Is Pakistan's Paranoia Pushing it Into a Nuclear War with India?
The possibility of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India grows every day. If the Pakistanis do not bring under control the terrorist groups in the country and resolve the conflicts with India, it is not a matter of if it will happen, but when.
There have been few achievements to celebrate in the sixty-five year history of Pakistan and that has made the success of the nuclear program central to the national identity. This is especially true for the military that receives a quarter of the budget and is the only strong national institution.
Development of the weapons started in January of 1972 by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, when he was the Minister for Fuel, Power and Natural Resources. The decision to go nuclear came after a disastrous military defeat in 1971 by India. Bangladesh with Indian assistance separated from Pakistan.
Without its eastern territory, Pakistan was facing an enemy six times larger. The only way to deal with such a threat was to acquire an equalizer. Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra stated in 1954, "When there is more equality of military strength, then I am sure that there will be a greater chance of settlement." His words expressed what is an ongoing national preoccupation with military parity with the far more powerful India.
India joined the nuclear club in 1974. Pakistan followed in 1998 and became the only Moslem nuclear power with what became known as the “Islamic Bomb;” and that made it a leader in the Islamic world community.
The Pakistan high command believed that the U.S. does not want a Moslem country to possess nuclear weapons and will at some time in the future attempt to seize or destroy its arsenal. Since September of 2001, much of the American military action has been directed towards Moslem states. As the sole nuclear Islamic country, that convinces the Pakistanis that they too will be targeted.
Washington worries that Pakistan with a number of terrorist organizations supported by the Inter-Service Intelligence is the one place where terrorists would be the most likely to acquire a nuclear weapon or nuclear materials. A high ranking official of the Inter Service Intelligence told the Atlantic for a December 2011 article on the Pakistani nuclear weapons program, “You must trust us that we have maximum and impenetrable security. No one with ill intent can get near our strategic assets.”
Since April 2012, The Strategic Plans Division that is charged with protecting the nuclear arsenal of an estimated ninety to one hundred and ten strategic warheads has been adding an additional eight thousand specially trained troops to protect the storage facilities from an American attempt to seize or destroy the nuclear weapons. A retired high level Pakistani officer confided that he and many of his colleagues believe that the U.S. will move against nuclear facilities shortly after the American combat role ends in Afghanistan. He and his colleagues expect the United States to abandon Pakistan as it did in 1989 when the Soviet Union was driven out of Afghanistan.comments powered by Disqus