Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gen Kidwai on Pakistan's 2nd Strike Capability and Nuclear Triad

General Khalid Kidwai, the man who headed Pakistan's strategic forces for 15 years, has said his country is close to having nuclear "second strike capability" with a "sea-based platform".

 Kidwai said the 2750 Kilometer range Shaheen 3 ballistic missile has been developed in response to reports of India's plans to locate nuclear bases on Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian ocean.

On the tactical nuclear missile Nasr with a range of just 37 miles, Kidawi said it was intended to deter India's "Cold Start" doctrine which sought to exploit gaps between Pakistan's conventional and nuclear capabilities.

Kidwai was speaking at a 2015 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC recently.

Before answering questions from former US Defense official Peter Lavoy who moderated the discussion and the audience, Kidwai made the following points in his introductory remarks:

1. One nuclear power is trying to teach another a "lesson" at the line of control in Kashmir

2.  Conflicts must be managed for socio-economic development in South Asia.

3. Managing conflict is not revisionism--it's common sense.

4.  Fear of nuclear war can maintain peace and enable socio-economic development

 5. Pakistan's tactical nuclear weapons are a response to India's offensive doctrine.

6.   It's unfortunate that the debate has degenerated into lesser issues of command and control and nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands.

7. Discriminatory access to technology is wrong-headed. It does not contribute to managing conflict.

Here are some Q&As from the session:

Question (Lavoy) : History of Pakistan's nuclear weapons...greatest accomplishment and biggest regrets

Answer (Kidawi) : No regrets. I am a "satisfied soldier". Greatest achievement: More comprehensive satisfaction of taking scientific experiments to complete operationalization with a variety of nuclear weapons. It has ensured peace in South Asia. War as an instrument policy is out.

Question: How do you regard nuclear weapons...extension of conventional war fighting?

Answer:  They are seen as deterrent, not as primary war-fighting capability.

Question: What's the logic of Nasr with such a short range?

Answer:  US has short-range nukes. Pakistan is not unique. Our adversary was seeing gaps in Pakistan capability to find space to launch conventional strikes. Nasr filled the gap to deter "cold start doctrine".

Question: Concern is about intermingling of conventional and strategic making nuclear war more likely, not less likely.

Answer:  If tactical nukes make India think twice, if not ten times, then they make sense. It's to stop India's bluster of massive retaliation and not provoke mutual destruction.

Question: The other side of the range, Shaheen 3, what is its actual range? It's 2750 Km.

Answer: Logic is to respond to reports of development of Indian bases in Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian ocean. Pakistan has no need to go beyond the 2750 Km range.

Question: Shaheen 3's political dimension is troubling with capability to hit other countries in the Middle East (Israel?) Why is Pakistan's 2750 Km troublesome while India's 10,000 to 12,000 Km not troublesome?

Q&As with the Audience:

Question: Is Pakistan's nuclear program open-ended? How many is enough?

Answer:  It's not open-ended. It's to assure minimum deterrence.

 Question: Saudis have often hinted at access to Pakistan nuclear weapons?

Answer:  You should ask the Saudis why they are saying that. I can tell you that Pakistan will not be a source of nuclear weapons technology for any country.

Question: When would Pakistan have transparency of its nuclear program, like numbers of weapons? 

Answer: No government of Pakistan will reveal number of weapons. It'll maintain ambiguity.

Question: Other nuclear weapons states call their weapons "weapons of peace"? Should you worry about their use in war?

Answer: Pakistan's nuclear weapons are bedrock of Pakistan's security.

Question: Will Pakistan develop nuclear submarine as 2nd strike capability.

Pakistan will develop 2nd strike capability to maintain balance with India.

Question: Will Pakistan's 2nd capability be sea-based?

Answer: Yes.

Question: How will you coordinate army navy and air force commands in terms of nuclear weapons?

Answer: SPD is the coordination authority using elaborate C4ISR and transportation.

Question: You need a quiet submarine to avoid detection. Can you do it?

Answer: Yes, we are close to it. We'll have it in the next few years.

Question (Lavoy): Can Pakistan afford it?

Answer:  There are a lot of fantastic figures quoted about Pakistan's defense spending. But Pakistan's nuclear costs are a fraction of total defense expenditures which are in the range of 3 to 3.5% of GDP.

Question: Will Pakistan sign international treaties?

Answer: Maybe in the next few years.

Question: What is Pakistan's plans in space?

Answer:  Unfortunately, Pakistan's space program is lagging behind. SPD's interest in space program is in ensuring C4I2SR for our military needs.

Question: Pakistan's image after AQ Khan episode has not improved. What is Pakistan doing about it?

Answer: We are making serious efforts to join NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group).

 Question (from Voice of Vietnam): Pakistan is China's only ally. Can Pakistan use its ties with China to promote peace in Asia?

Answer: I disagree that Pakistan is China's only ally. But Pakistan and China have been close friends since 1960s. Our alliance with China is not against any country but to promote peace.

Question (Lavoy): Have you asked your military colleagues to cut ties with terrorism that could start the war you are trying to avoid.

 Answer: I disagree with the premise of the question. The situation we are in was thrust upon Pakistan. First lack of resolution of Kashmir issue and then superpower conflict in Afghanistan have led to militancy and terrorism we are dealing with.

Here's the full video of the session with Gen Kidawi:


I think senior American analyst and South Asia watcher Stephen Cohen summed up the current situation in South Asia when he said: "The alphabet agencies—ISI, RAW, and so forth—are often the chosen instrument of state policy when there is a conventional (and now a nuclear) balance of power, and the diplomatic route seems barren."

I see little likelihood of full-scale war between India and Pakistan. The best way for the two nuclear armed neighbors to proceed is sustained diplomatic engagement to resolve all outstanding issues including Kashmir. If the diplomatic route remains barren, there will be continuation of covert and proxy wars in the region.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Shaheen 3 Can Hit Deep Inside India and Israel

Transcript of Gen Khalid Kidwai's Conversation at Carnegie Endowment

Pakistan Building Nuclear Submarine?

India's Israel Envy

Pakistan Space Program

Revolution in Military Affairs

Pakistan Defense Production Goes High-Tech

Drones Outrage and Inspire Pakistanis

RMA Status in Pakistan

Cyber Wars in South Asia

Pakistan's Biggest Ever Arms Bazar

Genomics and Biotech Advances in Pakistan

India's Israel Envy: What if Modi Attacks Pakistan

Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Kerry Challenges Modi With Hard Evidence


Riaz Haq said...

#China vows to deepen maritime security ties with #Pakistan: report http://tribune.com.pk/story/859341/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.

Shelly Yang-Petersen said...

Pakistan needs to learn to stand on its own. Pakistan has gone from one power to the next and the justifications made are similar to the ones made during the Ayub Khan era. It was the US at that time. Even now China may warm up to Pakistan because it may see a commercial benefit. China doesn't stand to gain militarily from such a partnership.

This from The Diplomat:
{A trade agreement with an economic giant such as China could have resuscitated Pakistan’s dwindling share in the global trade market but it did not even make a dent, in part because of Pakistan’s inability to ask for the right concessions. In fact, India and China’s bilateral trade grew more in comparison – rising by a factor of almost 11 in the past decade – without a trade deal with the across-the-board tariff concessions that Pakistan enjoys.}

Riaz Haq said...

Yang-Peterson: "China doesn't stand to gain militarily from such a partnership."

I disagree with you. China-Pak ties are not just commercial but highly strategic militarily.

Chinese emphasis on "connectivity and maritime sectors" and "China-Pakistan economic corridor project" is mainly driven by their paranoia about the US intentions to "check China's rise" It is intended to establish greater maritime presence at Gwadar, located close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and to build land routes (motorways, rail links, pipelines) from the Persian Gulf through Pakistan to Western China. This is China's insurance to continue trade with West Asia and the Middle East in case of hostilities with the United States and its allies in Asia.


Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

I just noticed- the radius of your missiles captures Yemen as well. Just as well that the saudis have recognised Paki military power and invited them to lend ground troops to them. Looks like the GOP has agreed.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece in Diplomat on "India and Pakistan Locked in a Nuclear Naval Arms Race"

...Rehman highlights a few other interesting points about the naval nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean:

India’s pursuit of a sea-based nuclear strike force is the next logical step in its quest for an assured retaliatory capability.
To enjoy an effective sea-based deterrent vis-à-vis China, India’s other prospective nuclear adversary, New Delhi has to develop larger SSBNs with greater missile carriage capacity and more powerful nuclear reactors.
Pakistan’s naval nuclear ambitions are fueled primarily by the sense of a growing conventional, rather than strategic, imbalance between New Delhi and Islamabad.
By dispersing low-yield nuclear weapons across a variety of naval platforms, Islamabad aims to acquire escalation dominance and greater strategic depth and to reduce the incentives for a preemptive strike on its nuclear assets.
Interestingly, Rehman also underlines that, “the submarine-based leg of India’s nuclear triad will have a major impact on the nation’s existing command-and-control arrangements.”

Writing for The Diplomat, Amit R. Saksena, already elaborated on this point back in January. “For a sea-based asset, where deterrence is primarily achieved by long-term radio silence, and launching control is delegated to seniority on board the vessel, the existing command and control model is not applicable,” Saksena emphasized.

India’s nuclear warfare policy is predicated on a No First-Use (NFU) doctrine; consequently, New Delhi needs to field a credible second-strike capability.

“Just like Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons (TnWs), New Delhi will essentially be delegating launch control to field officers on board the submarine, massively increasing the probability of incidental firing,” according to Saksena.

Furthermore, he points out another issue. “India, like Pakistan, is known to keep its nuclear warheads de-mated from the delivery mechanisms. For the INS Arihant to fulfill its operational responsibility, SLBMs mounted with nuclear warheads will have to be deployed on the vessel.”

Rehman does not discuss this issue in any detail. Nor, despite highlighting the problem, does he elaborate on what a new command and control model for India’s strategic forces might look like.

However, the report contains an interesting section on what lessons Islamabad and New Delhi can derive from naval nuclear operations during the Cold War, as well China’s future role in shaping naval nuclear policies in the Indian Ocean.

At the end of the report, which is worthwhile reading in its entirety, Rehman concludes that “the present period offers a precious window of opportunity for both New Delhi and Islamabad to shape, rather than be shaped, by the emerging naval nuclear regime in South Asia.” Yet the window for the implementation of new confidence-building measures between the two countries is shrinking rapidly.



Anonymous said...

This is the MOST dangerous game being played between the two rivals, India and Pakistan. I support a UN resolution asking BOTH NOT to put any nukes on Subs. This is crazy, both the countries have HUGE religious nut case population, and many of which are soldiers too. If these nut cases make it to these Subs on either sides, it can cause millions of innocent humans to suffer on each side. This should never be allowed at ALL!!

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to buy 8 #Chinese attack submarines. Biggest ever multi-billion dollar arms export deal for #China http://on.wsj.com/1ameN1S @WSJ

Pakistan’s plan to buy eight Chinese submarines is likely to be one of China’s biggest arms deals and to intensify an emerging undersea contest in the Indian Ocean.

The deal, confirmed by a senior Pakistani defense official, is also expected to be among Pakistan’s biggest-ever weapons purchases.

Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan, additional secretary in Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence, revealed the plan at a meeting of parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence on Tuesday, according to an official record of the meeting.

The official record quoted him saying that “the National Security Committee (NSC) has approved, in principle the project to acquire eight Chinese submarines. Financial negotiations for the same are in advance stages.”

The National Security Committee is the top decision-making body for defense issues, with both civilian leadership—including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif—and the military chiefs sitting on this committee.

Pakistan Navy officials declined to comment. An official in the press office of China’s Defense Ministry referred questions on the submarine deal to local defense industry representatives but declined to say which ones were involved.

A senior Pakistani government official said that discussions were ongoing, but the financial and technical details of the deal won’t be publicly discussed until negotiations are wrapped up and it has actually been signed.

China and Pakistan have had close relations for decades based largely on their mutual suspicion of India, and China has long been one of Pakistan’s main arms suppliers.

Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, didn’t respond directly when asked about the submarine deal on Thursday but said: “China and Pakistan are traditional friends and neighbors.”

She said that China abided by its principles and international standards when selling arms.

She also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping was looking forward to paying a state visit to Pakistan “as soon as possible” and both sides were in close contact on that issue. She didn’t give a date for the visit.

Military experts and defense industry publications say the deal is most likely for Pakistan to buy China’s diesel-powered Yuan class attack submarines, which are also known as Type 039A or Type 041.

However, some earlier reports have suggested that Pakistan could purchase another Chinese diesel-powered attack submarine called the Qing class, or Type 032.

Pakistan’s navy currently operates five French-designed Agosta class submarines, two purchased in the 1970s and three in the 1990s, according to the navy’s official website.

“I think the reasoning for Pakistan, is, as always, competition with India,” said James Hardy, Asia Pacific editor of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.

“These subs would be attack subs so conventionally armed [antiship missiles and torpedoes rather than nuclear armed] and would be designed to complicate any Indian blockade operations around Karachi or elsewhere in the event of a war. ”

China’s global arms exports more than doubled between the five-year period ended in 2009 and the five-year period ended in 2014, according to an annual report on weapons transfers published last month by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

China was Pakistan’s biggest arms supplier between 2010 and 2014, accounting for 51% of Pakistani weapons imports. The U.S. was in second place with 30%, according to the report.


Riaz Haq said...

One Sunday morning last December, China’s defense ministry summoned military attachés from several embassies to its monolithic Beijing headquarters.

To the foreigners’ surprise, the Chinese said that one of their nuclear-powered submarines would soon pass through the Strait of Malacca, a passage between Malaysia and Indonesia that carries much of world trade, say people briefed on the meeting.

Two days later, a Chinese attack sub—a so-called hunter-killer, designed to seek out and destroy enemy vessels—slipped through the strait above water and disappeared. It resurfaced near Sri Lanka and then in the Persian Gulf, say people familiar with its movements, before returning through the strait in February—the first known voyage of a Chinese sub to the Indian Ocean.

The message was clear: China had fulfilled its four-decade quest to join the elite club of countries with nuclear subs that can ply the high seas. The defense ministry summoned attachés again to disclose another Chinese deployment to the Indian Ocean in September—this time a diesel-powered sub, which stopped off in Sri Lanka.

China’s increasingly potent and active sub force represents the rising power’s most significant military challenge yet for the region. Its expanding undersea fleet not only bolsters China’s nuclear arsenal but also enhances the country’s capacity to enforce its territorial claims and thwart U.S. intervention.

China is expected to pass another milestone this year when it sets a different type of sub to sea—a “boomer,” carrying fully armed nuclear missiles for the first time—says the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI.

China is hardly hiding its new boomers. Tourists could clearly see three of them at a base opposite a resort recently in China’s Hainan province. On the beach, rented Jet Skis were accompanied by guides to make sure riders didn’t stray too close.

These boomers’ missiles have the range to hit Hawaii and Alaska from East Asia and the continental U.S. from the mid-Pacific, the ONI says.

“This is a trump card that makes our motherland proud and our adversaries terrified,” China’s navy chief, Adm. Wu Shengli, wrote of the country’s missile-sub fleet in a Communist Party magazine in December. “It is a strategic force symbolizing great-power status and supporting national security.”

To naval commanders from other countries, the Chinese nuclear sub’s nonstop Indian Ocean voyage was especially striking, proving that it has the endurance to reach the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s headquarters in Hawaii.

“They were very clear with respect to messaging,” says Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, a former submariner who commands the U.S. Seventh Fleet, “to say that, ‘We’re a professional navy, we’re a professional submarine force, and we’re global. We’re no longer just a coastal-water submarine force.’ ”

In recent years, public attention has focused on China’s expanding military arsenal, including its first aircraft carrier and stealth fighter. But subs are more strategically potent weapons: A single one can project power far from China and deter other countries simply by its presence.

China’s nuclear attack subs, in particular, are integral to what Washington sees as an emerging strategy to prevent the U.S. from intervening in a conflict over Taiwan, or with Japan and the Philippines—both U.S. allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.

And even a few functional Chinese boomers compel the U.S. to plan for a theoretical Chinese nuclear-missile strike from the sea. China’s boomer patrols will make it one of only three countries—alongside the U.S. and Russia—that can launch atomic weapons from sea, air and land.

Chinese defense officials told foreign attachés that the subs entering the Indian Ocean would assist antipiracy patrols off Somalia, say people briefed on the meetings.


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...

Pakistan hopes to revive its naval modernization program through a warship construction deal with China that will also expand Pakistan's shipbuilding industry.

Chinese media reports have outlined a construction program involving six of eight S-20 variants of the Type-039A/Type-041 submarine under negotiation; four "Improved F-22P" frigates equipped with enhanced sensors and weaponry (possibly including the HQ-17 surface-to-air missile developed from the Russian Tor 1/SA-N-9); and six Type-022 Houbei stealth catamaran missile boats, to be built by Pakistan's state-owned shipbuilder Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW).

The reports indicate Type-022 construction may be delayed by the ongoing Azmat fast attack craft building program, but also highlight a significant expansion of KSEW's facilities.

These include a foundry, fabrication facilities to cover all aspects of ship construction, berthing facilities, and two graving docks of 26,000 and 18,000 dead weight tons, spread over 71 acres.

A 7,881-ton ship lift transfer system will be completed next year.

KSEW will expand to occupy facilities vacated by the Navy as it transfers from Karachi to Ormara. The Pakistan Navy Dockyard, which is adjacent to KSEW, already has facilities upgraded by the French during construction of Agosta-90B submarines.

Pakistani officials would not comment on these reports. Repeated attempts to secure comment from the Ministry of Defence Production, KSEW, the Navy and federal politicians connected with defense decision-making bodies were turned away.

The program will follow a Sino-Pakistani agreement for six patrol vessels for Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency agreed to on June 10, with two built by KSEW.

Author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad Brian Cloughley said the groundwork laid by the Agosta-90B program that included upgrades to PN Dockyard facilities and the training of some 1,000 civilian technicians greatly facilitated present plans.

However, Trevor Taylor, professorial research fellow, defense, industries and society, at the Royal United Services Institute highlighted the problems KSEW's construction and expansion plans could encounter.

"Experience from around the world shows that it is very easy to be optimistic about the difficulty of naval shipbuilding and the time taken to complete construction and systems integration," he said. "Plans for rapid expansion of warship production are unlikely to proceed on schedule. The coordinated and sustained application of extensive managerial and technical skills is required, and submarines especially have vital safety dimensions."

He highlights the importance of a sustainable program.

"The lesson from the UK and elsewhere is that, once a warship design and build capability is in place, it is best maintained and developed through a planned and steady drumbeat of programs, rather than a rapid expansion of activity for a limited period of years followed by a sudden drop-off in orders. Clearly this requires a consistent stance of support for the industry from political authorities."

Cloughley is optimistic, however, that the extensive Chinese help provided to Pakistan in warship construction, in addition to agreements made during Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent visit, "indicate that all types of cooperation will continue and expand."

He said this is related to the burgeoning Indo-US relationship, India's increasingly antagonistic anti-Pakistani rhetoric, and clearer Sino-Indian divisions that mean the Sino-Pakistan "axis of understanding has become more tangible."

Consequently, "KSEW can expect considerable input from such as [China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co]. Money, certainly; but also, and perhaps of more importance, provision of expertise."


Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan posseses nuclear second strike capability - top official | http://GulfNews.com http://bit.ly/1iAAJdP

Islamabad: A former top defence ministry official has claimed that Pakistan possesses nuclear second strike capability against India.

Retired Lieutenant General Naeem Khalid Lodhi, former defence secretary, made the claim at a seminar organised by the Strategic Vision Institute, an Islamabad-based think-tank.

The issue of second strike capability came up in the context of the conventional superiority enjoyed by India and the options for Pakistan.

The second strike provides a military the capability to hit back at an enemy in a situation where its land-based nuclear arsenal is neutralised.

The former defence secretary said in remarks published Thursday that despite the growing conventional imbalance, Pakistan had certain strengths including nuclear parity with India and credible nuclear deterrence.

The nuclear deterrence, he said, had been augmented by the second strike capability, efficient delivery systems and effective command and control system.

President of the think-tank Zafar Iqbal Cheema said Pakistan had improved its second-strike capability.

He said this capability has been augmented by deployment of Hatf-VII/Baber nuclear capable cruise missile that can be launched from aircrafts and conventional submarines.

It is further fortified by air-launched cruise missile in Hatf series, he added.

Technically the best mode of second-strike capability is submarine launched ballistic missile, which neither India nor Pakistan have deployed as yet, Cheema said.

Riaz Haq said...

Strategic Insights from #India: The big power of #Pakistan's little Nasr tactical nuclear missile. #USA http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/strategic-insights/the-little-nasr/ …

Aah, you little beauty, you little Nasr, you have finally brought two major powers to their knees, and that too without firing a single shot.
Out there in the US, there is real consternation that this micro-mini Pakistani tactical nuke will fall into the hands of jihadis who would then use it against the American mainland. Washington has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in securing Pakistan’s big, strategic nukes but to the Nasr it has no answers. Why?
Because the Nasr is a javelin-like structure, deployed in the battlefield against tanks, and under the operational command of a brigadier. Think of how many brigadiers there are in Pakistan’s seven hundred thousand-strong army— two hundred, three hundred, five hundred— and that would be the number of tiny Nasrs floating about in the battlefield.


On bended knees, America is imploring Pakistan to get rid of the Nasrs. But Pakistan must have its pound of flesh. Washington is abuzz with a civilian nuclear deal for the Pakistanis. The contours are faint but it seems to involve access to nuclear technology, as well as membership of the nuclear suppliers group, a facility not yet afforded India.
Pakistan insists that the Nasrs are safe and are only for use against India were the latter to implement its Cold Start Doctrine: a rapid ingress of armoured forces into Pakistan, the destruction of a few jihadi camps, and then a steep withdrawal back into India. But so high is the risk associated with a potential leak of the Nasr, that Washington has put pressure on India to talk to Pakistan about Kashmir.
An India that was only willing to talk terror with Pakistan has within the space of a couple of weeks turned turtle to not only talk Kashmir but all aspects of the relationship. Oh, how the Pakistani military must be gloating.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Rejects #US Calls for Curbing Tactical #Nuke Weapons http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-rejects-us-calls-for-curbing-tactical-nuke-weapons/3256025.html …

Pakistan’s top nuclear security advisor has rejected growing U.S. pressure and safety concerns about its production and deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons.

“We are not apologetic about the development of the TNWs [tactical nuclear weapons] and they are here to stay,” said Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, an advisor to the so-called National Command Authority (NCA) and a longtime custodian of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The institutions responsible for planning storage and operational deployments do make sure that “it is so balanced on ground in time and space that it is ready to react at the point where it must react and at the same time it is not sucked into the battle too early and remains safe," Kidwai told a seminar at Islamabad’s Institute of Strategic Studies.

Response to US

He was apparently responding to last week’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, where she praised the “excellent” steps Pakistan has undertaken to secure its nuclear arsenal, but said Washington is troubled by the development of battlefield nuclear weapons.

She insisted that battlefield nuclear weapons, by their very nature, pose security threats because their security cannot be guaranteed when they are taken to the field.

“So, we are really quite concerned about this and we have made our concerns known and we will continue to press them about what we consider to be the destabilizing aspects of their battlefield nuclear weapons program,” Gottemoeller said.

Nuclear Security Summit

The tensions come ahead of next week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (March 31 - April 1), where President Barack Obama and other global leaders will discuss terrorism threats related to radiological weapons and review proposed safety measures. Leaders of Pakistan and its nuclear-armed archival India will also attend.

Islamabad’s tactical nuclear weapons have been straining its traditionally rollercoaster ties with Washington since 2011, when Pakistan first tested and began producing its nuclear-capable "Nasr" ballistic missile, which has a range of 60 kilometers (36 miles).


Kidwai insisted that the punitive actions might have caused political and diplomatic setbacks to his country but said it has not impacted its efforts to defend the country against another Indian aggression.

“Pakistan would not cap or curb its nuclear weapons program or accept any restrictions. All attempts in this regard… are bound to end up nowhere,” he added.

The Pakistani advisor particularly criticized the American media for being "completely negative, hostile and biased" towards Islamabad's nuclear program, accusing it of publishing misleading reports and claims that Pakistan possesses the world's fastest growing nuclear program.

"I think it is politically-motivated because the developments that are taking place in Pakistan are of a very modest level, very much in line with the concept of credible minimum deterrence, and they are always a reaction to an action that takes place in India. So, Pakistan does not have the fastest growing nuclear program," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

US never had & still does not have "No First Use" #nuke policy. #USA #India #Pakistan #nuclear http://thebulletin.org/careful-we-might-nuke-you-consequences-rejecting-nuclear-no-first-use-pledge9917 …

Since developing nuclear weapons in 1945, the United States has maintained the right to use them first against another country, whether or not that country launched a nuclear attack at the United States. Over the past several months President Obama considered changing that “first-use” optional policy to one under which the US declares that it will only use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack. China and India have such policies today. Russia had this policy, but in 1993 changed it to reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response to attacks that threaten the survival of the Russian state, even if those attacks do not employ nuclear weapons.

Press reports now assert that key members of the president’s cabinet, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz all opposed the adoption of a US nuclear no-first-use pledge, and the president ultimately accepted their advice. There are reasonable arguments, reviewed below, on both sides of the no-first-use debate. Unfortunately, there may be negative consequences for raising the issue publicly and then rejecting it. Such consequences could include a hardening of reliance on nuclear weapons by Russia, China, and North Korea, intensification of the global nuclear arms race, further weakening of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a possible reversal by China of its own no-first-use pledge in the near future.

These consequences are likely because the “power ministries” of the United States—those that wield diplomatic and military power to implement national security strategy—have just re-asserted their belief in the power and value of nuclear weapons for the indefinite future. Combined with plans to modernize the entire US nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years, this pro-nuclear message contradicts President Obama’s 2009 Prague speech and its focus on the dubious value of nuclear weapons. In the speech, Obama said, “Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And as a nuclear power—as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it… So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The choice to reject a no-first-use pledge is a choice of fear over hope. Carter, Kerry and Moniz, like the three wise monkeys, see no evil in claiming the right of the United States to defend itself and its allies by threatening to kill millions of innocent people from hundreds of different nations throughout the world—the outcome of an exchange of nuclear weapons using only a small fraction of the existing US arsenal. In essence, they told the president that he should not risk devaluing the investment in fear that the potential first use of US nuclear weapons represents. These cabinet officers embrace the postulated ability of nuclear weapons to scare adversaries into inaction. In other words they told the president he was wrong in Prague, and the nuclear fear that he pledged to reduce is actually good for America, because it is a handy tool that underwrites the world order, discourages enemies from doing things we would rather they not do, and calms our allies. The three wise men told the president that he must continue to place national security above human security, that it is OK to value American lives and the lives of its military allies above all other human lives.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Unveils VLF Submarine Communications Facility for #Nuclear Armed Subs Under Naval Strategic Forces Command http://www.defensenews.com/articles/pakistan-unveils-vlf-submarine-communications-facility …

Pakistan on Tuesday unveiled a very low frequency (VLF) communication facility that will enable it to communicate with deployed submarines.

Mansoor Ahmed, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center and expert on Pakistan’s nuclear program and delivery systems, said the facility is vital for command and control of submarines carrying a nuclear deterrent patrol, and the announcement essentially confirms Pakistan has established a preliminary, sea-based arm of its nuclear deterrent.

"The Naval Strategic Force Command inaugurated in 2012 is now closer to being the custodian of the country's second-strike capability," he said.

According to an official news release by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations media branch, the VLF facility is at a new base, PNS Hameed, near Pakistan’s main port of Karachi, and is the first of its
kind in the country.

“The secure military communication link in the VLF spectrum will add new dimensions by enhancing the flexibility and reach of submarine operations," the news release said.


Ahmed said Pakistan likely will deploy a nuclear-armed, sub-launched variant of Babur “during the next decade.”

The Babur is similar to the United States' BGM-109 Tomahawk and has long been speculated to be modified for launch by Pakistan’s three French-designed Agosta 90B submarines, thereby offering the shortest route to a second-strike capability.

A dedicated nuclear role places an additional burden on the submarines, however, with the two Agosta 70 subs near obsolete.

Author, analyst and former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, said Pakistan’s submarines are the “only means that Pakistan will have to seriously counter the Indian Navy. No matter
how professional the surface fleet might be — and it's very impressive — it's tiny and would be the target of concentrated Indian strikes.”

Therefore, a continuous at-sea deterrent capability may only be realized once the eight Chinese-designed, AIP-equipped submarines on order begin to commission from 2022 onward.

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...

Pakistan fires its first submarine-based nuclear cruise missile


Pakistan has successfully fired its first nuclear-capable submarine-based cruise missile, in a move that escalates tensions with neighbouring India.

The Pakistani navy said on Monday afternoon that it had launched a nuclear-capable Babur-3 missile, which has a range of 450km, from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean.

“Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step towards reinforcing the policy of credible minimum deterrence,” the military said in a statement.

It added that the missile was “capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence”.

The move comes with tensions still high on the de facto border with nuclear-armed India. Hours before the announcement of the test, India said three civilians had been killed when militants crossed the line of control between the two countries in Kashmir and attacked an army camp.

The skirmish was the latest in a series of tit-for-tat strikes across the border since 19 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on the Uri army base in India-controlled Kashmir in September.

Experts said Pakistan was thinking of developing a sea-based nuclear missile programme in case India succeeded in damaging or eliminating its land-based weapons. According to some, the country has vigorously pursued sea-based nuclear missiles for years — but before Monday’s test it had only launched nuclear missiles from land and air-based platforms.

“It’s the completion of our triad, which is important,” one senior government official told the FT.

India is pursuing a sea-based nuclear deterrent “largely to keep up with China while Pakistan is attempting to follow suit”, according to Walter Ladwig, a lecturer in international relations at King’s College, London.

“If Pakistan could succeed in developing a successful and survivable submarine-based deterrent, it could, in theory, assuage a lot of their concerns about pre-emption by India,” he said. “However, it also creates opportunities for more mistakes and accidents.”

Shashank Joshi, a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “If Pakistan fears that India may aspire to destroying Pakistan’s nukes on the ground, thereby undercutting mutual deterrence, then it makes sense to put weapons at sea, where they are more survivable.”

But he added: “This would come with a huge price tag.”

Pakistan’s test comes two weeks after India test-fired its long range ballistic missile Agni-V, which has a range of more than 5,000km.

India is also well ahead in developing an at-sea missile system, having test-launched a cruise missile from a submarine in 2013.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has stepped up its spending on armed forces in recent years. In 2015, Pakistan formally reached an agreement with China for the latter to supply the Pakistan navy with eight new submarines, the country’s largest defence contract in value terms.

A spokesman for the Indian army did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Closer To Nuclear Second-Strike Capability After Sub Missile Test


Second strike capability means that even if a full-on surprise nuclear barrage were to knock out a country’s nuclear weapons capability, that country still has the ability to make their attacker pay dearly via a retaliatory nuclear attack. It is considered the pinnacle of nuclear deterrent strategies.

Pakistan’s Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) that was tested just weeks ago in the Indian Ocean is an evolution of the land-based Babur-2. The Babur series of cruise missiles were developed partially via reverse engineering US Navy BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles that crashed in Pakistan in 1998. The first and second land-based versions offered just another layer of attack capability for the Pakistani military, but the submarine-launched Babur-3’s strategic significance is far greater.

Pakistani military officials claim that the sea-skimming Babur-3 has a 280 miles range and is highly accurate. The missile will likely end up on Pakistan’s three French-designed Agosta 90B class—locally known as the Khalid class—diesel-electric submarines.

These 2,000 ton displacement submarines are quite advanced and are built for open-ocean missions. They can stay submerged for multiple days at a time via their MESMA air independent propulsion (AIP) system. Normal weaponry for the type includes SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles and 533mm torpedoes.

With the Babur 3’s supposed range of just under 300 miles, and with just three submarines assigned to the task of deploying them (eventually), Pakistan’s fledgling ability to deliver a second strike on an enemy state is quite limited, but it may still be credible. It remains unclear if Pakistan will keep one boat at sea at all times or if they will train to surge-deploy at a moment's notice. Other operational questions remain as well, including what type of command and control interface will be used to authorize a submarine originated nuclear strike.

A second strike deterrent is largely achieved by deploying nuclear submarines loaded with nuclear-warhead laden submarine-launched ballistic missiles, but the use of nuclear-tipped cruise missiles aboard small diesel-electric submarines as a “poor man’s” second strike capability is not new. Israel has put the concept to use, leveraging their increasingly capable Dolphin class diesel-electric submarines loaded with nuclear-tipped Popeye Turbo cruise missiles. Other countries may be looking at deploying similar concepts in the future.

Although still a far cry from India’s 6,000 ton displacement Arihant class nuclear ballistic missile submarines (one is service and three others planned) and the short-range K-15 or medium-range K-4 ballistic missiles they carry, Pakistan’s nuclear armed Agosta class boats at least get the country in the second strike game, but in a very minimal way.

The Indian Navy’s anti-submarine capability is credible, and their submarine fleet includes multiple diesel-electric submarines of different origin, as wells a Russian Akula II class nuclear fast attack boat. So keeping an eye on Pakistan’s tiny Agosta 90B fleet will be possible, although it is not clear what level of confidence the Indian Navy has that they can always keep the boats in their own submarines’ crosshairs. Not just that, but even attempting to do so will tie up valuable assets that could better be assigned to deterring other regional nuclear powers, like China.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan successfully tests #Ababeel, 2200 Km range #nuclear-capable #missile that can deliver multiple war heads


Pakistan on Tuesday conducted a successful test flight of the Ababeel surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSM), the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

Ababeel has a maximum range of 2,200 kilometres and is capable of delivering multiple warheads using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology, an ISPR press release added.

"The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system," it said.

Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating hostile radars, the ISPR elaborated.

"The development of the Ababeel weapon system was aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan's ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment," read the press release.

The Ababeel test came on the heels of a successful test of submarine-launched cruise missile Babur-III earlier this month.

"The successful attainment of a second strike capability by Pakistan represents a major scientific milestone; it is manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighborhood," the military had said after the Babur-III test.

The missile, launched from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean from an underwater, mobile platform, had hit its target with precise accuracy, the Army had said.

Babur-III is a sea-based variant of ground-launched cruise missile Babur-II, which was successfully tested in December last year.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan steps up #missile tests to counter #India #defence push https://www.ft.com/content/a66fdc8c-e6b1-11e6-893c-082c54a7f539 … via @FT

Pakistan is ramping up nuclear missile tests in response to India’s drive to modernise its armed forces, increasing already heightened tensions between the two countries, military and political analysts warn.

Islamabad last week conducted its first flight test of the surface-to-surface Ababeel missile, which has a range of 2,200km and which officials and analysts say marks a significant step forward in the country’s ability to target locations in India. The move followed Pakistan’s first ballistic missile launch from a submarine earlier this month.

“Taken together, these tests prove Pakistan’s ability to go for an outright war if war is imposed on us,” a senior Pakistani foreign ministry official told the Financial Times.

Relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours have been tense ever since the partition that followed independence from Britain in 1947. They have fought three major wars, largely for control of the disputed state of Kashmir.


“If Pakistan has a ‘second-strike’ capability, it could make it more assertive and potentially more willing to launch a first attack against India,” said Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, senior fellow for South Asia at the International institute for Strategic Studies.

Pakistani officials last week warned they were ready to use nuclear weapons against India in the event of an invasion by its neighbour. This followed an admission by Bipin Rawat, head of the Indian army, that the country had a plan to send troops across the border if it suffered a terror attack believed to originate in Pakistan.


Tariq Rauf, head of the disarmament programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said Pakistan’s response was a reaction to the build-up of India’s conventional military forces.

“If you look at deployment of India’s forces which can seize and hold territory, 75 per cent of the forces are within reach of the border [with Pakistan],” he said.

Ikram Sehgal, a prominent Pakistani commentator on defence and security affairs, said: “Pakistan cannot match India’s planned spending on conventional arms. The route that Pakistan is taking is to build up its strategic forces for a credible response if the Indians ever cross over [into Pakistan].”

After its submarine-based missile test, Islamabad said: “The successful attainment of a second-strike capability by Pakistan represents a major scientific milestone. It is manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighbourhood.”

An official described the Ababeel missile — the first in Pakistan’s arsenal able to launch multiple warheads at different targets — “the successful completion of our deterrence”.

While most experts believe the threat of nuclear war between the two neighbours remains low, some warn about the risks of an accident caused by trigger-happy military leaders.

“Unlike the old days when the Soviet Union and the United States did not share a common border, India and Pakistan share a land border,” said one senior western diplomat with responsibility for monitoring the two militaries. “The risk of one side accidentally going to war is higher.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Asia's quiet #superpower: #Pakistan Army’s teetering balance between #Saudi and #Iran https://shar.es/1Ufb30 via @MiddleEastEye

By Kamal Alam, Visiting Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, UK

When one thinks of the Pakistan Army, one does not instinctively think of a force that is relevant to conflicts in the Middle East. Yet increasingly – and without actually being involved in any operations - it is the most influential military in the region.

Who will lead the Islamic NATO, a new Saudi-led, terrorist-fighting military alliance? None other than Pakistan’s General Raheel Sharif
It has trained more Arab armies than any other country and has been present both in a combat role in the Arab-Israeli wars in 1967 and 1973 and also provided mentorship as the Gulf countries' armies were founded.

This is mostly thanks to the legacy of the British Indian Army, which was one-third Muslim, and which the British relied on to pacify the hostility of Arab Muslims when it marched through Jerusalem, Damascus and Baghdad. After India’s partition in 1947, these troops became the founders of the Pakistan military and thus began a long relationship that exists to this day.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi army, and Iran’s rising influence across the Middle East, the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, have looked to Pakistan as the final guarantor.

When the current Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Bajwa recently stated that Pakistan views Saudi Arabia’s protection as its own, it was seen as an indirect warning to Iran and the terrorist groups threatening Saudi Arabia.

And who will lead the "Islamic NATO", a new Saudi-led, terrorist-fighting military alliance? None other than Pakistan’s General Raheel Sharif.

Surprise announcements

Though it was rumoured for a good year before his retirement, when Defence Minister Khwaja Asif confirmed Sharif’s appointment to the "Muslim NATO" a few weeks ago, it came as a surprise to the Pakistani parliament in much the same way as the announcement two years ago that Pakistan was to participate in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

There was a furore in the GCC when, after the surprise announcement, the Pakistani military eventually refused the role in Yemen in 2015. The UAE even cancelled visa waivers for Pakistani military officials, a process that had existed for decades, while leading Kuwait and Saudi state-owned media attacked Pakistan and how it had back-stabbed its "brothers" in the Gulf.

Pakistan itself was split down the middle over Yemen. The majority of the military was apparently in favour of the army’s participation. However, given Operation Zarb e Azb, in which the army was targeting cross-border violence and domestic terrorist groups on the Afghan border in North Waziristan, the military was overstretched fighting its own war on terror.

Ultimately, Pakistan did not take part in Yemen with troops on the ground, but did provide border support to guard Saudi sovereignty and offer advice during the air campaign.

However, two years down the line, with Pakistan military’s operations winding down in the northwest of its country, there is increased stability within the army and, tactically speaking, troops are now available. So the question of a more active role for Pakistan in Yemen may arise again.

One of the main reasons Saudi Arabia is going back to Pakistan for help, despite its previous refusal in Yemen, is that Pakistan and General Raheel Sharif himself warned that ground operations in Yemen were futile given the terrain, and proximity to the sea making impractical the use of the hammer and anvil tactic - and they were proven right.

While Pakistan will definitely not put troops in Yemen (Sharif has made that clear), the army can help by mediating conflict resolution mechanisms it used with success in Waziristan and Swat Valley.

Riaz Haq said...

MIT's Vipin Narang: #India prepared to use #nuclear weapons against #Pakistan first. #NFU #nukes


A day after Business Standard reported a new approach in New Delhi strategic circles to India’s use of nuclear weapons (Click here to read the article), the influential Washington D.C. think tank, Carnegie Endowment, discussed the same issue --- the possibility of an Indian “first strike” to defang Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

At the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference on Monday, a prestigious annual event at which important strategic policy chances are often signalled, a discussion took place on whether India was moving away from massive counter-value retaliation (i.e. nuking towns and cities) to counter-force targeting (i.e. nuking enemy nuclear forces and command structures).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, Vipin Narang, outlined a scenario in which a Pakistan-backed terrorist strike on India killed scores of civilians. New Delhi mobilised its three strike corps and attacked Pakistan. With the armour-heavy 21 Corps bludgeoning along, Pakistan ordered a “demonstration” strike with tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) --- its short-range Nasr missile batteries --- as a nuclear warning to India. New Delhi’s response, according to traditional Indian nuclear doctrine would then be “massive counter-value retaliation against Pakistani cities, leaving aside how credible or incredible that might be.”

But then Narang sprung the surprise. “There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first. And that India’s opening salvo may not be conventional strikes trying to pick off just Nasr batteries in the theatre, but a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage in… tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction.”

Narang pointed out that this dramatic change did not surface from “fringe voices”, but from former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon in his new book; and former chief of India’s strategic forces command, Lieutenant General B S Nagal, both of whom have questioned India’s traditional “massive counter-value retaliation”.

Narang pointed to a possible “decoupling” of Indian nuclear strategy vis-a-vis China and Pakistan. While retaining NFU and massive counter-value retaliation against China, New Delhi was considering a disarming counter-force strike against Pakistan.

Also in question was India’s longstanding “no first use” (NFU) policy, with Narang pointing out that it had been questioned at least four times already. First, India’s official nuclear doctrine, published in 2003, officially eroded the sanctity of NFU by invoking nuclear use against chemical or biological weapons. Second, in November, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar stated (later clarified to be in his personal capacity): “India should not declare whether it has a NFU policy”. Third, General Nagal, in his writings questioned the morality of NFU, asking whether it was possible for India’s leadership to accept huge casualties by restraining its hand well knowing that Pakistan was about to use nuclear weapons.

Fourth, Menon undermines NFU’s sanctity with this paragraph in his book: “There is a potential grey area as to when India would use nuclear weapons first against another NWS (nuclear weapons state). Circumstances are conceivable in which India might find it useful to strike first, for instance, against an NWS that had declared it would certainly use its weapons, and if India were certain that adversary’s launch was imminent.”

Said Narang at Carnegie: “Indian leaders can disavow all of this as personal opinions, but when a sitting defence minister, former Strategic Forces commander, and highly respected NSA all question the sanctity of NFU, it all starts to add up.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India, Long at Odds With #Pakistan, May Use #Nuclear First Strikes Against Neighbor


India may be reinterpreting its nuclear weapons doctrine, circumstantial evidence suggests, with potentially significant ramifications for the already tenuous nuclear balance in South Asia.

New assessments suggest that India is considering allowing for pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan’s arsenal in the event of a war. This would not formally change India’s nuclear doctrine, which bars it from launching a first strike, but would loosen its interpretation to deem pre-emptive strikes as defensive.

It would also change India’s likely targets, in the event of a war, to make a nuclear exchange more winnable and, therefore, more thinkable.

Analysts’ assessments, based on recent statements by senior Indian officials, are necessarily speculative. States with nuclear weapons often leave ambiguity in their doctrines to prevent adversaries from exploiting gaps in their proscriptions and to preserve flexibility. But signs of a strategic adjustment in India are mounting.

This comes against a backdrop of long-simmering tensions between India and Pakistan — including over state-sponsored terrorism and the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir — which have already led to several wars, the most recent in 1999.

The new interpretation would be a significant shift in India’s posture that could have far-reaching implications in the region, even if war never comes. Pakistan could feel compelled to expand its arsenal to better survive a pre-emptive strike, in turn setting off an Indian buildup.

This would be more than an arms race, said Vipin Narang, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies nuclear powers.

“It’s very scary because all the ‘first-strike instability’ stuff is real,” Mr. Narang said, referring to a dynamic in which two nuclear adversaries both perceive a strong incentive to use their warheads first in a war. This is thought to make nuclear conflict more likely.

Hidden in Plain Sight

Hints of a high-level Indian debate over the nuclear doctrine mounted with a recent memoir by Shivshankar Menon, India’s national security adviser from 2011 to 2014.

“There is a potential gray area as to when India would use nuclear weapons first” against a nuclear-armed adversary, Mr. Menon wrote.

India, he added, “might find it useful to strike first” against an adversary that appeared poised to launch or that “had declared it would certainly use its weapons” — most likely a veiled reference to Pakistan.

Mr. Narang presented the quotations, along with his interpretation, in Washington last week, during a major nuclear policy conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first,” he told a gathering of international government officials and policy experts.

Mr. Menon’s book, he said, “clearly carves out an exception for pre-emptive Indian first use in the very scenario that is most likely to occur in South Asia.”

The passage alone does not prove a policy shift. But in context alongside other developments, it suggests either that India has quietly widened its strategic options or that officials are hoping to stir up just enough ambiguity to deter its adversaries.

After Mr. Narang’s presentation generated attention in the South Asian news media, Mr. Menon told an Indian columnist, “India’s nuclear doctrine has far greater flexibility than it gets credit for.”

Mr. Menon declined an interview request for this article. When told what the article would say, he did not challenge its assertions. India’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Whether these signals indicate a real shift or a strategic feint, analysts believe they are intended to right a strategic imbalance that has been growing for almost a decade.

Riaz Haq said...

#India, Long at Odds With #Pakistan, May Use #Nuclear First Strikes Against Neighbor


Use It or Lose It

Shashank Joshi, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said he suspected that Mr. Menon was signaling something subtler: a warning that India’s strategy could adapt in wartime, potentially to include first strikes.

That distinction may be important to Indian officials, but it could be lost on Pakistani war planners who have to consider all scenarios.

Mr. Joshi, in a policy brief for the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, tried to project what would happen if India embraced such a policy, or if Pakistan concluded that it had.

First would come the arms race.

The fear of a first strike, Mr. Joshi wrote, “incentivizes Pakistan to undertake a massive nuclear buildup, in order to dispel any possibility of India disarming it entirely.”

India, whatever its strategy, would feel compelled to keep pace.

Second comes the tightening of nuclear tripwires, Mr. Joshi warned, as “this reciprocal fear of first use could pull each side in the direction of placing nuclear forces on hair-trigger alert.”

Finally, in any major armed crisis, the logic of a first strike would pull both sides toward nuclear escalation.

“If Pakistan thinks India will move quickly, Pakistan has an incentive to go even quicker, and to escalate straight to the use of the longer-range weapons,” Mr. Joshi wrote.

This thinking would apply to India as well, creating a situation in which the nuclear arsenal becomes, as analysts dryly put it, “use it or lose it.”

‘That Can Blow Back Real Quick’

The most optimistic scenario would lock South Asia in a state of mutually assured destruction, like that of the Cold War, in which armed conflict would so reliably escalate to nuclear devastation that both sides would deem war unthinkable.

This would be of global concern. A 2008 study found that, although India and Pakistan have relatively small arsenals, a full nuclear exchange would push a layer of hot, black smoke into the atmosphere.

This would produce what some researchers call without hyperbole “a decade without summer.” As crops failed worldwide, the resulting global famine would kill a billion people, the study estimated.

But nuclear analysts worry that South Asia’s dynamics would make any state of mutually assured destruction less stable than that of the Cold War.

For one thing, Pakistani leaders view even conventional war with India as an existential threat, making them more willing to accept nuclear risks. For another, a large-scale terrorist attack in India could be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as Pakistan-sponsored, potentially inciting war. The disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, where conflict sometimes boils over, adds a troubling layer of volatility.

“Maybe it is this Reaganesque strategy,” Mr. Narang said, comparing India’s potential strategic shift to President Ronald Reagan’s arms race with the Soviet Union. “But Pakistan has a much bigger security problem than the Soviet Union did. And that can blow back real quick.”

Riaz Haq said...

The Risks of Pakistan's Sea-Based Nuclear Weapons
The Babur-3 opens a dangerous era for Pakistan’s nuclear forces.

By Ankit Panda
October 13, 2017


Nine days into 2017, Pakistan carried out the first-ever flight test of the Babur-3, it’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). A variant of the Babur-3 ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), this SLCM will see Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent head to sea—probably initially aboard its Agosta 90B and Agosta 70 submarines, but eventually, perhaps even on board new Type 041 Yuan-class submarines Pakistan is expected to procure from China.

In a new article in the Fall 2017 issue of the Washington Quarterly, Christopher Clary and I examine some of the novel security challenges Pakistan may experience with its sea-based deterrent. It is already well known that Pakistan has outpaced it’s primary rival, India, in terms of its nuclear stockpile growth.

On land, low-yield systems, like the Nasr, have also raised concerns of a lower nuclear-use threshold in South Asia. The move to sea can have some positive effects on overall strategic stability; indeed, the perceived survivability of a sea-based deterrent can abate so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” pressures for Pakistan’s land-based forces. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Sea-based weapons can aggravate crisis stability concerns in the India-Pakistan dyad and present unique command-and-control challenges for Pakistan, which may be required to place these weapons at a higher level of readiness during peacetime. Finally, Pakistan’s internal security environment will remain a concern with a submarine-based deterrent. The threat of theft and sabotage may be greater in the case of Pakistan’s sea-based weapons than it is for its land-based forces. In aggregate, we argue that the sea-based deterrent may, on balance, prove detrimental to Pakistan’s security.

Pakistan, like other nuclear states, employs a range of physical and procedural safeguards to ensure that its nuclear weapons are only used in a crisis and a with a valid order from the country’s National Command Authority (NCA). The introduction of a nuclear-capable SLCM aboard its Agosta submarines would necessitate the erosion of some of these safeguards.

For instance, some physical safeguards that Pakistan is known to use for its land-based weapons — including partially dissembled storage, separation of triggers and pits, and de-mated storage — would be impractical at sea. Meanwhile, the experience of other nuclear states, like the United Kingdom, with sea-based deterrents suggests that sea-based nuclear weapons generally see fewer use impediments. Pakistan has long asserted that its nuclear command-and-control is highly centralized, but it remains doubtful that this would remain true for its small nuclear-capable submarine force in wartime or a crisis. The temptation to pre-delegate use authorization may be too great.

Similarly, Indian forces, unable to discriminate whether a detected Pakistani submarine in a crisis was fielding nuclear or conventional capabilities, would have to presume nuclear capability should the Babur-3 see deployment. All of this in turn not only would make Pakistan’s submarine force a prime early-crisis target for Indian forces, but also aggravate use-or-lose pressures for land-based forces.

Ultimately, even if India resisted attacking Pakistani submarines to avoid unintended escalatory pressures, it would at least see value in targeting the Very Low Frequency (VLF) radar facility established at Karachi in November 2016 that would allow Pakistan’s NCA to communicate with its at-sea deterrent in a crisis. This would require some confidence in New Delhi that Pakistan had not pre-delegated use authorization and that Islamabad’s sea-based weapons would still require the transmission of a use-authorization code from the NCA.

Riaz Haq said...

Securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets

By Zamir AkramPublished: October 13, 2017


From Pakistan’s perspective, the greater threat to its nuclear assets has always been from the US or the Indians, rather than terrorists, and has taken robust measures to protect the safety and security of these assets. Accordingly, for Pakistan ensuring nuclear security is vital for ensuring national security. Had there been a window of vulnerability, the Americans would already have tried to penetrate it.


The Indian air chief’s recent boast about striking Pakistan’s nuclear installations has been dismissed by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif with the contempt that it deserves. Not only is this threat contrary to the Pakistan-India agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities but is nonsensical as Pakistan’s nuclear assets are not vulnerable to such an attack and would definitely invite a befitting response.

These Indian fulminations are encouraged by the negative American narrative about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, repeated most recently in President Trump’s South Asia policy speech. It is an open secret that the US has contingency places to de-nuclearise Pakistan ever since the start of its strategic programme. After 9/11, the American narrative has alleged the threat of terrorists or extremist “insiders” taking over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons which would have to be “neutralised” before that happens. More recently, with the development of Pakistan’s low-yield or so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons to negate India’s Cold Start doctrine, the Americans allege that these weapons, when deployed in the field, would be vulnerable to terrorist takeover or lack effective command and control. Actually, such allegations are more in response to Pakistan’s rejection of American demands to accept unilateral restraints on its strategic deterrence efforts in response to the growing Indian conventional and nuclear threat rather than any credible terrorist or insider threat.


Pakistan has successfully defied American discrimination and intimidation. It is also cognisant of the emerging threats posed by cyber and electronic warfare, which require effective fire-walls and countervailing measures that have been put in place as part of the full-spectrum effort for the safety and security of our strategic assets.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan successfully tests #submarine launched #cruise #missile #Babur. Adds credible deterrence with 2nd strike #nuclear capability. #India


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Navy on March 29 announced that it has successfully test-fired a cruise missile that is capable of being launched from a submarine. Defence experts believe that it has brought Pakistan closer to India, its main rival.


The Pakistani Navy revealed that the missile launched was the submarine version of ‘Babur’ missile and was test fired from an underground platform with a range of striking at 450 kms. They also revealed that the missile can carry various payloads and has enhanced its nuclear second-strike capability.

This is the second test of a missile of Babur class. The first test was reported in January last year and international defence analysts believe that this class of missiles was built by the inputs provided by the Chinese and Ukrainian navies.

The cruise missiles have a peculiar advantage over ballistic missiles. The former are smaller and hence can be launched from the torperdo tubes of the submarines. This could be the reason why Pakistan has started to modify its existing fleet of three French-designed Agosta-98 submarines. These Babur class missiles can also be launched by eight diesel-electric submarines that Pakistan is buying from China.

The test has raised serious concerns in New Delhi as the missile’s low-altitude profile makes it best for ‘sneak’ attacks along India’s vast coastline. This has also raised an alarm over Indian Navy’s depleting fleet of submarines and the nearly-obsolete anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The Indian Navy still uses the outdated British Sea King helicopters for scanning the seas and launching quick attacks. These almost 50-years-old helicopters need to be replaced soon as they are an important part of the AWS capability.

Riaz Haq said...

Could China Help Pakistan Make Its Nuclear Arsenal Even Deadlier?


Testifying before Congress in March, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency director Robert Ashley confirmed that “In January 2017, Pakistan conducted the first test launch of its nuclear-capable Ababeel ballistic missile, demonstrating South Asia’s first MIRV payload.”

Analysts believe Pakistan’s MIRV technology has yet to be perfected, but the latest acquisition of a Chinese optical system will significantly aid development.

In missile testing, optical systems consist of specialized telescopes equipped with a high-speed camera, infrared detector, laser ranger, and a tracking system that captures and follows targets. With this system, missile designers are able to view high-resolution images from each stage of the missile including launch, separation, re-entry and the release of warheads.

The Chinese system that Pakistan acquired is unique for its four telescope units. Each unit is placed at a different location to capture highly detailed and accurate images from multiple angles. With multiple warheads, the additional telescopes allow the system to more easily track each warhead simultaneously.

Rong Jili, Beijing Institute of Technology’s School of Aerospace Engineering’s deputy director, explained that high-quality optics are especially critical in the development of MIRVs. While radar and other tracking systems can collect more precise data at long distances, optical systems provide direct feedback.

“Seeing it with our own eyes is completely different from mining dry data. It helps to not only diagnose problems, but also generate inspiration,” Rong told the South China Morning Post.

A Chinese team spent three months in Pakistan assembling the system and training locals on how to use it.

China has long partnered with Pakistan, covertly assisting the nation in developing nuclear weapons during the Cold War. More recently, China has helped Pakistan develop several nuclear reactors and regularly sells the nation fighter jets, submarines, short-range missiles and unmanned drones.

In 2017, Pakistan bolstered its air defenses by spending $373 million on Chinese anti-air missiles to ward off Indian jets.

Riaz Haq said...

The Link Between Space Launch and Missile Technology
March 16, 2000 By Gary Milhollin
Presentation at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
Honolulu, Hawaii


In 1963, NASA began the Indian rocket program. NASA launched a U.S. sounding rocket from India’s first test range, which the United States helped design. We also trained the first groups of Indian rocket scientists. NASA invited them to NASA’s Wallops Island test site located southeast of Washington, DC in Virginia.

While at NASA, Mr. A.P. Kalam, a member of the Indian delegation, learned about the U.S. Scout rocket, which was being flown at Wallops Island. The Scout was the only four-stage, solid-fueled, small payload space launcher in the world. Indian engineers saw the Scout’s blueprints during their visit. Two years later, the head of India’s Atomic Energy Commission asked NASA for design information about the Scout. Mr. Kalam then proceeded to build India’s first big rocket, the SLV-3, which became the only other four-stage, solid-fueled, small payload space launcher in the world. It was an exact copy of the Scout. The first stage of the Scout then became the first stage of India’s first large ballistic missile, the Agni-I. The Agni-I’s second stage was liquid-fueled, and was based on a surface-to-air missile called the SA-2 that India bought from Russia.

France also helped India master liquid-fuel technology by selling India the technology used to build the “Viking” engine used on the Ariane space launcher. India calls its version the “Vikas.” The Agni also needed a guidance system. The German Space Agency obliged with a long tutorial in rocket guidance, which allowed India to develop a guidance system and learn how to produce its components (gyroscopes, accelerometers and so forth). The German Space Agency also tested a model of the first stage of the SLV-3 in one of its wind tunnels in Cologne and helped India build its own rocket test facilities. Germany also trained Indians in how to make composite materials.


The story in Pakistan is similar. NASA launched Pakistan’s first rocket in 1962. Pakistan’s project was also led by the head of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission. We must wonder what was going through NASA’s mind at this time – it keeps getting requests for space cooperation from the heads of atomic energy commissions. Apparently NASA thought this was normal. NASA also trained Pakistani rocket scientists at Wallops Island, and launched rockets in Pakistan until 1970.


We can see that our cooperation with India and Pakistan was a mistake. Both countries are now making nuclear missiles.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan allocates US$40.7m to #space agency for 2018-19 for satellite development PakNav for navigation, PakSat communication, Remote sensing defense apps http://www.spacetechasia.com/pakistan-allocates-us40-7m-to-space-agency-for-2018-19/ … via @SpaceTech Asia

Pakistan, in its latest budget released on 27 April 2018, has allocated PKR4.7 billion (~US$40.7 million) to Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organisation (SUPARCO). This is a 34% jump over the previous year’s budget allocation.

According to a report by Dawn News, this year’s budget includes PKR2.55 billion (~US$22 million) for three new programs:

US$11.7 million for Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat- MM1) dedicated to live satellite television, broadband data transmission and emergency telecommunications services.
US$8.7 million for three “Pakistan Space Centre” sites in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
US$1.7 million for the establishment of a “Space Application Research Centre” in Karachi.
The intention is to reduce reliance on foreign entities and satellites and develop indigenous capabilities and because of the “changing scenario in the region” [presumably in the geopolitical sense] according to the Dawn News report.

Riaz Haq said...

Two #Pakistani #Satellites launched into orbit by #China: #Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-1) for day/night surveillance, PakTES-1A satellite, a scientific experiment satellite designed and developed by #Pakistan #space agency #SUPARCO


China launched twice July 9, with an early Long March 2C launch of two satellites for Pakistan into low Earth orbit being followed up with a Long March 3A mission to back up China’s Beidou navigation satellite system.

The first launch saw the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-1) lofted from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in a desert region of Gansu province, northwest China, at 03:56 UTC July 9 (11:56 p.m. Eastern July 8).

The optical satellite was put into a 588 by 624 kilometer orbit inclined by 98 degrees by the Long March 2C/SMA configuration which uses an upper stage.

PRSS-1 was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and is based on a CAST-2000 satellite bus. Its imaging system provides panchromatic and multispectral imaging at 1-meter and 4-meter resolution, respectively, with a swarth width of around 60 kilometers.

It will be used for land and resources surveying, monitoring of natural disasters, agriculture research, urban construction and providing remote-sensing information for the establishment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and in the Belt and Road initiative, according to Chinese state media.

PRSS-1 was accompanied by the smaller PakTES-1A satellite, a scientific experiment satellite designed and developed by Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).

CAST is a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the Chinese space program, which also provided the launch service. CAST also stated it provided training to Pakistan personnel as part of the satellite package, with SUPARCO to operate PRSS-1 after on-orbit delivery.

China has in recent years adopted a strategy of offering turnkey projects which include satellite manufacture and launch as well as possible financing mechanisms. The country has launched communications and other satellites for countries including Belarus, Laos, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nigeria.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s first remote sensing #satellite and Pakistan’s indigenous #Technology Evaluation Satellite (PakTES-1A) have become fully operational, according to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. #space


The satellites were successfully launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, China on July 9, 2018.

The planning, development and reform ministry shared the news on its social media: “After the successful tests in the orbit, the #satellites are fully operational and today, the control of PRSS-1 Satellite has been successfully transferred to Ground Control Stations in #Pakistan!”

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" https://www.news18.com/news/india/no-one-should-doubt-our-capabilities-pakistan-says-ins-arihant-deployment-shows-indias-bellicose-posturing-1933439.html

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.

Riaz Haq said...

Massive Global Cost of #India-#Pakistan #Nuclear War. Far away from #SouthAsia, 1 to 2 billion people will die from starvation cased by the nuclear winter following nuclear exchange between the two countries. https://youtu.be/O0ZPt60sZ0s via @YouTube

Riaz Haq said...

What exactly is behind Pakistan’s much-discussed low-yield Nasr? And how might it be used?

By Aditya Ramanathan and Kunaal Kini
May 07, 2019


Like China, Pakistan started out by making implosion bombs based on highly enriched uranium (HEU). (In these bombs, a conventional explosive compresses the fissile core into a supercritical mass.) Pakistan’s 1998 nuclear tests were based on such designs. But for smaller warheads like the Nasr’s, (Brig Feroz Hasan) Khan believes Pakistani scientists will “likely use a plutonium warhead with an implosion assembly.” The NIAS study similarly concludes that a variant – the plutonium-based linear implosion device – is best suited for the slim profile of the Nasr missile.

However, as the authors of the NIAS study note, there are two problems with this approach. First, since the linear variant needs twice the amount of fissile material as a spherical implosion system, Pakistan would run out of its estimated plutonium stock (as of 2013) after producing just 12 warheads. Second, any such device would be untested.

An alternative for Pakistan is to reject the implosion system altogether and produce a simple gun-type HEU device – essentially a highly miniaturized version of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Such a device would need no testing and could be fitted into the Nasr. It would, however, go against the deeply-ingrained preference for implosion devices among Pakistan’s weapon-makers.

Whatever its design options, Pakistan may also be facing greater constraints on its supply of fissile material than previously thought. While previous estimates put Pakistan’s arsenal size in 2018 at 140-150 warheads (and growing at the rate of about 10 warheads a year), a recent assessment suggests Pakistan’s dwindling domestic supply of uranium will limit its nuclear arsenal size to between 112 and 156 weapons. While such studies are necessarily speculative, it’s likely Pakistan will be forced to make hard choices when it allocates weapons-grade material among its growing array of missiles.

Considering the Cold War Experience

Pakistan could adopt more than one pathway toward miniaturizing a Nasr warhead, but how long would the process take? Information about the current state of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is scarce, but U.S. and Soviet efforts at miniaturization during the early years of the Cold War provide some indications.

In 1949, the United States began a project to develop nuclear artillery for battlefield use. Just four years later, a 280 mm cannon fired a shell with the new W-9 warhead, which airburst 10 kilometres away, with a yield of about 15 kilotons. The W-9 was a simple gun-type HEU fission device. Over the next decade, the United States would produce even smaller nuclear artillery, including a tiny plutonium linear implosion warhead that could be fired from a standard 155 mm artillery piece.

The Soviets took longer to miniaturize. After they became a nuclear power in 1949, the Soviets struggled to catch up with the U.S. atomic artillery program, only producing small warheads in the early 1960s. By then, new nuclear-capable artillery rockets like the Luna-M had already superseded atomic cannons.

Considering these time scales of 4-15 years, could Pakistan have developed a miniaturized device for the Nasr between the first indications of Cold Start in 2004 and the present?

In developing a miniaturized warhead, the Pakistanis would have enjoyed two principal advantages over their Cold War counterparts. One, they would have had a head start, having worked on warhead designs since the 1970s. Khan notes that between 1983 and 1995, Pakistan carried out at least 24 “cold tests” of their nuclear devices (in which the bomb is detonated minus the fissile core).

Riaz Haq said...

Importance Of Nuclear Submarines For Pakistan – OpEd
July 2, 2019 Anjum Sarfraz*


A submarine is a very powerful platform, because of its stealth features and ability to operate covertly. It plays vital role in naval warfare and as a strategic weapon carrier. It can operate under water for a considerable duration, hence cannot be easily detected; therefore it has become an essential constituent of modern navies.

Submarines (subs) are of four types, which differ mainly because of their propulsion system and weapons carried on board. Diesel powered attack submarines (SSK) while on surface use diesel engines for propulsion, and while traversing under water it runs on batteries which have limited endurance. To recharge, conventional subs have to come up to periscope depth for snorkeling very often, keeping in view battery conditions. It is very vulnerable while snorkeling; chances of detection by Anti-Submarine Warfare Forces (ASW) like maritime patrol aircraft, helicopter, and surface platforms are very high. It is relevant to mention that subs have no weapons against the aircrafts.

The endurance of SSKs has been increased by installing Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system. This allows additional submerged time and is particularly useful during evasion and transiting through areas of concentrated ASW activities. The advent of this technology has enhanced the submerged endurance but is still restricted in speed. The maximum speed is around 15 knots but it moves 3-5 knots while submerged to conserve batteries. These generate very less noise, hence difficult to detect.

Maximum operating depth is around 300 meters and tonnage 1000 to 3500. Weapons carried are anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes and sea mines. Also carry medium range (800Km) anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles. Next generation is nuclear propelled attack subs (SSN), nuclear powered guided missiles (SSGN) and nuclear powered ballistic missile carrying subs (SSBN). These have a nuclear power plant for propulsion with almost unlimited endurance, speed around 30 knots on surface as well as submerged, and maximum operating depth more than 500 meters. These are much heavier and noisy as compared to conventional subs. The displacement is from 4000 to 18000 tones. These are designed to remain deployed for much longer duration; only human fatigue is the restrictions. The main role of SSNs and SSGNs is to operate as ASW platforms for a carrier task force and convoy support operations.


It is obvious that Indian navy has sufficient knowledge of construction and operation of nuclear subs. PN has two Agosta and 3 Agosta 90 B (Khalid class) subs with AIP system. Two have been built in Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW). These have medium range land attack cruise missiles with nuclear warhead. In addition order for 8 latest versions of Chinese conventional subs with AIP system has been placed. Four will be built in Pakistan in KSEW. However, for long range land attack missiles and sustained deployment PN needs to have at least two nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles. Keeping in view Indian second strike capability, our government needs to start the project at the earliest. In the meantime PN may actively consider sending their officers and sailors to China or Russia for training on their nuclear submarines.

Riaz Haq said...

The Rocket & Satellite Company, #Pakistan’s First Private Space Company, Is Ready To Launch. It will offer low-cost solutions in three main areas: space launch systems, satellite manufacturing, and ground segment as a service. #Space #Satellites #Rockets https://spacewatch.global/?p=22477

Pakistan’s first private space company, The Rocket & Satellite Company Limited, announced this week that it has registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Government of Pakistan.

The company announced that it will offer low-cost solutions in three main areas: space launch systems, satellite manufacturing, and ground segment as a service. In the long-term, the company plans to offer solutions in the areas of space debris and in-orbit satellite servicing to increase satellite life.

The Rocket & Satellite Company Limited’s space debris solution will reduce the risk of satellite and spacecraft in-space collisions due to space debris, saving significant money for space-based companies. Its focus will be to provide low cost space technology and provide solutions for the issue of space debris through the combined use of artificial intelligence (AI) and space tech.

Additionally, the the company will address in-orbit servicing to increase the lifespan of a satellite by providing platform for scientists, engineers, professionals, and students to offer their skills and serve space industries, ensuring the best solutions for the betterment of humanity.

The Rocket & Satellite Company Limited is based in Karachi and led by CEO Sami Ullah Khan. Further information is available on the company’s website, as well as its social media presence on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s Successful Test Of 2,750-kilometer Shaheen-III #Missile: It can reach the farthest points of #India specially the Nicobar & Andaman Islands in Bay of Bengal. Its successful tests and flights open up the possibility of #space exploration– OpEd https://www.eurasiareview.com/18022021-pakistans-successful-test-of-shaheen-iii-missile-achieving-full-spectrum-deterrence-oped/

Quite recently, in January 2021, Pakistan has conducted a successful flight test of Shaheen-III ballistic missile, capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional payloads. It was first tested in 2015 and said to have a range of 2,750 kilometers. This enables it to reach the farthest points of India specially the Nicobar and Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. These Islands hold great strategic significance for India since they are believed to provide assured land-based second-strike options to India.

Similarly, they are also critical for Indian missile testing. Shaheen-III is a medium-range surface-to-surface two staged solid fueled missile equipped with Post Separation Altitude Correction (PSAC) system. Being a solid-fueled missile enables rapid response capability and PSAC allows it to have better trajectory and accuracy with the capability to evade the deployed ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems. Moreover, it can be launched through “Transporter Erector Launcher (TELs), which can move and hide. This makes the launcher more survivable as compared to the fixed launchers. As of now, the missile has not been operationally deployed.

This particular test was conducted by Pakistan to evaluate the design and technical parameters of the Shaheen-III weapon system. Moreover, the Arabian Sea was the point of impact. It was reiterated by Pakistan after the successful test that Pakistan’s nuclear capability is India-centric and the objective of its strategic capability is only to deter “any aggression” against the “sovereignty of Pakistan”. Missile tests in South Asia are routinely exercised as both countries are improving their capabilities of delivery vehicles to maintain the credibility of their deterrence forces. Moreover, they serve the purpose of “signaling” and “readiness” of forces. Just last year, India has conducted 17 missile tests, amid its growing tensions at its northern borders while Pakistan conducted only two missile tests. However, to avoid inadvertent escalation and accidents both countries have the agreement on informing each other before missiles tests. Moreover, Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence in the region.

Defence analysts believe that the Shaheen-III missile system’s development started in the early 2000s and initially, it was envisaged as a “Space Launch Vehicle (SLV). Therefore its successful tests and flights open up the possibility of space exploration for Pakistan as well. It is also believed that Ababeel, a Multiple Independently re-entry targeted Vehicle (MIRV) missile, is also compatible with the designs of Shaheen-III and II. Ababeel, a three-staged, solid-fueled, medium-range surface-to-surface missile was tested by Pakistan back in January 2017. Successful tests of the Shaheen-III missile system would likely enable Pakistan to acquire MIRV technology to maintain a credible deterrence force vis-à-vis India. To ensure the effectiveness and accuracy of different re-entry vehicles going in different directions, Pakistan has bought large-scale “optical tracking and measurement systems” from China. These systems would allow Pakistan to record high-resolution images of the whole process of missile launch till its impact (launch, stage separation, tail flame, re-entry, and impact).

Riaz Haq said...

China’s ‘Most-Powerful’ Missile Defense System Likely To Be Deployed Along Both LAC & LOC
EurAsian Times Desk
October 21, 2021
Pakistan Army’s air defense unit has recently inducted a variant of the Chinese-made HQ-9 surface-to-air missile system most likely to be deployed along the LOC. China had earlier deployed these missiles along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), its de facto border with India.


The HQ-9/P (P for Pakistan) high-to-medium air defense system (HIMADS) was inducted into the Pakistan Army at a ceremony held at the Army Air Defence Centre, Karachi. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa was in attendance at the event.


Powered By ‘On The Fly’ Algo, China Says Its AI-Controlled Hypersonic Missiles Can Hit Targets With 10 Times More Accuracy

The latest defense collaboration between the ‘iron brothers’, Pakistan and China, may be seen as a fresh threat to India, whose military has long been strategizing to tackle two-front war challenges.

The Hóng Qí-9 (HQ-9), literally the ‘Red Banner-9’, is a Chinese medium- to long-range, active radar homing SAM system. The weapon uses an HT-233 passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar system, which has a detection range of 120 km with a tracking range of 90 km.

The system has four different types of radar — Type 120 low-altitude acquisition radar, Type 305A 3D acquisition radar, Type 305B 3D acquisition radar, and H-200 mobile engagement radar. In terms of capability, HQ-9 can be compared with the Russian S-300 and American Patriot air defense systems.

The EurAsian Times had earlier speculated that HQ-9 missile battery could feature one 200 kW Diesel generator truck, and eight transporter erector launchers (TELs) each with 4 missiles, totaling 32 rounds ready to fire.

A variety of equipment can be added to the system to make larger, more capable formations. Among the equipment that can be added is one TWS-312 command post, one site survey vehicle based on the Dongfeng EQ2050, additional transporter/ loader vehicles with each vehicle housing four missile TELs based on Tai’an TAS5380, etc.

Big Breakthroughs: After Landing Taikonauts On ‘Space Station’, China Tests World’s ‘Largest Solid-Fuel Rocket Engine’
Various units of these highly mobile systems have finished conducting long-distance maneuvers and drills.

China has developed multiple variants of this SAM system. The Hǎi Hóng Qí-9, literally the ‘Sea Red Banner-9’, is HQ-9’s naval variant. It seems to be quite identical to the land-based version.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has deployed the HHQ-9 in its Type 052C Lanzhou-class destroyer in Vertical Launch System or VLS tubes.

An anti-radiation variant of the missile system has also been designed and developed by China. The export designation for the air defense version is Fang Dun-2000 (FD-2000), literally meaning defensive shield. Its is developed by China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC). It comes with anti-stealth capability.

Meanwhile, the HQ-9A version of the missile features advanced electronic equipment and software that provides it with increased accuracy and probability of kill. The HQ-9B has a longer range and is equipped with an extra seeker.

This new vertical launch, ground-to-air missile defense system has a target range of over 250 km and up to a height of 50km.

The naval variants of the missile are HHQ-9A and HHQ-9B. HQ-9C is currently under development. It is expected to be equipped with fully active radar homing.

Meet Pakistan’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft That Reportedly Detected Indian Navy Submarine Near Karachi

Riaz Haq said...

Does Pakistan Have Any Countermeasures?
This begs the question- what strategies and weapons does Pakistan have in its arsenal to counter the S-400s?


Peshawar-based journalist and editor of Global Conflict Watch, Farzana Shah told The EurAsian Times that the “S-400 acquisition by India is a continuation of Delhi’s drive to project her military power in the region. This system will boost Indian air defense capabilities. However, this acquisition was planned and so Pakistan was aware of it.”

Shah said that as an answer to India’s acquisition of this system, Pakistan has inducted a system of similar capability in the form of HQ-9B. “Pakistan Air Force is also evaluating another high-altitude long-range SAM system. S-400 is an expensive ABM system so using it as SAM will be expensive and counterproductive,” she opined.

Mid-October last year, Janes had reported that the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military, had issued a press release stating that the Pakistan Army’s (PA) Air Defence forces had inducted a variant of the Chinese-made HQ-9 SAM system in their service.

The HQ-9/P is capable of operating as part of an integrated air and missile defense network. The ISPR noted that the system would be used to “significantly enhance” the ‘Comprehensive Layered Integrated Air Defence (CLIAD)’ along the frontiers of Pakistan.

This system’s engagement range against cruise missiles and aircraft is over 100 kilometers with a claimed high “single-shot kill probability.” However, it is believed that this range actually applies only to aircraft. Engagement ranges against cruise missiles and other such targets are thought to be close to 25 km.

Pakistani journalist Syed Ali Abbas, Managing Editor of Global Defense Insight, said that while Pakistan cannot afford to buy a costly missile defense system like S-400 due to economic constraints, the country already has the tools to counter India’s S-400 acquisition in its inventory.

“For instance, Pakistan’s missiles have the capability to penetrate the S-400; MIRV technology can have a substantial impact on S-400. Moreover, with drones coming to assist on the battlefield, and proving to be notably effective in neutralizing various air defense systems, Pakistan also has the option of the Pakistan Air Force acquiring Turkish Bayraktar drones, coupled with its indigenous armed drone inventory,” he explained.

In July last year, it was reported that Pakistan was looking to acquire armed drones from Turkey, while simultaneously seeking to deepen the already strong bilateral cooperation with Ankara.

Shah highlighted other strategies that the PAF has to deal with the S-400. “Options range from suppressing S-400 radar using stand-off jamming capabilities to taking it out using saturated drone attacks. The system’s radar can pick hundreds of targets but each regiment has only a limited number of interceptor missiles.“

Another weapon that Pakistan could potentially use to deal with the S-400 is the ZF-1 stealth drone. This drone was made specifically to attack heavily defended targets. The drone was promoted at Pakistan’s biennial arms exhibition IDEAS in 2018 by UAS Global.

According to some experts, Pakistan might also benefit indirectly by holding joint military exercises with friendly countries, which already possess the S-400, such as China and Turkey. Such drills might assist in helping Pakistan identify the system’s strengths and weaknesses.

Riaz Haq said...

#Nuclear arsenals of #China, #India, #Pakistan are growing. But it's not an arms race—yet. Combined arsenals of China (350 warheads), India (160) and Pakistan (165) are much smaller than #US's & #Russia's but exceed #British & #French stockpiles. #Nukes https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/08/11/the-nuclear-arsenals-of-china-india-and-pakistan-are-growing


Yet, in many ways, all three countries were hesitant nuclear powers. China did not deploy a missile capable of hitting the American mainland until the 1980s. When India and Pakistan fought a war over Kargil, in the disputed region of Kashmir, in the summer of 1999, India’s air force, tasked with delivering the bombs if needed, was not told what they looked like, how many there were or the targets over which they might have to be dropped.

All that has changed. China has been adding hundreds of new missile silos in recent years. When Pakistan celebrated its 60th birthday in 2007 it had roughly 60 nuclear warheads. Fifteen years on, that number has nearly tripled (see chart). The combined arsenals of China (350 warheads), India (160) and Pakistan (165), though modest by American and Russian standards (several thousand each), now exceed British and French stockpiles in Europe (around 500 in total). All three countries are emulating the American and Russian practice of having a nuclear “triad”: nukes deliverable from land, air and sea. South Asia’s nuclear era is entering a more mature phase.

That need not mean a more dangerous one. A new report by Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment, a think-tank in Washington, explores the dynamics among Asia’s three nuclear powers. Since 1998, most Western attention has focused on the risk of a conflagration between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. That danger persists. Yet the risk of an arms race has been exaggerated, argues Mr Tellis, a former State Department official.

India’s arsenal has grown slowly, he observes—it remains smaller than Pakistan’s—and its nuclear posture remains “remarkably conservative”. The comparison with the nuclear behemoths is instructive. America and Russia both maintain huge arsenals designed to enable so-called counterforce strikes—those which pre-emptively target the other side’s nuclear weapons to limit the damage they might do. That means their arsenals must be large, sophisticated and kept on high alert.

In contrast, China, India and Pakistan, despite their manifold differences, all view nukes as “political instruments” rather than “usable tools of war”, argues Mr Tellis. Both China and India, for instance, pledge that they would not use nuclear weapons unless an adversary had used weapons of mass destruction first, a commitment known as “no first use”. America disbelieves China’s promise, much as Pakistan doubts India’s. But the Chinese and Indian arsenals are consistent with the pledges, insists Mr Tellis.

He calculates that if India wanted to use a tactical (or low-yield) nuclear weapon to take out a Pakistani missile on the ground, it would have to do so within a few minutes of the Pakistani launcher leaving its storage site. That is implausible. India does not have missiles that can launch within minutes of an order, nor those accurate to within tens of metres of their target. And, for now, China’s rocketeers also train and operate on the assumption that their forces would be used in retaliation. The result is that things are more stable than the swelling arsenals suggest.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan nuclear weapons, 2023
By Hans M. Kristensen, Matt Korda, Eliana Johns, September 11, 2023


Pakistan continues to gradually expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems, and a growing fissile material production industry. Analysis of commercial satellite images of construction at Pakistani army garrisons and air force bases shows what appear to be newer launchers and facilities that might be related to Pakistan’s nuclear forces.

We estimate that Pakistan now has a nuclear weapons stockpile of approximately 170 warheads (See Table 1). The US Defense Intelligence Agency projected in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020 (US Defense Intelligence Agency 1999, 38), but several new weapon systems have been fielded and developed since then, which leads us to a higher estimate. Our estimate comes with considerable uncertainty because neither Pakistan nor other countries publish much information about the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

With several new delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors, and an expanding uranium enrichment infrastructure, Pakistan’s stockpile has the potential to increase further over the next several years. The size of this projected increase will depend on several factors, including how many nuclear-capable launchers Pakistan plans to deploy, how its nuclear strategy evolves, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows. We estimate that the country’s stockpile could potentially grow to around 200 warheads by the late 2020s, at the current growth rate. But unless India significantly expands its arsenal or further builds up its conventional forces, it seems reasonable to expect that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will not continue to grow indefinitely but might begin to level off as its current weapons programs are completed.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s ‘historic’ lunar mission to be launched on Friday aboard China lunar probe


The Institute of Space Technology on Tuesday said Pakistan’s “historic” lunar mission iCube-Q will be launched on May 3 at 12:50pm on board China’s Chang’e 6 lunar probe from Hainan, China.

According to the Institute of Space Technology (IST), the satellite ICUBE-Q has been designed and developed by IST in collaboration with China’s Shanghai University SJTU and Pakistan’s national space agency Suparco.

ICUBE-Q orbiter carries two optical cameras to image the lunar surface.

Following successful qualification and testing, iCube-Q has now been integrated with the Chang’e 6 mission.

Chang’e 6 is the sixth in a series of China’s lunar exploration missions.

The launch activity will be telecast live on the IST website and IST social media platforms.

China’s lunar mission will touch down on the moon’s far side to collect samples from the surface and return to Earth for research.

The mission holds significance for Pakistan as it will also take a CubeSat Satellite iCube-Q, developed by IST.


CubeSats are miniature satellites typically characterised by their small size and standardised design.

They are constructed in a cubic shape, consisting of modular components that adhere to specific size constraints.

These satellites often weigh no more than a few kilogrammes and were deployed in space for various purposes.

The primary purpose of CubeSats was to facilitate scientific research, technology development, and educational initiatives in space exploration.

These satellites were utilised for a wide range of missions, including Earth observations, remote sensing, atmospheric research, communications, astronomy and technology demonstration.

Due to their compact size and relatively low cost compared to traditional satellites, CubeSats offered opportunities for universities, research institutions and commercial entities to participate in space missions and gather valuable data for scientific advancement and innovation.

They serve as platforms for testing new technologies and concepts, enabling access to space for a broader range of users and promoting collaboration within the space community.

Last year in August, India became the first nation to land a craft near the Moon’s south pole, a historic triumph for its ambitious, cut-price space programme.