Thursday, February 24, 2022

Ukraine's Lesson For Pakistan: Never Give Up Nuclear Weapons

Commenting on Ukraine, Russian analyst  Alexey Kupriyanov told Indian journalist Nirupama Subramanian: "For us, Ukraine is the same as Pakistan for India". What he failed to mention is that Pakistan has developed and retains its nuclear arsenal while Ukraine gave up its nukes in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union. Many Ukrainians now regret this decision. Ukrainians know that no country with nuclear weapons has ever been physically invaded by a foreign military. They now understand the proven effectiveness of nuclear deterrence.  They realize that all the talk about "rules-based order" is just empty rhetoric. The reality is the Law of the Jungle where the strong prey on the weak. The US military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that Washington is just as guilty of violating the "rules-based order" as Moscow. 

Ukraine Gave Up Nukes in 1990s. Source: Utica Phoenix

Denuclearization of Ukraine:

When Ukraine became independent in the early 1990s,  it was the third-largest nuclear power in the world with thousands of nuclear arms. In the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to denuclearize completely based on security guarantee from the U.S., the U.K. and Russia, known as the Budapest Memorandum.  Ukrainian analyst Mariana Budjeryn explained in an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly as follows: 

"It is clear that Ukrainians knew they weren't getting the exactly - sort of these legally binding, really robust security guarantees they sought. But they were told at the time that the United States and Western powers - so certainly, at least, the United States and Great Britain, they take their political commitments really seriously. This is a document signed at the highest level by the heads of state".

US Efforts to Stop Pakistan's Nukes:

The order to conduct Pakistan's nuclear tests came from Mr. Nawaz Sharif who was Pakistan's prime minister in 1998. It came on May 28, just over two weeks after India's nuclear tests conducted May 11 to May 13, 1998. Pakistan went ahead with the tests in spite of the US pressure to abstain from testing.  US President Bill Clinton called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately after the Indian tests to urge restraint.  It was followed up by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott's visit to Islamabad on May 16, 1998.

In his 2010 book titled "Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb", Secretary Talbott has described US diplomatic efforts to dissuade Pakistan in the two weeks period between the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests. Here are a few excerpts of the book divided into four sections covering Clinton's call to Sharif, Talbott's visits to the Foreign Office (FO), general headquarters (GHQ) and Prime Minister's House:

Clinton's Call to Sharif: 

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.

Meeting at Foreign Office in Islamabad:

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.

Visit to General Headquarter (GHQ) in Rawalpindi:

We set off with police escort, sirens blaring, to (Chief of Army Staff) 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 government 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.

Meeting at Prime Minister's House:

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 two days before that he would use Sharif’s visit to Washington and Clinton’s own to Pakistan 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. (Foreign Secretary) Shamshad (Ahmad) seemed miffed. He glanced nervously over his shoulder as he left. When we were alone I gave the prime minister 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 and would even privately agree with what you're advising us to do.”


After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Ukrainians are now regretting the decision to give up their nuclear weapons in 1990s based on western security assurances. In 1998, Pakistan flatly refused to do what the Ukrainians did. It is clear from Secretary Talbot's description that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not want to go forward with the nuclear tests but he had no choice. Fearing that he would be removed from office if he decided not to conduct atomic test, he told Talbott, “How can I take your advice if I’m out of office?”  Summing up the failure of the US efforts to stop Pakistan's nuclear tests, US Ambassador to Pakistan Ann Patterson said the following in a cable to Washington in 2009 :  "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".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

US-Pakistan Civilian Nuclear Deal?

India's Hostility Toward Pakistan 

Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

Debunking Haqqani's Op Ed: "Pakistan's Elusive Quest For Parity

Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb

Cyberwars Across India, Pakistan and China

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech

Pakistan's Space Capabilities

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Scientist Reveals Indian Nuke Test Fizzled

The Wisconsin Project

The Non-Proliferation Review Fall 1997

India, Pakistan Comparison 2010

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Global Firepower Comparison

Evaluation of Military Strengths--India vs. Pakistan

Only the Paranoid Survive

India Races Ahead in Space

21st Century High-Tech Warfare'


Jamal said...

I wouldn't trust Western governments if they told me the time.

Didn't they promise Russia that Nato wouldn't expand 'one inch' eastwards?

Moh said...

Thank you to AQ Khan and all the Scientists, Military, Politicians and others that allowed Pakistan have and maintain a minimum credible defense.

Riaz Haq said...

Ukraine, Nuclear Weapons, and Security Assurances at a Glance | Arms Control Association

In late April 1993, 162 Ukrainian politicians signed a statement to add 13 preconditions for ratification of START, frustrating the ratification process. The preconditions required security assurances from Russia and the United States, foreign aid for dismantlement, and compensation for the nuclear material. Additionally, they stated that Ukraine would dismantle only 36 percent of its delivery vehicles and 42 percent of its warheads, leaving the rest under Ukrainian control. Russia and the United States criticized these demands, but Ukraine did not budge. In May 1993, the United States said that if Ukraine were to ratify START, Washington would provide more financial assistance. This began subsequent discussions between Ukraine, Russia, and the United States over the future of Ukrainian denuclearization.

1993 Massandra Accords

Ukrainian and Russian officials reached a set of agreements, including protocols on nuclear weapons dismantlement, procedure, and terms of compensation. However, the two sides could not agree on the final document, and the summit ultimately failed.

1994 Trilateral Statement

The Massandra Accords set the stage for the ultimately successful trilateral talks. As the United States mediated between Russia and Ukraine, the three countries signed the Trilateral Statement on January 14, 1994. Ukraine committed to full disarmament, including strategic weapons, in exchange for economic support and security assurances from the United States and Russia. Ukraine agreed to transfer its nuclear warheads to Russia and accepted U.S. assistance in dismantling missiles, bombers, and nuclear infrastructure. Ukraine’s warheads would be dismantled in Russia, and Ukraine would receive compensation for the commercial value of the highly enriched uranium. Ukraine ratified START on February 3, 1994, repealing its earlier preconditions, but it would not accede to the NPT without further security assurances.

1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

To solidify security commitments to Ukraine, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances on December 5, 1994. A political agreement in accordance with the principles of the Helsinki Accords, the memorandum included security assurances against the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territory or political independence. The countries promised to respect the sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine. Parallel memorandums were signed for Belarus and Kazakhstan as well. In response, Ukraine officially acceded to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state on December 5, 1994. That move met the final condition for ratification of START, and on the same day, the five START states-parties exchanged instruments of ratification, bringing the treaty into force.

2009 Joint Declaration by Russia and the United States

Russia and the United States released a joint statement in 2009 confirming that the security assurances made in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum would still be valid after START expired in 2009.

2014 Russian Annexation of Crimea

Following months of political unrest and the abrupt departure of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian troops entered the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine in March 2014. On March 18, over the protests of the acting government in Kiev, the UN Security Council, and Western governments, Russia declared the annexation of Crimea. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine called the action a blatant violation of the security assurances in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. However, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, “the security assurances were given to the legitimate government of Ukraine but not to the forces that came to power following the coup d'etat.”

Zia said...

My leader looks so sad that obama is leaving presidency
Such a humane leader

Best way is to have economy that cn support your war

At this rate you will end up like sovit union country with 30,000 nuclear and 1 million tanks

Zarvan said...

You can't build your economy if you loose your independence.

Anonymous said...

Both Libya and Ukraine have shown nuclear weapons states that giving up nukes is the worst decision they could ever make.

Expect DPRK, Pakistan, India and Israel to double down on their nuclear arsenals. Also expect Iran to accelerate its nuclear program.

Riaz Haq said...

President Zelensky: #Ukraine 'left alone' to defend against #Russian invasion. “Today, I asked the twenty-seven leaders of #Europe whether Ukraine will be in #NATO. I asked directly. Everyone is afraid. They do not answer.” | TheHill

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech Thursday that Ukraine has been “left alone” to defend against the Russian invasion that began less than 24 hours earlier.

“Today Russia attacked the entire territory of our state,” Zelensky said. “And today our defenders have done a lot.”

“They defended almost the entire territory of Ukraine,” he continued. “Which suffered direct blows. They regain the one that the enemy managed to occupy.”

Zelensky said of the Ukrainian people that “we are supported,” citing conversations he had with world leaders after the invasion.

However, he added that Ukraine is “left alone in defense of our state.”

“Who is ready to fight with us?” Zelensky asked. “Honestly — I do not see such.”

Zelensky brought up a potential Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which he previously asked about during remarks on Saturday afternoon.

“I ask them,” Zelensky said of Ukraine’s allies on Thursday. “Are you with us? They answer that they are with us. But they are not ready to take us to the alliance,” referring to NATO.

He continued: “Today, I asked the twenty-seven leaders of Europe whether Ukraine will be in NATO. I asked directly. Everyone is afraid. They do not answer.”

Zelensky also addressed rumors that he and his family had left the Ukrainian capital.

“I know that a lot of fakes are being produced now,” he said. “In particular, that I allegedly left Kyiv. I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital."

“My family is also in Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine.”

Most of Zelensky’s speech honored the hundreds of soldiers that were wounded or killed by Russian forces during the day. At the time of the speech, he said 137 Ukrainians had died, 10 of whom were officers, and 316 were wounded.

“On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically,” Zelensky said. “But did not give up. All of them will be posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.”

Zelensky concluded: “Now the fate of the country depends entirely on our army, on our heroes, our security forces, all our defenders. And on our people, your wisdom and the great support of all friends of our country. Glory to Ukraine!”

Asghar A. said...

You are so right about this. Since Pakistan tested. India has not done any big threatening move.

Riaz Haq said...


Modi did try but failed miserably.  I wrote the following in March 2019: 

"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Riaz Haq said...

Could #SWIFT be used to sanction #Russia? Swift as a weapon could erode the #dollar-dominated global financial system, including by fostering alternatives to Swift being developed by Russia and the world’s second largest economy, #China. #Trade via @WSJ

Russia’s assault on Ukraine triggered a surge of calls for Western allies to completely sever Russia from the global financial system by disconnecting it from the so-called Swift global payment system. Fear in places like the U.S. and Germany of potential collateral damage have put the idea on hold for now.

What is Swift?
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, is the financial-messaging infrastructure that links the world’s banks. The Belgium-based system is run by its member banks and handles millions of daily payment instructions across more than 200 countries and territories and 11,000 financial institutions. Iran and North Korea are cut off from it.

Why is Swift important for countries, including Russia?
Cross-border financing is critical to every part of the economy, including trade, foreign investment, remittances and the central bank’s management of the economy. Disconnecting a country, in this case Russia, from Swift would hit all of that.

Who is advocating for such a move?
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lobbied other Group of Seven members to flip the switch. Other proponents include countries along the European Union’s border with Russia and some members of Congress, including California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The move, they argue, would help cripple Russia’s economy in a way that more targeted sanctions can’t.

Why are other countries resisting it?
Critics say there could be economic blowback, not just in Europe, which has deep trade ties and relies heavily on Russia’s natural gas exports, but also the rest of the world. Some former U.S. officials say the move could severely hurt Russia’s economy, but also harm Western business interests such as the major oil companies. President Biden, while ruling it out for now, said the option isn’t off the table completely.

At an estimated $1.7 trillion last year, Russia’s gross domestic product makes it the 12th largest economy in the world. Even if the global economy wasn’t hobbled by a three-year pandemic, rising inflation, supply chain disruptions and escalating East-West political tensions, losing 2% of global GDP and one of the world’s top oil exporters would inflict severe damage to it.

Additionally, using Swift as a weapon could erode the dollar-dominated global financial system, including by fostering alternatives to Swift being developed by Russia and the world’s second largest economy, China. That could undermine Western power, especially the diplomatic leverage that sanctions offer.

What have Western nations done instead?
Besides halting a new natural gas pipeline and hurting Russia’s ability to raise debt, Western sanctions so far have blacklisted many of Russia’s biggest banks, affecting the majority of the country’s banking sectors assets. Those sanctions ban transactions with the targeted institutions, cutting off their access to U.S. dollars and financing.

Why would cutting Swift off be different?
President Biden said that with Thursday’s sanctions, allied efforts essentially amount to the same things as cutting Russia off from Swift. But there are differences.

Swift is a bludgeon in the economic warcraft arsenal compared with targeted sanctions that provide precision and diplomatic flexibility for policy makers.

Riaz Haq said...

Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner

Slavic Studies Panel Addresses “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?”

Washington D.C., December 12, 2017 – U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates’s criticism of “pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn’t happen.”[1] The key phrase, buttressed by the documents, is “led to believe.”

President George H.W. Bush had assured Gorbachev during the Malta summit in December 1989 that the U.S. would not take advantage (“I have not jumped up and down on the Berlin Wall”) of the revolutions in Eastern Europe to harm Soviet interests; but neither Bush nor Gorbachev at that point (or for that matter, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl) expected so soon the collapse of East Germany or the speed of German unification.[2]

The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear “that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an ‘impairment of Soviet security interests.’ Therefore, NATO should rule out an ‘expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.’” The Bonn cable also noted Genscher’s proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO.[3]

This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about “closer to the Soviet borders” is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures. The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.

Riaz Haq said...

Shahid Raza@schaheidLessons from Ukraine.

1: Never give up your nukes.

2: Economic power without military power is like ringing a dinner bell for aggression.

3: Maintain a cutting edge air force and air defenses.

4: Aggressor is mostly going to be your neighbor.

5: Old fashioned conscription👍🏽

Riaz Haq said...

Late American South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Washington's Brookings Institution
told his audience: "Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over."

Irfan said...

Wonderful, and it will sum it up well if you add the clip of what Gohar Ayub told about how Nawaz Shareef had to decide to explode . Naheed Nizami told MNS : dhamaka kar do Nahin to log aap ka dhamaka kar dein gey

Riaz Haq said...

To punish for invading #Ukraine, the #West is rolling out tough #sanctions on #Russia but going out of its way to preserve the country’s biggest source of revenue: #energy #exports. #gas #oil #Germany #Europe #EU

The West is rolling out increasingly tough sanctions on Russia but it is going out of its way to preserve the country’s biggest source of revenue: energy exports.

In the latest example, the European Union said late Saturday that it had agreed with the U.S., the U.K. and Canada to eject some of Russia’s banks from the global financial system’s payments infrastructure, Swift. The move, if applied to all banks, would be powerful, essentially blocking money transfers in and out of the country. By cutting only some, Western countries are allowing payments, including for energy, to continue through non-sanctioned banks.

Russia is one of the world’s top oil and natural-gas producers, and energy exports represent half of the country’s foreign sales. The country, now embroiled in a bitter war in Ukraine, provides around 40% of Europe’s natural gas. The commodity heats the continent, fuels many of its power plants and is a critical input for a range of industrial processes. Russia’s crude production is a major factor in the global oil marketplace.

As the U.S. and its Western allies wage economic war against the Kremlin to coerce it into abandoning its invasion of Ukraine, policymakers have tailored their pressure campaign to protect their energy supply, prevent a surge in oil prices and minimize the damage on their own economies.

“You can’t get away from the fact that Europe still has a dependency on Russia,” said Justine Walker, head of sanctions and risk at the Associate of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, even as observers argue the exemptions for energy sales dilute the sanctions’ impact.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia’s largest banks— Sberbank and VTB—but provided broad exemptions on payments for purchases of crude oil, natural gas, fuel and other petroleum products. The EU, meanwhile, chose not to sanction them for now. Already-sanctioned banks will be kicked off Swift, but others will be allowed to stay.

A senior Biden administration official said Saturday that officials were carefully selecting which Russian banks to eject from the Swift network to minimize disruption of energy markets.

“We know where most of the energy flows occur, through which banks they occur,” the official said. “And if we take that approach, we can simply choose the institutions where most of the energy flows do not occur.”

The exemptions enable European nations and others to continue buying Russian gas and oil. That tempers prices, including for oil, which have jumped by roughly 40% over the last three months over concerns of disruption to oil markets from a conflict in Ukraine. Higher oil prices boost the amount of money Russia makes for every barrel sold, and spurs inflation across the world.

“The way that...President Biden has approached sanctions is we want to take every step to maximize the impact and the consequences on President Putin, while minimizing the impact on the American people and the global community,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday on ABC News. “And so energy sanctions are certainly on the table. We have not taken those off. But we also want to do that and make sure we’re minimizing the impact on the global marketplace, and do it in a united way.”

U.S. officials say the exemptions were critical for winning political support for a coordinated and complementary pressure campaign from a broad range of economies including the U.S. and U.K., and the 27 member states of the EU.

Riaz Haq said...

PIA Repatriation Flights Head To #Poland Amid #Evacuation Efforts. The first flight left on Sunday for Warsaw, where it will pick up those #Pakistanis in #Ukraine who successfully reached the #Polish border.

In total, officials estimate that 500-600 Pakistanis remain to be flown out of the country, which means it could take a few more flights before everyone is safely moved out of border countries. We can expect more details as groups slowly make their way through war-torn Ukraine in the coming days.


Pakistan International Airlines is undertaking two evacuation flights to bring home citizens affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine. The first flight left on Sunday for Warsaw, where it will pick up those who successfully reached the Polish border. The flights come as countries globally step up efforts to evacuate citizens from the heart of the crisis.

As reported by Tribune, PIA is flying two emergency flights out of Poland to rescue the hundreds of Pakistani students and others stuck in the country after the war broke out. The airline will deploy its largest plane, the Boeing 777, to pick up those who can be evacuated currently. Ukraine's airspace has been closed since February 24th, making any flights in and over the country impossible for the near future

To get people out of Ukraine, countries have been looking for alternate routes to reach the border countries of Poland and Romania and then sending in flights. Warsaw, Bucharest, and more cities have all played hosts to special flights this week to help thousands return safely. However, the task is not so simple.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez added the details of coordinating this evacuation amid a war, saying,

"The preparations have been made to send two flights to Poland from Pakistan on Sunday. The Pakistani embassy in Ukraine is not only contacting all those Pakistanis who want to return to the country, but also providing them all-out information in this regard. The Pakistani embassy in Ternopil will transfer all the students to Poland by land route. PIA's Boeing 777 plane will then repatriate the students from Poland."


Stepping up
PIA is one of the dozens of airlines facing the consequences of Russia's invasion. For example, Air India has flown several missions to Bucharest and Budapest, and more are planned in the coming days to rescue citizens. However, in addition to evacuation, the political fallout of the war has altered the flight paths of several carriers.

Economic sanctions by the UK meant that British airlines had lost access to Russian airspace, creating longer, more costly flights for Asia-bound routes. Some cargo services have even been axed due to the changes. The EU took similar actions when it banned Russian carriers from its airspace, which is almost likely to result in a reciprocal ban. The airspace sanctions are some of the harshest seen since the Cold War and could reshape flight paths for a while.

For now, the coming days will see tense negotiations to protect foreign nationals as the war continues to rage in Ukraine.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian student killed in #Ukraine amid criticism over evacuation. Medical student from southern state of #Karnataka killed by shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of #Kharkiv, India’s foreign ministry says via @AJEnglish

An Indian student has been killed in shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, India’s foreign ministry says, as criticism over New Delhi’s evacuation of students from the war-torn country mounts.

“Foreign Secretary is calling in Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate our demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones,” ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Russian forces are firing artillery and laying siege to Kharkiv and other major cities, a Ukrainian official said, as the invasion of the former Soviet republic entered its sixth day.

Indian media reports said the student, identified as Naveen Shekharappa, belonged to the southern state of Karnataka’s Haveri district and studied medicine in Ukraine.

The student died while he was trying to find his way out of Kharkiv, his roommate told India’s NDTV network.

“He lived near the governor’s house and had been standing in the queue for food. Suddenly there was an air strike that blew up the governor’s house and he was killed,” Pooja Praharaj, a student coordinator in Kharkiv, told NDTV.

A Ukrainian woman picked up his phone, according to the student coordinator. “Speaking from his phone, she said the owner of this phone is being taken to the morgue,” Praharaj said.

Indians make up about a quarter of the 76,000 foreign students in Ukraine, by far the largest number, according to Ukrainian government data.

New Delhi has evacuated about 4,000 Indians in the last month, but some 16,000 remain trapped, according to the latest data from India’s foreign ministry.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Indian embassy in Ukraine also issued an advisory, asking the Indian students to “leave Kyiv urgently”.

The Indian government has dispatched four federal ministers to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to assist in the rescue efforts.

‘Screaming in terror’
But many stranded students in Ukraine have criticised the Indian government’s rescue efforts as they released a slew of videos on social media highlighting their plight.

According to Indian media, some Indian students are being prevented from crossing into neighbouring countries, with border guards reportedly refusing to let them pass and demanding money.

“I was standing near the Ukrainian border, awaiting my turn to enter Romania when I saw a few guards point guns at Indian students and start abusing them in their language,” the Times of India quoted one student as saying.

“Students, who were already scared, started screaming in terror.”

“(We) have been asked to reach the western border, which is impossible for us because the connecting bridges have been blown up due to bombardment… but we are not getting any kind of help in Ukraine,” he said.

Aruj Raj, a student in Kharkiv, told the newspaper that he has been in a hostel bunker with 400 other Indian students since Thursday.

“There is so much bombing happening outside. We can see street fighting through our windows. The city is still under curfew. It is impossible for us to step outside. We hardly have anything left to eat or drink,” he said.

India’s main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the government for not coming up with “a strategic plan for safe evacuation” of Indian students in Ukraine.

Riaz Haq said...

#US Sec of State #Kissinger to #Indian FM in 1976: "#Pakistan cannot balance conventional weapons. If they get 10, 15 #nuclear weapons, it will bring equality between #India & Pakistan. Your acquisition of nuclear equipment has created (this) situation"

f I were the Prime Minister of Pakistan, I would do what (Zulfiqar Ali) Bhutto is doing."

US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made the remarks in a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Rao Chavan in the wake of pressure from the United States not to build a nuclear weapon on Pakistan following India's nuclear test.

The conversation stems from a secret memo that is one of thousands of leaked US foreign policy documents.

During the meeting in New York on the morning of October 8, 1976, Kissinger added, "The strange thing is that Pakistan cannot balance conventional weapons. If they get 10, 15 nuclear weapons, it will bring equality between India and Pakistan. Your acquisition of nuclear equipment has created a situation in which, once again, an equation that is not possible with conventional weapons is

But despite all this, the US attitude towards Pakistan in acquiring nuclear weapons remained strong.

"We are trying to get him (Pakistan) to give up this idea," Kissinger told the Indian foreign minister. I have told Pakistanis that if they are willing to give up their nuclear program, we will be able to increase their supply of conventional weapons.

India and Pakistan's nuclear advance spans nearly fifty years. Thousands of U.S. documents leaked over the past half-century show that Washington has always had a soft spot for India in its journey to acquire nuclear weapons, but for Pakistan, such as pressure, aid cuts and other sanctions. Steps taken.

India and Pakistan's nuclear advance spans nearly fifty years. Thousands of U.S. documents leaked over the past half-century show that Washington has always had a soft spot for India in its journey to acquire nuclear weapons, but for Pakistan, such as pressure, aid cuts and other sanctions. Steps taken.

Whether it was Bhutto's government or General Zia-ul-Haq who overthrew him, these problems were solved only when the US needed Pakistan.

India built its first research reactor in 1956 with the help of Canada and the first plutonium reprocessing plant in 1964, while Pakistan set up the Atomic Energy Commission in 1956 with the idea that it would be an 'atom for peace' announced by the Eisenhower administration. 'Participated in the program.

In 1960, when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became Minister of Minerals and Natural Resources in Ayub Khan's cabinet, Dr. Ishrat H. Usmani was appointed Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Osmani initiated many important programs and founded institutions. One of his main tasks was to train talented young people and send them abroad for training.

In mid-1965, Bhutto vowed to equal India's nuclear capability: 'If India makes a bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, we will go to bed hungry, but we have to make our own bomb. We have no other choice.

But later that year, after banning arms supplies to Pakistan, President Lyndon Johnson cut off US military aid to Pakistan in the wake of the Pakistan-India war.

In the next 16 years, until 1982, Pakistan received very little help from the United States.

On September 9, 1965, US Secretary of State Dan Rusk sent a memorandum to President Johnson stating, "The bitterness between Pakistan and India makes it extremely difficult to maintain good relations with both countries. If we had to choose one of these, India would be better off because of its huge population, industrial base, democracy and other capabilities. However, we can never fully support the policy goals of India or Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#US ally, #QUAD partner #India has not explicitly condemned the invasion of #Ukraine. It's distanced itself from #Putin, but its social-media platforms are awash with #misinformation. Supporters of PM Narendra #Modi have amplified false #Russian claims.

Arun Pudur, the founder of an Indian software firm, has 78,000 followers on Twitter. On March 3, he tweeted that the Ukrainian army had captured Indian students and was "using them as Human shields" in its fight against Russia's invasion.

This misinformation racked up hundreds of likes and retweets.

The incendiary claim, which echoed untruths from Russian President Vladimir Putin, drew a swift rebuttal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

The Indian government's willingness to dismiss pro-Russia misinformation about Ukraine belies how complicated its position is on the issue. It abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia. While its language on the war has hardened since the invasion, it's still the lone member of the 10 largest economies, other than China, that has yet to openly criticize Russia or join economic sanctions against the country.

While India's position has been evolving, pro-Russia, pro-Modi false claims have had their uses. They can blunt criticism that New Delhi has faced domestically for its failure to evacuate the 18,000 students trapped in Ukraine sooner, at a time when Indians have gone to the polls in regional elections.

Pudur, who did not respond to a request for comments from Insider, runs one of several thousands of Indian social-media accounts propagating Kremlin talking points about a conflict taking place more than 2,500 miles away.

The failure to evacuate the students sooner sparked criticism of the Modi administration. In response, pro-government handles began promoting untruths that promoted New Delhi's efforts and supported Putin, according to fact-checkers.

By March 9, #OperationGanga — the name of the Modi government's mission to rescue citizens from Ukraine — was the top-trending topic on Twitter in India, while #IStandWithPutin had more tweets than #StopPutinNOW. All of this played out as five Indian states voted for their legislatures through February and early March.

Ghulam Abbas said...

Looking at Ukraine’s predicament and the RSS in India — it is worth it.

Riaz Haq said...

George W. Bush's Freudian Slip on #Ukraine: "Brutal Invasion of #Iraq". Ex #US president condemned #Putin's "brutal, unjustified invasion of Iraq" and then blamed the slip on age. #Russia

Riaz Haq said...

Pope Francis has said Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was “perhaps somehow provoked” as he recalled a conversation in the run-up to the war in which he was warned Nato was “barking at the gates of Russia”.

In an interview with the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, conducted last month and published on Tuesday, the pontiff condemned the “ferocity and cruelty of the Russian troops” while warning against what he said was a fairytale perception of the conflict as good versus evil.

“We need to move away from the usual Little Red Riding Hood pattern, in that Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was the bad one,” he said. “Something global is emerging and the elements are very much entwined.”

Francis added that a couple of months before the war he met a head of state, who he did not identify but described as “a wise man who speaks little, a very wise man indeed … He told me that he was very worried about how Nato was moving. I asked him why, and he replied: ‘They are barking at the gates of Russia. They don’t understand that the Russians are imperial and can’t have any foreign power getting close to them.’”

He added: “We do not see the whole drama unfolding behind this war, which was, perhaps, somehow either provoked or not prevented.”

Riaz Haq said...

In a 30-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire to discuss his book ‘India’s Pakistan Conundrum’, Sharat Sabharwal ( ex Indian Ambassador to Pakistan) identified three preconceived notions that the Indian people must discard. First, he says it’s not in India’s interests to promote the disintegration of Pakistan. “The resulting chaos will not leave India untouched”.

Second, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that India has the capacity to inflict a decisive military blow on Pakistan in conventional terms. “The nuclear dimension has made it extremely risky, if not impossible, for India to give a decisive military blow to Pakistan to coerce it into changing its behaviour.”

Third, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that they can use trade to punish Pakistan. “Use of trade as an instrument to punish Pakistan is both short-sighted and ineffective because of the relatively small volume of Pakistani exports to India.”


Historically, the relationship between India and Pakistan has been mired in conflicts, war, and lack of trust. Pakistan has continued to loom large on India's horizon despite the growing gap between the two countries. This book examines the nature of the Pakistani state, its internal dynamics, and its impact on India.

The text looks at key issues of the India-Pakistan relationship, appraises a range of India's policy options to address the Pakistan conundrum, and proposes a way forward for India's Pakistan policy. Drawing on the author's experience of two diplomatic stints in Pakistan, including as the High Commissioner of India, the book offers a unique insider's perspective on this critical relationship.

A crucial intervention in diplomatic history and the analysis of India's Pakistan policy, the book will be of as much interest to the general reader as to scholars and researchers of foreign policy, strategic studies, international relations, South Asia studies, diplomacy, and political science.

Riaz Haq said...

US holds title for world's most powerful military, Pakistan ranks 7th, Where does India stand?

Pakistan has entered the top 10 of the most powerful militaries in the world, securing the seventh spot. Japan and France have dropped to eighth and ninth respectively. The United States, Russia, and China remain the top three.

According to Global Firepower, a prominent data website specializing in defence-related information, the United States possesses the most powerful military force worldwide.

Russia and China follow closely in second and third place, respectively, while India secures the fourth position. The recently released 2023 Military Strength list, which evaluates over 60 factors, also highlights nations with comparatively weaker military forces such as Bhutan and Iceland.

The assessment by Global Firepower takes into account various criteria, including the number of military units, financial resources, logistical capabilities, and geographical considerations, to determine each nation's overall score.

"Our unique, in-house formula allows for smaller (and) more technologically-advanced nations to compete with larger (and) lesser-developed powers… special modifiers, in the form of bonuses and penalties, are applied to further refine the list which is compiled annually. Trends do not necessarily indicate a declining power as changes to the GFP formula can also account for this."

The report lists 145 countries and also compares each nation's year-on-year ranking changes.

Here are the 10 nations with the most powerful militaries in the world:

United States




United Kingdom

South Korea





Here are the 10 nations with the least powerful militaries in the world:








Central African Republic


Sierra Leone

The top four nations remain as they were in the 2022 Global Firepower list.

In a shift from the previous year's rankings, the United Kingdom has advanced from eighth to fifth place in terms of military strength. South Korea retains its sixth position from last year.

Notably, Pakistan has entered the top 10, securing the seventh spot. Conversely, Japan and France, which held the fifth and seventh positions respectively last year, have dropped to eighth and ninth this year.

Despite ongoing conflicts and Russia's "special operation" invasion of Ukraine in February of the previous year, Russia maintains its second position. The rankings reflect the evolving dynamics and complexities of global military capabilities and highlight the continuous assessment of various factors influencing military strength.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Is Ukraine's Foreign Minister Visiting Pakistan?

Ukraine Arms Likely on Agenda
Pakistan, like many non-Western countries, says it’s adopted a neutral position in the Russia-Ukraine war. But, compared to other countries in the Global South, it’s an outlier in one big way: it’s been providing Ukraine with weapons. Nothing fancy — mainly artillery shells — but Kyiv is burning through massive amounts of firepower and will take ammunition from wherever it can get it. (The U.S. decision to provide Ukraine with cluster bombs makes the coalition’s desperation clear.)

Kuleba — who may be joined by Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov — could ask for more arms during his visit, though that won’t be mentioned in any readout or local press reports.

The reason? Pakistan has yet to publicly acknowledge that it’s been providing Ukraine with arms. The weapons transfers have been covert, taking place indirectly through other European partners. The behind-the-scenes relationship was, however, acknowledged months ago by a European Union (EU) official in a television interview.

India AWOL on Ukraine
It does not appear that Kuleba will stop by New Delhi on this trip. Strikingly, Ukraine’s diplomatic engagement with India is taking place at a lower level. Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian first deputy foreign minister, visited New Delhi in April. And last week, a mid-level Indian diplomat paid a visit to Ukraine.

India, whose leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made recent state visits to France and the United States — continues to remain an ally of Russia and has emerged as a major importer of Russian oil.

India is using its leadership of the G-20 this year to pronounce its rise as a global power. But it’s been absent when it comes to the biggest war Europe has seen since World War Two, seeing it as a sideshow. Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has been dismissive of the Ukraine war, calling it one of “Europe’s problems.”

For his part, Kuleba has harshly criticized New Delhi for its import of Russian oil. He said last August, “Every barrel of Russian crude oil delivered to India has a good portion of Ukrainian blood in it.” Months later, he said India was “benefit[ting] from our suffering,” and called on New Delhi to play a more diplomatic role in the war.

Insurance for the Pakistan Army
Though Kuleba’s visit to Islamabad was requested by Kyiv, it is important for Pakistan — especially its powerful army, which is behind the secret provision of arms to Ukraine. The Pakistan Army has been given a cold shoulder by Washington in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. By arming Ukraine, Pakistan is sending a message to Western powers courting India: we can still be useful to you.

The Pakistan Army is also under criticism domestically and internationally for its crackdown on the party of ex-cricketer Imran Khan.

Pakistani intelligence services have been forcing defections from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) party after violence targeting military installations that followed the violent arrest of the ex-cricketer by paramilitary forces on May 9.

This month, EU Ambassador to Pakistan Riina Kionka said that “the crackdown on PTI and supporters in the aftermath of May 9th is certainly something that we’re paying a lot of attention to.” Khan and others who remain with PTI could be tried under military courts.


Dr. Riina Kionka, European Union's ambassador to Pakistan, in an interview with local media in Pakistan on 21 February 2023 said that Pakistan has been helping Ukraine in its protracted conflict with Russia by sending military and humanitarian aid.[24]

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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