AT a time when India continues with its aggressive military posturing and the US policy in the region becomes more threatening to Pakistans stability, it was comforting to hear the Chief of Air Staff, PAF, state that the PAF had acquired the ability to respond to contingencies in a short span of time and was now in a state of readiness for precise and effects-based responses. Clearly the coordinated exercises with the Pakistan army have created a force multiplier for the Pakistan military, especially in terms of dealing with unconventional threats and counter terrorism. Accompanying this new dimension of threat, Pakistan cannot afford to ignore the traditional source of threat that is India. India has been seeking strategies of fighting a war with Pakistan within a nuclear environment - ranging from limited war to Cold Start. However, as Dr A Q Khan has reiterated, Pakistan has the capability to inflict unacceptable damage to India in nuclear terms. This is a reaffirmation of the viability and credibility of Pakistans nuclear deterrence, despite efforts to undermine it through nuclear and military deals external powers like the US have made with India. Yet, the country cannot afford to take this credibility for granted. Too much has been sacrificed by this nation to acquire its nuclear deterrence and maintain its credibility, for any Pakistani leadership to take it for granted, or to attempt to compromise it deliberately or unwittingly. Even now, the US is desperately seeking to control the Pakistani nuclear assets. Despite its sophisticated surveillance abilities, it has not been able to ascertain clearly where these assets are placed and in what state of readiness. So they have been floating different trial balloons including a rumour that they had been given a virtual location of these assets. Clearly, Pakistan needs to continuously bolster its nuclear assets to keep its deterrence credible at a minimum level - the latter also shifting in response to developments by India. It is as important to simply stop issuing statements on this nuclear capability or explanations. We need to do whatever is necessary quietly, professionally with no political point scoring on this count. Equally, in order to meet the new multidimensional threats Pakistan needs to sustain a credible conventional capability, especially in terms of fighting unconventional threats. In this context, air power becomes a critical strategic force, not merely a tactical support for the army. The indigenisation taking place in terms of weapons systems both in relation to the PAF and the army has been a crucial factor in keeping our deterrence credible and our conventional forces up to meeting the new challenges coming their way. Now if only we can bolster our democratic political environment, we need fear no neo-imperial intrusions.