Waqar K Kauraviand Umar Waqar

Pakistan has negotiated last two decades with a mixed baggage of instability and fighting a long war on terror imposed by extra regional forces in a rather volatile West Asia. 28 May 1998 ChaghaiHills saw the bold expression of survival on part of Pakistani politico military leadership as a tit for tat response to Indian Pokhran 2 in early May the same year.

Peeping through the hindsight, it may be important to review Pakistan’s journey of nuclear survival and draw some pertinent lessons for our next generation.While Pakistan’s nuclear programe remained shrouded in secrecy in the first two decades after ZA Bhutto summoned Dr AQ Khan to kick start the project at Kahuta,it had established an invisible deterrence vis a vis India in late eighties. Indian Military Exercise the Brass Tacks in Jan 1987 was check mated by Gen Zia’s quite disclosure to Rajiv Gandhi that Pakistan had obtained nuclear capability and entire South Asia would go up in flames if the Brass Tacks became an adventure against Pakistan. Thus nuclear deterrence was set into motion a decade earlier than the historic Chaghi 1 and 2 in 1998.

Indian nuclear program under DrHomiJehangirBhabha had a head start over Pakistan’s nuclear program by almost three decades, she was able to detonate the first nuclear devise in 1974. Despite establishment of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in late fifties, Pakistan could only take the project seriously when ZA Bhutto decided it to be of prime national interest. His famous quote,“We (Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own (Atom bomb).... We have no other choice!” became the motivation and doctrine of Pakistan’s quest for survival against the arch rival India.

The fact is that Pakistani Nation has sacrificed a lot to achieve the dream of leaders like ZA Bhutto in becoming a nuclear power and it tent amounts to nothing less than eating grass.

As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced,On 28 May through his televised address with the statement:

"Today, we have settled a score and have carried out five successful nuclear tests”, ZA Bhutto must have smiled from his grave that his dream had come true.

Pakistan’s journey in the field of nuclear deterrence did not culminate at Chaghai, instead it became a turning point for development of a robust Command structure as well as matching infrastructure for storage and up gradation of high tech nuclear devices. Pakistani missile program,which almost ran parallel to nuclear program, especially after eighties has become a state of the art enterprise with enhanced capability to deter any threat from across the globe.

While there is lot of discussion in international think tanks and academia on deterrence value of Pakistan’s nuclear program with a view to undermine its credibility, the mere fact that it has kept India in check to launch any military misadventure against Pakistan proves that Pakistan has established nuclear deterrence once for all times to come.

What is nuclear deterrence? It’s better to have an informed debate than mere barber shop gossip. While there have been number of nuclear strategists and practitioners during Cold war,General André Beaufre from France gained prominence in early sixties for his treatises on Strategy and Nuclear Deterrance,his theories and projections are still taught as authenticated work on Nuclear Strategy in all major defence and security institutions and universities. General Beaufre had the advantage of being a military captain of war as well as a brilliant theorist on strategy. His theory revolved around five major concepts;

Beaufrepostulated in "Deterrence and Strategy" in the context of the bipolar world of the Cold War by stating that existence of this threat caused a psychological result and prevented adversaries from taking up arms.

The risk factor deterred adversaries from unleashing a crisis beyond brinkmanship as the political, economic, social, and moral damage was beyond any recovery.

Military action was to be avoided in a nuclear scenario and that victory could only be sought by paralyzing the adversary through indirect action, this major postulate has now morphed into 4th Generation war.

This equilibrium-through-terror axiom and mutually assured destruction ensured all sides in a nuclear environment had no option but military restraint.

Deterrence was above all the threat of nuclear war. The atomic threat guaranteed peace better than conventional arms did; the threat of using atomic weapons was the only means for worldwide stabilization.

Nuclearisation of South Asia after Pokhran and Chaghai forced strategists in India and Pakistan to develop their own theories and stability mechanisms. South Asia with Kashmir as the readymade nuclear flash point is much different than anywhere else in the world. With more than 1.5 Billion people living in the cramped spaces of Indus and Ganges valleys south of the great wall of Himalayas and active hostility between two arch rivals, South Asia is a nuclear nightmare for any modern day Beaufre trying to make sense of application of Nuclear Strategy in the region. South Asia is also prominent that it is located within close proximity of nuclear giants like China and the Russian Federation and active military presence of the Hyper power of 21stCentury, Uncle Sam in West Asia. Indian Ocean and its littoral states, from Gulf to Indonesia forms a strategic arch of commerce and trade with almost 50 percent of global oil and gas passing through a zone of tension.

Thus talk of any contest between India and Pakistan has to consider all these geostrategic realities and that’s why a nuclearized South Asia is a global concern.

Although India has always tried to play down Pakistan’s military and nuclear capability in the cognitive domain, the strategists in South Block know that a nuclear Pakistan has checkmated Indian Military designs for good. Following factors determine Indian security calculus and frustration;

Indian military has no answer to Stability Instability Paradox; the more its military planners think to wage conventional war against Pakistan the earlier they push Pakistan into operationalization and use of nuclear weapons; so all plans and war-games result in a zero sum game and nothing else. Indian Cold Start Doctrine was a flop doctrine as it failed to answer the first question of avoiding the paradox of stability and instability. Pakistani military came up with a quick response in from of New Concept of War Fighting, where a hard-hitting conventional response was developed, Indian General Staff found that their bluff had been called, forcing them to go back to drawing boards.

Post 9/11,Pakistan’s participation in Global War On Terror to help international community resulted into a Long War testing its military muscle to her limits; however it hardened and emboldened its military, where its prestige as one of the best fighting machines in the world was established beyond any doubt. Today, the battalions returning from the Western Front are confident to take on any Indian brigade or division on their own. Pakistan’s military is in high demand in Middle East and even Africa.

4th generation war being a totally new concept also allowed Pakistani higher command to come up with a unique doctrine, RaheelSharif’s Doctrine of Hybrid War(RDHW). No doubt emergence of Pakistan in one piece is a miracle, just compare with chaos in the Middle East and Ukrainian conflict. RDHW is based on a clearly defined threat spectrum where an amorphous enemy supported by international surrogates and hidden fifth columnists within homeland under a hostile and chaotic media glare has to be pin pointed ,isolated and hammered by military operations like Zarb e Azb, while maintaining good will across the width and breadth of  Pakistan. While terrorism remains the kinetic tool of this hybrid war, diplomatic pressures, economic blackmailing, information operations through hostile international and some corners of domestic media and chaotic themes cutting across the existing and perceived fault lines within Pakistan are some of the tools being used as part of Non Kinetic Warfare.

Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has played a major but invisible role in RDHW, imagine a 21st Century Pakistan without nucs, it could have been devoured to pieces by end of 2010.

While India develops new missiles and promulgates her projected missile shield, we must remember that the hapless Saddam Hussain could still hit the opponents with 70 rudimentary Scuds despite the Patriot batteries, and these Scuds were not tipped with nuclear warheads. Neither Pakistan is a hapless Iraq nor India ten feet tall. RDHW is the winning concept of 4th Generation War and Pakistan is the first country to have successfully executed this concept with a smiling face.

(Waqar K Kauravi is a defence analyst based in Lahore and Umar Waqar is a student of Journalism in Beaconhouse National Univerity,

waqarkauravi@gmail.com)