Michael KreponPakistan’s Nuclear Requirements

Why is Pakistan building so many nuclear weapons and blocking the start of fissile material cutoff negotiations? There are many reasons. One is that Pakistani military officers who establish nuclear requirements read what Indians have to say. They have read Kautilya, the Indian version of Machiavelli, who wrote Arthasastra around 300 BCE. Great shoebox quotes: “Agreements of peace shall be made with equal and superior kings; an inferior king shall be attacked.” And “Whoever goes to wage war with a superior king will be reduced to the same condition as that of a foot soldier opposing an elephant.”

Reading the paper can also have an impact on presumed nuclear requirements. During earlier crises between India and Pakistan, high-ranking Indian officials conveyed publicly what they believed to be a powerfully convincing deterrent message — one that Rawalpindi seems to have taken all-too-seriously. For example, during the 2001-02 “Twin Peaks” crisis, Defence Minister George Fernandes famously responded to belligerent Pakistani statements this way: “We could take a strike, survive, and then hit back. Pakistan would be finished.” During this crisis, the President of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Jana Krishnamurthy, issued the same warning: If Pakistan escalated to nuclear weapons’ use, “its existence itself would be wiped out of the world map.” The Indian Chief of Army Staff, S. Padmanabhan, sang the same tune – that if Pakistan resorted to first use, “the perpetrator of that particular outrange shall be punished so severely that their continuation thereafter in any form will be doubtful.”

Hawkish Indian strategic analysts have echoed this deterrent threat. For example, Bharat Kharnad wrote in Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security (2002) that the problem “is not one of preventing nuclear war, but with believing that Pakistan can annihilate India, which is not possible, even as the reverse is eminently true.” Gurmeet Kanwal, in Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal (2001) asserted that, “if Pakistan were to… resort to the unthinkable, then India might as well insure that Pakistan finally ceases to exist as a nation state… In an imperfect world… it does not pay to be squeamish.”

These deterrent messages may have strengthened the resolve of Pakistan’s nuclear requirement-setters not to be deterred. Put another way, the small circle of nuclear decision makers in Pakistan seem to be acquiring the capabilities to destroy India as a functioning society in the event of uncontrolled escalation on the subcontinent. Given the number of major Indian cities, Pakistan’s nuclear requirements could be enlarged based on this criterion alone.

The stewards of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal claim that their requirements have been fixed and minimal. My sense is that they have actually risen after crises with India, after the U.S.-India civil nuclear energy deal, and in the context of growing Indian conventional capabilities.


  1. FSB (History)

    On Cold Start and why Pak tacnukes may be a response:


    (this is a wikileaks link and may not be appropriate for some USG employees)

  2. RAJ47 (History)

    There are at least seven underground nuclear storage facilities in Pakistan that are complete or under construction. These can hold more than 1000-1500 weapons or warheads. The increase in mining activities at BC, Isa Khel and other mines and increase in reactors at PINSTEC, Chasma and Khushab all point towards evil designs of Pakistan. Let us all hope that these massive stockpiles donot fall into some uncouth hands. Pakistan must assure the international community the nuclear surety of its nuclear arsenal not by words but by deeds.

    • Anon (History)

      What are the deeds by which India reassures the world of the “evil designs” of its stockpile ? Can Pakistan use the same measures?

      Or are Indian nukes solely for Peaceful Nuclear Explosions?

      Some moderation would be welcome in these threads.

    • John Bragg (History)

      Pakistan’s evil deeds? Well, Kargil, Mumbai, sheltering Bin Laden, sponsoring Hekmatyar, sponsoring the Haqqani network, sponsoring the Quetta Shura Taliban, the 2002 Indian parliament attack, etc.

      And it is nearly time to face the fact that Pakistan is already in uncouth hands.

      India made a strategic mistake in its 1998 nuclear weapons tests–instead of declaring India a great power, it made India part of “the India-Pakistan problem” in the eyes of the world.

    • Amy (History)

      John, you are assuming that is the work of the Pakistani government.

      Only sure one among those is Kargil.

      We also then need to mention the Indian government’s repression in Kashmir which is the source of indignation fueling the foot soldiers in the alphabet soup of terror networks.

      Re. the Taliban, I can recommend reading some Fuller:


      Or the DoD:

      See Section 2.3 of the DoD document:


      2.3 What is the Problem? Who Are We Dealing With?

      “American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.

      “American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.

      • Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in
      favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi
      Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.

      • Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that
      “freedom is the future of the Middle East” is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do
      not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.

      • Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim selfdetermination.

      • Therefore, the dramatic narrative since 9/11 has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars. American actions and the flow of events have
      elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims. Fighting groups portray themselves as the true defenders of an Ummah (the entire Muslim community) invaded and under attack — to broad public support.

      • What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide movement of fighting groups.
      Not only has there been a proliferation of “terrorist” groups: the unifying context of a
      shared cause creates a sense of affiliation across the many cultural and sectarian
      boundaries that divide Islam.

  3. Andrew Tubbiolo (History)

    You would think that if someone wanted to up the warhead count in order to drive a deterrent, they would also have to up the delivery vehicle count. One as to ask the open ended question of just what is Pakistan’s SIOP? No doubt, it’s missiles, aircraft, maybe even artillery. The superpowers did also have suitcase bombs for special forces to deliver by foot. No doubt many people in the world take great interest in Pakistan’s foot deployed nuclear option and what the nature and number of that program is. No doubt there is a large force of local paramilitary ready to take the mission on, and we have seen some indication that perhaps there are some pretty strong ties between the Pakistani military and these ready volunteers. It would be fascinating for some disgruntled Pakistani to one day write a book describing Pakistani’s version of doomsday and what was involved in carrying it out.

    • John Bragg (History)

      We should consider the possibility that Pakistan’s ability to build nuclear weapons is far greater than their ability to build delivery systems.

  4. John Schilling (History)

    It is certainly not in Pakistan’s interest for Indian leaders to believe that total war between the two would result in India suffering tolerable injury and Pakistan
    suffering conquest or annihilation. It is not clear that anyone of consequence in India seriously believe this, but the opinion is being expressed at high levels and is not inherently implausible.

    Expanding the Pakistani arsenal to the point where it is absolutely certain that India would suffer intolerable injury in the event of total war, is certainly a reasonable goal of the Pakistani military leadership. And it is hard for any outsider to be certain that anything less than the destruction of India as a functional nation-state would be percieved by India as an intolerable injury the context of, e.g., intrawar escalation. For Pakistan, this is a potential existential crisis – they are going to be strongly biased in favor of overpreparation.

    If the rest of us don’t want to see Pakistan build a nuclear arsenal capable of annihilating India, that’s going to require a verypersuasive argument and I’m not sure what form it would take. “You are making it hard for us to achieve our own non-proliferation goals, please stop” is probably not going to cut it.

    • FSB (History)

      One step towards a very persuasive argument would be to make an honest effort towards pushing for Kashmiri self-determination. This is the main irritant in relations in S. Asia. Also, formally disavowing Cold Start would help.

    • Scott Monje (History)

      Would either of them be open to an outsider mediating negotiations on a South Asian arms-control regime to instill an element of predictability (once Pakistan is talking to us again)?

      The problem with “Kashmiri self-determination” is that it might exacerbate the situation further. The nationalists on at least one side would probably be outraged (both sides if the Kashmiris opt for independence).

    • Anon (History)

      There’s plenty of outrage already. It’s hard to argue with the legitimacy of self-determination.

      Arms Control from the outside will not be welcome in S. Asia.

      The countries are not too favourable to neo-colonialism given their histories.

      Plus, there’s no shortage of S. Asian experts who are smart enough to make the same suggestions that white outsiders would make.

    • Scott Monje (History)

      No, arms control won’t come from outside, and I’m sure they have enough people who are smart enough. I just have the impression that they’re not about to do it on their own, and I was wondering whether some sort of outside stimulus could help move them–or help those among them who might want to make a move. I guess I’m thinking of the Japanese quietly suggesting to Theodore Roosevelt that he offer himself as a mediator to end the Russo-Japanese War. Perhaps it would be counterproductive, I don’t know. As for outrage, I suspect we haven’t seen anything yet.

  5. Ben (History)

    Hi Michael,

    While it’s true that pakistan is expanding it’s nuclear arsenal, I remain unconvinced that the expansion is as large as some analysts suggest.

    Pakistan is undoubtedly moving away from first generation uranium fission weapons to lighter plutonium fission warheads, but lets remember, it still doesn’t have a reliable, tested thermonuclear design.

    The three new Khushab reactors seem to be relatively small (the reason why there are so many). Pakistan doesn’t have the heavy industry to fabricate a reactor in excess of 100 MW. US intelligence says that the new reactors are likely similar in size to the first Khushab reactor (40 – 70 MW). They’re probably heavy water moderated but I doubt whether the reactors are D20 cooled too (where’s all the heavy water supposed to be coming from?)- so the amount of fissile material going to be produced has been overstated somewhat.

    Also Pakistan has real constraints on it’s domestic uranium, so I’m yet again doubtful on the scale of the supposed increase.


    Compare that to the D20 moderated and cooled 100 MW Dhurva reactor in India and I’m not sure we’re looking at a huge difference between the two neighbours.

    On the new reactors, I remember reading David Sanger in the NYT quoting an intelligence offical who said that the new K-2 reactor “…could be a replacement” for the first one.


    A quick look on google earth shows that steam hasn’t been seen from the cooling towers of the original since 2003, so maybe he’s right, either way it’s likely one of the reactors won’t be used for Pu but will be dedicated to tritium production.

    • Anon (History)

      Would you (or anyone) know the rough yields and numbers of the various Pakistani nukes?

      Thanks in advance.

    • bradley laing (History)

      —I think you need to make this clearer. My favorite one-stage nuclear weapon was the Super Alloy Bomb, the MK-18. It reached 500 KT, which was roughly 25 times the Nagasaki bomb.

      —What does “thermonuclear” mean in this context? Small, light weight warheads to deliver to military targets? Or large, heavy warheads to reproduce the 1950s above-ground tests?

      —Or, most likely, something unlike what I’ve written about here?

  6. krepon (History)

    from the very capable Zahir Kazmi:


    I don’t know why we identify Kautilya with India only – he was born, raised and educated in Taxila (30 minutes’ drive from Islamabad and an hour’s flight from New Delhi).

    I hope that it doesn’t imply that we exported ‘realism’ to India 😉

    With warm regards,


    • robin M (History)

      You are right about the Taxila’s location, but its use is misleading: there was no Pakistan nor any Moslems in that area at the time of Kautilya, (Indeed there was no Islam as a religion and would not be for several hundred years) and the history,culture and the civilization at that time were very intimately tied to that of North Indian Kingdoms/Tribes i.e. Vedic Culture (See Uttarapdham, Maha JanaPadham, for example, on WikiPedia), which is the very source of Modern Indian culture and values. Similarly, the argument that Kashmir should belong to Pakistan(or be and independent Moselem state, because of its Moslem majority population, is misleading – this is akin to claiming the Miami/Dade County area shoud be part of Cuba, because of the huge local Cuban polulation.

  7. Murray Anderson (History)

    The Pakistanis may want lighter nuclear weapons. The easiest way to do that is to increase the amount of fissile material per weapon. Then lighter, smaller, and more easily concealed delivery vehicles can be used. It’s also easier to make an ICBM to deter their most serious enemy.

  8. FSB (History)

    I know you probably don’t like to hear this, but another incentive for Pakistan to increase its stockpile is the Indian ballistic missile defense program. 😉

    • sanman (History)

      Pakistan’s attentions may be India-centric, but India’s attentions are not Pakistan-centric. Obviously India is going to strive for capabilities in relation to its eastern border with China, too.

  9. RAJ47 (History)

    Quoted from Anon, “What are the deeds by which India reassures the world of the “evil designs” of its stockpile ? Can Pakistan use the same measures?”

    Yes, Ofcourse.

    • FSB (History)

      These are words not deeds.

      In a crisis, these words are meaningless.

      Here some other words: Cold Start.

    • XX (History)

      Cold start does not envision any use of nukes by India..the fact is India’s conventional abilities cannot be matched by Pakistan anymore. Conventional weapons cost a lot of money something Pakistan is falling further and further behind…nukes are cheap comparatively.

  10. krepon (History)

    from Vipin Narang at MIT, who is doing some of the best work on nuclear-related issues on the subcontinent:

    I would only add one wrinkle, in the context of ‘proactive strategy options’: in my view, the expansion of Pakistan’s strategic nuclear assets is primarily aimed at backstopping their theater nuclear use options by establishing escalation dominance at every rung. That is, in a ‘proactive strategy options’ world, Pakistan’s recent tests of Hatf IX, Raad, Babur etc suggest that Pakistan is getting increasingly serious about—and capable of—theater use against Indian conventional forces. Originally it seemed as if Pakistan’s nuclear planners believed that nuclear use on Indian forces on Pakistani soil would in itself be a war-terminating event since they believed India would have little justification for strategic retaliation against e.g. Rawalpindi in that scenario. But that entails Pakistan betting on Indian restraint. The only way to ensure that it is indeed war terminating is to have escalation dominance up through the highest rungs of a countervalue exchange to deter an Indian counterstrike. So, in my reading, the expansion of Pakistan’s strategic nuclear arsenal is primarily designed to make its threat of limited nuclear use against ‘proactive strategy options’ credible—it’s the only way nuclear use doesn’t result in mutual suicide. That’s my attempt to make sense of Pakistan’s nuclear behavior.

    • Ian (History)

      This theory doesn’t take into account how the Indians would likely also escalate their nuclear program in response to Pakistan attaining nuclear dominance over them and how this would potentially be threatening India with a catastrophic first strike that may cripple their ability to respond effectively to ensure MAD.
      If the theory goes that the Pakistani’s assume to use tactical nuclear weapons against Indian forces because they can’t count on Indian restraint, then similarly they shouldn’t be able to count on Indian restraint in allowing Pakistan nuclear dominance.
      Essentially this means they have escalated the nuclear race and in doing have to outspend the Indians with a much smaller economy and much more limited supplies of Uranium. Then this essentially becomes a race to oblivion for Pakistan, where it either becomes bankrupt trying to outspend India to maintain nuclear dominance or it initiate a nuclear exchange and chances annihilation.

  11. bradley laing (History)

    Writing in 1985, Gwynne Dyer said “The problem is war, not nuclear war.” So far as he was concerned, conventional weapons, chemical weapons, and biological weapons would eventually be as destructive as nuclear ones.

    My fear is, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal requirments will go up as India’s conventional capabilities go up. And that is tied to improvements in metalurgy, plastics, computer hardware, and so on, something that is happening independently of India, or Pakistan’s decisions.

    • Ian (History)

      This is a viscous cycle isn’t it? Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal goes up as India’s conventional capabilities go up and Indian military capabilities go up (nuclear and conventional) as Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal goes up. And so it goes.
      Improvements in metallurgy, plastics etc have great consequence when the cost to produce a nuclear devices keeps escalating due to lack of fissile material. In this area Pakistan would need a LOT of investment. One way they could source these funds is either through Chinese benevolence or American dependence.

  12. Ben (History)

    Anon – It’s estimated that Pakistan has between 60 – 90, mostly bulky uranium warheads.

    The most often quoted yield for the Pakistani design is 20 KT, although there is some speculation on a more compact design, but with a similar yield.


    I still maintain that if Pakistan had constructed a single large 150 MW reactor instead of three ~40 MW reactors there wouldn’t be this myth of ‘so many’ weapons being produced.

    This myth really grew up because of yet another cack-handed analysis by ISIS and David Albright et al who seemed, at the time, determined to tell anyone who’d listen that a 40 MW reactor should actually be rated at 1000 MW, and that the Khushab complex was Savannah River Mark II. It just isn’t true.

    Indian and Pakistani policy planners know exctly the cost of a nuclear exchange between two neighbours that share an extensive, densely populated land border. Fallout from either sides weapons would sweep across the subcontinent, it is a zero sum game.

    The most realistic analysis I’ve seen about cold start from the paksitani side is from Pervez Hoodbhoy,


    • Amy (History)

      This is very interesting. Does anyone else have a take on the ISIS analysis?

      This has serious implications.

    • Ian (History)

      Pakistan could risk potential International backlash and facilitate the covert sale or transfer of technology to build a dirty nuclear device by terrorist elements who could then set it off in India provoking a nuclear incident that could easily escalate into MAD.
      There doesn’t necessarily have to be a direct confrontation, any nuclear device exploding in India will automatically be taken to imply Pakistan and the fallout of this would make anything other than retaliation untenable.

  13. A Complete Stranger (History)

    Michael, a very interesting piece as always! On a related note, I remember having a conversation with an Indian ambassador to an eastern European nation (I don’t remember the quote exactly so I don’t want to be too descriptive) with ties to the VJP. During our conversation, he said that India had suffered 1 million dead during partition and that they could afford the same losses again. It always struck me as a remarkably ill-advised statement but now I see it resonated with others in the Indian government at the time.

  14. George William Herbert (History)

    I was going to make some snide remarks about uranium nuclear artillery, and then decided to check if Pakistan had 8″ howitzers in stock. They do – 500+ M110 mechanized and 165 M115 towed howitzers.

    I certainly wouldn’t put it past Pakistan to have figured out how the W33 worked. It’s not that difficult.

    Not practical for uranium gun-type or linear implosion type weapons at 6″ diameters, but 8″ is quite feasible.

    These would be remarkably fissile material intensive, but if they wanted them, they could build them.

  15. FSB (History)

    [I am not sure why this comment has not gone thru before]

    Regarding the possible tacnuke response to Cold Start there is also a fairly detailed study:


    The bottom line of the authors is that, *given the small current number of Pakistani tacnukes *, that a nuclear response will not be militarily smart.

  16. FSB (History)

    “Why is Pakistan building so many nuclear weapons and blocking the start of fissile material cutoff negotiations? ”

    Besides Kautilya there are more pragmatic reasons.

    It is interesting to note that scratching Khushab`s surface set alarm bells ringing but the inauguration of India`s Tarapur nuclear fuel reprocessing plant only days before the ISIS report made no ripples.


    As to the question of who has the fastest-growing plutonium-based programme in South Asia and why, the IPFM report says that India`s Dhruva produces 17.8kg and CIRUS reactor used to produce 7.1kg of weapon-grade plutonium every year.

    India has produced 630kg to date.

    The Tarapur reprocessing plant has replaced CIRUS and has a 100-ton annual fuel reprocessing capacity.

    Besides this India can also get 95kg of weapon-grade plutonium — 13 warheads — every year from its eight power reactors that the International Atomic Energy Agency cannot watch.

    It is estimated that Pakistan can produce somewhere between 7kg to 9kg plutonium per year from its existing Khushab reactors, which equals two warheads a year. The upcoming reactors will have similar production capacity once they are fully operative by 2014-2015. Pakistan is believed to have produced up to 100kg weapon-grade plutonium since 1998.

    This simplified comparison shows that the Indian giant will starve on what is a surfeit for the Pakistani dwarf.

    Who really stirs the South Asian nuclear cauldron?

    • Ian (History)

      Can you provide some further information regarding your sources for the 630kg weapons-grade plutonium number ?

  17. Daryl Press (History)

    The following has been bubbling beneath the surface in this conversation, but no one has come right out and said it:

    Pakistan seems to have a nuclear doctrine that includes plans to use nuclear weapons against battlefield targets in case India moves significant conventional military forces onto Pakistani territory. If this is true, Pakistan has (at least) the following nuclear requirements:

    * perhaps a dozen to two dozen (or even more) “aimpoints”, depending on the size of the invading Indian force, and the level of damage Pakistan would want to inflict upon them with its nuclear forces.

    * the forces earmarked for that “tactical” mission would need to account for losses in case some of the warheads or delivery systems were destroyed before they could be used, or in case some delivery systems fail or are shot down.

    * a strategic reserve, separate from the tactical forces, sufficiently large to hold at risk significant numbers of Indian urban-industrial targets, to deter an Indian counter-strike against Pakistani UI / leadership sites.

    * that strategic reserve force would have to be sufficiently large and dispersed to be able to carry out a sufficiently large retaliatory strike even after absorbing a major Indian nuclear strike on Pakistan’s delivery systems, nuclear storage, command-and-control, etc…

    If you merely add together the requirements for the tactical and strategic missions, you get a significant force structure. And, as Vipin implies, that doesn’t account for “theater” options which the Pakistanis may want. Remember that from Pakistan’s perspective, the tactical strikes are designed to halt the war. If they don’t, presumably Pakistan would want another “move” to demonstrate continuing drift toward armageddon.

    This way of thinking about Pakistan’s nuclear requirements may strike people on this list as … er … deeply unfortunate. I have little sympathy for the Pakistani government, but we should remember that for weak countries facing scary neighbors, deterring conventional and nuclear threats can be difficult business. Look at NATO’s tactical and theater nuclear planning in the 1960s-80s, and you’ll see the same sort of logic driving them, and the same sort of multiplying force requirements.

    • John Schilling (History)

      This seems approximately correct, but I doubt the Pakistani calculations are based on the wonkishly detached concept of “holding at risk significant numbers of Indian urban-industrial targets”. The more likely phrasing in Pakistani strategic calculus, I think, is “Destroy the nation of India”.

      In part because this will be much more emotionally appealing to Pakistani leaders contemplating the possible destruction of their own nation, and in part because of the uncertainty they must hold as to how wonkishly detached the Indian calculations of acceptable losses will be in the midst of an already hot and possibly nuclear war. Nations have, historically, been willing to accept horrific damage in pursuit of total victory once war is being fought on their home soil. Nothing less than assured destruction is likely to be trusted to provide assured deterrence in this context.

      There is also the question of whether the Pakistanis are now feeling the need for a nuclear arsenal capable of deterring the United States. They are unlikely to field delivery systems capable of reaching CONUS, or even Hawaii, any time soon, which makes this a tricky proposition for them – but having to deal with one’s traditional great-power ally and patron deciding to sporadically bomb and raid one’s homeland is tricky no matter how one deals with it.

      NATO at least had the advantage that there was no plausible military conflict with the Warsaw Pact that wasn’t either a stupid mistake of a border incident or a total war with the destruction of at least one major nation explicitly on the agenda. With India and Pakistan, and arguably the US and Pakistan, a hundred thousand troops crossing the border in pursuit of what might or might not be limited objectives is frighteningly plausible, which makes intrawar deterrence much more important and much more difficult.

  18. RAJ47 (History)

    Please read the forthcoming May 2011 I&A @ http://geimint.blogspot.com/
    for Pakistan’s underground nuclear facilities.
    Comparing with known holdings of such facilities and the amount of soil excavated one can easily assess the number of nukes in such storage complexes.

  19. Ray Kaminski (History)

    Pakistan doesn’t need to increase its stockpile to deter India. It is doing so to deter the US. It fears the US either seizing its nukes, or even worse, relegating it to inconsequence, like the Congo. Maybe the US should take some responsibility for facilitating, encouraging and sustaining Pakistan’s paranoia instead of just shoveling responsibility onto India, and barking like trained seals about Kashmir.

  20. Amit Agarwal (History)

    Some members of the P5 have for long supported the irredentist claims of a revanchist and highly militaristic state whose only societal glue is Islam and the Army.

    How does India deal with this problem? – by removing the Pakistani problem from the subcontinental context and making it the world’s problem.

    Ironically, Pakistan is more than a willing partner here. Words come cheap – something that is never a rambunctious democracy is short of. The Pakistani DNA ensures the only reaction it has is to crank up the production of WMDs and produce strategically brilliant products such as tactical nukes – toys that are further removed from the institutional levers of influence that Pakistan’s international apologists have built inside that country.

    India has lived under the nuclear threat of a far potent and much larger neighbor to the North. It does not add to India’s concerns that an unstable, militaristic society with demonstrated Islamist credentials churns out nukes like sausages.

  21. Nit (History)

    The one major aspect of Indo-Pak nuke setup is as follows:
    India use nuke to deter a Pak nuke attack, while Pak use nuke to deter a Indian conventional attack.

    The use of tac nukes by Pak also flow from this thought process. When India talks about Cold Start, there is nothing “diabolical” about it. It is a simple concept of reaching the border before Pakistani Army can reach theirs.Cold Start is not meant to defeat the Pakistan Army as international pressure would mean that the war will not be for more than week. Is Pakistan telling the world that India will be able to destroy half a million army in a week’s time,hence Pakistan has to use nukes?

    Neither India nor Pakistan are as irrational as western world would like to believe. There was combat between India and Pakistan in 2001-2002, despite it been termed as “stand-off”. More soldiers died during this period than Kargil conflict.

    So if nukes was a factor, we would have known by now. Nor India or Pakistan are as irrational as the western world makes out it to be.

    Display the intent to use tac nukes by Pakistan, is a desperate physicologic tatic, that’s all.

    Consider the scenario. If India attack forward post and move say 5 km in to Pakistan. The commander who has the option to use tac nukes, has to get answers for the following.
    1. I use tac nukes on India armour. It may or may not destroy enough armour. Will it be worth it, if India decides to go strategic? Is it worth it to wipe out my family and the city they live in due to Indian response, because Indian forces are what 5KM inside? Loosing Pakistan, which is a cash cow for Pakistani Army, just because of Indian attack which can be counter by conventional forces?

    2. The tac nukes are to be used on Pakistani territory. If India goes for say Lahore, will Pakistan afford to fire nuke tipped MBRL/artillery some of which may divert toward’s lahore? it’s own population?

    If Pakistan wants nukes as response to each and every Indian moves, then I wonder why did they divert majority of the US aid to built up their conventional power.

    The reason I could think of why Pakistan is increasing it’s nuke warhead is potential survivability. Attacking Pakistani nuke storage would be uppermost on Indian plans. And as time goes on the capability to accurately target will always increase. Pakistan will be in a use it or loose it scenario. They cannot use it, hence build more so that some of them survive.

  22. Raju Shah (History)

    I am not sure why India is being talked about in the same line as Pakistan. India’s nukes are to protect India from a hostile China from North trying to take over Northeastern territory. If you guys have read the news lately, Pakistan’s latest enemy is the US and they are acquiring all these weapons to deter US.

  23. Barra Chutia (History)

    I am not sure why this post is about Pakistan.

    The IPFM report says that India`s Dhruva produces 17.8kg and CIRUS reactor used to produce 7.1kg of weapon-grade plutonium every year. India has produced 630kg to date.

    The Tarapur reprocessing plant has replaced CIRUS and has a 100-ton annual fuel reprocessing capacity.

    India can also get 95kg of weapon-grade plutonium — 13 warheads — every year from its eight power reactors that the International Atomic Energy Agency cannot watch.

    It is estimated that Pakistan can produce somewhere between 7kg to 9kg plutonium per year from its existing Khushab reactors, which equals two warheads a year. The upcoming reactors will have similar production capacity once they are fully operative by 2014-2015. Pakistan is believed to have produced up to 100kg weapon-grade plutonium since 1998, compared to 630 kg in India.

  24. yousaf (History)

    fyi, from REUTERS:


    ANALYSIS-Pakistan builds low yield nuclear capability,concern grows

    Sun May 15, 2011 4:28am GMT

    By Sanjeev Miglani

    SINGAPORE May 15 (Reuters) – Pakistan’s successful test of a missile able to carry short range nuclear weapons threatens to raise tensions in a region already nervous that the death of Osama bin Laden will create more instability.

    Tactical nuclear weapons, as these are called, are often seen as more dangerous than the traditional strategic weapons because their small size and vulnerability to misuse. Theft makes them a risk to global security.

    The biggest concern is that these low yield weapons are seen as less destructive and therefore more likely to be used than other classes of weapons, forcing most nuclear states to minimise the risk by cutting back stockpiles.

    Pakistani experts say the country has been forced to develop tactical nuclear weapons because of India’s “Cold Start” plan under which Indian troops are primed to carry out a lightning strike inside Pakistan if another Mumbai-style attack is traced back to Pakistan-based militant groups. …

  25. Jawad (History)

    Let me start by saying that this is in fact the most rational discussion on Pakistan’s much hyped expansion of nuclear weapons capability until i read few comments like Pakistan is acquiring all these weapons to deter US, etc.

    Yes there is lot of anger among Pakistanis towards USA due to complexity of the relationship and the past events covering 5 – 6 decades.

    One thing which has been always accepted by even the most anti Pakistan reports was the fact that its nuclear capability is designed to counter the threat of larger Indian conventional and nuclear forces.

    Never a Pakistani civilian leader or a Military leadership has even talked about the limited conflict let alone the war or nuclear war with the United States.

    Pakistani views are clear on Kashmir as they want the Kashmiris to have a right to decide their own fate just like the other states did in 1947, i.e. Side with India, Pakistan or be Independent and this has been stated by the highest authorities in Pakistan number of times.

    Pakistan and India are following the same Path as followed by the USSR & Warsaw and USA & NATO though the speed of their production of nuclear warheads is considerable low but both countries are aiming for same target, i.e. complete MAD

    Introduction of Nuclear submarines, anti-ballistic missile systems and submarine launched ballistic missiles by the India when combined with their statements of ability to take a nuclear hit and still survive are only acting as a fuel to the fire.

    India being a nation of over one billion people feels that it can absorb losses of tens of millions of people (if we consider that Pakistan and India are still developing only basic nuclear warheads with yields of 10 to 30 KT not their larger version which was done by the USA, France and USSR before moving towards Thermonuclear warheads.)

    Pakistan on the other hand surrounded by two larger neighbors India and China both with population of over one billion. These two mighty neighbors make Pakistan look small even though it is the 6th largest country by population in the world.

    I think that introduction of the anti ballistic missiles and sea based second strike capabilities in the area will mean that Pakistan finds itself in a situation where it will have to face a foe which have not only larger conventional and nuclear forces but also more survivability when both ABMs and SSBN along with SLBMs are finish their development.

    What you guys think Pakistani response will be once India deploys SSBN along with SLBMs?

    Will it Pakistan still opt to continue with the strategy of the non-assembled warheads?

    Will they too peruse the sea based deterrence capability?

    How Pakistan will response to the Indian deployment of the Anti Ballistic Missile systems?

    Both countries have claimed that they have tested boosted fission designed in 1998 wouldn’t this means that larger yield warheads in range of 100 to 300 KT are a realistic possibility after 13 years of low yield tests?

    In the end I will like to sat that lests hope for the sake of hundreds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis that it will never come to nuclear exchange and both countries will be able to resolve our issues peacefully.

    Hope positive discussion will continue

    • John Bragg (History)

      I believe that the statement about Pakistan building nukes to “deter the US” meant to deter the US from an attempt to seize Pakistan’s nukes, not that Pakistan was wargaming strikes on Diego Garcia.

      The more fissile material and warheads Pakistan has, in more locations, the harder it is for the US to seize all of them at once.

  26. Bharat (History)

    This is where second strike capability of India comes in.

    According to article above, since Pakistanis were hearing from India that it would be wiped off the map even after a nuclear attack on India, Pakistanis have been making more bombs.

    But the logic is, regardless of how many bombs Pakistanis build and throw at India, in the end Pakistan will be smoked out of this world by India’s nuclear submarines with Hypersonic Boost Glide Missiles (K4 missile) and Agni III SLBM.

    I would say, if Pakistan wants to achieve something against India, this is the time. Now or never !!

    By 2015, India would have at least 3 ballistic missile submarines packed with nuclear missiles.