists came to believe that a defense against long-range missiles would never be effective because the other country would build more weapons to defeat it, leading to a dangerous arms race. The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which placed strict limits on U.S. and Soviet/Russian strategic missile defenses, reflected that understanding.

President Reagan’s 1983 “Star Wars” speech challenged that idea by calling for the United States to develop a large defensive system that included orbiting interceptors. Recognized by most experts as unworkable, this expansive system was pared down over the next decade and finally shelved, although work continued on interceptor technology during the Clinton administration.

Then, in 2002, President George W. Bush abandoned the logic of the ABM Treaty, by withdrawing from it and announcing that the United States would field the first interceptors of a new Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) in less than two years. To do so, the administration exempted its development from the strict “fly-before-you-buy” rules that govern all other large Pentagon projects—a step that has had dire and long-lasting consequences.

GMD remains the sole system designed to counter intercontinental ballistic missiles. Its 44 silo-based interceptors in Alaska and California are designed to be guided by space, ground and sea-based sensors to collide with an incoming warhead and destroy it with the force of impact.

Reflecting the difficulty of the task, and the haste and lack of rigor of its development, the GMD system today has an abysmal test record, even though these tests were “scripted for success” according to former Pentagon head testing official Phil Coyle.

The problems are well documented. Only about half of the 18 intercept tests since 1999 successfully destroyed their targets, and the test record has not improved with time: only two of the last five tests were successful—and GMD has still has not been tested under operationally realistic conditions. Thus, there is no evidence that the GMD 40 billion system provides a reliable defense, even against a country like North Korea.

More fundamentally, even if the reliability is improved, GMD’s prospects for providing a valid defense in the future are poor because it will face countermeasures that any country that has developed a long-range missile and a nuclear warhead could readily use to confuse or overwhelm the system.

Despite these problems, however, the administration and Congress plan to expand the system; the current budget includes funding to build 20 additional interceptors.

Given North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear-armed long-range missile, it seems reasonable to ask whether something isn’t better than nothing. That sounds plausible but does not hold up upon closer examination. The unconstrained pursuit of missile defenses can, perhaps counterintuitively, create even more significant risks.

For example, a belief that missile defense works better than it does can lead political and military leaders to adopt a more aggressive foreign policy and take more risks. U.S. officials regularly describe the system as much more capable than it has been demonstrated to be. Even President Trump stated on television last October that “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 per cent of the time.” Yet the testing data show there is no basis to expect interceptors to work more than 40 to 50 per cent of the time even under the most generous and optimal conditions.

Using multiple interceptors against each target can improve these odds, but it does not fundamentally change the situation; the chance of a nuclear weapon getting through would still be dangerously high. Consider an attack with five missiles. Using four interceptors against each target, each with a kill probability of 50 per cent, the odds that one warhead gets through are 28 percent—or higher, if the failure modes are not independent of each other (for example, if the guidance systems of all the interceptors are faulty in the same way).

Overestimating defense effectiveness could increase policymaker support for a pre-emptive attack against North Korea, which might then fire missiles in retaliation. It would then become clear that the system could not stop those missiles.

Missile defenses can also increase nuclear risks by blocking arms control and providing incentives for Russia and China to build more and different kinds of weapons; preventing this dynamic was a core reason for the ABM Treaty’s limits. Russia and China worry the United States may come to believe it could launch a first strike without fear of retaliation because it could shoot down any surviving missiles. This fear is exacerbated by U.S. development of conventional “counterforce” weapons that can attack Chinese and Russian nuclear weapon systems.

These concerns are not theoretical. Russia has repeatedly stated that any future arms control agreements must include limits on missile defenses and says the expansion of U.S. defenses could lead it to withdraw from the New START treaty. And on March 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to field several new nuclear systems that could avoid U.S. missile defenses, including nuclear-powered nuclear-armed cruise missiles and underwater drones.

China has begun to build more long-range missiles, develop hypersonic weapons and deploy multiple warheads on its missiles, and has also discussed putting its missiles on high alert. At worst, U.S. defenses are driving developments that result in more threats and risks; at best they are providing justifications for them. The irony is that they do not provide adequate defense in any case.

Unfortunately, things are on a path to get worse. The United States is developing a ship-based interceptor that in theory could intercept strategic missiles and plans to field hundreds of them in the coming years. An influential minority in Congress has been calling for space-based missile defenseswith plans for a “space test bed” that would put dedicated weapons in orbit for the first time. Chinese and Russian military planners will not ignore these developments.

As long as nuclear-armed countries continue to believe their security relies on the ability to retaliate with nuclear weapons, missile defenses will interfere with efforts to reduce—and eventually eliminate—these weapons. Given the inherent problems with building reliable and effective missile defenses, these defenses are more a dangerous illusion than a realistic solution.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
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Progress achieved by Pakistan in counter-terrorism Brig.Gen(R) Asif Haroon

Cold Start AF-Pak Fifth Generation War Doctrine Pakistan Facing Simultaneously

Progress achieved by Pakistan in counter-terrorism       

Brig.Gen(R) Asif Haroon

 

 

In the wake of the US war on terror initiated by the USA in end 2001, Pakistan which was made a US ally and a frontline state to combat terrorism have borne the brunt of terrorist attacks that have killed more than 70,000 people including women and children. Not only has Pakistan suffered in terms of losing precious lives, it has also sustained economic losses in its fight against terrorism that has risen to $126 billion in 2017-18, which is more than what the country has suffered in its wars with India. No other country, not even the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, can claim to have suffered such tremendous loss, both in terms of lives and money.

When Fazlullah made Swat-Malakand region into a state within a state in 2008/09, it led to Operation Rah-e- Rast on April 2009. A terrorist attack on GHQ on October 10 that year led to Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan. 17 out of 18 administrative units in the control of TTP were retaken after launching series of operations in six tribal agencies. A terrorist attack on Jinnah terminal at Karachi on June 9, 2014, led to the launching of Operation Zarb on June 15 in North Waziristan which had become the safe haven and strongest base of operation of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) affiliated with 66 proscribed militant groups.  Following the vicious terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) on December 16, 2014, which resulted in the death of 149 people including 132 school children, Pakistan clamped down hard on the terrorist networks in the country through sustained counterterrorism operations, as part of the National Action Plan (NAP).

These military operations have substantially improved the overall security situation in the country. All bases of operations and safe havens of militant organizations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) called PATA (provincially administered) have been dismantled and flushed out. The handlers, facilitators, financiers of terrorists spread in all parts of Pakistan are being systematically dealt with by the military through countrywide intelligence based Operation Raddul Fasad. Likewise sleeping cells are being eliminated. Another tangible step that has been initiated is the fencing of the western border to prevent cross-border infiltration. Border management is also being improved.  

Continuous intelligence-based operations and the stringent measures introduced under NAP including the re-institution of the death penalty, new cybercrime laws, the renewal of the Afghan Refugee Registration, the revival of the Pakistan Automated Fingerprint Identification System (PAFIS), and the establishment of the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) to check cross-border infiltration of terrorists have today significantly eradicated terrorists, their networks and safe havens in the country.

To fix loopholes and strengthen the judicial system, a holistic approach was taken towards legislation for strengthening Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts.  Special military courts were established through the 21st amendment in the constitution of Pakistan for the purpose of speedy trials and to protect the judges who prosecute the terrorists. Eleven military courts were established and 388 cases have been transferred to these courts and their decisions have been forwarded to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for his approval of the award of the death sentence.[1] Military courts in Pakistan have sentenced 186 terrorists to death and issued verdicts for more than 300 terrorism-related cases.[2]

Another milestone achieved by NAP was strengthening of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) – an anti-terrorism institution established by the parliament in 2013 with the sole mandate of countering extremism and terrorism in the country. Regrettably, it remained un-effective until it was made part of the NAP. Following the zero-tolerance policy after the APS attack, NACTA pursued its mandate and jurisdiction with unparalleled vigour and etched the policies addressing the state’s goals in countering terrorism. A special budget of Rs. 1545.5 million was allocated in 2016-17, and in 2017-2018 Rs. 1643.019 million was demanded, however only Rs. 530.839 have been released. A Joint Intelligence Directorate has also been staffed in NACTA for the purpose of enhancing coordination and intelligence sharing mechanism among the provinces.[3]

The NAP which has a 20-point agenda has also taken a rigorous stance in dealing with the matter of sectarian violence, religious intolerance and extremism. As a result, 1373 cases were registered after 2014 regarding hate speech and publication of literature inciting religious sentiments. Around 2,566 persons were arrested against 1373 cases and 70 shops were sealed. Moreover, 19,895 cases have been registered pertaining to misuse of loudspeakers, 20,679 persons were arrested and 8,759 pieces of equipment have been confiscated.[4] Sectarian violence surged in the country in the last two decade, sacrilegious and hate speech were the main causes of creating sectarian violence. NAP ensured the misuse of loudspeaker would not be tolerated and fiery speeches were banned. It is the fruit of NAP that in 2012, 185 sectarian attacks were recorded while in 2018 only two attacks were witnessed on the mainstream.[5]

Steps have also been taken to check terror financing. Before the inception of the NAP, there was no robust mechanism available to monitor terrorist funding activities. The terrorists could freely manipulate huge funds received by their sympathizers and stakeholders. They could receive huge sums of money through charities, NGOs, and international fund transfers, narcotics trade, and extortion. In an effort to overcome this drawback, NACTA took an initiative to choke the funding activities of terrorists and established a Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in every province and it became an integral part of investigations. Furthermore, HUNDI/HUWALA transactions were also monitored and 919 cases were registered, 1209 persons were arrested and Rs. 1489.918 million was recovered. Another 426 cases were registered and 574 were arrested under money laundering charges.[6]

NAP took effective measures to counter the re-emergence of proscribed organizations. Until now, 66 organizations have been declared as illegal and 4 are under observation, while 7,966 individuals have been placed under section IV of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The government has so far frozen 4,962 accounts with over Rs. 93,980 million. Over 2,052 persons are also facing travel restrictions.[7]

NAP provided a strong mechanism to establish skilled anti-terrorist force in all provinces with an aim to reduce the burden from the police and to combat terrorists. Presently, out of 7200 sanctioned force, 6,038 security personnel are working all around Pakistan in different provinces.[8]

Effective steps have also been taken to promote pluralism and diversity. The federal government has directed all the provincial governments to protect the lives and honour of all non-Muslims minorities. Their shops and places of worship are now secured by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA’s), and all discrimination and biases have been expunged from the curricula.

Approximately 32,272 religious seminaries were functional all around the country. To address the issue of illegal seminaries, NACTA in collaboration with Ittihad-e-Tanzim-e-Madaris Pakistan has streamlined the Madrassas. The registration and data forms have been generated to keep a record of Madrassas. Islamabad Punjab and Sindh have already carried out 100% geo-mapping (Special software technology that records data with visuals) on agreed parameters, while Baluchistan (80%), FATA (90%), and KPK (95%). Geo-mapping of all places of worships has also been undertaken. [9]

FATA became a stronghold of the militant organizations like TTP. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched to eliminate terrorism and bring reforms in the region. Army played a key role in managing internally displaced persons lodged in makeshift camps and in the resettlement of over 15 lacs displaced people and in the reconstruction of destroyed houses and property. The recent merger of FATA with KPK and abolishment of Frontier Crimes Regulations is a milestone achieved by all the major political parties of the country as well as the Army. Only Fazlur Rahman led Jamiatul Islam and Achakzai led PkMAP to have reservations about the merger.

Cellular technology was also exploited by the criminals, terrorists and affiliated organizations. There was no restriction on a person from having a number of Sim cards and the registration process was inadequate to meet the standards. NAP’s point 13 deals with dismantling communication network of terrorists. A colossal exercise was conducted and 98.3 million unregistered and illegal Sim cards were blocked.[10] A new system was introduced by the authorities to streamline the Sim card registration process by working closely with NADRA and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. NACTA has also been granted special permission to block mobile services on special occasions.

NAP has also successfully addressed the growing issues of social media and electronic crime. In order to filter the social media and enable a strong vigilance, a special act of ‘Prevention of Electronic Crime’ was passed in 2016. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NACTA are now working closely to monitor the internet traffic, monitoring electronic crimes, and trace and shut down the sites that advocate extremism. Till March 2018, approximately 1447 websites have been blocked which exhibits extremism and hate.[11]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Punjab witnessed a lot of bloodshed and sectarian violence because of fallout effects of 10-year Afghan war followed by civil war in Afghanistan. The growing Punjabi militias also had deep connections with Al-Qaeda and TTP. It was an alarming situation and required a special attention to protect the citizenry of Punjab and other provinces. NAP has shown zero tolerance to these groups in Punjab, and according to the Punjab Home Department Reports, a total of 91,666 combing operations were conducted between 2014-March 2018 all across Punjab, 400 terrorists were hanged under Pakistan Penal Code, 275 terrorists were killed in encounters with Police/CTD/LEAs, 897 were arrested by Police/Counter-Terrorism Departments and 68,957 terrorists were entered in Digital Databank of Police/CTDs.[12]

Metropolis like Karachi was also bleeding at the hands of terrorists and criminals, thanks to MQM-PPP unholy collaboration and involvement of RAW. Sindh Rangers backed by Army and intelligence agencies and NAP have worked hard to bring the Karachi operation to its logical conclusion. The post 2013 era in Karachi witnessed growing peace and stability. In three years only, target killings  decreased by 97%, murder rate decreased by 87%, robberies were decreased by 52%, terrorist activities were decreased by 98%, and the bank robberies  decreased by 72%, overall robberies decreased by 52%.[13]  

Baluchistan also witnessed a policy shift by Islamabad towards it, since the province was lagging behind in literacy, health and other basic facilities. Terrorists, extremists, separatists and other militants filled this developmental vacuum and started exploiting Baluchistan and curbing the state’s writ. In 2009, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Baluchistan package was launched by the government to ensure Baluchistan’s representation in public institutions and fulfil its demands. For this purpose, scholarships have been allocated to the Baluch students, 13,200 Baluch youth have been inducted in the army and many others were inducted in FIA, Utility Store Corporations, Civil Defence Department, Planning and Development Department, Anti-Narcotics Force and Ministry of Defense. A special quota has also been reserved for the Baluch in all employment. Baluchistan Frontier Corps assisted by Army, other paramilitary forces and police played a commendable role in smothering the dangerous agenda of separatism backed by foreign powers.

In November 2017, a ‘Khushal Baluchistan’ initiative was launched to improve socio-economic as well as security conditions in the province. The government of Baluchistan has also initiated a dialogue with the exiled Baloch separatist leaders. A large number of separatists have given up their weapons, while their reconciliation and rehabilitation is still in process.

Repatriation of Afghan refugees was also a major challenge for the NAP to address. The last federal government approved the Repatriation and Management Policy in February 2017 and NADRA was assigned to identify the illegal Afghan refugees and register an accurate number of refugees present in the country. A tripartite agreement for voluntary repatriation program (the largest program ever recorded by the UNHCR) was also initiated.  Till March 2018, 176,000 cases of illegal immigrants were identified and 1.38 million Afghan refugees were recorded and under Tripartite Agreement around 4.3 million have returned to their homes since 2002.[14]

NAP is being implemented with full commitment and vigour in coordination with all provinces, security agencies and other stakeholders. The effective implementation of NAP has registered significant improvements in overall law and order and internal security situation in the country, including a nose dive decline in terrorist incidents from a high of 2060 terrorist attacks in 2010 to around 370 attacks in 2017. A lot of sweat and blood has gone into this herculean effort. Ordinary Pakistani citizens have also stood behind their police, military and their intelligence agencies, never faltering in their resolve to defeat terrorists and their twisted ideas. While terrorists have been pushed back and areas reclaimed, efforts to defeat militant mindset have already begun as per the vision of the National Action Plan.

While Pakistan Army and ISI fought the war on terror singlehanded under extremely adverse conditions and achieved laudable results in spite of extensive foreign interference, tense civil-military relations, political instability, weak economy, ethnicity, religious divide, lack of rule of law, defects in criminal justice system and sold out media, the US led ISAF in Afghanistan that had military contingents from 48 countries of the world including 28 countries of NATO and had resources in abundance, failed to deliver. Pakistan military helped the ISAF in incapacitating Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan by handing over more than 600 leaders and operatives to the USA.

The US strategic partners India, Afghanistan and Israel have a big role in pushing the US military to the precipice of defeat in Afghanistan and in making the USA the most hated country in the world responsible for making the world a dangerous place to live. Whatever semblance of prestige that was left has been soiled by Donald Trump. He is not only a security risk to the USA but also to the world at large.    

Today, the US and its puppet regime in Kabul are in dire strait and unable to confront the onslaught of spring offensive launched by the Afghan Taliban. Their policy of achieving objectives through the use of excessive force has boomeranged. To cover up their embarrassment and hide their ineptness, fiascos and botches, Pakistan has been made into a convenient scapegoat and is held responsible for all their failures. Continued instability in Afghanistan is attributed to so-called safe havens of Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. So far not a single hideout has been pointed out since there is none. To maximize pressure, India has kept the Line of Control in Kashmir hot, is breaking all records of human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and has resorted to water terrorism. Kabul has been poised aggressively toward Pakistan.

‘Do more” mantra was sung by the USA for years and Pakistani leaders did its bidding obediently, naively thinking that by doing so it will make Pakistan safe. Gen Bajwa put an end to it by refusing to play their dirty game aimed at bleeding Pakistan and making it a failed state. He said that Pakistan has done enough and will not do any more and its now the turn of others to do more. His defiance is being described as ‘Bajwa doctrine’.

Finding themselves in a big dilemma, Pakistan was constantly threatened by Indo-US-Afghan nexus of dire consequences if it didn’t change its defiant stance. India and USA have been making efforts to place Pakistan on blacklist by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this month so that the US and UN could impose sanctions.   And when Pakistan didn’t budge, the belligerent regimes in Washington and Kabul descended from their high horses and entreated Pakistan to help in achieving temporary peace in Afghanistan.

Monstrous Fazlullah who was enjoying the hospitality and patronage of CIA, NDS and RAW since July 2009 was droned on June 14 in his safe haven of Kunar so as to earn the goodwill of Pakistan. His death will make little difference since another monster Mufti Noor Wali Mahsud has replaced him and safe havens at Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar are still intact, while Khalid Khurasani heading Jamaatul Ahrar, Faqir Muhammad heading TTP Bajaur chapter and Mangal Bagh heading Lashkar-e-Islam are under their good care.

Besides the fractured TTP, the US has brought in Daesh (ISIS) to reinvigorate war on terror in Pakistan. Fencing of the border is being objected to and fence erectors often fired upon. Pakistan is also subjected to 5th generation war to create divisions in society, inject political instability, chaos and anarchy and foment civil war.  The focus of enemies of Pakistan is on Pak Army and ISI, the two institutions that could not be penetrated.

The sole aim of sponsored Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) led by Pashteen Mehsud is to undermine the achievements and sacrifices of the Army and to discredit it in the eyes of the Pashtuns in particular. PTM is being backed by India, Afghanistan, USA, West and Israel as well as by Asfand Wali led ANP, PkMAP, NGOs and liberals in Pakistan.

The effects of the 5th generation silent war are being felt by the people of Pakistan that have largely been mind-cloned through media war. Intolerance levels have peaked, while polarization among the mainstream parties has climaxed. Despite the sustained bashing of PML-N and the dice is heavily loaded in favour of PTI, the former bereft of its leader is still intact and ready to contest the elections.  For the first time, there is infighting among all the major political parties over the distribution of tickets for general elections due on July 25. With the political temperature touching boiling point, it is feared that there might be bloody clashes during the election campaign and on polling day or after the announcement of results. Analysts are not ruling out the possibility of occurrence of a political logjam due to a hung parliament, or the losers refusing to accept poll results and opting for strikes and arson.

What makes things ominous for Pakistan is the dangerous agenda of enemies of Pakistan which under no circumstances would allow nuclear Muslim Pakistan knotted with China due to CPEC and other mutually beneficial geo-strategic interests and inclined to get aligned with Russia to become militarily strong and to achieve political stability and economic prosperity. The CPEC is isolating USA, India and Afghanistan and is paving the way for the emergence of China-Russia-Pakistan-Iran-Central Asia economic bloc. Under the circumstances, it is vital for the interim government under Nasirul Mulk to hold timely, transparent, fair and free elections and for the Army to ensure law and order and smooth political transition.

References    

[1]       The sun has set on Pakistan’s military courts — here’s why it should never rise again, https://www.dawn.com/news/1306792, Mar 06, 2017.

[2]       More than 180 convicts sentenced to death by military tribunals in Pakistan since 2015, March 18, 2018

        https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/03/18/more-than-180-convicts-sentenced-to-death-by-military-tribunals-in-pakistan-since-2015/

[3]       Directorate Office of NACTA.

[4]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018.

[5]       Ibid.

[6]       426 cases of money laundering registered: NACTA,https://timesofislamabad.com/03-Feb-2018/426-cases-of-money-laundering-registered-nacta, 03 Feb 2018

[7]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[8]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[9]       Rukhshan Mir, 100 % Geo-mapping Of Religious Seminaries In ICT, Punjab, Sindh Completed, , https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/100-geo-mapping-of-religious-seminaries-in-257202.html08th February 2018.

[10]     Saad Ahmed Dogar, What has NAP achieved so far?

        https://tribune.com.pk/story/1307640/nap-achieved-far/January 30, 2017

[11]     Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[12]     Directorate office of Punjab Home Department

[13]     Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[14]     Ibid.

 

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defence analyst, columnist and author of five books. He is Vice Chairman Pakistan Thinkers Forum, Director Measac Research Centre and member of Executive Committee Tehrik Jawanan Pakistan. Email: asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges By Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges

Asif Haroon Raja

Overview

Pakistan has, since birth, been faced with one crisis after another. The tense geopolitical environment created by hostile India and unfriendly Afghanistan was the motivating factor which impelled our leaders to accord preference to security over developing institutions and strengthening the economy. Security concerns governed our foreign policy.

Pakistan joined Western pacts mainly to find an umbrella to mitigate its security concerns. But the US never became a trustworthy and sincere ally, as was the case of former the Soviet Union with India. The western pacts proved elusive when Pakistan was truncated in 1971.

India had been working upon East Bengal since 1948 with the aim of subverting the minds of Bengalis and poisoning their minds against people of West Pakistan through an orchestrated subversion plan. It wanted to disprove Two-Nation theory. India in collusion with the former-the Soviet Union and supported by several other countries hatched the gory plan of the dismemberment of Pakistan. After nine months insurgency, Indian military jumped in to cut Pakistan to size and create Bangladesh. Indira Gandhi chortled that Two-Nation theory had been sunk into the Bay of Bengal.

In the aftermath of 9/11, another international conspiracy was hatched to dismember Pakistan. This time the conspiracy was much larger in scope and more dangerous in intent. Pakistan was to be befriended and then cut into four quasi-states. In this, India is being supported by USA, Afghanistan, Britain, Israel and the West in general. The tools in use are TTP, BLA, BRA, BLF, MQM and segment of media bolstered by bloggers, foreign paid NGOs and international media. Daesh is the latest group added to their arsenal.   

The goals are to destabilize, de-Islamise, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan using covert means and psychological operations.

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan was made to fight terrorism on its soil, then accused of harboring terrorists in safe havens in FATA and aiding cross border terrorism in Afghanistan, occupied Kashmir and India, and then constantly pressed to do more. The terrorist groups in FATA, Baluchistan were funded, equipped and trained to fight and exhaust Pak security forces. MQM was funded and its militants trained in India to make Karachi lawless.

India and Afghanistan were projected as victims of terrorism and Pakistan as an incubator of terrorism. The covert war launched from Afghan soil in 2002 has incurred a loss of 60,000 fatalities, injuries to tens of thousands, destruction of property, $ 118 billion financial loss and immense social trauma.

Pakistan has come under a foreign debt of $70 billion.  

The US imposed War on Terror has heightened ethnicity, sectarianism, extremism, provincialism, political instability, economic fragility and moral degeneration of society as a whole.

As a result of these frailties, Pakistan which is a nuclear power with robust armed forces that are second to none has abundant resources and resilient manpower, it has become vulnerable to foreign coercion, manipulation, and aggression.

Of all the crisis faced by Pakistan in its 70 years history, the present one is perhaps the most dangerous, both in terms of its nature and its possible consequences. Without a doubt, Pakistan is in the vortex of grave dangers and the country today stands at the cusp of survival and disaster. The Titans that have marked Pakistan as a target are impatient to fragment it. 

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Having given the background and overall geopolitical environment, I shall now discuss the five stages through which Pakistan’s foreign policy has moved forward to confront multiple challenges.

Quaid-e-Azam MA Jinnah had spelled out Pakistan’s foreign policy soon after the birth of Pakistan in these words:

 “Our objective should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.” 

Our foreign policy is one of the friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair-play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.” 
Pakistan opened diplomatic relations with all the countries of the world except Israel owing to Palestinian dispute.  Successive regimes made concerted efforts to normalize relations with India but failed because of unresolved Kashmir dispute and India not reconciling to the existence of Pakistan. In its desire to become the unchallenged big power of South Asia, India whipped up a frenzy against all its neighbors. It applied multiple pressures on Pakistan and went to war thrice so as to force Pakistan to accept its hegemony and become its vassal state.

Pakistan in search of security and recognition

Pakistan started its journey as a nonaligned nation and remained the member of Non-Aligned Movement from 1947 till 1954. In the first 15 years of Pakistan’s life, the founding leaders remained deeply engrossed in establishing credentials of Pakistan’s statehood in the face of massive propaganda of India that Pakistan was a monstrosity. It was described as a transient phenomenon and Indian economic wizards had given six months life to Pakistan. International recognition was sought and obtained in those agonizing years. 

In its formative years, Pakistan attached importance to relations with Muslim countries and championed Muslim causes. Its efforts to build Muslim unity couldn’t make any headway. It cultivated special ties with Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan joined Western pacts

Aggressive posturing of India, its expansionist designs and intentions to absorb Kashmir, together with Afghanistan’s enmity, former USSR’s heavy tilt towards India, deepening economic crisis in early 1950s, sense of isolation, and the UN and Commonwealth failing to resolve the Kashmir dispute were some of the reasons which impelled Pakistan to join the US created SEATO and Baghdad Pact/CENTO in 1954/55. Thereon, its foreign policy was governed by the US interests.

Pakistan became part of the US defensive arc stretching to Iran and Turkey to contain the spread of communism in South Asia and the Middle East. Pakistan did so despite the fact that it had no direct clash with USSR, and had to pay a heavy price for it. When Pakistan acted as a conduit in 1971 to bring China closer to the USA, it further antagonized Moscow and it decided to teach Pakistan a lesson.

Alignment with the USA however, helped Pakistan in improving its economy and defense capability phenomenally during the 10-year Ayub’s golden era.

Tilt towards China

After the Indo-Sino border clash in 1962, in the wake of Moscow, Washington and the West providing arms to India at the cost of disturbing the regional military balance, Ayub Khan started tilting towards China and Russia. This move was seen as an act of defiance by the USA and it decided to penalize him. The US discriminatory attitude was discernible in the 1965 War with India when it stopped extending economic and military assistance including the supply of spare parts, whereas Russia kept supplying arms to India.

It is believed that both ZA Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib were cultivated to trigger agitations in both the wings to bring down Ayub regime and then pave the way for the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971.

Southwestern Asian Identity and policy of Bilateralism

After the 1971 tragedy, ZA Bhutto scrapped SEATO pact and membership of Commonwealth stating that those had proved worthless. He then tried to carve out Southwest Asian identity so as to draw economic strength and security from oil rich Arab States. This tilt towards the Gulf States brought in financial bonanza and job opportunities for Pakistan in the 1970s and also gave an opportunity to Pak military to make inroads into the GCC States. Saudi Arabia never hesitated to extend financial support to Pakistan in its testing times.

Another change in Pakistan’s foreign policy was affected by the Simla agreement in 1972 which led to the policy of bilateralism and non-alignment. Ceasefire line in Kashmir was renamed as LoC and Kashmir issue put on the back burner. India however, maintained its belligerent policy and carried out the nuclear test at Pokhran in August 1974, which impelled ZA Bhutto to go nuclear.

Afghan war (1980-1989)

Pakistan-US relations nosedived when Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq was put under sanctions in April 1979 by Carter regime on account of suspicion that it was pursuing nuclear program covertly. However, the Afghan war in the 1980s once again made Pakistan a close ally of USA and was bestowed with $3.5 billion assistance and F-16 jets.

Pakistan had to face Russo-Afghan-India nexus and Al-Zulfiqar terrorism (militant wing of PPP). The Afghan war brought Pakistan coolness in Pak-Iran relations but brought Afghanistan under Mujahideen very close to Pakistan. Both talked of providing strategic depth to each other.

Pakistan’s challenges in Post-cold war era

After the breakup of USSR in 1991 and end of Cold War era, Pakistan was faced with multiple foreign policy issues. The US abandoned Pakistan, imposed sanctions on it under Pressler Amendment and befriended India.

Pakistan was up against Indo-US-Israeli nexus geared toward destroying Kahuta plant.

The other issue was the fallout effects of the Afghan war in the form of Kalashnikov and drug cultures, the load of 3.5 million refugees, the radicalization of the society and sectarianism fomented by Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The other was the armed uprising in occupied Kashmir which forced India to pump in 750,000 security forces to quell the insurgency and to propagate that Pakistan was abetting it.

Pakistan had to bear with the domino effect of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).

And lastly, nuclear explosions by the two arch rivals in May 1998. Pakistan’s external climbed up. These challenges made the democratic era weak and uninspiring. Despite being repeatedly betrayed, Pakistan didn’t deem it fit to diversify its foreign policy and kept its hopes alive to get into the good books of USA.

Impact of 9/11

9/11 changed the global politics and Pakistan was once again befriended by the USA and made a coalition partner to fight the global war on terror as a frontline state. Pakistan for a second time shifted all its eggs in the basket of USA.

Between 2004 and 2008, Indo-Pak relations improved as a result of the peace treaty and resumption of dialogue, giving rise to optimism that core disputes will be resolved. Euphoria died down after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 when India blamed Pakistan. Indo-Pak relations have hit rock bottom after Modi led BJP regime espousing Hindutva came to power in June 2014.

Ongoing fast changing global dynamics and ever growing strategic partnership between USA and India has impelled Pakistan policy makers to revisit the foreign policy and suitably modify it to meet the future challenges.

Pakistan’s current challenges

India has not reconciled to the existence of Pakistan and strives to reduce it to the status of a Satellite State.

India is a strategic partner of the US, Israel, Afghanistan and is the darling of the west. The trio is pursuing common objective of destroying Pakistan.

India is making concerted efforts to destabilize Pakistan through covert war, encircle Pakistan by consolidating its presence in Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics (CARs), building North-South Corridor linking Mumbai with Bandar Abbas; and connecting Chabahar with Afghanistan-CARs.

India is working hard to isolate Pakistan by tarnishing its image and spoiling its relations with Afghanistan, Iran, Gulf States and the US.

Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute but India stubbornly maintains that it is its integral part well knowing that the Kashmiris hate Indians and want freedom at all cost.

To keep Pakistan on the defensive and force it to forget Kashmir, India is playing terrorism card, Baluchistan and Sindh cards, and water terrorism to bend Pakistan on its knees.

India’s Cold Start doctrine is aimed at offsetting Pakistan’s strategic nuclear doctrine and executing it at a time when the bulk of Pak forces had got pinned down in designated restive areas.

The upturn of Pakistan’s sunk economy and its image, control over energy crisis and terrorism coupled with development works and fast progressing CPEC have increased the anxieties of India. To give vent to its frustrations, it is carrying out unprovoked firing across the LoC and working boundary in Kashmir relentlessly.

For all practical purposes, Pakistan has fallen from the grace of USA and time is not far when it will be once again be ditched and put under harsh sanctions.

Indo-US-Israel agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program, or as a minimum curtailing its minimum deterrence capability remain unchanged.

Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai remained aligned with India and hostile to Pakistan. Afghan Unity government under Ghani-Abdullah is far worse.

Pak-Iran relations are frosty and practically, Iran is more close to India and Afghanistan.

Net outcome in 2017

Pakistan foreign policy makers are faced with perpetually hostile India, near hostile Afghanistan, and the changed attitude of the US. Washington has callously whipped Pakistan under its ‘do more’ policy and is now hurling warnings. It’s heavy tilt towards India is a matter of anxiety for Pakistan.

Iran nurtures grouses on account of Pakistan’s closeness with Saudi Arabia, and for sending Gen Raheel to Riyadh to head 41-member Sunni Muslim States Alliance.

Warmth in a relationship with the GCC States has diluted because of Pakistan not agreeing to send troops to Saudi Arabia to ward off the threat from Yemen. Saudi-Qatar tiff is another challenge faced by Pakistan since it cannot afford to take sides.

Pakistan has been deliberately kept politically unstable by making it play the game of ladder and snake so that it remains economically dependent. It was pulled down whenever it grew economically strong. That is why it has been lurching from one crisis to another in its 70 years checkered history.

Pakistan can ill-afford political disharmony and disunity at this critical juncture when black clouds are hovering over its horizon.

Geopolitical realities

Pakistan is faced with multiple threats of Indo-US-Afghan covert war, India’s Cold Start Doctrine, the US Af-Pak doctrine, and Hybrid war and all these threats have now become menacing.

The threat to its security has heightened after the signing of three Indo-US defense agreements in 2016 and the US openly expressing its enmity against Pakistan and love for India.

India is getting unnerved on account of high-intensity freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir, which is slipping out of its hands and is endangering the unity of India. India has no other choice except to keep persecuting the Kashmiris ruthlessly, keep the LoC on fire and to diplomatically place Pakistan on the back foot.

Muslim Pakistan, laced with nuclear/missile power and now getting economically strong due to CPEC is unacceptable to USA, India, and Israel. The trio may go to any extent to disrupt CPEC.

Pakistan is faced with the threat of two-front war from east and west, inauspicious southwestern backyard, vulnerable seacoast, not so friendly Gulf States, together with the internal war on terror and internal war on terror

Pakistan’s viable nuclear cum missile capability deters India from waging an open war.

Nuclear factor has compelled India to resort to indirect strategy to weaken Pakistan from within through unrelenting covert war, discredit and isolate it through propaganda and diplomacy, extract its nuclear teeth clandestinely, and then apply the military instrument through Cold Start doctrine.

Having tried out all possible means short of war, the only other option left with enemies of Pakistan is to create political chaos and logjam, paralyze the government machinery and then trigger civil war as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Many are suspecting a game plan behind the current political imbroglio.

The success of $21 trillion One-Road-One-belt projects of China hinges on successful completion of CPEC. In view of China’s ambition to become leading economic power and its heavy economic stakes in CPEC, it is bound to come to the aid of Pakistan whenever its security is threatened.

Pakistan is a target and not an ally of USA. Earlier Pakistan gets out of the enchantment of USA, better it will be.

Inferences

Any expectation of goodwill and empathy from India, Afghanistan under Ghani and USA, which in pursuit of their common objectives have been inflicting tens of thousands of cuts on the body of Pakistan and its people, will be foolhardy.

The newly appointed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in consultation with the new PM Khaqan Abbasi, CJCSC Gen Zubair Hayat, and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa need to revisit the foreign policy at the earliest to make appropriate changes after correctly identifying friends and foes and accordingly diversifying the policy to meet the upcoming challenges.

Foreign policy instead of being defensive, apologetic and reactive, should be infused with dynamism and pro-activeness.

The change in foreign policy should not be abrupt, but gradual and orderly without violent fluctuations. The change should be akin to autumn changing into winter, or winter into spring.

While maintaining a working relationship with the USA, Pakistan should draw closer to China, Russia, Central Asia, SCO, and ASEAN.

Pakistan should work hard to bring Iran in the loop of China-Russia peace-talks initiative, possibly draw in Turkey and conjointly work to restore peace in war torn Afghanistan.

Pakistan must strive to establish a friendly regime in Kabul.

Surging Afghan Taliban and not the corrupt and inept unity government in Kabul toeing Indo-US agenda should be kept in the loop.

Pakistan should continue to play a mediatory role in the Iran-Saudi ideological rivalry and in Saudi-Qatar tiff to narrow down their differences and also allay the misperceptions of Gulf States on account of Yemen crisis. It will be unwise to call back Gen Raheel and detach Pakistan from 41-member Muslim Alliance.

CPEC should be made use of as a strong magnet by our foreign policy makers to attract as many nations from Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe to ward off Indian inspired threat of isolation.

Gwadar-Chahbahar economic rivalry should be converted into an opportunity to complement each other’s strength.

Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Comprehensive and pragmatic Kashmir policy should be devised to keep the cause of Kashmir alive.

Conclusion. While many developing countries have raced ahead, Pakistan is still struggling and has neither become an Asian tiger or a secure country. Political parties are behaving irresponsibly and are advised to shun politics of agitation and division and promote the concept of “Unity in Diversity”. Strong and united home front is the best defense against internal and external challenges.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, columnist, author of five books. He is Director Measac Research Centre, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Editor-in-chief “Better Morrow’ magazine, editor of website group ‘The Patriots’. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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