Nuclear Terrorism and World Peace

Which nation poses the biggest threat to World Peace constantly brandishing its nuclear bombs, missiles and tactical delivery systems ?

Is it Iran ? No, Iran does not have the “bomb” and has no credible, long-range missile systems to deliver the bomb, even if it has one.

Is it North Korea ? The “Hermit Kingdom” does pose some kind of threat and introduces an element of rash sabre-rattling which could surprise its neighbours in unexpected ways. But, is it capable of inflicting a nuclear weapon on Japan or South Korea, knowing full well it would cease to exist on world maps soon after that ? No.

Is it Libya ? No.

Is it Iraq or Saudi Arabia ? No.

Is it China ? Again, the answer is No. China is aspiring to be a responsible world power. While it has the nuclear capability, delivery systems, long range missiles (ICBMs), et al, it would not become a nuclear pariah.

Who else then it could be ?

Some serious thinking is not needed ! The answer has stared at the face of the world and the U.S. for a long time, but yet the United Nations and the U.S. chose to do nothing.

Well, it is none other than our friendly Pakistan.

Yes, Pakistan is highly nuclear capable, with its nuclear arsenal exceeding 200 atomic bombs. It has the short and long-range missile delivery systems. It has miniaturized the atom bomb to fit into its short-range (less than 500 KMs range) missiles which are all aimed at India, and directed at a highly probable conventional battle field short-term war which Pakistan needs to win (after losing all the previous wars).

Pakistan has no other known enemy (apart from ISIS, Taliban, Al-Qaeda types and home-grown, hard core terrorists with access to small arms). It has had a love-hate relationship with Afghanistan but wouldn’t go to war with them. It has only gone to war with India.

Will Pakistan use its formidable nuclear weapons on India ? It sure will do. It knows that a second-strike capability might be obliterated by counter measures taken by India, which has sworn not to deploy nuclear weapons on a first-use basis. But India has also made it clear that it will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons once attacked with the same by Pakistan.

Does Pakistan have the civilian governance systems in place to monitor, control and regulate the use of nuclear weapons ? For many decades, Pakistan has been ruled by army generals, the latest one being General Pervez Musharraf. Clearly, the army has a huge say in all matters in Pakistan, and in case of war, is expected to make independent decisions to defend Pakistan or attack India using whatever means possible, without seeking approvals from the elected Government of the day.

This is how the scenario is going to unfold. A nuclear warfare is likely to erupt more likely than not, in the Indian subcontinent in the foreseeable future. Given that the U.S. has generally been supportive of the Pakistan Army (keeping in line with the longstanding principle of the U.S. Government to support dictators around the world in the name of its fight against the spread of Communism during the cold war years), any war between India and Pakistan will only embolden the Pakistan Generals to press the nuclear buttons sooner than later. The Americans, while claiming that they are monitoring all Pakistan nuclear assets, really do not have any control on decision-making within the highest levels of Pakistan Army. You can imagine what would happen. The U.S. will come rushing to India to apply pressure to stop the war (as they have always done in the past – remember Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon and their laughable deployment of the Seventh Fleet off the Bay of Bengal during the Indo-Pak War of 1971 to liberate Bangladesh ?), and not to use nuclear weapons, even if Pakistan has had the chance to do so in the first place on the premise that its conventional armed forces are no match to India’s……..

So, the conclusion is simple – the nuclear terrorist on the table is Pakistan. And, it is not going to budge. And, it is going to get brand new delivery systems such as F16/F18 warplanes from the U.S. later this year and the next. It is going to get advanced military assistance from the U.S. on an ongoing basis. And, the U.N. or the world can do nothing about Pakistan and its nuclear ambitions. And, let us not forget China, which has always supported Pakistan against India.

So, things are really not good in the nuclear theatre.

It does not matter if the U.S. holds a nuclear summit this week in Washington. It is critical for the U.S. to realize who is the actual threat to world peace. And, if the U.S. doesn’t take cognizance of the nuclear capabilities of Pakistan, then the world would have lost a huge chance to stop nuclear terrorism. Even if it is against one country.

All countries need protection against nuclear threats.




Vijay Srinivasan

3rd April 2016


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