Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pakistan to Build Nuclear Submarines?

Pakistan has said it will take steps to maintain the credibility of its nuclear deterrence after India's decision to acquire a Russian nuclear attack submarine on a 10-year lease. "We are looking at these developments very closely. Rest assured, there will be no compromise in terms of maintaining the credibility of our deterrence," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit was quoted by the media reports as saying at a news briefing in December, 2011.

Now there are strong rumors in the media indicating that Pakistan is preparing to build its own fleet of nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines to complete its nuclear triad for effective deterrence primarily against the regional threat posed by India's massive arms buildup.

A Pakistani defense analyst Mansoor Ahmed recently told Defense News that he has for some time believed Pakistan was working on a nuclear propulsion system for submarine applications and that Pakistan already has a functional submarine launched variant of the Babur cruise missile.

Pakistan's Babur cruise missile is very similar to the U.S. BGM-109 Tomahawk, and it can carry conventional or nuclear warheads, according to Ahmed.

Ahmed says Pakistan is now gearing up to build its own SSN/SSGN flotilla as a way of deterring India and maintaining the strategic balance in South Asia. However, Ahmed argues that Pakistan should build ballistic missile submarines. to fully ensure the credibility of its deterrent.

Here are some of the advantages of nuclear submarines:

1. Atomic weapons abroad nuclear submarines can be more survivable and useful for second strike capability which is considered vital for nuclear deterrence.

2. Nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for conventional submarines; the large amount of power generated by a nuclear reactor allows nuclear submarines to operate at high speed for long durations; and the long interval between refuelings assures a range limited only by supplies such as food. Current generations of nuclear submarines never need to be refueled throughout their 25-year lifespans.

3. Pakistan does have some AIP (air-independent propulsion)equipment on some of its current fleet of conventional submarines, which can stay submerged for longer periods to significantly boost their stealth and combat capabilities, somewhat narrowing the gap with nuclear-powered submarines which of course can operate underwater for much longer periods.

The rumors have not been confirmed or denied by Pakistani military. But if the past history is any guide, it's quite safe to assume that Pakistan will continue to effectively respond to all military threats to its security and preserve credible nuclear deterrence. It has already produced and deployed a significant nuclear arsenal consisting of uranium and plutonium bombs, ground-based nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles, air-launched nuclear missiles, modern fighter-bombers, tactical nuclear weapons, etc.

In their attempts to preserve their nuclear deterrence, Pakistanis are often reminded of a quote from former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto's speech in which he said, "If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass and leaves for a thousand years, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own". Well, Pakistanis didn't have to wait for a thousand years. Pakistan tested its nuclear bomb in 1998, about three decades after Mr. Bhutto's "we will eat grass" speech.

Pakistan does have a hunger and malnutrition problem that needs to be seriously addressed as a priority. However, all of the available data from international sources shows that the hunger problem is far worse in India, with hundreds of millions of its citizens going to bed hungry every night as Pakistan's neighbor and traditional rival continues its massive arms build-up.

Here's an excerpt from Times of India on persistent and pervasive hunger in India:

With 21% of its population undernourished, nearly 44% of under-5 children underweight and 7% of them dying before they reach five years, India is firmly established among the world's most hunger-ridden countries. The situation is better than only Congo, Chad, Ethiopia or Burundi, but it is worse than Sudan, North Korea, Pakistan or Nepal.

Today India has 213 million hungry and malnourished people by GHI estimates although the UN agency Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) puts the figure at around 230 million. The difference is because FAO uses only the standard calorie intake formula for measuring sufficiency of food while the Hunger Index is based on broader criteria.

What is even worse is that many of the hundreds of millions starving Indian children are resorting to eating dirt while India has achieved the dubious distinction of being the world's largest importer of weapons. Here's how BBC describes the situation in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh:

In Ganne, just off the main road about an hour south of the city of Allahabad, this is a simple fact of life.

It is home to members of a poor tribal community, who live in small huts clustered around a series of shallow quarries.

Inside one of the huts sits a little girl called Poonam. She is three years old, and in the early stages of kidney failure.

Like many children in Ganne she has become used to eating bits of dried mud and silica, which she finds in the quarry. Tiny children chew on the mud simply because they are hungry - but it is making them ill.

When reports first emerged of children eating mud here local officials delivered more food and warned the villagers not to speak to outsiders. But Poonam's father, Bhulli, is close to despair.

I believe that there can be no real national security without economic security. Even as they struggle to maintain credible nuclear deterrence against external threats, it's important for Pakistani leadership to take steps to revive Pakistan's ailing economy with a renewed sense of urgency.

Haq's Musings

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Pakistan's Economic Performance

Hunger Rising in Pakistan

India Tops in Illiteracy and Defense Spending

Pakistan's Defense Industry

US Proliferated Nukes to India

Diet of Mud and Despair in India

India's "Indigenous" Copies of Foreign Nukes and Missiles

India's Nuclear Bomb by George Perkovich

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Cyberwars Across India, Pakistan and China


Anonymous said...

looks like Pakistan is falling for India's trap of bankrupting Pakistan economically via an arms race just like the US finished the USSR via an arms buildup.

A far simpler solution will be enhancing AIP capability of Agosta by addingLi-ion battery in place of conventional batteries i.e it would be able to operate for 1 month unsurfaced.
Not an SSN but then this could then be built in larger numbers and most importantly economically sustainable.

A nuke sub program is atleast USD 10 billion upfront investment and 10 years for the first sub to come on line.

Pavan said...

A very balanced piece. One other disadvantage of nuclear subs is that the delivery system, in this case a missile has to be married up with the nuclear device at the time of putting out to sea. So you can have scenarios where a rogue naval captain can try and start a nuclear war or even steal a nuclear weapon!

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "looks like Pakistan is falling for India's trap of bankrupting Pakistan economically via an arms race"

India’s total external public debt has risen to $326 billion while foreign exchange reserves have dropped to $293 billion, according to the RBI data reported by the Indian Express newspaper.

The Reserve Bank of India is concerned over the increasing shift from equity to debt to fill India's widening current account gap. The latest available data indicates that foreign debt inflows in January so far have amounted to $3.21 billion versus $1.7 billion through equity inflows.

Recent $1.1 billion bail-out of Reliance Communications by state-owned Chinese banks is the clearest indication yet that the situation is also becoming dire in India's private sector with its mounting foreign debt.

With its external debt higher than its reserves and growing twin deficits, India is also bankrupt. And it's starving its children to satisfy its ego.

Here's an excerpt of a recent BBC story of Indian children eating dirt to survive:

In Ganne, just off the main road about an hour south of the city of Allahabad, this is a simple fact of life.

It is home to members of a poor tribal community, who live in small huts clustered around a series of shallow quarries.

Inside one of the huts sits a little girl called Poonam. She is three years old, and in the early stages of kidney failure.

Like many children in Ganne she has become used to eating bits of dried mud and silica, which she finds in the quarry. Tiny children chew on the mud simply because they are hungry - but it is making them ill.

When reports first emerged of children eating mud here local officials delivered more food and warned the villagers not to speak to outsiders. But Poonam's father, Bhulli, is close to despair.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan to build armed drones, reports China's Xinhua news agency:

Pakistan Air Chief Air Marshal Rao Qamar Sulema said on Monday that the country is manufacturing its own spy aircraft and will soon be able to prepare pilotless plane equipped with missile technology, local media reported.

Talking to reporters at the Shehbaz Airbase in southern Sindh province, he said Pakistan is making unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV drones) at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in the town of Kamra near Islamabad, Geo TV reported.

Asked if the F-16 aircraft that Pakistan recently received from the U.S. can down American drones, Suleman said that the Pakistan Air Force does not want any such situation.

The media people were taken to the Shehbaz Airbase to formally announce that the airbase is now under the complete control of the Pakistan Air Force.

The U.S., which used the airbase for drone attacks in Afghanistan and possibly in Pakistan, was told to vacate the base by Pakistan in the aftermath of the November 26 NATO strike on Pakistani posts, which had killed 24 soldiers.

The Air Chief said that 14 used F-16s were provided to Pakistan by the U.S. free of cost while 18 others have been bought.

The Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said on the occasion that the parliament reserves the right to decide on the resumption of NATO supplies.

He said that the final decision on whether NATO supplies will be allowed to pass through Pakistan for forces based in Afghanistan will be made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

The Army Chief said that Pakistan and the U.S. are cooperating on defence operations and Pakistani officials are taken into confidence whenever bordering areas are to be attacked.

Talking about the Coalition Support Fund, which was set up by the U.S. Congress after the September 11, 2001, attacks to reimburse allies for costs in supporting the U.S.-led war on militancy, General Kayani said that Pakistan was yet to receive 1. 5 billion U.S. dollars from the U.S.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts of an NPR Fresh Air interview of Katherine Boo, the author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers:

.......Some inhabitants (of Mumbai slum Annawadi) lack any shelter and sleep outside. Rats commonly bite sleeping children, and barely a handful of the 3,000 residents have the security of full-time employment. Over the course of her time in Annawadi, Boo learned about the residents' social distinctions, their struggles to escape poverty, and conflicts that sometimes threw them into the clutches of corrupt government officials. Her book reads like a novel, but the characters are real.
BOO: Well, I'll describe it (the slum) this way. You come into the Mumbai International Airport, you make a turn, and you go past a lavish Hyatt and a beautiful hotel called the Grand Maratha. By the time you get to the Hyatt, which is about three minutes in your car, you've already gone past this place.

There's a rocky road that goes into it, and you turn in, and the first thing you notice when you get into this landscape of hand-built, makeshift, crooked huts is one of the borders of the slum - or it was I came in 2008 - was this vast lake of extremely noxious sewage and petrochemicals and things that the people modernizing the glamorous airport had dumped in the lake.

And so it was almost beachfront property on this foul, malarial lake, and all around it in this, the single open space in the slum were people cooking and bathing and fighting and flirting. And there were goats and water buffalo. There was a little brothel, and men would line up outside the little brothel. And there was a liquor still.

And mainly there were families and children who were trying their best to find a niche in the global market economy. Almost no one in Annawadi had permanent work. Six people out of 3,000 last I checked had permanent work.
DAVIES: One of the most remarkable things to read here was that you tell us in the book that no one in Annawadi was actually considered poor by traditional Indian benchmarks. Is that right? I mean, if they're not poor, who is poor?

BOO: Go to the village, and you'll see what poor is. No, so officially, the poverty lines in many countries, including India, are set so low that officially the people that I'm writing about look like part of the great success narrative of modern global capitalism. They look like the more than 100 million people who have been freed since liberalization in India in 1991 from poverty.

So usually in my work, I'm not looking to write about the poorest and abject. I'm not looking to make you feel sorry for people. I want readers to have a connection more blooded and complex than pity or revulsion. But really, the main point I have to say is that on the books, these men, women and children have succeeded in the global economy. They're the success stories.

But I hope what my book shows is that it's a little more complicated than that.

DAVIES: Well, I mean, so many of them are just on the edge of losing, you know, food and shelter for the day. I mean, are the truly poor, are they rural poor who sleep out in the open? I mean, who are the...?

BOO: Well, many people in Annawadi sleep out in the open, too, but when Asha(ph) - in the book, I follow Asha, the mother, who has used politics and corruption to try to give her daughter a college education, I follow her back home to Vidarbha, a very poor agricultural region.

And when Asha walks through the door, everybody can see on her face and the face of her children how good life is in the Mumbai slums. Asha's grandmother walks on all fours, she's so bent from agricultural labor. And when Asha walks in that door, she stands mast straight...

Riaz Haq said...

Pavan: "So you can have scenarios where a rogue naval captain can try and start a nuclear war or even steal a nuclear weapon!"

Yes, but that concern is not Pakistan-specific. Here's the conclusion of a report on US nuclear safety:

The launch procedures for submarines are designed to
require minimal communication, while still implementing
a high degree of security through the required intervention
of the majority of the crew. In addition to those
officers who control access to authentication codes, arming
codes, and the trigger mechanism, the entire crew is
needed to prepare the submarine for the launch. As with
LCCs, the submarine’s crew could, in theory, conspire to
launch its missiles, since no codes from the outside are
strictly prerequisite to a launch.
The US nuclear arsenal is certainly safe and secure,
but this is not to say that nothing can go wrong. It is,
and will likely always be, possible for a small group of
military officers with the proper clearances and positions
to launch, disable, or steal a nuclear weapon. It is, fortunately,
considerably less likely for an outsider to do so.
This level of security is maintained both by policies and procedures that ensure consensus and authorization before
action is taken and by technologies, such as PAL,
which restrict access to and use of the weapons themselves.
Still other procedures and technologies, such as
ENDS, IHE, and FRP, help to prevent devastating nuclear

Imran said...

Just like the Europeans / Americans, if Pakistanis were to find buyers of their arms products then this strategy makes sense, otherwise, who knows some may not even get the grass.

I am a bit surprised that Pakistanis have not explored ship building at Gawadar, with a deep sea port, some of the big cruise ships and large Navy ships can be built and stored there...

Also, check out the drones that Pakistan is building for peaceful purposes. Raja Sabri khan is behind that initiative....

Riaz Haq said...

A newly-wed woman in a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh recently left her husband's home because the house had no toilet, reports BBC:

Anita Narre returned eight days later after her husband, a daily wage worker, built one with savings and aid from villagers.

An NGO announced a $10,000 reward for Mrs Narre for her "brave" decision and forcing her husband to build a toilet.

More than half a billion Indians still lack access to basic sanitation.

The problem is acute in rural India and it is the women who suffer most.

Mrs Narre's husband, Shivram, said he was not able to build a toilet at home because of lack of money.

He admitted that his wife returned home only after he constructed one with his savings and "some support from the village council".

"It is not nice for women to go outside to defecate. That's why every home should have a toilet. Those who don't should make sure there is one," Mrs Narre told the BBC.

Many people in India do not have access to flush toilets or other latrines.

But under new local laws in states like Chhattisgarh, representatives are obliged to construct a flush toilet in their own home within a year of being elected. Those who fail to do so face dismissal.

The law making toilets mandatory has been introduced in several Indian states as part of the "sanitation for all" drive by the Indian government.

The programme aims to eradicate the practice of open defecation, which is common in rural and poor areas of India.

Special funds are made available for people to construct toilets to promote hygiene and eradicate the practice of faeces collection - or scavenging - which is mainly carried out by low-caste people.

Majumdar said...

Prof Riaz ul Haq sb,

Well, it is true that Pakis are eating better than Bhindoos till date but at the rate at which the Bhindoos are building dams, soon Pakis wont even have grass to eat....

On the good side, at least if Pakis have n-subs they can be used for rescue operations in future floods (if there are any that is)


Anonymous said...

concentrate your energies on Pakistan. Leave India to Indian. According to Goldman Sachs estimate by 2050 the per capita income of an Indian will be $21000, while a Pakistani will earn only $7000. It is time for every Pakistani to retrospect what went wrong since both countries got independence at the same time.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "concentrate your energies on Pakistan. Leave India to Indian. According to Goldman Sachs estimate by 2050 the per capita income of an Indian will be $21000, while a Pakistani will earn only $7000. It is time for every Pakistani to retrospect what went wrong since both countries got independence at the same time."


Goldman Sachs has recently said India is the "most disappointing" of the BRICS. Jim O'Neil, the man who coined "BRIC" is even worried about a balance of payments crisis in India.

As to Pakistan's income, the per capita income in Pakistan for 2011 was $3150, about the same as India's. And if you assume the continuation of Pakistan's historical growth annual rate of 5% since 1947, Pak per capita in 2050 will be $19,794.98

Anonymous said...

20 yrs ago India and Pakistan were at the same level for westerners. INDO-PAK.
Today India is in BRIC whereas Pakistan has merged with Afghan AF-PAK

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Pakistan has merged with Afghan AF-PAK"

You can believe this if you want, but then you also have to believe the following:

1.Afghanistan is armed with nukes and ballistic missiles capable of devastating India

2. Afghanistan has lower poverty rates than India

3. Afghanistan has less hunger than India

4. Afghanistan has higher graduation rates than India

5. Afghanistan has better sanitation than India

6. Afghanistan has a larger urban middle class as percent of its population than India.

Rahul said...

Ya, ya/...afghanistan...This is what you teach your countrymen, and they see the dreams about being a superpower. already Zaid Hamid does a pretty good job. For us, we just have to sit back and watch. Let Pakistan self-destruct itself.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times of India story on Indian Navy's submarine plans:

While India is still years away from getting an AIP-equipped submarine, Pakistan already has one in the shape of PNS Hamza, one of the three French Agosta-90B submarines inducted by it over the last decade. Moreover, work is also underway to retrofit the French "Mesma" AIP in hulls of the other two submarines, PNS Khalid and PNS Saad.

The six new-generation submarines from China, the improved Yuan-class boats with "Stirling-cycle" AIP, will further add a punch to Pakistan's underwater warfare capabilities.

India, in sharp contrast, has so far refused to consider the Mesma AIP option in the ongoing Rs 23,562-crore project (P-75) to build six French Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Docks (MDL), already running three years' behind schedule with the boats now slated to roll out from 2015 to 2020.

"There has also been a huge cost escalation. To incorporate the steam-based Mesma AIP in the 5th and 6th Scorpenes would cost another $100 million or so," said a senior defence ministry official.

"Moreover, Navy is more keen on fuel-cell AIP. DRDO is developing one such system, which has been tested on shore. If it comes through, it can be considered for the 5th and 6th Scorpenes," he added.

To further compound matters, there is excruciatingly slow progress on P-75I, which envisages acquisition of six new stealth submarines, equipped with both tube-launched missiles for land-attack capabilities as well as AIP, for over Rs 50,000 crore.

The RFP (request for proposal) to be issued to foreign collaborators like Rosoboronexport ( Russia), DCNS (France), HDW (Germany) and Navantia (Spain) will be possible only towards end-2011 at the earliest.

"If one foreign shipyard can give AIP, it cannot provide land-attack missile capabilities, and vice-versa. So, P-75I is very will take at least two years to even finalize it, and another six-seven years after that for the first submarine to be ready," he said.

The plan till now is to directly import two submarines from a foreign collaborator, with three being built at MDL in Mumbai, and the sixth at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam under transfer of technology.

Incidentally, Navy will have only five of its existing 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines by 2020. Consequently, even with the six Scorpenes, India will be far short of its operational requirement of at least 18 conventional submarines for the foreseeable future.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Navy receives P3C Orion surveillance and anti-submarine-warfare aircraft from US, according to AFP:

The Pakistani navy took delivery Tuesday of two state-of-the-art, US-made surveillance aircraft nine months after Islamist militants destroyed two similar planes, officials said.

Pakistan said the P3C aircraft, modified with the latest avionics, are designed to improve surveillance in the North Arabian sea, one of the world's most important shipping routes deeply troubled by Somali piracy.

"The two aircraft have been delivered to the Pakistan navy. These aircraft have been provided under the foreign military funding programme," a spokesman for the US embassy in Islamabad, told AFP.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States were severely damaged last year by a covert American raid that killed Osama bin Laden and air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, and the alliance remains tense.

The navy said the aircraft would help "maintain requisite vigil in our vital area of interest in the North Arabian Sea", which it said was "home to intense maritime activity both legal and illegal and thus warrants continuous guard".

Pakistan is to receive six P3C aircraft from the United States in three batches. The first two, received in 2010, were destroyed during a 17-hour siege of a key naval base in Karachi last May blamed on the Taliban.

The attack killed 10 personnel and deeply embarrassed the military, just three weeks after bin Laden was killed in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Here's more on Pakistan's P3C Orions from Defense Industry Daily:

Pakistan’s location on the Indian Ocean next to the Persian Gulf, and its rivalry with India, ensure that its maritime patrol and strike capabilities will need to operate across a wide expanse of ocean. Maritime patrol aircraft are critical to that effort, because of the surveillance area that a single plane can cover. Like India, Pakistan relies on a mix. In its case, that mix includes converted Fokker F27 twin-turboprops, a couple of early-model Dassault Atlantiques, and a high-end force of 2 P-3C Orion aircraft, reactivated in 2006. The 4-engine Orions have much better range than Pakistan’s other maritime patrol aircraft, which widens that country’s sphere of naval influence.

Subsequent orders have served to detail the modernization work for Pakistan’s Orion fleet, via a deal for 8 more P-3 aircraft, refurbishment orders, and the accompanying orders for AGM-84 Harpoon missiles that can attack naval or land targets…

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an India Defense Research Wing report on Pakistan's plans for nuclear sub:

Pakistani defence forces , specially Pakistani Navy has been quite vocal of arrival of Russian Nuclear powered submarine to Indian shore mid of this month . Pakistan Navy chief has already told US Defence Magazine that arrival of Russian Nuclear powered submarine and India’s own Indigenous development ,will have adverse effect on its operational capability in Indian ocean . and also mentioned that Pakistani navy is already working on plans to counter this latest threat put forward by Indian Navy .

Indian Defence Experts believe that Pakistan is already working on a counter plans and might just surprise Indian pretty soon in future by producing or acquiring a Nuclear powered submarine . Pakistan always has a quieter way of weapons acquisition and even managed to keep many defence project low key affair .

Rakesh Sharma Indian Defence Expert told that “General Musharraf way back in 2006 had mentioned to a Pak daily that technology for development of a Nuclear Submarine existed in Pakistan”, but its seems help will come from its tried and tested friend china .

China has per media will be supplying 6 conventional attack submarine of Qing class , which will be equipped with a Stirling-cycle AIP system and will be able to carry up to three nuclear warhead-carrying CJ-10K LACMs each. The double-hulled Qing-class SSK, with a submerged displacement close to 3,600 tonnes, bears a close resemblance to the Russian Type 636M SSK, and features hull-retractable foreplanes and hydrodynamically streamlined sail.

Experts suggests that Pakistan’s nuclear submarine is likely to be based on the Qing Class Chinese SSK. highly advanced electric propulsion system of Qing Class Chinese SSK will able Pakistan to replace diesel engine power generation with a nuclear power plant.

Pakistan also has the expertise of submarine construction , with potential help may have been the transfer of technology from France with the Agosta 90B submarine purchase. A number of key technologies were transferred including design and development skills and tools. Building of hulls and experience with Western subsystems, many of which are used in the French nuclear submarines would help the Pakistani SSN / SSBN.

Pakistan with expertise and transfers of technology from China , will be able to field their first nuclear submarine in next 5 to 8 years and brand it “Indigenous “. But experts have difference of opinion on usage of this submarine in both forces , While Nuclear Submarine in Indian navy will complete Nuclear 2nd strike option for India , but Pakistani nuclear submarine might be built to attack prized Indian Aircraft carriers in case of conflict . India who will have 3 or more fleet of aircraft carriers in near future will always be Pakistani navies prime target , even in 1971 Indo-Pak war , Indian aircraft carrier was always a prize target for them .

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on nuclear weapons in South Asia as published by The Nation:

Estimated to have 80-100 nuclear warheads, India is modernising its nuclear arsenal to increase the diversity, range, and sophistication of its delivery vehicles, a report said Tuesday,At the same time, it estimates that Pakistan has more nuclear weapons than India, saying Islamabad is rapidly developing and expanding its atomic arsenal at a cost of $2.5 billion a year. The report “Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Modernisation around the World” said India is developing a range of delivery vehicles, including land- and sea-based missiles, bombers, and submarines.“There are no official estimates of the size of India’s stockpile of fissile materials, though it is known that India produces both HEU (highly enriched uranium) for its nuclear submarines and plutonium for weapons,” said the 150-page report by ‘Reaching Critical Will of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.’The part of the report dealing with India was contributed by Professor MV Ramana, a physicist who works at the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Programme on Science and Global Security, both at Princeton University, a physicist who works at the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Programme on Science and Global Security at Princeton University. “There has been speculation that India has used reactor-grade plutonium in its nuclear weapons, in which case, the nuclear arsenal could potentially be much larger, as India has approximate 3.8 to 4.6 tons of separated plutonium from its power reactors. Its fast breeder reactor programme also provides another potential source of producing weapon-grade plutonium”Based on its Dec. 2011 recent missile tests, the report said, “It appears that India is aiming to have all legs of its nuclear triad operational by 2013. There are also plans to expand the nuclear weapons and missile production complex as well as the capacity to enrich uranium. “The expansion of India’s nuclear and missile arsenals are part of a larger military build-up and consistently increasing military spending.
It is estimated that Pakistan could have a stockpile of 2750 kg of weapon - grade HEU and may be producing about 150 kg of HEU per year,” it said.Estimates suggest Pakistan has produced a total of about 140 kg of plutonium, the report said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a DefenseNews article on Pakistan's sea-based nukes:

Pakistan has acknowledged the existence of a sea-based nuclear deterrent with the recent inauguration of the Headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) by the head of the Navy, Adm. Asif Sandhila.

A May 19 press release by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations stated the NSFC “will perform a pivotal role in development and employment of the Naval Strategic Force,” and was “the custodian of the nation’s 2nd strike capability.”

Mansoor Ahmed, lecturer at Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, and who specializes in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs, said this is all but specific confirmation of the widely speculated submarine-launched variant of the Babur/HATF-VII (Vengeance-VII) cruise missile.

Analyst Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank said Pakistan has been working on its sea-based deterrent for some time.

“When the Babur was first revealed in 2005, it was claimed that it is mainly designed to be deployed from submarines. There was at least that speculation,” he said.

The Navy “has pretty good experience in using similar systems, for example, both submarine-launched Harpoon and Exocet use a similar system, and [the Navy] has operated both for a long time.”

Shabbir speculates that the launch method may be similar to the UGM-84 Harpoon’s method of being fired from torpedo tubes.

However, other analysts are not so certain the Navy can afford to undertake the responsibility of the nation’s second-strike capability.

Former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad Brian Cloughley said the size of Pakistan’s submarine force is too small to carry out this task.

“Pakistan’s current submarine fleet is not adequate in numbers [although well-trained] to be able to undertake detection and effective interdiction of the Indian fleet, given its size — which is increasing, even if slowly,” he said.

Currently, Pakistan’s submarine flotilla comprises two refurbished 1970s-era Agosta-70s and three 1990s-era Agosta-90B submarines. The latter are equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP) or are in the process of being retrofitted with the AIP module, and incrementally entered service from 1999.

Cloughley said interdiction of India’s fleet “must remain [the Navy’s] first priority,” and considers “conversion of the present assets to take Babur not only costly but a most regrettable diversion of budget allocation.”

“I would go so far as to say that, in present circumstances, it would be a grave error if such a program were to go ahead,” he added.

The Navy, however, has a requirement for new submarines and wants to increase their number. The Agosta-90B design has been superseded twice, once by the DCNI Scorpene, and briefly by a paper design called the Marlin before it was absorbed into the Scorpene family.

There is a confirmed requirement for 12 to 14 submarines to meet Navy expansion plans. This would allow for a constant war patrol of at least one deterrent-tasked submarine, leaving other submarines to carry out more traditional tasks.

However, Cloughley is still certain that Pakistan does not require such a capability.

“[Pakistan] has plenty of nuclear-capable SSMs and strike aircraft, and does not need a Navy-oriented second-strike capability,” he said.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian analyst Abhijit Singh of IDSA on Pak sea-based nuke plans:

Recent reports from Pakistan seem to suggest the Pakistan Navy (PN) may be on the cusp of developing a naval nuclear missile capability, even as its plans for acquiring a nuclear submarine capability gradually become clearer. The first indication of this came in May 2012 when Pakistan tested the Hatf VII (Babur)—an indigenously developed Cruise Missile with high precision and manoeuvrability. Reports suggested that the missile was launched from a state-of-the-art multi-tube Missile Launch Vehicle (MLV), which significantly enhances the targeting and employment options of the Babur Weapon System in both the conventional and nuclear modes. Importantly, this is the third test of the Babur in the recent past, of different capacities and loads.

Then, in another significant development, on May 19, the PN inaugurated the Headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC). A statement from the Pakistan military’s Inter Services Public Relations said that the NSFC “will perform a pivotal role in development and employment of the Naval Strategic Force,” and was “the custodian of the nation’s 2nd strike capability” – presumably for use against India, in case the need ever arose. This is noteworthy because Pakistan is not known to have a sea-based second strike capability. Therefore, a public statement that the NSFC would be in-charge of such a capability is an open admission of sorts that Pakistan is in the process of developing a naval variant of a strategic nuclear missile.

For long, the Pakistan Navy has viewed the Indian Navy (IN) with suspicion. The IN’s sustained growth over the past few years has, in fact, become an excuse for the PN to push for its own development and expansion of assets. In an article written for a Pakistan daily in May 2012, Tauqir Naqvi, a retired Vice Admiral of the PN, suggested that the ‘hegemonic’ elements of the Indian Navy’s maritime strategy have been the main drivers of the resurgence of the Pakistan Navy. The article, when read closely, is a dead give-away of Pakistan’s real ambitions with regard to nuclear weapons and nuclear submarines.

Naqvi writes extensively about India’s strategic vision, characterising it as a “hegemonic” impulse that has led the IN to aim for control of the seas over an area extending from the Red Sea in the West to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. While Pakistan, he contends, is a “peace-loving” nation, India has never been serious about developing friendly relations, fixated as it has been with the “idea of projecting power”. Surprisingly, he showers Indian scientists and the IN with some unexpected, even if ‘motivated’ praise, by mentioning the sterling efforts of the Indian scientific community and shipyard workers in operationalising a strategic maritime capability. The complimentary references are, in effect, a none-too-disguised message to Pakistan's political leadership and mandarins in the defence ministry about the ineluctable need for Pakistan to buttress its own strategic arsenal with naval nuclear missiles and a nuclear submarine, without which, the PN can forget about countering the “evil designs” of the Indian Navy.

Pakistan’s naval leadership will also be aware of the risks and financial costs of developing and operating a nuclear submarine—the need to constantly refine equipment and train personnel; of razor-sharp communications and command and control systems; and the requirement of mastering safety procedures. In the final analysis the SSBN is not an asset if it is not mastered well and operated optimally. Merely possessing one offers no strategic advantages.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

You say: "India’s total external public debt has risen to $326 billion while foreign exchange reserves have dropped to $293 billion, according to the RBI data reported by the Indian Express newspaper....... With its external debt higher than its reserves and growing twin deficits, India is also bankrupt. And it's starving its children to satisfy its ego"

I would like to make the following points:

1) Not all debt is bad. It depends on whether the debt the productive (investment) or non-productive (consumption).

2) One easy way to divine the nature of the debt is to see whether the debt is Government or Corporate. If it is Government/Public debt, it could be either consumptive or productive. If it is Corporate/Private debt, it is almost always for investment (productive).


So let us take a look at the underlying nature of India's External Debt--

1) Long-term Government & Public Sector External Debt:

2) Long-term Private Corporate External Debt:

3) Short-term (Corporate, because Government does not borrow short-term) External Debt:

4) Total External Debt is Sum of (1),(2) & (3):

What do we see?

Here are the values for 2010--

Public Government External Debt: 106 Billion$
Private Corporate External Debt: 128 + 57 (short-term)= 185 Billion$
Total External Debt: 291 Billion$

Here are the ratios for 2010--

Ratio of Public/Total: 26.5%
Ratio of Private/Total: 73.5%



Let us do the same for our country:

1) Long-term Government & Public Sector External Debt:

2) Long-term Private Corporate External Debt:

3) Short-term (Corporate, because Government does not borrow short-term) External Debt:

4) Total External Debt is Sum of (1),(2) & (3):

What do we see?

Here are the values for 2010--

Public Government External Debt: 43.2 + 9.0 (IMF Credit) = 52.2 Billion$
Private Corporate External Debt: 2.5 + 2.3 (short-term) = 4.8 Billion$
Total External Debt: 57 Billion$

Here are the ratios for 2010--

Ratio of Public/Total: 91.6%
Ratio of Private/Total: 8.4%

NOTE: IMF Credit Data is here--


Oh! Before I forget:

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story about Pakistan Marines new battalion:

In a bid to strengthen and safeguard vital PN assets/installations, the defence of Karachi Port and Port Bin Qasim and to enhance the Ground Based Air Defence set up, a significant milestone has been achieved in the history of Pakistan Navy by the commissioning of ‘2nd Pak Marines Battalion’ and the induction of Radar Controlled Guns and Low Level Air Defence Radar.

The induction and commissioning ceremony was held at Pak Marines Headquarters, PNS Qasim. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila was the chief guest on the occasion.

Congratulating the officers and CPOs/Sailors of 2nd Marines and 21st Air Defence Battalions, the naval chief said that these sophisticated radars and guns had proved their worth in the recently conducted exercise Seaspark – 12, and their performance had lived up to our expectations. He reiterated that defence of our motherland was a responsibility shared by all of us and was a sacred undertaking that came second to none. Where our perseverance and resilience remains the driving force behind our commitment to the protection of our frontiers, requisite wherewithal for undertaking this daunting challenge remains a vital ingredient as well.

Underlining the need to ensure protection of vital assets and areas, the naval chief urged the officers and men of this independent Marines battalion to stand fast and thwart aggression with zeal and courage. He emphasised to continue the hard work, dedication and steadfastness so as to bring a good name to the service.

Earlier, the commander coastal command briefed that 2nd Marines Battalion would be entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding vital PN installations, infrastructure, and seaward security of Karachi Port and Port Bin Qasim. He added that Pak Marines, since their inception in 1990, had come a long way and apart from safeguarding external threats had proven their mettle through active participation in internal security matters as well such as floods and cyclone-relief operations.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Maleeha Lodhi's Op Ed on "Pakistan's Nuclear Compulsions" published in The News:

Much alarm has been raised in the West about Pakistan’s enhancement of its nuclear capability and the position it has taken at negotiations in Geneva on a treaty banning the production of bomb making fissile material. Western analysts have often depicted this as a mindless, irrational drive motivated by the unbridled ambitions of the nuclear scientific-military lobby.

This is far from true. To understand the strategic rationale for Pakistan’s fissile material needs – achieving credible nuclear deterrence at the lowest possible cost and level – the issue must be placed in a proper, broader perspective. It means taking into account the chain of rapid developments that have undermined the region’s strategic equilibrium and affected Pakistan’s nuclear threshold. They include the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, exemption for India by the Nuclear Supplier’s Group, India’s conventional military and strategic build-up, enunciation of offensive doctrines involving ‘Proactive Operations’ and efforts to develop a missile defence capability.

Many of these developments were aided and abetted by the international community in pursuit of their strategic and commercial interests. Pakistan’s warnings were repeatedly ignored that discriminatory nuclear actions would be consequential for the region and oblige Islamabad to act to preserve the credibility of nuclear deterrence and ensure strategic stability.

The interplay between a changing strategic environment – Pakistan’s perception of increasing regional asymmetry in both nuclear and conventional capabilities – global non-proliferation efforts and technical compulsions help to explain why Pakistan has been building fissile stocks.

The historical context is important. The nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998 helped to establish strategic balance and provided Pakistan the reassurance of possessing a strategic equaliser to India’s conventional military preponderance.
To hedge against this, Pakistan will likely multiply its missile numbers, including cruise missiles, and increase operational readiness to avert the destruction of its strategic assets in a pre-emptive strike. This too has a bearing on the amount of fissile material Pakistan would want to acquire.

These are the principal factors driving Pakistan’s fissile material requirements. The purpose is not to match the quantities or stockpiles that India has – which it can enhance if it wants to by diverting indigenous production for weapons use because of the nuclear fuel supply guaranteed by the US and similar agreements with other nations. Pakistan’s aim is not to engage in relentless production but to attain sufficiency for a spectrum of nuclear weapons, strategic, operational and tactical and to assure a second-strike capability.

As Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to persuade India to establish a strategic restraint regime have yielded nothing, it has had to evolve a force development strategy at home and an effective negotiating position in Geneva to secure its national security interests.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Defense Journal report on Pakistan Navy's land attack missile test:

ISLAMABAD — The Pakistan Navy has test-fired a new land attack missile in the North Arabian Sea off the coast of Pakistan this week.

According to a Navy news release, the test included “firings of a variety of modern missiles including the maiden Land Attack Missile (LAM)” and the tests “demonstrated lethality, precision and efficacy” of the Navy’s weapon systems as well as the “high state of readiness and professionalism” of the Navy.

The release also stated the test “reaffirms credibility of deterrence at sea.”

A Navy spokesman confirmed “multiple platforms were engaged” in firing missiles. The firings took place on Dec. 19 and 21.

Though the Navy has a variety of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, the Navy would not confirm the identity of the land-attack missile when asked.

Mansoor Ahmed from Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, who specializes in Pakistan’s national deterrent and delivery program, believes the missile is one of two varieties: either a land attack variant of the Chinese C-802/CSS-N-8 Saccade anti-ship missile in service with a variety of naval platforms; or a variant of the HATF-VII/Vengeance-VII Babur cruise missile.

“Coupled with a miniaturized plutonium warhead, a naval version of the several hundred kilometer-range Babur [land attack cruise missile] or a 120-kilometer range C-802 missile can potentially provide Pakistan with a reliable if not an assured second strike capability and will complete the third leg of Pakistan’s eventual triad-based credible minimum deterrent — of which the naval leg was missing until now,” he said.

A land-attack variant of the C-802 would be able to be fired from existing launchers aboard Pakistani ships.

Ahmed however pointed out that M. Irfan Burney — chairman of the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), the research and development body that designed and manufactured the Babur cruise missile — witnessed the test firings. Ahmed believes that supports the notion that the missile was the Babur.

Burney was joined by Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Muhammad Asif Sandila, onboard the F-22P class frigate Zulfiquar.

The test comes seven months after Pakistan inaugurated the Naval Strategic Force Command. The Babur, once integrated with an operational naval command and control, “will help diversify the options available to counter India’s growing second strike capabilities at sea,” Ahmed said.

He said the Navy will be able to “strike critical counter-value and other strategic targets all along India’s coastline and maintain a semblance of strategic stability in the Arabian Sea.”

“Pakistan’s response in this field was necessary in the face of an exponential increase in Indian strategic capabilities, such as ballistic-missile defenses and the induction of SSBNs [ballistic-missile submarines] and planned $40 billion worth of naval weapons platform acquisitions over the next decade,” he added.

Ahmed said a “nuclear-tipped [land-attack cruise missile] is a readily available and affordable alternative for Pakistan instead of a dedicated SSBN.”

With an economy in chronically poor shape, the question of affordability and meeting the Navy’s expansion requirements in the face of a shortage of funds is a pressing concern.

However, after witnessing the test firings and voicing his appreciation of the operational preparedness of the fleet, Sandila also said the government was “cognizant of PN’s developmental needs and all out efforts are being made to address critical capability gaps.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Russian news report about Indian Russian nuke sub problems:

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) – India has asked Russia to replace the faulty parts on the leased Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine as they affect its operational readiness, the Times of India reported.

The Navy sources cited by the newspaper on Tuesday did not specify the components that needed the replacement but said they “were critical for the operations of the submarine.”

Neither Russian nor Indian defense ministries have officially commented on the report.

The Russian-built Akula II class nuclear attack submarine was inducted into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra in April.

The lease contract, worth over $900 million, was drawn up after an agreement between Moscow and New Delhi in January 2004, in which India agreed to fund part of the Nerpa's construction.

However, shortly after the start of sea trials in November 2008, an accident on board the submarine killed 20 sailors and technical due to a toxic gas leak when the automatic fire extinguishing system malfunctioned.

The Nerpa was finally handed over to India in January after prolonged and costly repairs.

The submarine has a maximum speed of 30 knots and a maximum operating depth of 600 m, while its endurance is 100 days with a crew of 73.

The vessel is armed with four 533-mm and four 650-mm torpedo tubes, although it cannot carry nuclear weapons under the lease provisions.

With the lease of the Nerpa, India became the sixth operator of nuclear submarines in the world, after the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China.

India’s domestically-designed INS Arihant nuclear submarine is expected to be ready for operational deployment in 2013 after final sea trials.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts of an MIT doctoral thesis by Christopher Clary on future India-Pakistan conflict:

Conventional wisdom suggests that India has gained sufficient conventional superiority to fight and win a limited war, but the reality is that India is unlikely to be able to both achieve its political aims and prevent dangerous escalation.

While India is developing limited options, my analysis suggests India's military advantage over Pakistan is much less substantial than is commonly believed.
Most analyses do not account adequately for how difficult it would be for the navy to have a substantial impact in a short period of time. Establishing even a partial blockade takes time, and it takes even more time for that blockade to cause shortages on land that are noticeable. As the British strategist Julian Corbett noted in 1911, "it is almost impossible that a war can be decided by naval action alone. Unaided, naval pressure can only work by a process of exhaustion. Its effects must always be slow…."7 Meanwhile, over the last decade, Pakistan has increased its ability to resist a blockade. In addition to the main commercial port of Karachi, Pakistan has opened up new ports further west in Ormara and Gwadar and built road infrastructure to distribute goods from those ports to Pakistan's heartland. To close off these ports to neutral shipping could prove particularly difficult since Gwadar and the edge of Pakistani waters are very close to the Gulf of Oman, host to the international shipping lanes for vessels exiting the Persian Gulf. A loose blockade far from shore would minimize risks from Pakistan's land-based countermeasures but also increase risks of creating a political incident with neutral vessels.
The air balance between India and Pakistan is also thought to heavily favor the larger and more technologically sophisticated Indian Air Force. While India has a qualitative and quantitative advantage, the air capabilities gap narrowed rather than widened in the last decade. The Pakistan Air Force has undergone substantial modernization since 2001, when Pakistan exited from a decade of US-imposed sanctions. With purchases from US, European, and Chinese vendors, Pakistan has both dramatically increased the number of modern fighter aircraft with beyond-visual-range capability as well as new airborne early warning and control aircraft. Meanwhile, India's fighter modernization effort has been languid over the last decade. India's largest fighter procurement effort—the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft—began in 2001 and has been slowed considerably by cumbersome defense procurement rules designed to avoid the appearance of corruption.
The ground forces balance has received the most attention from outside observers, in large part because the Indian Army has publicized its efforts at doctrinal innovation, most often referred to under the "Cold Start" moniker. However, India's ground superiority is unlikely to be sufficient to achieve a quick victory.
The net result of this analysis is to conclude that India's limited military options against Pakistan are risky and uncertain. Pakistan has options to respond to limited Indian moves, making counter-escalation likely. At least in the near-term, Pakistan appears to have configured its forces in such a way as to deny India "victory on the cheap." Therefore, India might well have to fight a full-scale war that could destroy large segments of Pakistan's army to achieve its political aims, which would approach Pakistan's stated nuclear redlines. Such a conclusion should induce caution among Indian political elites who are considering military options to punish or coerce Pakistan in a future crisis. ...

Hopewins said...

Are we going to paint these nuclear submarines along themes like this?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an opinion on Pak and Israeli nuclear weapons on subs:

The policy of a nation, Napoleon once quipped, can be read in its geography. For much of human history, the verity of such an assertion would have appeared self-evident. After all, what is geostrategy if not a state’s chosen response to a preexisting spatial reality? For many thinkers of the early modern era, a country’s geographical position shaped its strategic behavior, whether in times of peace or war. Maritime powers, some have noted, appear both more democratic and inclined to pursue alliances than their territorially obsessed continental counterparts. Amidst the swirling tides of global geopolitics, geography formed a key fundamental — an enduring physical truth — providing a degree of structure and continuity to otherwise arcane national strategies.

The dawn of the nuclear age, however, greatly eroded the importance attached to the study of maps. Nuclear weapons, with their terrifying and seemingly indiscriminate power for destruction, seemed to render cartographic musings somewhat irrelevant. In an era where the devastating effects of a single bomb could extend over land and sea, casting their radioactive shadow over bustling cities and sleepy hamlets alike; what did it matter whether a nation was urban or rural, maritime or continental?

The assumption that geographical factors play only a minor role in the formulation of nuclear strategy is, however, deeply flawed. Territorial insecurity and the attendant quest for strategic depth are profoundly embedded within the nuclear strategies of small to medium-sized powers. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the evolving naval nuclear postures of two nations, which would seem, at first glance, to have little in common: Pakistan and Israel. Indeed, irrespective of numerous sizable differences — both in terms of institutional history and strategic culture — the nuclear force structures adopted by both countries’ small navies are disturbingly similar. In both cases, the perceived pressures of geography have played an enormous role in the conceptualization of naval nuclear deterrence....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian report on the state of Indian submarine force:

The recent disaster in the Indian submarine INS Sindhurakshak that perhaps killed all 18 Navy personnel on-board has raised a pertinent question on the Indian Navy's submarine conditions as well as its underwater combat edge. According to a TOI report, currently, India can only deploy 7-8 "aging conventional" submarines against enemy forces.

The stark reality is that the Indian Navy is left with only 13 aging diesel-electric submarines - 11 of them over 20 years old. Out of the 13 submarines - 9 Kilo-class of Russian origin and 4 HDW of German-origin - are undergoing reparation to 'extend' their operational lives. The only "face saver" of the Navy seems to be the INS Chakra, the only nuclear-powered submarine, taken on a 10-year lease from Russia last year. But due to international treaties, it is not armed with nuclear-tipped missiles. With its 300-km range Klub-S land-attack cruise missiles, other missiles and advanced torpedoes, the INS Chakra can serve as a deadly `hunter-killer' of enemy submarines and warships. Moreover, India has been indecisive to fit Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) in the last two of the six French Scorpene submarines being constructed for over Rs 23,000 crore at Mazagon Docks under "Project-75". The first Scorpene will be delivered only by November 2016. On August 12, the Indian Navy launched its aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, placing India in the fifth rank, after US, Russia, Britain and France, who have the ability to design and build aircraft carriers of 40,000 tonnes and above. With a capacity to deploy over 30 aircraft and helicopters, it is considered to be the biggest aircraft carrier in India. Pakistan Navy Power: Whereas the neighbouring country Pakistan, which is continuously violating ceasefire bilateral agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) since last month, is far more more advanced and well prepared in terms of submarines. Presently, Pakistan is well equipped with five "new conventional" submarines and is considering to get six more 'advanced' vessels from its all-weather friend China. China already flexes its muscles with 47 diesel-electric submarines and eight nuclear-powered submarines. Incidentally, the Pakistan Navy is the first force in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to have submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) in the shape of three French Agosta-90B vessels. The difference: The conventional submarines have to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries in contrast with the AIP equipped submarines that can stay submerged for much longer periods to significantly boost their stealth and combat capabilities.

Riaz Haq said...

Washington Post: Pakistan is eyeing sea-based and short-range nuclear weapons, analysts say

In one of the world’s most volatile regions, Pakistan is advancing toward a sea-based missile capability and expanding its interest in tactical nuclear warheads, according to Pakistani and Western analysts.

The development of nuclear missiles that could be fired from a Navy ship or submarine would give Pakistan “second-strike” capability if a catastrophic nuclear exchange destroyed all land-based weapons. But the acceleration of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs is renewing international concern about the vulnerability of those weapons in a country home to more than two dozen Islamist extremist groups.  

“The assurances Pakistan has given the world about the safety of its nuclear program will be severely tested with short-range and sea-based systems, but they are coming,” said Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center, a Washington-based global security think tank. “A cardinal principle of Pakistan’s nuclear program has been: ‘Don’t worry; we separate warheads from launchers.’ Well, that is very hard to do at sea.”

Western officials have been concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear program since it first tested an atomic device in 1998. Those fears have deepened over the past decade amid political tumult, terror attacks and tensions with the country’s nuclear-armed neighbor, India, with which it has fought three wars.

That instability was underscored this month, as anti-government protests in the capital appeared to push Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to the brink of collapse. The political crisis was unfolding as Pakistan and India continued lobbing artillery shells across their border, in a tit-for-tat escalation that illustrated the continued risk of another war.

For more than a decade, Pakistan has sent signals that it’s attempting to bolster its nuclear arsenal with “tactical” weapons — short-range missiles that carry a smaller warhead and are easier to transport.

Over the past two years, Pakistan has conducted at least eight tests of various land-based ballistic or cruise missiles that it says are capable of delivering nuclear warheads. Last September, Sharif, citing “evolving security dynamics in South Asia,” said Pakistan is developing “a full spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression.”

The next step of Pakistan’s strategy includes an effort to develop nuclear warheads suitable for deployment from the Indian Ocean, either from warships or from one of the country’s five diesel-powered Navy submarines, analysts say. In a sign of that ambition, Pakistan in 2012 created the Naval Strategic Force command, which is similar to the air force and army commands that oversee nuclear weapons.

“We are on our way, and my own hunch is within a year or so, we should be developing our second-strike capability,” said Shireen M. Mazari, a nuclear expert and the former director of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, a hawkish Pakistani government-funded think-tank.

Pakistan’s nuclear push comes amid heightened tension with U.S. intelligence and congressional officials over the security of the country’s nuclear weapons and materials. The Washington Post reported in September 2013 that U.S. intelligence officials had increased surveillance of Pakistan in part because of concerns that nuclear materials could fall into the hands of terrorists.

Riaz Haq said...

#China vows to deepen maritime security ties with #Pakistan: report …

BEIJING: China on Thursday vowed to deepen maritime security, anti-terrorism, security and military cooperation with Pakistan to further strengthen their ‘all-weather’ strategic ties.

The “pledge” was made by Chinese Central Military Commission Vice Chairperson General Fan Changlong during his meeting with Pakistan Navy Chief Muhammad Zakaullah in Beijing.

Fan said China hopes to enhance coordination and cooperation with Pakistan on regional security affairs.

“China is willing to deepen cooperation with Pakistan in anti-terrorism, maritime security and military technology,” Fan said.

China together with Pakistan will push for the construction of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor within the construct of China’s “Belt and Road” initiatives.

Zakaullah said that Pakistan will work with China to deepen logical cooperation between the two armed forces.

Previously, the Pakistan naval chief said that Pakistan Navy and PLA Navy are strengthening their existing maritime cooperation, keeping in mind the changing regional international scenarios.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Zakaullah met with Commander of the PLA (Navy) Admiral Wu Shengli and said that the navies of Pakistan and China have been cooperating for decades.

He said that military cooperation between the two countries is extensive and it covers equipment, personnel exchanges and joint exercises.

Zakaullah said Pakistan strongly supports PLA Navy’s enhanced role in the international arena.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan To Buy 8 Submarines From China

He (Analyst Haris Khan) said the Type-214 deal was the centerpiece of the naval aspect of the AFDP, and that the first submarine would have been delivered in 2015. The naval aspect of the AFDP especially is in total disarray, he said.

It is unknown if the Type-214 was shelved until finances become available (some industry officials believe this was at least the intention at the time the deal collapsed), but attention subsequently switched to acquiring six AIP-equipped submarines from China.

Due to the need to decommission the Agosta-70s, Khan believes any refurbished submarines will be required to be "sailing under a Pakistani flag within 12 months."

Acquiring Turkish Type-209s remains possible, and despite Pakistan's predicament, Khan says "Under the present circumstances I don't see any collaboration between Pakistan and Turkey since Pakistan will only be locally producing Chinese submarines."

Whether the Chinese submarines are the S-20 export derivative of the Type-039A/Type-041 Yuan-class submarine, or a bespoke design, is unclear. But the Yuan has also been mentioned, and according to government officials the deal was supposed to be secured by the end of 2014.

If the deal transpires, Khan said it will be the largest ever Sino-Pakistani deal. He believes the submarines will each cost $ 250 million to $325 million.

Neither the Ministry of Defence nor the Navy would shed further light when asked. No answers were forthcoming to requests regarding the timeframe of the deal, whether the two Agosta-70s will finally be retired now the number of planned Chinese submarines has increased to eight, clarification on acquiring surplus Western submarines, or the status of the Type-214 acquisition efforts.

Should the Chinese deal go through, it will be a considerable relief, and be especially significant for the nuclear deterrent.

Pakistan inaugurated its Naval Strategic Force Command in 2012 in response to India's rapid nuclearization.

A potential force of 8 AIP-equipped Chinese subs and the three Agosta-90Bs "is a quantum leap in existing capabilities," said Mansoor Ahmed of Quaid-e-Azam University's Department of Defence and Strategic Studies.

Though acknowledging nuclear-powered attack boats are far more capable, he believes "An AIP [diesel-electric submarine] offers Pak the best bang for the buck. But it has to be supplemented with a commensurate investment in [anti-submarine warfare] capabilities to neutralize developments on the Indian side."

He said this will lay the groundwork for having a permanent sea-based deterrent equipped with plutonium-based warheads fitted to cruise missiles, "which is expected to be the next major milestone in Pakistan's development of a triad."

Ahmed acknowledges this "would pose fresh challenges for ensuring effective and secure communications at all times with the submarines for both India and Pak in addition to having a mated-arsenal at sea that would require pre-delegation of launch authority at some level for both countries.

"This would be an altogether new challenge that would have to be addressed for an effective sea-based deterrent."

Nevertheless, AIP-equipped conventional submarines "provide reliable second strike platforms, [and] an assured capability resides with [nuclear-powered attack and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines], which are technically very complex and challenging to construct and operate compared to SSKs, and also very capital intensive."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a description of Israeli subs capable of firing nuclear cruse missiles:

Right now, three Dolphin II-class submarines are under construction at Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems shipyards in Kiel. Once the submarines complete their trials and head towards the Mediterranean, they will become the most powerful Israeli submarines ever.

More than 225 feet long, the diesel-electric Dolphin II class is part attack submarine, part nuclear strike ship and part commando taxi.

They’re also painted in an unusual combination of black, blue and green colors. That’s “meant to make the ship less visible, and thought to be especially effective in Mediterranean waters,” Defense News noted after recently publishing new photographs of the fat, oddly-shaped boats in dry dock and on sea trials.

In terms of weapons, the three boats of the Dolphin II class—the Tannin, Rahav and a third unnamed submarine—contain 10 torpedo tubes capable of launching fiber optic cable-guided DM-2A4 torpedoes. Germany has already handed over the Tannin, which is preparing for its journey to Israel.

Four of these tubes are larger 26-inch tubes—the size is rare for a Western-built submarine—capable of launching small commando teams or firing larger cruise missiles. The remaining six tubes measure at 21 inches.

Although not admitted by the Israeli government, the Dolphin II is widely believed to soon possess nuclear-tipped Popeye Turbo cruise missiles. The submarine’s armament includes non-nuclear anti-ship Harpoon and anti-helicopter Triton missiles.

In 2012, German news magazine Der Spiegel interviewed several German defense ministry officials, all of whom were under the assumption that Israel intends for these submarines to carry nuclear weapons. The missiles can also be launched “using a previously secret hydraulic ejection system,” the magazine reported.

The photographs at Defense News also reveal horizontal planes for trailing communications gear and sonar buoys. But the classified propeller is covered by a tarp to keep out prying eyes.

For sensors, the Dolphin II comes with the German-made CSU-90 active radar, a PRS-3 passive ranging sonar and a FAS-3 flank sonar. These sensors are in addition to an Israeli-made surface search radar.

Of course, submarines need to be stealthy—and the Dolphin II is indeed quiet. The trick is in the submarine’s air-independent propulsion fuel cells, which provide power under the surface as the diesel engines—used for running on the surface—rest and recharge.

This system is quieter than the nuclear-powered engines on American and Russian submarines, which must constantly circulate engine coolant. Nuclear submarines are virtually unlimited in terms of range, and are better used for deep-water operations. But Israel has no need for nuclear-powered subs when quiet diesel subs can do the same job.

The Dolphin II’s top speed maxes out at 20 knots when submerged. But the maximum distance before needing to be refueled is around 9,200 miles at a speed of eight knots underwater. This puts the submarines in range of Iran.

And that’s why Israel is investing in an up-armed submarine fleet. The Israeli military wants to maintain its undeclared nuclear strike force. Given Israel’s small size, a nuclear deterrent promises massive retaliation if Israel’s homeland is threatened.

Plus, submarines are very useful for littoral operations off the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani nuclear forces, 2015
Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norri

Federation of American Scientists (FAS)

Pakistan has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 110 to 130 warheads, an increase from an estimated 90 to 110
warheads in 2011. With several delivery systems in development, four operating plutonium production reactors,
and uranium facilities, the countryÕs stockpile will likely increase over the next 10 years, but by how much
will depend on many things. Two key factors will be how many nuclear-capable launchers Islamabad plans to
deploy, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows. Based on PakistanÕs performance over the past 20
years and its current and anticipated weapons deployments, the authors estimate that its stockpile could
realistically grow to 220 to 250 warheads by 2025, making it the worldÕs fifth largest nuclear weapon state.
Pakistan appears to have six types of currently operational nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, plus at least two
more under development: the short-range Shaheen-1A and medium-range Shaheen-3. Pakistan is also developing
two new cruise missiles, the ground-launched Babur (Hatf-7) and the air-launched RaÕad (Hatf-8).


Pakistan continues to expand its
nuclear arsenal and is growing its
fissile materials production industry.
Since our last Nuclear Notebook on
the country in 2011 (Kristensen and
Norris, 2011), it has deployed two new
nuclear-capable short-range ballistic
missiles (SRBM) and a new medium range
ballistic missile (MRBM), and is
developing two extended-range nuclear capable
ballistic missiles and two new
nuclear-capable cruise missiles.
We estimate that Pakistan has a
nuclear weapons stockpile of 110 to 130
warheads, an increase from an estimated
90 to 110 warheads in 2011 (Kristensen
and Norris, 2011). The US Defense Intelligence
Agency projected in 1999 that by
2020 Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads
(US Defense Intelligence Agency,
1999), but it appears to have reached that
level more than a decade early, in 2006 or
2007 (Norris and Kristensen, 2007). In
January 2011, our then-estimate of PakistanÕs
stockpile was confirmed in The
New York Times by Òofficials and
outsiders familiar with the American
assessmentÓ who said that the official
US estimate for Òdeployed weaponsÓ
ranged Òfrom the mid-90 s to more than
110Ó (Sanger and Schmitt, 2011).1

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani nuclear forces, 2015
Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norri

Federation of American Scientists (FAS)

The second cruise missile under
development, the air-launched, dualcapable
RaÕad (Hatf-8), has been testlaunched
four times. The test-launches
have been conducted from a Mirage III
fighter-bomber. The most recent testlaunch
was conducted in May 2012; the
span of time since then also hints at
technical challenges. After the last
test, the Pakistani government
acknowledged that ÒÔCruise TechnologyÕ
is extremely complex,Ó and
said that the RaÕad could deliver
nuclear and conventional warheads to
a range greater than 350 km, and enable
Pakistan Òto achieve strategic standoff
capability on land and at seaÓ (ISPR,
There are also signs that Pakistan is
developing a nuclear weaponÑinitially
probably a nuclear-capable cruise missileÑfor
deployment on submarines. In
2012, the Pakistani navy established

Headquarters Naval Strategic Forces
Command (NSFC) for the development
and deployment of a sea-based strategic
nuclear force. The government said that
this command would be the Òcustodian
of the nationÕs second-strike capabilityÓ
to Òstrengthen PakistanÕs policy of Credible
Minimum Deterrence and ensure
regional stabilityÓ (ISPR, 2012e).

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Says #India's #nuclear #submarine #Arihant deployment poses a threat to regional, international peace: "This development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia.... No One Should Doubt Our Capabilities"

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday expressed concern over the recent deployment of India's nuclear submarine INS Arihant, saying there should be no doubt about Islamabad's resolve and capabilities to meet the challenges in the nuclear and conventional realms in South Asia.

"This development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia which is a matter of concern not only for the Indian Ocean littoral states but also for the international community at large,” Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said.

Nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant successfully completed its first deterrence patrol this week, taking India into a club of a handful of countries which have the capability to design, construct and operate such a submarine or SSBN

The spokesperson said the "bellicose" language employed by the top Indian leadership highlights the threats to strategic stability in South Asia and raises questions about responsible nuclear stewardship in India.

He said the increased frequency of missile tests by India, aggressive posturing and deployment of nuclear weapons calls for an assessment of the non-proliferation benefits resulting from India's membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The spokesperson said Pakistan is committed to the objective of strategic stability in South Asia and believes that the only way forward for both countries is to agree on measures for nuclear and missile restraint.

"At the same time no one should be in doubt about Pakistan's resolve and capabilities to meet the challenges posed by the latest developments both in the nuclear and conventional realms in South Asia," he said.

Replying to a question about the follow up of Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to China, Faisal said a high-level Pakistan delegation will have talks with their counterparts in Beijing to sort out technical matters and finalise the modalities for further enhancing the existing bilateral and strategic cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields.

On the proposed Afghanistan peace talks in Moscow, he said a Pakistan delegation led by an additional secretary will attend the dialogue.

The spokesperson said Taliban leader Mullah Baradar was released to give an impetus to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan has always been emphasising the need for seeking a negotiated settlement on the Afghan issue with the participation of all stakeholders.

He said it is a matter of concern that a recent American report points out that the Afghan administration and the foreign forces are losing control over the security situation in the war-torn country. Responding to questions on Christian woman Asia Bibi who was recently released from jail, Faisal said she is still in Pakistan at a safe location.