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Special Lecture On 'Pakistan’s Nuclear Brinkmanship' At The DDNSS, PU

'Pakistan’s Nuclear Brinkmanship'
Changigarh (The Hawk): The Department of Defence and National Security Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh organized a special webinar on the theme “Pakistan’s Nuclear Brinkmanship” by Dr. Shalini Chawla ,today.
Dr Shalini Chawla is a distinguished fellow and heads Pakistan and Afghanistan studies at the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), New Delhi. She was a research scholar at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, 1999-2002. She was the Project Director for an Indian Council of Social Science Research project -Afghanistan: The US Drawdown and Beyond (2013-2015). She joined CAPS in 2006 and focus of her studies is Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The special focus of the lecture was to give a detailed analysis of Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine and nuclear policy. While initiating the lecture, Dr. Shalini explained it is very important to understand Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine as it is an unwritten document. We have seen that Pakistan has been using its nuclear power many times to create deterrence and threats through social media and by other means. It always seeks to create a projection of uncertainty or irrationality before other countries because maintaining a posture of irrationality definitely helps Pakistan. She further stated that Pakistan has four primary objectives for maintaining nuclear weapons. These are; to attain parity, avoid conventional war, support non-state actors conducting terrorism against India and to deter New Delhi from any conventional move in response to a Pak supported terrorist act. 
She pointed out that according to defence planners in Pakistan, nuclear weapons provided the ultimate guarantee of security for the state and, because of this, it could be seen as the leader of the Islamic world. She also said that Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is India-centric and its primary aim is to provide credible minimum deterrence. But Pakistan always keeps the aim of minimum credible deterrence flexible. Pakistan has kept its doctrine India-centric because it knows it is unable to cope with India’s conventional military capability, primarily due to asymmetry with a larger, stronger and better managed India.
 Regarding the First use policy of Pakistan, she explained that Pakistan believes that being the weaker state it can compensate weakness by taking a bold initiative. Pakistan has often claimed that it would/could use nuclear weapon at the very beginning of the war with India if the Indian military even crossed the international border. Pakistan rejected India’s proposal for a joint no first -use pledge in the aftermath of the nuclear tests as they felt it would benefit India only. She further highlighted that Pakistan reliance on first use policy for long time seems to be emerging from three factors. Firstly, to deter India from using its conventional military against Pakistan under any circumstances. Secondly Pakistan wants an option open for “ Pre-emptive strikes” against India and thirdly Pakistan has failed to consider the consequences of the Indian retaliation.
She further said that in 2002, Lt. Gen Khalid Kidwai had said that Pakistan would certainly use nuclear weapons if the deterrence failed. But then, in 2006, when the Indo-US nuclear deal was negotiated, General Khalid said that Pakistan was a responsible nuclear power. While talking about the full spectrum deterrence of Pakistan she said that according to Pakistan the need for full-spectrum deterrence was strongly felt after India talked about the possibility of limited conventional warfare under nuclear control. Full-spectrum deterrence for Pakistan means full spectrum deterrence against the full spectrum of perceived Indian threats at tactical, operational, and strategic levels. Apart from this, Pakistan has very logically maintained a posture of irrationality. She further said that Pakistan felt more confident to prosecute its low-cost proxy war against India under the nuclear umbrella and used the policy of first use as a shield under which terrorism grew.
Talking about Pakistan’s nuclear capability, she highlighted that it has about 165 nuclear warheads and Islamabad reportedly continues to produce HEU (highly enriched uranium) for weapons at the rate of at least 100 kg per year. She further said that nuclear weapons are in sync with the strategic culture of Pakistan which beliefs in an aggressive approach and use of terror. Also, terror is supported by interpretations of the teachings of the Holy Quran. The military has relied on the strategy of using terror as a weapon. After discussing Pakistan’s nuclear strategy, she stressed that India’s nuclear capability and credibility need to be strengthened so that it can counter any nuclear threat from Pakistan.
 The lecture was attended by members of various faculty members, serving and retired armed officers pursuing various courses in the department, research scholars and students. The lecture was followed by a question answer session with the audience.