The article discusses “Nuclear program of Pakistan its safety and security and international concerns. Pakistan nuclear program its safety security and international concerns. CSS notes. Pakistan position on nuclear disarmament”
By testing its nuclear devices on 28th May 1998, Pakistan became the world seventh and Muslim world’s first nuclear power country. The country’s nuclear program has a complex mechanism of safety and security which has been discussed in below paragraphs.
Pakistan Nuclear Program: Basic Objective
The primary rationale for the Pakistani bomb was security. The loss of East Pakistan in 1971 War had worried the country about the future and security of its land. To ensure its safety and integrity, the country acquired atomic power in 1998.
India has never accepted the existence of Pakistan wholeheartedly. That is why its security and sovereignty has always been challenged by India, which possesses comparatively a large number of military assets that Pakistan cannot compete. To balance military might and to avoid defeat on battle ground Pakistan acquired nuclear power.
Nuclear program also brought Pakistan on the same level of India where she can vigorously project her support for the Kashmir Cause.
Maintaining equality with India was also one of the primary objectives of Pakistan nuclear program. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto wanted Pakistan to “Walk Tall”.
Being the first Islamic nuclear power state is also a matter of pride.
Pakistan Nuclear Doctrine
After the 1998 nuclear tests, Pakistan redefined its nuclear doctrine and set “minimum credible deterrence” in May 1999 as its principle. Since then the policy of minimum credible deterrence has been reaffirmed constantly. It is based on four objectives.
- Deterrence of all forms of external aggression.
- Building of both conventional and strategic forces.
- Avoid pre-emptive strike through protection and the threat of nuclear retaliation.
- Stabilizing strategic deterrence in South Asia.
The level of minimum deterrence has never been defined precisely in number. This is because Islamabad believed that the level of minimum deterrence can change over time in the light of evolution of the threat.
As per the use of nuclear warheads is concerned, Pakistan has officially stated it time and again that it would use it as a “last resort”. The country would use it if its “national integrity was threatened” or “only if the very existence of Pakistan as a state was threatened”.
Means Of Delivery
Initially Pakistan relied on aircrafts as delivery vehicles for its nuclear weapons and therefore purchased forty (40) F-16 aircrafts in 1980’s from United States of America. The passage of Pressler Amendment in 1985, forced Pakistan to look into other means of delivery particularly ballistic missile technology.
Over the past twenty five (25) years, Islamabad has begun placing parts of its deterrent on ballistic missiles and has dramatically increased the probability of success of a strike on Indian Territory.
Security And Safety Program
Since Zia’s death in 1988, Pakistan’s nuclear program is managed by the army. In the years 1999-2001, reorganization of the program took place. National Command Authority (NCA) and Strategic Plans Division (SPD) now controlled all nuclear activities.
The National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) oversees weapons systems development. It has authority on the National Development Complex (NDC) which is in charge of weaponization.
Musharaf also established National Security Council (NSC) that comprised of thirteen (13) main civilian and military leaders. The council also oversees security of the nuclear program. Another security body known as Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) which includes 200 experts is in charge of physical security of fissile material and radioactive sources.
United States of America (USA) and other European countries have always showed their deep concerns about the safety and security of the nuclear program of Pakistan especially when the country was under the grip of terrorist activities during US-Afghan war. However during last years of Obama Presidency, his administration has praised the safety and security system of Pakistan nuclear program and has called it more advance than India.
India being a rival state has always criticized Pakistan nuclear program and its media has always propagated its negative image internationally however fortunately the world is now more aware than before.
The safety and security system of Pakistan nuclear program, discussed in above paragraphs shows that it is in safe hands and it is at least more secure than India and North Korea’s nuclear programs.
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