by Brig Arun Bajpai
In the recent Pakistan day parade held after a gap eight years Pakistan tried to emulate the 26 January parade of India in which American president Obama was the chief Guest, by displayed its tactical nuclear missile Nasr as part of its muscle flexing exercise.
By going for tactical nuclear missile Nasr with a range of 60 kms as claimed, Pakistan has brought down the nuclear threshold number of notches and this development is not good for India and also for Pakistan itself. This is not good for India because we have a declared policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. However in the case of Pakistan a tactical nuclear weapon with a range of just 60 kms, for if it be effective it has to be given down to the field commanders on the ground. In other words it will be used first and if that happens it is a very dangerous proposition indeed for us. It is also bad for Pakistan itself because Pakistani Army has been badly affected by the jehadi virus right from top to bottom. So the possibility of this weapon falling in the hands of a jehadi organisations just cannot be ruled out.
Pakistanis are justifying their building this tactical nuclear missile on the ground that this Nasr missile deters India from going for a cold start doctrine as a punitive action against Pakistan in the event of a repeat of Mumbai type of operation by the Pakistani ISI. This however is a stupid argument because India has already made it clear to Pakistan and the world that any use of nuclear weapon by Pakistan tactical or otherwise will bring in massive nuclear retaliation from India come what may.
As the four wars that India has fought with Pakistan has shown us that Pakistani Army continues to live in fool’s paradise. They will stop at nothing in their foolhardiness. Recently the ex Pakistani Army general Khalid Kidwai who is currently an advisor to the Pakistani National Command Authority has come out with a statement that Pakistan has tested Shaheen-3 nuclear-capable missile with a range of 2750 kms. This he says will neutralise India’s second strike capability because its range covers whole of India, Middle East and even Israel.
What these Pakistanis fail to understand is that while Pakistan poses two dimensional nuclear threat to us from ground fired missiles and from air, India has developed the most crucial TRIAD. No country in the world can be called a nuclear power in real sense till it posses Triad. Triad means the capability to launch nuclear strike by all three dimensions that is Land Sea and Air. Till now India had the capability of launching air borne nuclear strikes with the help of its Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter planes and by its land based Agni series of missiles. However the problem is that enemy knows that these planes can take off only from the air bases. So a nuclear capable country like Pakistan which does not have a declared no first use nuclear policy as India has, can launch nuclear strikes at these air bases and destroy our counter strike capability right at the beginning. Even if it has not done so and our fighters have taken off, they can still be shot down by the Pakistani air defence systems and their fighter aircrafts.
Same problem is faced by the land based Agni series of nuclear capable missiles. Agreed that they are land mobile and can be moved from one place to another still we can not underestimate Pakistani intelligence. Besides to ready and fire these missiles it takes time. Though they have the advantage that once fired neither Pakistan nor china posses anti missile technology so they cannot be shot down. However we are still at disadvantage because of our declared no first use nuclear strike policy.
All these problems gets taken care off once our nuclear-powered submarine Arihant joins active service in Dec this year. India has already readied two more Arihant class nuclear powered submarines which will join Indian navy in close succession. This submarine can carry twelve Sagarika nuclear capable missiles, each having a range of 750 km and can cover large portions of Pakistan. These submarines are very silent, they can dive very deep under the sea, they can move very fast very silently and they do not have to surface to recharge their batteries as the conventional submarines do. In other words they are impossible to detect.
Now imagine, at any point of time two Arihants sitting deep undersea about 50 to 100 kms from Pakistani coast in Arabian Sea in ready to fire mode with 24 nuclear capable missiles targeting all major cities of Pakistan. With this sword of domicile hanging on Pakistani neck at 24×7 basis will any Pakistani General however mad he may be, dare to rattle his nuclear arsenal any time India decides to teach Pakistan a lesson? India now must go all out to build more of these nuclear powered submarines and not just five which has been planned. At the same time we must also strive to get the second Akula 2 class nuclear powered submarine from Russia on lease.
Another point relevant to us is to confirm whether this Nasr missile is really nuclear capable? Or is Pakistan bluffing? It needs to be understood that for getting a suitable nuclear war head for such short range tactical missiles requires very high level of technology which does not exist in Pakistan. All Gauri series of Pakistani missiles are of North Korea origin while Shaheen of China origin. Maybe it is time India uses diplomatic means to convince china that Pakistan in future could be a threat to them also. Now with Israel also coming within range of Pakistani nuclear-capable missiles, India and Israel together should mount pressure on US to pressurise Pakistan that they should give up this short range nuclear tactical missiles and the existing ones should be destroyed lest they fall in jehadi hands.