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Reviewing “no first use policy”

Shiban  Khaibri
Many a time, we have been unfortunately observing bats in Pakistan’s belfry in trying to put forth its false bravado of possessing nuclear weapons and trying to blackmail or even threaten our country. Only less than two years back, former  President of Pakistan Parvez Musharraf openly said, “Who do we have these nuclear weapons for,  if I say Chaudhary Sujaat’s style ,we are a major and a nuclear power but  do we have nukes saved to be used on Shab-e- Barat ?”
This eccentric reaction came from Musharraf and for that matter from many Pakistani leaders in response to India making it clear that it would not hesitate in going beyond its borders to eliminate terrorists. Terror activities against this country are going on as Pakistan’s state policy of faith and while writing these lines ,  our four brave policemen on duty in Sopore Kashmir have attained martyrdom in a worst IED blast triggered by Pakistani coward  mercenaries . During the last few days, Pakistan, as usual,  has been violating the cease fire line and as a result thereof, our jawans have been hit by sniper shots and even attained martyrdom. Having comparatively been given a free hand, our forces have retaliated with appropriate measure and inflicted damage to them both in men and material adjoining borders across the other side. Not only do they keep on indulging in such nefarious hostile activities but back home, are providing every facility to  known terrorists like  Saeed who has floated a “political” party and has reportedly opened its offices as well starting from Lahore. Imagine Hafiz Saeed or his ilk getting into the corridors of power in Pakistan and going by the level of his flaunting anti India hysteria and keeping on “threatening”, the possibility of terrorists in that country getting access to Nuclear weapons could not be ruled out.
Let us visualize the problem in perspective. It is authoritatively learnt that Pakistan was having more than 120 nuclear warheads and had the fastest growing nuclear weapons programme and as per estimates, by 2020, it could have enough fissile material to make 200 nuclear devices. Whom it wants to pile up the same against and even threaten to use, there can be no scope for any ambiguity or that for any guess work either. We may recall that no sooner did India go nuclear by detonating atomic devices in May 1998 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Government than Pakistan after only a few days, followed suit and the then Prime minister Nawaz Sharief declared, ” Aaj  hum  nay  Bharat  kay  saath   yeh  hisaab  bhi  pura  kiya” or ” we have, today,  balanced even this  account with India”. Pakistan has been found engrossed in justifying its nuclear weapons programme to “balance” Indian conventional military superiority and, therefore, consistently uses nuclear blackmail by threatening to use nuclear weapons if we ever crossed into their territory to neutralize terrorists there. However, Pakistan till date, has not enunciated its nuclear doctrine excepting justifying the pile up only to counter and balance the military superiority of India. On the other hand, it pithily has come out in true colours in early 2017 as according to their Head of the Strategic Planning Division, the nuclear weapons “were aimed solely against India.” Please hold your breath, the threat could be executed against India even if we succeeded in “strangling Pakistan economically” or pushed Pakistan “towards political destabilization”.
This time, Pakistan is facing its international isolation and diplomatically is pinned down, thanks to the visionary but very hard labored diplomacy employed successfully by Prime Minister Modi against that country. Excepting China, there is absolutely no other country in close relationship with Pakistan which makes it stupidly chuffed even though China primarily has her economic and allied interests paramount in the itinerary of its relations with Pakistan . A good deal of technical and logistic support from China in helping building her  nuclear arsenal is not without claiming its pound of flesh , be it tremendous exploitation of natural resources in PoK or enjoying full support to the extent of subjugation in building its economic corridor right up to the extreme of Pakistan.
However,   ever since the new Government took over in India in 2014 , its diplomatic and strategic review in relations with the United states and with its former President Obama and the present one, Donald Trump has been phenomenal. The evil designs of Pakistan in being the international epicenter of harbouring and manufacturing terrorism which posed a threat to international peace, has now been understood better than before which speaks of the US suspending $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan. Since there appears no containment of Talibani, Haqqani and other terror network in Pakistan, this penal decision has been taken by the US administration. To put it in Trump’s tweet, “We got lies and deceit and providing safe havens to terrorists in return for $33 billion aid over the last 15 years.” Pakistani leadership including the terror mongers are rendered ashen – faced with this master stroke, the first of expected more, from Trump administration. The bankrupt Pakistani economy with record plummeted growth levels and unstable democracy with an increasing military hegemony coupled with vast nuclear arsenal stocked primarily and solely against our country, must lead us to review our nuclear doctrine of “no first use”.
We must be alert despite knowing that a nuclear war must never be fought since a nuclear war can never be won. Having said so, we must not feel shy of pursuing a policy of preemptive strikes against our belligerent and hostile neighbor. Manohar Parrikar as our former Defence Minister had given slight inkling about this option. We must move our nuclear doctrine away from our earlier stand to a new direction. South Asian Nuclear Strategy Expert, Vipin Narang is conspicuous by his considered views on the subject. Speaking in  Nuclear Policy  conference in Washington  DC in March 2017, Narang  told  that looking to the development of tactical battlefield nuclear weapons  by Pakistan ,  India must abandon its no – first use policy and launch a preemptive strike, should there be a belief that Pakistan was going to use any kind of nuclear weapons first.
It is important to note what Narang further said, “…….a full comprehensive  counterforce strike that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage for iterative tit- for-  tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction……”  Needless to add, Narang’s articulation impressed and caught attention of many nuclear as well as political scholars in the sub- continent and the US. The leading American news papers carried the report prominently through their columns. We know that President Trump is not that orthodox in respect of stance on nuclear proliferation.
As expected, the rattling in the ranks of political and military hierarchy in Pakistan on prospects of India reviewing the doctrine of “no – first use” (NFU) was manifest in calling our NFU as a sham. Pakistan must concede that the time had come to abandon its intermittent flawed and hollow rhetoric and the “showcasing” scare of nuclear apparition to India. It really looks like some inflated boast about no roast. Pakistan must also bear in mind that since it had no nuclear doctrine hence India’s policy of “no first- use” was infructuous. It, therefore, follows that in case an eventuality unfortunately arose,  India should not , under any circumstances, allow Pakistan  to go first.
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