Strategic stability

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THE National Command Authority (NCA) on Wednesday noted with concern the “destabilizing massive arms build-up” in the region, affirming that Pakistan would take all measures to ensure strategic stability in its neighbourhood without entering into an arms race.

It expressed full confidence in the command and control systems as well as security measures in place to ensure comprehensive security of strategic assets of Pakistan, adding that as a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan would continue to contribute meaningfully towards global efforts to improve nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation measures.

The reaffirmation of the NCA to take necessary measures to safeguard Pakistan’s interests is reassuring in the backdrop of regional developments that pose new challenges to the country.

India’s edge in conventional weapons has always been a source of concern for Pakistan forcing it to seek strategic stability through a credible nuclear deterrence and this prudent approach paid dividends on several delicate occasions.

After its humiliating defeat at the hands of China during a standoff in Ladakh last year, India has embarked upon a crash programme to upgrade and improve its military capabilities, which have surely repercussions for the security of Pakistan.

The acquisition of new Rafale fighters is of particular concern for Pakistan as these highly advanced and capable fighter planes are fitted with “cold start” engines to make it easier for them to be scrambled from freezing, high-altitude, forward bases, all positioned near the sources of any potential conflict in the north.

There is also a focus on cyber and space assets, along with a greater emphasis on Special Forces and long-range precision strike weapons.

Defence analysts point out that India’s Cold Start Doctrine is Pakistan-centric as it proposes a short, sharp, armoured assault through the middle of Pakistan, quickly cutting the country in two, before Pakistan’s neighbours and the international community can react.

This cannot be dismissed as a paper idea or threat after what India did in 1971 to dismember Pakistan and therefore, timely effective measures are needed to counter the threat.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has not invested satisfactorily on its navy despite expansion and significance of the country’s coastal interests and sea routes whereas India is centring on creation of three aircraft carrier groups capable of carrying 150 aircraft.

As India is focusing on latest technologies like use of over a dozen satellites for image and intelligence gathering to help get a clear picture of what is happening in the battle space, it is hoped our planners are fully mindful of the dangers of such moves pose to our security interests.

India is also closely collaborating with the United States and Israel in intelligence gathering and is boosting its drone capability.

This cooperation could assume new dimensions after failure of their Afghan project requiring hard work on the part of our intelligence agencies.

With its limited resources, Pakistan cannot afford entering into an arms race with India but it must remain relevant as far as nuclear deterrence and application of modern technology in defence production is concerned.

 

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