Of late, the Western media has expressed its concerns on Pakistan’s security situation and possibility of nuclear weapons been stolen.
Moreover, reports also criticised the tactical nuclear-weapons programme on the plea that it has the capability of escalating conventional war to the nuclear level. Well the rhetoric is old, outdated and a figment of delusional thinking. Pakistan’s nuclear programme has always been subject to criticism and censure predominantly from the West and India for obvious reasons and sometimes even from anti-state elements within the country who are overwhelmed by their masters abroad for fulfilling their vested interests.
Knowingly, India and the US have worked ceaselessly to reverse Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes notwithstanding the latter's role as the closest ally in the global war against terror. The endeavours to roll back Pakistan's nuclear programme have intensified since the emergence of Indo-US alliance in the region. Apart from the discriminatory technological and political restrictionsit has long imposed against Pakistan’s strategic programmes, the US now demands that Pakistan unilaterally halts fissile material production, development and deployment of short and long-range nuclear-capable missiles. On the other hand, it is actively assisting India in enlarging and modernising its nuclear arsenal, its missile and anti-ballistic missile capabilities, its air and naval forces, as well as satellite and space capabilities. Not only this, the arms deal with the US, including nuclear submarine and drone sales to New Delhi, will increase the Indian hostility in the region and insecurity of neighbouring countries while completely upsetting the regional strategic balance.
There are credible and unclassified reports about the US having formulated plans to seize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in a crisis. American think tanks have concocted scenarios of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists or, even more absurdly, of the Pakistan Army turning into an ‘extremist’ or ‘jihadi’ force. Indeed, such scary scenarios could be engineered as an excuse to execute the ‘seize or destroy’ plans.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, its nuclear safety and security is the cornerstone of its nuclear programme. There has not been a single incident to date where the IS, Daesh, al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organisation could have an access to the nuclear assets. As a matter of fact, the credible security standards do not allow a room at all for such an eventuality. Pakistan’s security measures to protect its nuclear assets against internal and external threats are among the best in the world. Contrary to this, the diversity of freedom movements currently in progress in India is not only an open display of India’s compromised internal security but also speak volumes of its unstable nuclear security protocols. Incident of Indian nuclear submarine (INS Chakra) with six other incidents concerning nuclear safety, violating IAEA standards, raise serious questions about its security protocols as well. Most importantly, if the danger of a terrorist takeover exists due to breach of ‘normal nuclear status’ in South Asia, questions should be raised about India’s nuclear arsenal which are held under loose civilian control.
Pakistan has adopted potent measures as part of the Nuclear Security Action Plan (NSAP), Mobile Expert Support Teams (MEST) and Nuclear Emergency Management System (NEMS) to respond and manage nuclear emergencies and securities. Also Pakistan is part of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and is playing a leading role in global nuclear safety and security and export control regime according to the standards of NSG and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). It is due to potent security measure that despite the political turmoil in Pakistan, the international consensus on Pakistan’s nuclear programme is obvious as neither terrorist networks nor any external power is capable of seizing its nuclear weapons. The negative voices against the programme are results of hostile efforts to undermine Pakistan’s nuclear security in the garb of terrorism and Western and Zionist fear of a Muslim country holding a nuclear weapons.
Amid this scenario, it is India whose political and military leaders continue to speak of ‘surgical strikes’ and a ‘limited’ war against Pakistan, which needs to be tamed. It is the US that needs to be checked and made to realise that its support of India’s unilateral membership of the NSG pose a serious threat to regional stability. Global powers must understand that chasing Pakistan’s nuclear programme on the pretext of nuclear terrorism will pay no dividends to world peace. Fear of escalation of a conventional war to nuclear war in view of Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapon programme is also a delusion and a myth being proliferated by various quarters. This programme is purely meant to counter the Indian “Cold Start” strategy.
Pakistan being a responsible nuclear state has reiterated at number of forums that it holds a “No First Use” policy. Moreover, if the issue is seen in a positive perspective, these weapons actually provide credible deterrence against any possible Indian aggression and hence escalation to full scale nuclear war. Pakistan is convinced, rightly so, that its nuclear capability has been able to deter India from escalating hostilities in the last three decades.