Why Pakistan Army will never want a nuclear war with India

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Updated: August 28, 2019 10:21:14 AM

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged the global community to intervene before it gets too late on Kashmir. He said that both countries — India and Pakistan — have nuclear weapons and if war breaks out between them over Kashmir, the consequences will transcend their boundaries and the world will also feel the heat.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (Reuters)

Pakistan has run out of options on Kashmir. So, it is back to what it does best — raise the nuclear attack bogey, which no country in the world has ever taken seriously and rightly so. In a desperate attempt to get some attention from world powers, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged the global community to intervene before it gets too late on Kashmir. As usual, he repeated the same script that both countries — India and Pakistan — have nuclear weapons and if war breaks out between them over Kashmir, the consequences will transcend their boundaries and the world will also feel the heat.

“Both countries have nuclear weapons. In a nuclear war, no one wins. It will not only wreak havoc in this region, but the entire world will face consequences. It is now up to the international community,” he said in an address to nation on Kashmir.

So, can Pakistan afford to go on such misadventurism? Former National Security Advisory Board member Bharat Karnad believes that Imran Khan’s nuclear threat is just “a hollow posturing” which no Indian should take seriously. Karnad, a former member of Nuclear Doctrine Drafting Group, is also the author of — India’s Nuclear Policy, and Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security. He says: “Imran Khan is talking about nuclear state — it’s a kind of very hollow posturing. All this is for the consumption of the domestic market to try and convince the people that he is doing something on behalf of Kashmiris.”

Karnad said that the Pakistanis keep talking about their nuclear weapons and that any hostilities can then escalate to nuclear level. “But where are the hostilities? India has not initiated any hostilities. India has done away with Article 370 which is an internal matter? Amending any provision of the Indian constitution is our damn right. We are not going to war. We are status quoist power. Pakistan wants to change things. It can not go to war because it does not have the war making capacities. It has no economic support system, it has no money, it has very limited stores and war materials. What are they going to fight with, forget about initiating a war?”

Karnad also believes that the Pakistani Army will never opt for war as it will go extinct after nuclear conflict. Spelling out what will happen with Pakistan in case of nuclear war, the national security expert referred to the exchange ratio — which means the destruction you impose on enemy vis-v-vis the destruction you absorb. “No matter what happens, India can not be made extinct. No matter how many atom bombs are used, and Pakistanis don’t have that many. But India can make Pakistan extinct. And why? Because unfortunately for Pakistan, all their strategic corridors from north to south are very close to the Indian borders — Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Sialkot and Karachi. All we have to do is to target these places and all their economic centers will be gone.”

Karnad is clear in his view that Pakistan is not a threat, but a nuisance and Kashmir becoming a nuclear flash-point absolute “nonsense”. He, however, wondered why the Indian government was not exposing Islamabad on the UN resolution. Referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Khan’s statement that the United Nations should fulfill its promise on plebiscite, Karnad said that there was no legitimate reason to go back to the UNSC Resolution because that is now null and void. “It’s null and void for the reason that Pakistan did not then or ever comply with the pre-conditions,” he said.

The first condition in the UNSC resolution was that Pakistan was to withdraw its forces from Kashmir, and subsequent to that India was to cut down its forces, which was the second condition. But Pakistan never withdrew its forces from Kashmir, so the question of plebiscite does not arise. Pointing to this, Karnad said that New Delhi should ask Islamabad to remove all its people from PoK if it wants to go back to the UN resolution. “How are they going to remove them? It’s impossible,” he added.

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