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...

The story with India and Pakistan is they still have growing nuclear arsenals. These limited technical agreements have not produced the kind of foundation for that broader relationship that some of the analysis talking about Iran seems to expect.

SIEGEL: What do you make of the argument that countries that acquire nuclear arsenals, even if they sound remarkably belligerent before that time, tend to behave fairly responsibly once they do have nuclear arsenals?

O'DONNELL: Well, I mean, to that I can only say look at the example of North Korea. You know, it's one of the most irresponsible states in the world. It's always making nuclear threats. If a state has nuclear weapons, that doesn't automatically guarantee a certain format of behavior.

SIEGEL: And the India-Pakistan conflict - I mean, do you think of it as one that actually has the potential of turning into a nuclear exchange anytime in the even distant future?

O'DONNELL: I don't see that getting to the level of a nuclear exchange. However, what concerns me is that there is not a sustainable, ongoing dialogue to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan. What has happened in recent years is that both sides adopt a tough stance and start escalating, and they both wait for the United States to come in and provide both of them the face-saving exercise that the United States will intervene and bring them both down. There are not mechanisms to de-escalate once a crisis emerges.


O'DONNELL: That is what I find most concerning about the situation there.

SIEGEL: That addressing the question of nuclear weapons can be a remarkably compartmentalized and technical development and really have no implications for a more peaceful relations between countries.

O'DONNELL: I think that India and Pakistan developed nuclear weapons out of both of their own sense of security threat. And for there to be some measures of reducing nuclear tensions, this has to be part of a broader political dialogue involving what both of their own threat perceptions are, and also, I argue, including China as well because China is very much part of the South Asian strategic environment. It's very much a player in the region.

SIEGEL: Do you see any parallels between Iran today and Pakistan and India at the point where they were intent on developing nuclear weapons?

O'DONNELL: The main parallel I see with Iran - up until really the Obama administration came in, the activities it was conducting up to that point seemed to me very reminiscent of what India was doing - the position it had up until it conducted testing in 1998. For a long period - say, from about the mid '80s and up until 1998, what India did was it had the capability. It had all the material. It had the knowledge. It had, you know, the missiles all sitting disassembled in its basement. By doing that, it meant that it would not be sanctioned as it was after 1998 for conducting the nuclear tests. However, it could in some ways behave like a nuclear-weapon state. It could throw its weight around a bit more. And I wonder if Iranians who are, you know, running the program did look at India's experience as a guide.


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...

The Balance of Terror
Who’s Afraid of Iran’s Big Bad Bomb? by Uri Averny

According to foreign experts, Israel has several hundred nuclear bombs (assessments vary between 80-400. If Iran sends its bombs and obliterates most of Israel (myself included), Israeli submarines will obliterate Iran. Whatever I might think about Binyamin Netanyahu, I rely on him and our security chiefs to keep our “second strike” capability intact. Just last week we were informed that Germany had delivered another state-of-the-art submarine to our navy for this purpose.

Israeli idiots – and there are some around – respond: “Yes, but the Iranian leaders are not normal people. They are madmen. Religious fanatics. They will risk the total destruction of Iran just to destroy the Zionist state. Like exchanging queens in chess.”

Such convictions are the outcome of decades of demonizing. Iranians – or at least their leaders – are seen as subhuman miscreants.

Reality shows us that the leaders of Iran are very sober, very calculating politicians. Cautious merchants in the Iranian bazaar style. They don’t take unnecessary risks. The revolutionary fervor of the early Khomeini days is long past, and even Khomeini would not have dreamt of doing anything so close to national suicide.

According to the Bible, the great Persian king Cyrus allowed the captive Jews of Babylon to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. At that time, Persia was already an ancient civilization – both cultural and political.

After the “return from Babylon”, the Jewish commonwealth around Jerusalem lived for 200 years under Persian suzerainty. I was taught in school that these were happy years for the Jews.

Since then, Persian culture and history has lived through another two and a half millennia. Persian civilization is one of the oldest in the world. It has created a great religion and influenced many others, including Judaism. Iranians are fiercely proud of that civilization.

To imagine that the present leaders of Iran would even contemplate risking the very existence of Persia out of hatred of Israel is both ridiculous and megalomaniac.

Moreover, throughout history, relations between Jews and Persians have almost always been excellent. When Israel was founded, Iran was considered a natural ally, part of David Ben-Gurion’s “strategy of the periphery” – an alliance with all the countries surrounding the Arab world.

The Shah, who was re-installed by the American and British secret services, was a very close ally. Teheran was full of Israeli businessmen and military advisers. It served as a base for the Israeli agents working with the rebellious Kurds in northern Iraq who were fighting against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

After the Islamic revolution, Israel still supported Iran against Iraq in their cruel 8-year war. The notorious Irangate affair, in which my friend Amiram Nir and Oliver North played such an important role, would not have been possible without the old Iranian-Israeli ties.

Even now, Iran and Israel are conducting amiable arbitration proceedings about an old venture: the Eilat-Ashkelon oil pipeline built jointly by the two countries.

If the worst comes to the worst, nuclear Israel and nuclear Iran will live in a Balance of Terror.

Highly unpleasant, indeed. But not an existential menace.

However, for those who live in terror of the Iranian nuclear capabilities, I have a piece of advice: use the time we still have.

Under the American-Iranian deal, we have at least 10 years before Iran could start the final phase of producing the bomb.


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...

This #Pakistan #nuclear missile, Shaheen III with 2,750 Km, can hit targets anywhere in #India. #Nukes #Missiles http://journalobserver.com/2015/12/this-pakistan-missile-can-hit-targets-anywhere-in-india/ …

Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Friday (Dec 11), the military said, two days after the government confirmed it would resume high-level peace talks with arch-rival India.

The military said it had fired a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads within a range of 2,750km.

Shaheen-III has a maximum range of 2,750 kilometers (1, 700 miles).

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.

Pakistan became a declared nuclear power in 1998.

The test was witnessed by senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, Strategic Forces, Scientists and Engineers of Strategic Organisations. He said Pakistan desires peaceful co-existence in the region for which nuclear deterrence would further strengthen strategic stability in South Asia.

It may be noted here that the Shaheen-I and Shaheen-II missiles were test-fired in Pakistan a year ago.

India and Pakistan are longtime foes engaged in a regional arms race, stemming from a conflict dating back to Britain's partitioning of its Indian protectorate into what now are India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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.