Thursday, March 27, 2014

US and Europe Must Accept Pakistan as a Legitimate Nuclear State

"The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India". US Ambassador Anne Patterson, September 23, 2009
Pakistan has the world's fastest growing nuclear arsenal today in the midst of a fierce insurgency waged against the Pakistani state by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. How should the world respond? Should the response be to further isolate and sanction Pakistan as argued by some Indian and western scholars? Or, should the US and its Western allies engage with Pakistan by accepting it as a legitimate nuclear state and admitting it as a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group?

The first response, as advocated by the likes of TV Paul, a scholar of Indian origin at McGill University, has clearly not worked nor likely to work as explained well by former US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson. The alternative, as advocated in a new book "Overcoming Pakistan's Nuclear Dangers" by former US diplomat Mark Fitzpatrick, is to recognize Pakistan's legitimacy as a nuclear-armed state and work with it to limit the risks of nuclear proliferation in future.

Ambassador Fitzpatrick began by exploring why the West  has been so obsessed with stopping Iran's nuclear program and not Pakistan's. In the end, he came to the conclusion that  Pakistan must be provided "a path to normalizing its nuclear program" in the same way that India was with the US-India nuclear deal. Here's how he describes it on the website of London-based Institute of International Strategic Studies (IISS):

The book was inspired by fellow Londoner Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, who asked in a June 2012 column why the West was so obsessed with stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons when, ‘by any sensible measure, Pakistani nukes are much more worrying’. I suppose I was one of those who seemed obsessed with Iran, so Rachman’s words hit home. Let’s take a look at Pakistan, I decided.

Successive chapters of my book examine in detail the dangers Rachman ticked off, plus a few more. I concluded that some of the concerns about Pakistan are exaggerated. While the prospect for nuclear terrorism cannot be dismissed, the government’s efforts to ensure the security of its nuclear programme garner too little attention, and compare favourably with India’s nuclear security management. In the ten years since the leakage of the nation’s nuclear secrets masterminded by A.Q. Khan, lessons have been learnt and reforms adopted.

Other concerns get too little attention. As a nuclear wonk, I cannot help but fixate on Pakistan’s veto over negotiations to ban fissile material production and the nation’s move away from signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The most worrisome danger, though, is the prospect for nuclear war in the subcontinent.

One cannot write about Pakistan’s nuclear programme without examining the ways that it is motivated by India’s actions, and perceptions thereof. Therefore, the manuscript is about more than Pakistan. One key chapter assesses the South Asian arms race. Although it pales in comparison with the nuclear excesses of the Cold War, the strategic competition in South Asia is potentially destabilising.

In the conclusions, I offer a policy suggestion for the West that will be controversial. Pakistan, I argue, should be offered a path to normalising its nuclear programme. This recommendation did not sit well with one of the statesmen who, before reading it, had agreed to write a back-cover blurb commending my book. Having vehemently opposed making an exception for India, allowing it to benefit from nuclear cooperation while outside the confines of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he had to back out because he objected to the idea of creating a second such hole in the NPT for Pakistan.

His is a respectable opinion. It had also been my view when I started the book project. If there is one tenet I have taken to heart at the IISS, however, it is that analysis should guide one’s research direction. I reached my conclusion with more surprise than enthusiasm.

I am looking forward to explaining more about my analysis in upcoming book launches in Washington, London, Geneva, Vienna and Islamabad.

In spite of the West's nuclear sanctions, Pakistan has managed to develop and build nuclear weapons using both uranium and plutonium since the 1990s. The country also has built solid-fueled and liquid-fueled missiles of various ranges from tactical to strategic. It has built multiple reactors at Khushab to produce large amounts of plutonium for its growing nuclear arsenal.

On the civilian nuclear side, Pakistan has acquired four 300 MW nuclear plants at Chashma. Two of these are currently operating and two are under construction. Three 1200 MW newer plants are being supplied by China for installation at Karachi as it ramps up its nuclear power plant manufacturing business. The West has essentially given away this civil nuclear business to China on a silver platter.

The West's decades-long nuclear sanctions on Pakistan have clearly not worked to stop the country. It's time to try a different approach along the lines of what Fitzpatrick advocates If the West follows Fitzpatrick's advice and admits Pakistan to the exclusive international nuclear club called "Nuclear Suppliers Group" (NSG), the US and Europe will have a better chance of persuading Pakistan to agree to signing Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) when India also agrees to these international treaties. These two treaties are the cornerstone of the West's efforts to limit development, proliferation and growth of nuclear weapons stockpiles. In return, Pakistan will have access to the West's advanced civil nuclear technology and materials which it needs to deal with the nation's deepening energy crisis. It will be a win-win deal for both sides.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Is Pakistan a Warrior State? 

Nuclear Power Plants in Pakistan

"Eating Grass" Book Launch in Silicon Valley

India's "Indigenous" Nukes and Missiles

US-India Nuclear Deal

China Signs Power Plant Deal with Pakistan

Pakistan's Defense Industry

Energy Crisis in Pakistan


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian analyst M.V. Kamath's review of Daniel Markey's recent book "No Exit From Pakistan":

For a brief period the US was friendly towards India as during the Clinton regime. It didn’t take the US anywhere. Markey makes a deep study of China’s relationship with Pakistan and the latter’s own naiveté. According to Markey “Pakistan and China may claim deep, abiding friendship but in their rhetorical excesses both tend to mistake China’s hard-headed realism for generous altruism.” As he put it: “In Pakistan’s major war with India, as well as in more recent Indo-Pakistani crises, Beijing’s assistance has been marginal. China has been more likely to counsel Pakistani restraint than to back its leaders to the hilt.”

As for the US leaders, Markey add s: “The rising Chinese dragon makes friendship with India more appealing and complicates relationship with Islamabad.” And to that he adds: “Why not let China tend its troubled Pakistan filly while America cultivates the far more fertile Indian soil?” But as Markey sees it, America cannot quit Pakistan.

It has several options likes: Turn to a strategy of defensive insulation and include India – bolster it as important component in the defensive scheme; option two: Strive for a comprehensive partnership across military and civilian sectors and address ‘the threat of Pakistan-based terrorism at multiple levels’.

Option three: Downsize US Embassy, Consulates and USAID presence – a tiny skeleton staff could manage US diplomacy. Option four: Introduce a credible threat of overwhelming retaliation in order to make Pakistan think twice about using or sharing its nuclear weapons. However, Markey feels that “a strategy of defensive insulation would be effective if Washington count on firms Indian support”. He didn’t say: “If only”.

But Markey is not in favour of that. He feels that it is wise to establish “a foundation for strengthened partnership… based on a shared commitment to improving the living conditions of the people through, strengthening democracy…”

Markey wants “quiet lobbying” for bringing together Pakistan and India, considering that encouraging Indo-Pakistan normalisation is the best way to grow the Pakistani economy and enhance the nation’s stability. In the end Markey concludes by saying that “over the long run, a strong US-Pakistan relationship offers the only way to save Pakistan from a dark and violent future, the only way to protect America from the changes that lurk in Pakistani soil”.

As Markey sees it, for the United States it is huis clos, French for “No Exit”. For better or for worse, the US must stay put in Pakistan”. In a way for the Americans “You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t” help Pakistan. Right now as Markey sees it, there is no immediate way out. Patience is its own award. His book explains how Washington can prepare for the worst, aim for the best and avoid past mistakes.

Summing up Markey says: “The United States should begin by recognising that Pakistan is not a lost cause. It is more like a race that must be run as a marathon rather than a sprint.” Wise words. India can only wait and see and itself take Markey’s advice seriously. Right now there seems to be no other ray to avoid a complicated problem.

Riaz Haq said...

From India Today:

A Chinese official has confirmed that China is involved in as many as six nuclear power projects in Pakistan and is likely to export more reactors to the country, indicating that the much debated civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries will go ahead despite concerns voiced that it is in contravention of Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) guidelines.

While China has in the past declined to confirm or share details regarding the extent of its on-going civilian nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, a top official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the planning body, was quoted as saying on Saturday that Beijing has been involved in the construction of six reactors in Pakistan.

Wang Xiaotao, vice-minister of the NDRC, was quoted as saying by State media that the NDRC was keen to support further exports to Pakistan and other countries. To this end, the NDRC is drawing up new guidelines to announce supportive financial policies for exports in the nuclear sector. Railways exports would also be supported under the new guidelines, Wang said.

Announcing the guidelines at a Beijing press conference, Wang said that China "has assisted in building six nuclear reactors in Pakistan with a total installed capacity of 3.4 million kilowatts". China was also exporting nuclear technology to Argentina, with the two countries on Wednesday signing a deal for exporting heavy-water reactors.

China's recent projects with Pakistan have come under scrutiny as the NSG does not allow members to supply nuclear technology to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). India had to seek a waiver from the NSG for its civilian nuclear cooperation with the US, and obtained one only after undertaking a range of commitments.

China only declared the first two reactors it had constructed for Pakistan, Chashma-1 and Chashma-2, at the time of joining the NSG, according to Indian and American officials.

In 2009, the China National Nuclear Corporation signed agreements for two new reactors, Chashma-3 and Chashma-4. The deals became a matter of controversy and were debated at the NSG, with China arguing that the reactors were "grandfathered" as part of its earlier Chashma agreement and were not new projects per se. China also argued that the deals were under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and were legitimate.

The two countries last year announced they would undertake a new project in Karachi, with Pakistani media reports saying China would provide $ 6.5 billion to finance two reactors there. At the time, Beijing declined to confirm those reports.

While the Chinese Foreign Ministry has, in the past, argued that China's cooperation with Pakistan "did not violate norms of the NSG", Beijing's main argument was that the Chashma reactors were part of an earlier deal. With China going ahead with building two new reactors in Karachi, it remains to be seen how Beijing will explain the deals' validity under NSG guidelines.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. cannot afford to forget #Afghanistan and #Pakistan. #Taliban #Nukes US-#Pakistan #nuclearenergy deal #India

A third round (Afghan-Taliban talks) was scheduled for early August in Murree (Pakistan). But it was torpedoed by the leak from Afghanistan that Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s supposed leader, had actually been dead for two years. After a brief interlude, Akhtar Mohammed Mansour became leader of the Taliban. U.S. officials believe he launched the recent offensive in Afghanistan to consolidate his control of the group, and they’re wary of resuming the talks until the violence ebbs.

The White House is also exploring what could be a diplomatic blockbuster: possible new limits and controls on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Such an accord might eventually open a path toward a Pakistani version of the civil nuclear deal that was launched with India in 2005.

The nuclear dialogue is especially important because it would begin to address what U.S. officials for two decades have viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous security problems. A source familiar with the talks said Pakistan has been asked to consider what are described as “brackets.” Pakistan would agree to restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India’s nuclear threat. Pakistan might agree not to deploy missiles capable of reaching beyond a certain range, for example.

In return for such an agreement, the source said, the United States might support an eventual waiver for Pakistan by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the United States is a member. At U.S. urging, that group agreed to exempt India from rules that banned nuclear trade with countries that evaded the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This so-called “civil nuclear agreement” allowed India partial entry into the club of nuclear powers, in exchange for its willingness to apply International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to its civilian program.

Pakistan prizes its nuclear program, so negotiations would be slow and difficult, and it’s not clear that Islamabad would be willing to accept the limitations that would be required. But the issue is being discussed quietly in the run-up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington Oct. 22. Any progress would break a stalemate that has existed since the United States detected Pakistan’s nuclear program in the mid-1980s, and especially after Pakistan exploded its first weapon in 1998.

The United States may have forgotten Afghanistan and Pakistan, but those volatile countries haven’t forgotten about the United States. The dangers are as real as ever, and so is the need for aggressive diplomacy to reduce the threat.

Riaz Haq said...

US-#Pakistan Civilian Nuclear Deal, like US-#India nuclear deal, on #Obama -#Sharif Washington summit agenda? …

The Stimson Center and the Carnegie Endowment published a 20,000-word essay on Pakistan’s nuclear program and diplomatic ambitions last week. My co-author Toby Dalton and I did not write this assessment to cause harm to Pakistan. We support Pakistan’s quest to be viewed as a normal state that possesses nuclear weapons, and we support Pakistan’s desire to gain entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We also agree with Pakistan’s view that the entry of new members that possess nuclear weapons ought to be criteria-based. Where we disagree with the Government of Pakistan – as well as the Government of India – is on the criteria to be met by new members.

It’s striking to us how little media coverage there is of the nuclear competition between Pakistan and India, compared to the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. We pay attention when firing across the DMZ on the Korean peninsula occurs for a day or two – and rightly so. Firing across the Kashmir divide now occurs every week. The trend line is up, which is worrisome.

We pay a great deal of attention about the possibility of Iran accumulating enough weapon-grade fissile material to build a bomb within a year or seven months – ten or fifteen years from now. In contrast, Pakistan has the capacity to manufacture around twenty warheads annually. This number, based on unclassified sources, could be somewhat less or more.

For the last seven years, there have been no concerted, sustained efforts by leaders in India and Pakistan to improve bilateral relations – not since the Lashkar-e-Toiba sent young recruits by boat to kill people in Mumbai. High-level diplomacy is dead in the water. A one-topic agenda for talks – terrorism – is bound to fail, as was evident by the recent disruption of a scheduled meeting between the national security advisers. All of the warning lights on the subcontinent are now blinking yellow. We are one major terror attack by the LeT or a like-minded group away from another nuclear-tinged crisis.

The nuclear competition on the subcontinent is very unusual. Pakistan faces grave economic and social challenges. It is deeply engaged in a military campaign along the Afghan border. And it is out-competing India, a country whose economy is about nine times larger, on several important nuclear weapon-related metrics. Pakistan appears to be producing annually around four times as much fissile material dedicated for weapon purposes as India. Pakistan has four plutonium production reactors in operation; India has one. Another might begin construction in perhaps two years. India appears to be producing around five warheads annually, compared to Pakistan’s 20. After a late start, Pakistan has caught up with India’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, and now appears to have exceeded it.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan seeks to join the mainstream of the international nuclear order with Beijing’s support. Washington has offered words of qualified encouragement. A June 2015 US-Pakistan joint statement “emphasised the desirability of continued outreach to integrate Pakistan into the international nonproliferation regime.” But Pakistan’s path to the mainstream faces many obstacles.

The immediate objective of Pakistan’s mainstreaming diplomacy is to be accorded a civil nuclear deal like that given to India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008. Islamabad also seeks to become an NSG member, alongside India. Or, failing this, to block India from becoming a member. The NSG operates by consensus, meaning if India became a member it could block Pakistani membership in the future.
India is pushing hard for admission in 2016, with support from the Obama administration and other NSG members, including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Russia, and the UK. There is not yet consensus about Indian membership, but New Delhi’s case is advancing. The window for Pakistan’s mainstreaming into the global nuclear order is closing.
Since Pakistan is already receiving nuclear reactors from China — and since it cannot finance reactors elsewhere — why does it need or want to be an NSG member? Presumably, the answer has to do with standing in the nuclear order equivalent to India and not being frozen in an ‘inferior’ position.
India was able to secure a nuclear deal by leveraging international commercial interest in its nuclear market, and by offering improved strategic political relations to the US and others. Pakistan lacks these means of suasion, making a commercial N-power path to mainstreaming unlikely. For Pakistan, the path to success lies in n-weapon-related initiatives.
Pakistan has worked hard to build diverse nuclear capabilities, which it will retain as a necessary deterrent against perceived existential threats from India. At this juncture, Pakistan’s military leadership can choose to accept success in achieving a ‘strategic’ deterrent against India, sufficient to prevent nuclear exchanges and a major conventional war. Alternatively, it can choose to continue to compete with India in the pursuit of ‘full spectrum’ deterrence, which would entail open-ended nuclear requirements. These choices lead Pakistan to two starkly different nuclear futures and places in the global nuclear order.
Pakistani officials reiterate their intention not to enter an arms race with India, but the growth in Pakistan’s N-weapons complex suggests otherwise. More nuclear weapons and more fissile material will not deter India to a greater extent than is already the case. On the other hand, more nuclear weapons and more fissile material will not help Pakistan address its internal political, economic, and security challenges. Nor will these programmes help Pakistan join the nuclear mainstream.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

Indian hawk RAMAHARITHA PUSARLA (NitiCentral) on "Pakistan’s Nuclear Posturing and the Americans":

two US think-tanks The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and The Stimson Centre together released a report titled: “A normal nuclear Pakistan” a fortnight ago (1). The report authored by Toby Dalton and Michael Kripon quite characteristic of the US double speak, justified its infallibility towards Pakistan and postulated subtle rationalisations for normalisation Pakistan’s nuclear arena. Drawing parallels to the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, the authors appealed to the US to consider Pakistan for a similar kind of treaty paving way for its eventual entry into global nuclear regime. Authors plead the US administration to extend concessions to Pakistan and seriously contemplate on helping it become “a normal nuclear state” on par with India. This intimidating explanation logically strengthens India’s doubts of the US double standards. It is intriguing as how the report chooses to ignore malefaction of Pakistan and its alarming pace of vertical proliferation of nuclear arms.

Despite being identified as the aggressor in Indo-Pak Wars of 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 Pakistan seems to have floored the defence analysts of the US by invoking the apprehensions of being over ridden by a bigger country – India. With its obsessive paranoia of India as the enemy, Pakistan has embarked on a race of outcompeting India in nuclear weapons production. Post 1998 India shifted gears and focussed on building conventional military capabilities while Pakistan was relentlessly engrossed in bomb-building. While Pakistan blames India for the nuclear build-up in the region, international community must raise a toast to India for maintaining peace in the region despite unequivocal provocations from belligerent Pakistan and a nuclear weapon state China. Seeking a waiver of all the brutal terrorist activities funded by it to organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that carried the gruesome Mumbai blasts, it assures that it conducted massive clamp down operations against extremist groups. But alas! Counter terrorism operations were directed against Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that targets the military. It is now a known fact that LeT works in collusion with Pakistan’s military and intelligence services and expectedly so, in spite of concrete evidence furnished by India stating its direct involvement in the Mumbai blasts no legal action has been taken. Pakistan in fact revels in patronising the scourge of terrorism and considers extremist groups as real assets of state. But tactfully complains of being victims of terrorism (read as Pakistani Taliban) and for not getting enough credit for containing some extremist groups.

Till now the popular deterrence theory holds that possession of nuclear weapons would deter nuclear exchanges and other conventional military threats. Nuclear weapons are reckoned as long term fixed assets of state since they checkmate the aggression of rivals. Observers world over feel that repeated provocations by Pakistan coupled with sustained toleration of sponsored extremist activities might inadvertently educe India into a battle with its neighbour. Principally nuclear states behave responsibly and try to avoid evade situations that can spark a war. But the combative nuclear posturing of Pakistan indicates that it is not a normal state. Envisaging a framework for mainstreaming Pakistan’s nuclear program is dangerously preposterous and illogical.

Riaz Haq said...

Time of India: US in talks with Pakistan over capping its nuke range

The Obama administration is exploring a possible civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to Washington later this month, a Washington Post columnist has reported, citing a sole source "familiar with the talks" who said Islamabad has been asked to consider "brackets" relating to the deal.

Brackets, in diplomatic parlance, are numerous alternative formulations that are negotiated towards an eventual agreement. According to the report, the deal centers around a civilian nuclear agreement similar to the one the United States arrived at with India, in exchange for a Pakistani commitment that would "restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India's nuclear threat."

Pakistan might, for example, agree not to deploy missiles capable of reaching beyond a certain range, the report said, citing the source, who indicated that the US might support an eventual waiver for Pakistan by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the same way it has done for India.

US cautions Pakistan over brandishing of nuclear status

The Obama administration said it was in "regular contact" with the Government of Pakistan on "a range of issues" as it prepared for the visit on October 22 of Prime Minister Sharif, but declined comment on the specifics of the discussions.

"The United States urges all nuclear-capable states, including Pakistan, to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. We encourage efforts to strengthen safety and security measures and continue to hold regular discussions with Pakistan on a range of global issues, including nuclear security, counterterrorism, and international norms," an administration spokesperson said in a tacit acknowledgement that some sort of dialogue is taking place on the nuclear issue.

Successive US administrations both under Presidents Bush and President Obama, have knocked down the idea of a deal for Pakistan like the one Washington arrived at with India, saying the background and circumstances surrounding the US-India civilian nuclear agreement was entirely different, and pointing to Pakistan's record of nuclear proliferation.

In 10 years, Pakistan will have largest N-stockpile after US and Russia, report says

However, President Obama's recent track record vis-a-vis Iran and Cuba, both regarded for a long time as outlaw nations, suggests there may be some substance to a nuclear outreach towards Pakistan. There is also less pathology about Pakistan in Washington's official circles, where many veterans have a romanticized recall of Islamabad's role in the Cold War when it offered its services to Washington, for a price. The strategy helped Pakistan circumvent nuclear non-proliferation roadblocks that the US all too readily winked at.

In recent months, Pakistan has tried to project itself as a responsible nuclear power, although some of its politicians and generals reflexively brandish the country's nuclear weapons to assure themselves and their constituents about security against India. "We are a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves," Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz boasted recently in a suo motu assertion although no one had talked of a nuclear war.

Riaz Haq said...

Lack of knowledge and wrongly constructed narratives are a source of misconceptions about Pakistan’s nuclear energy program, which has been running safely for the last four decades.

Contrary to the myth, currently thirty countries in the world use nuclear power and twenty-three of them are planning to expand. Even resource rich countries like UAE and Qatar are going to use nuclear energy. Despite the Fukushima accident, Japan has resumed nuclear energy production and there is a global nuclear energy renaissance. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that the world’s nuclear power generating capacity is projected to continue to grow by 2030. Interestingly, all this is happening or going to happen in Asia and China, India, Korea, etc. which are leading the trend.

There is a common misconception that China’s ACP-1000 nuclear reactor design is very new and has never been tested before, and indeed Pakistan is going to test them for the first time. The fact is that ACP-1000 is a product of an evolutionary process of existing and long-tested pressurized water reactors from around the world.

It is important to see the nuclear accidents elsewhere in proper context. For instance, in case of Chernobyl the operators experimented increasing the plant’s output without thorough analysis and research. What they did not realize was that nuclear power plants are not meant for experiments. Such experiments are done on research reactors and that too with a great care. Therefore, it is incorrect to associate such a stupid practice to that of Pakistan’s impeccable operating and regulatory record. Likewise, Chernobyl was a different RBMK design (Light-water Graphite Reactor) and ACP1000 is PWR. We cannot compare apples to oranges.

Some particular people have lead an effort to create a misconception that Pakistan’s emergency plans regarding power plants either do not exist or are not executable. After interacting with both the operators and regulator of nuclear energy in Pakistan, I have learned that the business of operating and regulating is taken very seriously and no stone is left unturned in ensuring the ‘enactment of this seriousness’.

As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan is member of all important international nuclear safety and security conventions such as Convention on Nuclear Safety, Convention on Early Notification of a nuclear Accident, Convention on Assistance in Case of Nuclear Accident or a Radiological Emergency, Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear material and Code of Conduct on Safety and Security of Radiation Sources. Pakistan has taken all these obligations despite adverse discrimination against it in the global nuclear order because it is a proactive state whose good practices in safety and nuclear regulatory mechanism are recognized and appreciated.

The skill and qualification of the staff of PAEC and PNRA is internationally recognized. Their staff is part of international missions for conducting reviews and assessments of the regulatory framework and plant operations such as World Association of Nuclear Operators, IRRS, OSART and IPSART, etc. The IAEA invites Pakistan’s to its expert missions for the development and capacity building of its other member States. International peer reviews of PNRA and PAEC also recognized the knowledge level, skill and abilities of their staff.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s casual approach to guarding its #nuclear sites ranks it 23 among 25. Only #Iran #NorthKorea worse. #safety …

They said that India’s security practices have repeatedly ranked lower in these assessments than those of Pakistan and Russia, two countries with shortcomings that have provoked better-known Western anxieties.

In all the categories of interest to the U.S. intelligence experts making the rankings—the vetting and monitoring of key security personnel, the tracking of explosives’ quantities and whereabouts, and the use of sensitive detectors at nuclear facilities and their portals—the Indians “have got issues,” a senior official said. (He spoke on condition that he not be named, due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.)

Cautioning that Washington probably does not know everything that India has done to protect its facilities because of its obsessive nuclear secrecy, the official said that according to “what we can see people doing...they should be doing a lot more.”

He added that it is “pretty clear [they] are not as far along as the Pakistanis,” explaining that, as with the Russians, Indians’ confidence in being able to manage security challenges by themselves has repeatedly closed them off to foreign advice not only about the gravity of the threats they face but also about how to deal with them.

When U.S. officials made their first visit to the restricted Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in Mumbai, a complex where India makes plutonium for its nuclear weapons, their observations about its security practices were not reassuring. “Security at the site was moderate,” a cable from November 2008, approved by embassy Chargé d’Affaires Stephen White, told officials in Washington.

Identification checks at the front gate were “quick but not thorough,” and visitor badges lacked photographs, meaning they were easy to replicate or pass around. A security unit at the center’s main gate appeared to be armed with shotguns or semi-automatic Russian-style rifles, the cable noted, but as the U.S. delegation moved toward the Dhruva reactor, where the nuclear explosive material is actually produced, there were no “visible external security systems.”

White’s cable noted that a secondary building where engineering equipment was stored also had “very little security.” While there was a sentry post at a nuclear Waste Immobilization Plant that processes radioactive water, no guards were present, and visitors’ bags were not inspected. No security cameras were seen inside, White added. The cable was disclosed by WikiLeaks in 2011.

A U.S. nuclear safety official, also on the visit, who still works in the field and was not authorized to discuss it told the CPI in an interview that “laborers wandered in and out of the complex, and none of them wore identification.” He said that “the setup was extraordinarily low-key, considering the sensitivity,” explaining that guards could not see camera footage from other locations. There is little evidence that conditions have changed much since then, officials say.

U.S. and Indian officials also have privately expressed worry about the security surrounding India’s movement of sensitive nuclear materials and weaponry.

For example, an industrialist who provides regular private advice to the current prime minister about domestic and foreign strategic issues said in an interview that due to India’s poor roads and rail links, “our nuclear sector is especially vulnerable. How can we safely transport anything, when we cannot say for certain that it will get to where it should, when it should.”

Riaz Haq said...

US never had & still does not have "No First Use" #nuke policy. #USA #India #Pakistan #nuclear …

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...

No Surprise in Pakistan Not Being Declared a ‘Terrorism-Sponsoring Nation’

Strategists who assumed that India could bring about such a declaration are poor students of history and do not understand how Washington works.

Our “strategists”, who had made the present leadership believe that they would be successful in declaring Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsor nation, are poor students of history. They may be good at event management by organising the prime minister’s diaspora meetings, but they don’t seem to know how Washington works. The closest India came to designating Pakistan as “terrorist nation” was in April 1993, when Narasimha Rao was prime minister. At that time, the Indian embassy and intelligence had jointly made nearly successful efforts to convince the US government of Pakistan’s role in fomenting terrorism against India and also in conniving with the drug mafia. Personal lobbying by ambassadors Abid Hussain and Siddharth Shankar Ray had almost convinced the US State Department to take a stand.

Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister of Pakistan at the time. Buffeted by the then president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Sharif sent his confidante, Nisar Ali Khan, to Washington DC to plead his case for “retention”. Khan met then secretary of state Warren Christopher on April 7, 1993. According to the Federal Register, he presented a 5’X 7’ silk rug as a gift to the secretary valued at $500. Although Khan described the talks as “useful”, the state department delivered an unprecedented snub that very evening, warning Pakistan that it would be designated as a “terrorist sponsoring” nation if there was no improvement. Sharif was dismissed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan in July 1993. He moved the Supreme Court General Abdul Waheed Kakar, who was army chief, intervened and made both of them resign.

My personal enquiries at that time with the state department had revealed that it was Benazir Bhutto, on a private visit to Washington DC at the time, who had personally pleaded with the Clinton administration at different levels not to put Pakistan in the company of Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Cuba. Benazir had met even assistant secretary level officers in the state department, setting aside protocol as a former prime minister.

The US 9/11 National Commission has reported another move in 1998 by the state department’s counter-terrorism coordinator to designate Pakistan as a terrorist sponsor due to the ISI’s “activities in support of international terrorism” by supporting attacks “on civilian targets in Kashmir”. This was overruled by then secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who said that “putting the Pakistanis on the terrorist list would eliminate any influence the United States had over them”. Deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott had also felt that “additional sanctions would have bankrupted the Pakistanis, a dangerous move that could have brought ‘total chaos’ to a nuclear-armed country with a significant number of Islamic radicals”. This is the US’s stand even now. They need Pakistan to control Afghanistan. That India can substitute Pakistan in Afghanistan is a pipe dream.

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...

#China, #Pakistan agree to #uranium exploration & mining cooperation. #nuclear #SaudiArabia …

China and Pakistan have agreed to cooperate in uranium exploration and mining. China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said it had signed a framework agreement with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission yesterday for technical cooperation in the exploration and development of uranium resources. China signed a similar agreement with Saudi Arabia earlier this year.
Under the new agreement, China's uranium industry will fully employ its technological advantages, its nuclear research institutes, nuclear chemistry industry, aerial remote sensing centre and other units in its cooperation with Pakistan.
CNNC, which said Pakistan is an "important bridge across the Middle East and South Asia", has already exported four 300 MWe reactors to that country and is constructing two 1000 MWe units. It said it is actively engaged in cooperation with Pakistan in uranium resources, nuclear technology applications, the training of workers and other areas.
In March, CNNC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Geological Survey regarding bilateral cooperation in uranium and thorium resources. Under the agreement, CNNC is to carry out exploration of nine potential areas in the Kingdom within the next two years. In late May, CNNC said it had completed the fieldwork phase and identified several target mineral areas for further investigation.
On 15 July, CNNC's Beijing Research Institute of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology to collaborate in research on extracting uranium from seawater. According to that agreement, Saudi and Chinese researchers will conduct a two-year investigation.

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...

Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb

Book by Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States, 1994-2001.

Sharing excerpts from the book on his visit to Pakistan to convince Nawaz Sharif against nuclear tests.

Clinton telephoned Sharif, the Pakistani PM, to whet his appetite for the planes, huge amounts of financial aid, and a prize certain to appeal to Sharif—an invitation for him to make an official visit to Washington.

“You can almost hear the guy wringing his hands and sweating,” Clinton said after hanging up.

Still, we had to keep trying. Our best chance was an emergency dose of face-to-face diplomacy. It was decided that I would fly to Pakistan and make the case to Nawaz Sharif.

On arrival in Islamabad, we had about an hour to freshen up at a hotel before our first official meeting, which was with the foreign minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, and the foreign secretary (the senior civil servant in the ministry), Shamshad Ahmad.

When we got to the foreign ministry, we found that the Pakistani civilian leaders had finally figured out how to handle our visit, and the result was a bracing experience. My two hosts rolled their eyes, mumbled imprecations under their breath, and constantly interrupted.

They accused the United States of having turned a blind eye to the BJP’s preparations for the test.

As for the carrots I had brought, the Pakistanis gave me a version of the reaction I had gotten from General Wahid five years earlier.

Offers of Pressler relief and delivery of “those rotting and virtually obsolete air- planes,” said Gohar Ayub, were “shoddy rugs you’ve tried to sell us before.” The Pakistani people, he added, “would mock us if we accepted your offer. They will take to the streets in protest.”

I replied that Pakistanis were more likely to protest if they didn’t have jobs.

Gohar Ayub and Shamshad Ahmad waved the point aside. The two Pakistani officials were dismissive. The current burst of international outrage against India would dissipate rapidly, they predicted.

We set off with police escort, sirens blaring, to General Karamat’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Karamat, who was soft-spoken and self-confident, did not waste time on polemics.

He heard us out and acknowledged the validity of at least some of our arguments, especially those concerning the danger that, by testing, Pakistan would land itself, as he put it, “in the doghouse alongside India.”

His govt was still “wrestling” with the question of what to do he said, which sounded like a euphemism for civilian dithering. There was more in the way Karamat talked about his political leadership, a subtle but discernible undertone of long-suffering patience bordering on scorn

For example, he noted pointedly “speculation” that Pakistan was looking for some sort of American security guarantee, presumably a promise that the US would come to Pakistan’s defense if it was attacked by India, in exchange for not testing.

“You may hear such a suggestion later,” Karamat added, perhaps referring to our upcoming meeting with Nawaz Sharif.

I should not take such hints seri- ously, he said, since they reflected the panic of the politicians. Pakistan would look out for its own defense.

What Pakistan needed from the United States was a new, more solid relationship in which there was no “arm- twisting” or “forcing us into corners.”

By stressing this point, Karamat made clear that our arguments against testing did not impress him.

Riaz Haq said...

Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb

Book by Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States, 1994-2001.

Sharing excerpts from the book on his visit to Pakistan to convince Nawaz Sharif against nuclear tests.

I shared a car back to Islamabad with Bruce Riedel and Tom Simons to meet Nawaz Sharif.

What we got from the Prime Minister was a Hamlet act, convincing in its own way—that is, I think he was genuinely feeling torn—but rather pathetic.

On this occasion Nawaz Sharif seemed nearly paralyzed with exhaustion, anguish, and fear. He was—literally, just as Clinton had sensed during their phone call—wringing his hands. He had yet to make up his mind, he kept telling us. Left to his own judgment, he would not test.

His position was “awkward.” His government didn’t want to engage in “tit-for-tat exchanges” or “act irresponsibly.” The Indian leaders who had set off the explosion were “madmen” and he didn’t want “madly to follow suit.”

But pressure was “mounting by the hour” from all sides, including from the opposition led by his predecessor and would-be successor, Benazir Bhutto. “I am an elected official, and I cannot ignore popular sentiment.”

Sharif was worried that India would not only get away with what it had done but profit from it as well. When international anger receded, the sanctions would melt away, and the BJP would parlay India’s new status as a declared nuclear weapons state into a permanent seat on UN SC.

I laid out all that we could do for Pakistan, although this time I tried to personalize the list a bit more. Clinton told me 2 days before that he would use Sharif’s visit to Washington and Clinton’s own to Pak to “dramatize” the world’s gratitude if Sharif refrains from testing.

This point aroused the first flicker of interest I’d seen. Nawaz Sharif asked if Clinton would promise to skip India on his trip and come only to Pakistan. There was no way I could promise that.

All I could tell Nawaz Sharif was that Clinton would “recalibrate the length and character” of the stops he made in New Delhi and Islamabad to reflect that Pakistan was in favor with the United States while India was not.

Sharif looked more miserable than ever.

Toward the end of the meeting, Sharif asked everyone but me to wait outside. Shamshad seemed miffed. He glanced nervously over his shoulder as he left.
When we were alone I gave the PM a written note from Secretary Albright urging him to hold firm against those clamoring to test.

The note warned about the economic damage, to say nothing of the military danger, Pakistan faced from an escalating competition with India. Sharif read the note intently, folded the paper, put his head in his hands for a moment, then looked at me with desperation in his eyes.

At issue, he said, was his own survival. “How can I take your advice if I’m out of office?” If he did as we wanted, the next time I came to Islamabad, I'd find myself dealing not with a clean-shaven moderate like himself but with an Islamic fundamentalist “who has a long beard.”

He concluded by reiterating he had not made up his mind about testing. “If a final decision had been reached I'd be in a much calmer state of mind. Believe me when I tell you that my heart is with you. I appreciate & would even privately agree with what you're advising us to do.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Peaceful Uses Of Nuclear Energy – OpEd
November 27, 2020
By Sher Bano

Moreover, in the field of technical industry, the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) Taxila is one of the leading organizations in Pakistan’s engineering sector. It works with an aim of indigenization, self-reliance, and import substitution and to give technical support to the country’s industrial sector. It also focuses on enhancing manufacturing, design, testing, and inspection capabilities to produce high-tech parts, components, and equipment for the thermal, hydel, and nuclear power plants and alternate energy projects. It is a state-of-the-art facility for forging, fabrication, machining, welding, and heat treatment. It is Pakistan’s first engineering establishment that is certified by PNRA (Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority) to develop Nuclear Safety Class 1, 2, and 3 components and equipment in the country.

Hence it is quite comprehensible that Pakistan has successfully demonstrated its commitment towards using nuclear energy for the socio-economic development of the country. This implies that there is another side of the nuclear coin of Pakistan’s nuclear program and that is the peaceful use of nuclear technology. Based on this, the international community needs to admit Pakistan’s continuous efforts of compliance with the international practices of nuclear safety and security and regulatory control. The international arrangements like the NSG and other such cartels, which are supposed to facilitate and promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, need to acknowledge Pakistan’s achievements in this regard. The grant of NSG waiver to India while ignoring Pakistan’s outstanding track record in peaceful uses of nuclear technology has raised questions on the credibility of international arrangements. There is a dire need for openness to new contenders with a non-discriminatory approach. Last but not the least, there should be discrimination between proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear technology at the international level.

Riaz Haq said...

Two #Indian men arrested with 7 kg #radioactive #uranium in #Mumbai. The 7kg of uranium is worth over INR 21 crore (about $3 million) . The accused had even tested the uranium at a private lab for purity. The lab is also under scanner now. via @indiatoday

Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has arrested two men with over 7kg of uranium, a highly explosive and radioactive material.

The 7kg of uranium is worth over Rs 21 crore. The accused had even tested the uranium at a private lab for purity. The lab is also under scanner now.

Uranium is a highly explosive material if it goes into the wrong hands and can be extremely deadly. Based on a complaint by an officer from Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in Mumbai, an FIR has been filed and further investigations are on. A case has been registered under the Atomic Energy Act.

On February 14, information was received by PI Bhalekar that one person named Jigar Pandya, a resident of Thane was going to illegally sell pieces of uranium.

Subsequently, a trap was arranged by the ATS and Jigar Pandya was apprehended. On inquiry, it revealed that these pieces of uranium were given to him by one Abu Tahir, a resident of Mankhurd.

Instantaneously, Nagpada unit officers and staff reached the Kurla scrap association, Mankhurd in Mumbai and apprehended Abu Tahir.

The uranium was seized and was sent to BARC in Mumbai for analysis. A report was received that the substance is Natural Uranium, which is highly radioactive and dangerous to human life.

Riaz Haq said...

Sour grapes India: Pakistan has clearly won in Afghanistan
September 21, 2021, 2:52 PM IST

By Sunil Sharan in Strategic Insights, India, World, TOI

Much hand-wringing and hair-pulling is going on in India over Pakistan’s “1971” moment. Actually Pakistan has had two 1971 moments. Once when they ejected the Soviets from Afghanistan in 1989, and now.


The fight then is clear. It is white Christian nations versus brown Muslim nations. The US has been involved in the following campaigns after 9/11: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. All Muslim nations. It has met defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and been dealt a bruising blow in Libya, Syria and Yemen. Estimate of Muslim lives lost from war and displacement caused by war since 9/11 vary between five and ten million.


Much is being made of Blinken’s statement that the US would like to see Pakistan evolve the way it, the US, wishes. This is just wishful thinking. When the Americans were all over Afghanistan (and Pakistan), they could not force the Pakistanis to do what they wanted to do. Now that they have hightailed out of Afghanistan, are we expected to believe that the US has more leverage over Pakistan now than before?


Other than the US, the country that has clearly lost out in Afghanistan is India. For 20 years, India has poured over $3 billion in aid and reconstruction into Afghanistan, all of which, in a jiffy, has just landed in the hands of the Taliban. Pakistan has now become without doubt emboldened to launch a second jihad to liberate Kashmir from India. India cannot be naïve and altruistic anymore. It has to ramp up support for Pakistan’s Baloch rebels as well as instigate the Taliban in amalgamating Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province into Afghanistan, a long-cherished dream of its.

India just cannot afford to be a mute and idle spectator in the AfPak region. Its very survival is at risk. Pakistan has often accused India of fomenting terrorism in its own territory through the Pakistani Taliban. But think about this. The Pakistani Taliban wants to impose sharia in Pakistan, just as it’s been now imposed in Afghanistan.

But Pakistan’s Muslims are Hinduized. They don’t want sharia, just as India doesn’t want an enormous territory on its western flank under sharia. It is in India’s interest that Pakistan stays Hinduized. Why then would India support the Pakistani Taliban?

Riaz Haq said...

China Begins Construction of Pakistan's Largest Nuclear Power Plant

Pakistan held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for what will be its largest civil nuclear power plant — constructed by China — that will contribute 1,200 megawatts of electricity daily to the national grid and is estimated to cost at least $3.5 billion.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and senior Chinese officials attended the televised event in the central city of Chashma, dubbed the birthplace of China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation.

Over the past 30 years, Beijing has installed four nuclear power generation units in Chashma, collectively generating about 1,300 megawatts, with China providing enriched uranium for fuel.

"This mutual cooperation to promote clean, efficient, and comparatively cheaper energy is a gift of friendship between the two countries and a model for other countries to emulate," Sharif said at the ceremony.

The plant, known as Chashma-5, or C-5, will feature what China says is its domestically developed third-generation pressurized water nuclear technology, the Hualong One or HPR1000, with "advanced safety and foolproof security features."

Raja Ali Raza, the head of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, said the nuclear plant project will be completed by 2030.

"C-5 will be Pakistan's largest generation-III plus nuclear power project," Raza said. "This project has brought PAEC one step closer to its envisaged goal of production of 8,800 megawatts electric cheap and clean energy."

Beijing has previously supplied the HPR1000 technology for two nuclear power stations, each with a 1,100-megawatt generation capacity, built and operationalized in the last couple of years in the southern port city of Karachi, enhancing Pakistan's nuclear energy production to more than 3,500 megawatts a day.

Analysts see China's accelerated civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as part of efforts to globally find more lucrative buyers for its HPR1000 reactors developed by state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation or CNNC, the country's second-largest nuclear power producer company.

"HPR1000 is a homegrown nuclear technology of CNNC and a flagship of China's advanced equipment manufacturing," Yu Jianfeng, the CNNC chairman, told the ceremony. He noted that more than 17 units of HPR1000 are currently under construction in China.

"Today's groundbreaking for the C-5 project is a significant milestone for HPR1000's global journey and a new start for the China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation," Yu stated. "Our cooperation in nuclear energy has become an integral part of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and a shining example of international nuclear energy cooperation."

Under its global Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing also has built and put into commercial operation 14 mostly coal-fired power plants in Pakistan in the last 10 years, with a total installed capacity of 8,000 megawatts daily.

The projects are part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, which has also built road networks, highways, ports, and industrial zones with direct Chinese investment and "soft loans," expected to increase to about $62 billion by 2030 when the mega undertaking is due to be complete.

Critics blame CPEC for contributing to Pakistan's deepening economic troubles and depleting foreign exchange reserves, making it difficult for the country to catch up with its foreign debt repayments.

Pakistan owes more than $1.3 billion (350 billion rupees) to Chinese power plants. The amount keeps growing, and China has refused to defer or restructure the payment and CPEC debt repayments.