Nuclear doctrine needs relook vis-a-vis Pakistan

Dr. Sudershan Kumar
The historic bold decision taken by the present Modi Government regarding abrogation of Article 370 opened new dimensions and a new paradigm for Jammu and Kashmir But subsequently, the whole scenario and dynamics of south Asia has undergone a tumultuous course. Moreover, Pakistan, our long time foe seems to be greatly perturbed and baffled. To further satiate the growing unrest among it’s people, it has initiated continuous venomous speeches against India with a constant rattle of use of nuclear weapon against India. In reciprocation to this, Raj Nath Singh’s recent statement concerning India’s nuclear doctrine can be viewed as a shift in the fundamental principle of Nuclear Doctrine of “No First Use” of nuclear weapon against its adversary. Although India as a responsible state still adheres to the principle of “No First Use” but ironically, this announcement of defence minister has sent a strong and loud message to rogue nation Pakistan that any misadventure will be dealt with pre-emptive strike if required. This statement must also be viewed against the back drop of numerous threats by Pakistani leaders to use nuclear weapon against India. This assumes even more significance following the abrogation of article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir state in to two Union Territories that is Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. In fact article 370 was purely temporary in nature and had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir with a foresight of its development but ironically it has been misused. Thus scrapping of the article 370 was imperative and an internal matter of India and any intervention is purely baseless. The whole world was taken by surprise at this sudden much awaited justified step. The spine shown by Modi Government 2.0 has sent the political leadership of Pakistan, its Military Junta and the state in to a huddle and certain impulsive decisions with out realizing their implications on the sagging economy of Pakistan have been taken by their Government. These include suspension of trade with India, down sizing the diplomatic mission in India, suspension of trains and bus service, blanket ban on Indian movies, songs CD etc. These Pak leaders have issued threat to drag India into nuclear war. They also tried to internationalize the issue but were shown the door. Pakistan authorities even sent a letter to UN for convening an emergency meeting of United Nation Security Council but could not muster support This reflects the dismal state of affairs in Pakistan The United Nation Security Council not only refused to take cognizance but also snubbed Pakistan.
These sequence of events and the restlessness of Pakistan post article 370 abrogation endorses the step by Modi government as it was a tool in the hands of Pakistan and was fully exploited by Pak ISI, its Military Junta to fuel separatism, radicalization, fanaticism and militancy in Kashmir valley. Hence out of shear frustration Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan and its Foreign Minister are spinning the wheel of malicious propaganda against India. Pak ISI and its handlers are spreading the fake news through twitter and other means to spread chaos and panic. They are even threatening to use nuclear power against India without realizing its implication on them. Therefore, Raj Nath Singh’s statement at Pokhran (the nuclear test site of India) assumes significance in the light of Imran Khan’s open admission of presence of terror group in his country during his three days visit to USA in the third/fourth week from July 2019. Imran Khan for the first time admitted that there are nearly 40 terror organizations operative in Pakistan. There are nearly 30000 to 40,000 terrorists present in Pak soil. As per reports available these terror outfits have been pampered by various Pak regimes over a period of 3 decades. Present administration is not in a position to reign them. These pose as potential threat for the countries of South Asia. Therefore, shift in position of nuclear doctrine of “No First Use” to preemptive strike if required is fully justifiable especially when some one is dealing with Terrororiststan. A national doctrine represents, the collection of set of beliefs or principles held by a nation with regard to the utility of nuclear weapons. Therefore the countries which acquire nuclear arsenal also formulate their nuclear doctrine. These includes USA, Russia, China, France, UK and Pakistan and North Korea. The Indian nuclear doctrine is based on the principle of “No First Use”. This doctrine was formulated in year 2003. If one goes back to the history, one finds that India exploded the first nuclear device at Pokhran test range on May,1974. The code name of the test was “Budha Similing”. After a gap of 24 years, India again conducted five tests between 11 to 13th May 1998 (Pokhran-II) at Pokhran test site. Thus India became the first nuclear power country even without signing Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). These tests were an endeavor to show to the world its millitary might and that India has the capability to develop its own technology in the field of nuclear energy. Although after conducting the successful tests, India unilaterally imposed moratorium, but the countries who themselves had conducted more than 2000 tests did not accept India’s version. They slammed sanctions against DAE, DRDO and ISRO. But nothing withstanding this, Indian scientists took this challenge and developed the technologies which were denied to them under sanctions. This itself was a clear message to the world community that India cannot be cowed down. India has the capability, capacity and will power to accept the technology denial challenges. Parallely India had made its own doctrine in 2003.
The salient features are: Nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian security forces any where. India needs to build and maintain credible minimum deterrence. Sufficient and survival nuclear force to inflict unacceptable damage to the enemy. Nuclear forces must be operationally prepared all the time with effective intelligence and early warning capabilities. On the contrary Pak nuclear doctrine is a theoretical concept of military strategy that promotes deterrence by guarantee and an immediate massive retaliation to an aggressor attack against the state. It is mostly India centric and divided in to four thresholds. The rationale behind is to prevent India from any military aggression (both conventional and unconventional) that would lead to disintegration of the country. This doctrine is not a part of minimum credible deterrence principle of Pakistan, however, it is integrated into nuclear dimension of defence principle. This came into existence soon after Pakistan tested five nuclear devices in May,1998. Since then Pak is working tirelessly with the support from China and North Korea to acquire tactical nuclear weapons. As per unconfirmed reports Pakistan has piled up around 130 to 145 tactical weapons. These Pak nuclear weapons are hidden at nine different locations may be near the basis. These weapons are aimed to be used in battle field against Indian armed forces. Therefore these are more susceptible to terrorists/radicalized groups thefts. The international community must take a note of this development in India’s neighbourhood. This menacing possession of nuclear arsenal with unreigned terror organisations is not only a threat to South Asia but to the whole world.
Hence Defence Minister’s statement for revisiting of Indian nuclear doctrine has definitely stands vindicated. This is also a warning to Pak deep state to not even think of this misadventure. The author is of view that in the light of changing dynamics of South Asia, it is required to equip the armed forces with the latest indigenously designed weaponry in all the five verticals i.e. Air, Land Sea, Space and Unconventional warfare (Chemical Biological radiological and nuclear and also cyber warfare). Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement from Red Fort on the eve Independence day, for appointment of CDS is the first and most important announcement for modernization and reorientation of armed forces. Even Indian government must re look its foreign policy towards China. It is a reality that China is pumping lot of its goods to Indian market. As on date total trade with China is more than 80 billion US Dollars.
The trade balance is highly tilted in favour of China. Despite this, China is in a constant mode of antagonizing India on all matters. These are a constellation of matters ranging from Pak sponsored terrorism, India’s entry in NSG group or on generation of fake news concerning human right violation in Kashmir valley. But its siding with Pakistan over the internal affair of India should be an eye opener for policy planners in the country. India need not strive for becoming NSG, Member. It must demonstrate to the world especially to the countries who are opposing India’s move that India can develop any type of technology which is essential for defending the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
(The author is former Director General & Special Secretary DRDO, MoD GoI)
(The views of author are personal)