Nuclear arms politics in Asia and the US: A regional dilemma

Use of force through military personnel requires arsenal on massive grounds to defeat their opponents on a higher level. The nuclear arms race is moving forward by obvious conditions especially in the developed world in order to destabilize the opponent states by creating conflict at large.

To get an idea of the nuclear arms politics in Asia and the US, first, we need to know the concept of hard power.

The concept of Hard Power

Hard power is a term which is defined as “Those states that violate international law and treaties signed by the use of power through the assistance of their defence forces by creating destruction on a massive scale in the opponent state.”

 Nuclear Arm treaties

In the decade of 1960s and early 1970s, a treaty was signed between India, Pakistan, Russia, America and China. The purpose of the treaty was to tackle nuclear explosions to not to destroy the opponent state having nuclear arm weapons.

As the developed world is turning into nuclear arms states including China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States India, North Korea, Pakistan and Israel, there was a pact signed between handful nations like India, Pakistan, China, USSR and United States. The purpose of ‘Not First Use Treaty (NFU)’ was to disengage the following countries not to create war-like situations among them.

Rivalry with Pakistan

The United States was of the view to destabilizing nuclear arms strategy of Pakistan by being an Indian ally. China has supported Pakistan on massive grounds from the previous five to six decades in order to stand against the rigid political approach of India and the US.

Use of force through military personnel requires arsenal on massive grounds to defeat their opponents on a higher level. The nuclear arms race is moving forward by obvious conditions especially in the developed world in order to destabilize the opponent states by creating conflict at large.

The emergence of NFU treaty

No First Use (NFU) treaty was designed to tackle these war-like situations. Firstly the NFU pledge was publicly announced by China in 1964 in which China justified her nuclear program. According to the Chinese government, China will never use her arsenals against any country at first in a conflict and reserving them strictly to retaliate in the aftermath of a nuclear attack against its territory or military personnel.

China adhered to NFU without any term and condition. It means, Chinese posture elaborates that the country would expect to first absorb the nuclear attack then she will respond accordingly to aggressive state within ‘strategic deterrence’.

Interestingly, due to this NFU strategy, China succeeded to separate its ballistic missile and war-head units; under these circumstances, China used its nuclear power before first suffering a nuclear attack.

The strategy of China

Although, US and India are doubtful about it China has publicly invited all nuclear states to join a multi-lateral NFU treaty, a “Treaty on Mutual No First-Use of Nuclear Weapons”. In the reaction of China, India was the second nuclear country to adopt this policy and declared NFU posture, with exceptions of chemical and biological weapons attack.

Read this: Chinese Government Statement on Destruction of Nuclear Weapons

Indian Doctrine

Indian Doctrine is also known as Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). According to the 1999 draft of Indian nuclear doctrine, India announced that “it will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike but will respond with punitive retaliation in case deterrence fails”. Finally, in 2003, Indian’s final nuclear doctrine said that “In the event of a major attack against India or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, then India will engage in nuclear retaliation.”

Indian public statements on nuclear weapons continue to emphasize the NFU policy, without acknowledging the exceptional carved out explicitly in the official doctrine.

The stance of Pakistan

With the perspective of NFU, Pakistan has not ruled out NFU to deter what it sees as an overwhelming Indian quantitative advantage in conventional forces. Islamabad has left the exact threshold for its nuclear use ambiguous. Pakistani officials and strategists have been consistent in their support of a First-USE posture, with the exception of former President Asif Ali Zardari, who voiced support for an NFU posture in the early time period of his regime.

Today, there is no serious push in Pakistan to reconsider the country’s First-Use posture. Pakistan nuclear deterrence posture turned into offensive at that time when Pakistan tactical weapons in the form of “Nasr” were introduced and owned the stance to use it against the Indian Cold Start doctrine.

On the eve of the training, the launch of short-range “Nasr” COAS General Bajwa said, “Nasr has put cold water on the Cold Start Doctrine.”

In this way, Pakistan owned the “Add deterrence value to Pakistan’s strategic weapons development program at shorter range”. The usage of “Nasr” in the battlefield against India, surely led Pakistan in a nuclear war against India behind the curtain of defensive traditional to offensive nuclear clash.

Existence of “Nasr” missile

Due to “Nasr”, Pakistan adopted the mode of usage of nuclear weapons from “Strategic deterrence” to “Tactical deterrence” that invites Pakistan to use firstly and aggressively against the rivalry military strike. According to Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, “Pakistan’s nuclear posture might shift from declared, recessed deterrence entails an ambiguous state of hair-trigger alert.”

Actually, with the usage of tactical nuclear weapons along with no surety of NFU can prove the deterrence of Pakistan that how Pakistan will respond. Through the official statements, it is very hard to understand the nature of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence because the official stances have moved her position from “simple deterrence” to “complex deterrence” with flex response.

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