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User Name: abdulruff
Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
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South Asian Cold War: Pakistan’s sea-based missiles 

Dr. Abdul Ruff  


Pakistan is being destabilized by the US led terror and a long civil war.  People are suffering on account of many problems. Pakistan is undergoing political turmoil, but its military is busy developing new missiles obviously with specific targets.  Washington eyes on Pakistani nukes.

Pakistani instability was underscored this month, as anti-government protests in the capital asking Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to quit appeared to push Sharif's government to the brink of collapse. Sharif has not yet relented. One has no idea about the immediate future of Pakistan.



However, Pakistani military establishment seems to know the dangers Islamabad is facing from outside Pakistan. In order mainly to outsmart its rival nuke power India, Pakistan, like Russia, is developing sea-based missiles and expanding its interest in tactical nuclear warheads to give it a second-strike capability if a catastrophic nuclear attack destroyed its entire land-based weapon system.



Instead of working to enhance the range of its missiles, Pakistan is developing shorter-range cruise missiles that fly lower to the ground and can evade ballistic missile defenses. In a sign of a big strategic ambition, Pakistan in 2012 created the Naval Strategic Force command, which is similar to the air force and army commands that oversee nuclear weapons.


Pakistan has repeatedly tested its indigenously produced, nuclear-capable, Babur cruise missile, which has a range of 640 km and can strike targets at land and sea, military officials said. In 2011 and last year, Pakistan also tested a new tactical, nuclear-capable, battlefield missile that has a range of just 60 km. This is the miniaturisation of warheads, according to Pakistani strategic experts.




Western experts, for example, are divided over whether Pakistan has the ability to shrink warheads enough for use with tactical or launched weapons. Maria Sultan, chairwoman of the Islamabad-based South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, an organisation with close links to Pakistani military and intelligence wings, said the short-range missile is designed as a signal to India's military. "We are saying, 'We have target acquisition for very small targets as well, so it's really not a great idea to come attack us'?" Sultan said. "Before, we only had big weapons, so there was a gap in our deterrence, which is why we have gone for tactical nuclear weapons and cruise missiles.


The next step of Pakistan's strategy includes an effort to develop nuclear warheads suitable for deployment from the Indian Ocean, either from warships or from one of the country's five diesel-powered Navy submarines. Shireen M. Mazari, a nuclear expert and the former director of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, a hawkish Pakistani government-funded think-tank said Pakistan is on its way, and ‘my own hunch is within a year or so, we should be developing our second-strike capability," he asserted.  .


The development of nuclear missiles that could be fired from a Navy ship or submarine would give Pakistan "second-strike" capability if a catastrophic nuclear exchange destroyed all land-based weapons.



Pakistan's nuclear push comes amid heightened tension with US intelligence and congressional officials over the security of the country's nuclear weapons and materials.

US media had reported in September 2013 that US intelligence officials had increased surveillance of Pakistan in part because of concerns that nuclear materials could fall into the hands of “terrorists”- the usual US gimmick  employed to tactfully take away the nuke arsenals. .


 For more than a decade, Pakistan has sent signals that it's attempting to bolster its nuclear arsenal with "tactical" weapons - short-range missiles that carry a smaller warhead and are easier to transport. Over the past two years, Pakistan has conducted at least eight tests of various land-based ballistic or cruise missiles that it says are capable of delivering nuclear warheads. It is unclear how much direct knowledge the government has about the country's nuclear weapons and missile-development programmes, which are controlled by the powerful military's Strategic Planning Directorate




The acceleration of Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes is renewing US and international concern about the vulnerability of those weapons in a country home to more than two dozen “Islamist extremist groups”. The US strategists argue that the assurances Pakistan has given the world about the safety of its nuclear programme will be severely tested with short-range and sea-based systems, but they are coming.


 US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, when asked if the US was concerned about a sea-launched Pakistani weapon, said it was up to Pakistan to discuss its programmes and plans. But, she said Washington would continue to urge all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capabilities. “We continue to encourage efforts to promote confidence-building and stability and discourage actions that might destabilise the region."


While, ignoring the Israeli nukes, the western officials have been concerned about Pakistan's nuclear programme since it first tested an atomic device in 1998 to counter the real threat posed by Indian atomic bomb. Those fears have deepened over the past decade amid political tumult, terror attacks and tensions with India.





Analysts say much about Pakistan's programme remains a mystery. The prime minister is the chairman of Pakistan's National Command Authority, a group of civilian and military officials who would decide whether to launch a nuclear weapon. Pakistani military officials declined to comment on the nuclear programme.



Pakistan is also, like India, testifies missiles  very often and very recently, Pakistan successfully test-fired short range surface-to-surface missile 'Hatf IX' that has a range of 60 kilometres and can cover parts of India. The test of the missile also called Nasr was conducted with successive launches of four missiles from a state-of-the-art Multi Tube Launcher with Salvo Mode.

Hatf with in-flight manoeuvre capability is a quick response system, with shoot and scoot attributes. It contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against the prevailing threat spectrum.


The successful test launch was warmly appreciated by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Rashad Mahmood congratulated the scientists and engineers on achieving yet another milestone towards Pakistan's deterrence capability. He appreciated the professional attributes of all concerned which made possible the successful launch of the weapon system. Mahmood showed his full confidence over the Strategic Command and Control System and the capability of Pakistan's armed forces to safeguard the security of the country.



Apart from nukes and Kashmir, water issue also poses trouble for Indo-Pakistan peaceful bilateral ties.  A project 120-MW Miyar hydropower project near Udaipur town is being commissioned by private firm Moser Baer in the Miyar Valley on a tributary of the Chandrabhaga River.  A three-member Pakistani delegation will inspect the 120-MW Miyar hydropower project near Udaipur town in bordering tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti on September 28 Monday. The purpose of the Pakistani team's visit is to ascertain whether any diversion has been made in the original flow of the Chandrabhaga, which later enters Jammu and Kashmir and merges into Chenab River. "We are hopeful that India will show some flexibility on (Pakistan's) reservations over the building of new dams in India."

The delegation led by Pakistan's Indus Waters Commissioner Mirza Asif Beg, reached Manali in Himachal Pradesh this afternoon and would leave for Lahaul and Spiti. The Indian team comprising Water Commissioner K Vohra and senior joint commissioner PK Saxena would also accompany the Pakistani delegation to the site.


The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 with the support of the World Bank to settle water issues between the two neighbouring countries provided that India and Pakistan can inspect sites of development works such as projects or dams to check that no diversion has been created to the river flow, which could deny it the unhindered flow.



During the five-day trip, the delegation will also visit four "controversial sites" on the Chenab River where New Delhi is planning to construct new dams, said the paper. Reiterating that Pakistan's objections over the design of Kishanganga dam were logical, Baig told the daily that some serious doubts pertaining to the controversial project - particularly regarding the Neelum distributary point - and other dams on the Chenab river have already been allayed.


The delegation would try its best to resolve all issues during their stay in India. But at the same time, he admitted that Islamabad would have no choice but to approach the International Court of Justice if New Delhi did not entertain their "fair" demands.


 Such cross border water problem remains a major irritant between them as Pakistan is the victim of this anomaly. As Pakistan does not get enough water from rivers running from India or get over flooded when it rains heavily in Indian side.


Though it is not like US-USSR era cold war, Indo-Pakistan cold war has negative impact on the people of Kashmir.

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