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June 1, 2019

‘Nuclear deterrence remained intact during Pulwama crisis’

 
June 1, 2019

Islamabad : Senior officials on Friday said that nuclear deterrence remained intact during post-Pulwama stand-off as it contained the escalation at the initial level, says a press release.

They were speaking at Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI), an Islamabad-based policy think tank, which had organised an exclusive media interaction of senior Pakistani officials dealing with strategic affairs. The topic of the event was ‘Pakistan’s Nuclear Journey: 21 Years of Deterrence and Stability’.

The panelists included Director General Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs, Strategic Plans Division Brigadier Zahir Kazmi, and Director General Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Muhammad Kamran Akhtar. Defense analyst Syed Muhammad Ali moderated the event.

Brigadier Zahir Kazmi stated that the purpose of deterrence is to close space for war and bring states to the negotiating table. “Stability actually means peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the Subcontinent - no disputes means no crises and conflicts. Nuclear deterrence should be a factor of stability between Pakistan and Hindustan.”

He said deterrence worked during the post-Pulwama military stand-off despite Indian attempt to escalate to a different level by talking about mobilization of nuclear missile and nuclear submarines.

Brig Kazmi identified three imperatives for deterrence. First, enabling geostrategic environment that includes sustainable mechanism for dispute resolution; second, strategic restraint and responsibility and third the maintenance of balance in nuclear deterrence capabilities through arms control rather than competition.

Kamran Akhtar said that the recent Pulwama incident exposed and broke the myth of responsible Indian strategic behaviour. New Delhi, immediately after the Indian Air Force fighter was shot down, resorted to missile threats and deployment of its nuclear armed ballistic missile submarine. In comparison, Pakistan demonstrated a much more responsible and restrained behavior that led to de-escalation.

He said Pakistan is a responsible and restrained nuclear power and the allegations regarding AQ Khan overlook the fact that he was an individual who operated on his own. He was part of a large international supply network involving thirty-one entities, spread over more than twenty-four countries. Several international accounts are based on misperceptions regarding our nuclear programme that are divorced from reality, he maintained.

Defense analyst, Syed Muhammad Ali, in his opening remarks stated that Pakistan’s nuclear programme has significantly contributed towards meeting both its traditional and non-traditional security needs.

Earlier, Syed Sajjad Shabbir, Executive Director, IPI welcomed the guests and said that Pakistan’s nuclear programme has helped maintain deterrence stability in a conflict-prone South Asia region. He announced that IPI will shortly publish a handbook on nuclear issues to create greater understanding among journalists, politicians and bureaucrats.