South Asian Cold War: Pakistan successfully test fires short range cruise missile Ra’ad
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
South Asia since 1947 has been a disrupted region.
As a part of sustaining cold war with India and adding more nuke enabled missiles to Pakistani arms arsenals in order to sustain their positions on Kashmir under their joint occupation, India and Pakistan continue test cruise missiles regularly, wasting nation’s resources.
Pakistan has successfully test-fired short range nuclear cruise missile known as Ra’ad on February 02. The Ra’ad missile, with a range of 350 km, enables Pakistan to achieve ‘strategic standoff capability’ on land and at sea.
Pakistan’s strategic pursuits are aimed at achieving strategic stability in the region. Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lieutenant General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, while congratulating the scientists and engineers on achieving yet another milestone of historic significance, termed it a major step towards strengthening Pakistan’s full spectrum credible minimum deterrence capability.
Cruise Technology is extremely complex and has been developed by only a few countries in the world. The state of the art Ra’ad Cruise Missile with stealth capabilities is a low altitude, terrain hugging missile with high maneuverability; can deliver nuclear and conventional warheads with pin point accuracy.
Hayat appreciated the technical prowess, dedication and commitment of scientists who contributed wholeheartedly to make this launch a success. He showed his full confidence over operational preparedness of strategic forces including employment and deployment concepts, refinement and training of all ranks in operational and technical domains.
The successful launch has been commended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain, who have congratulated the scientists and engineers on their outstanding achievement.
Interestingly, India and Pakistan, closely following the cold war path of big powers USA and Russia, even while talking about compromises and realignment, still advance their military prowess by testing more and more missiles, complicating the fragile peace situation in the region.
Pakistan began focusing on nuclear weapons development in January 1972 under the leadership of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who delegated the program to the Chairman of PAEC Munir Ahmad Khan. Bhutto also appointed Munir Ahmad Khan as chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), who, until then, had been working as Director at the nuclear power and Reactor Division of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Vienna, Austria. Following India’s surprise nuclear test, codenamed Smiling Buddha in 1974, the first confirmed nuclear test by a nation outside the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council, the goal to develop nuclear weapons received considerable impetus.
Finally, on 28 May 1998, a few weeks after India’s second nuclear test (Operation Shakti), Pakistan detonated five nuclear devices named Chagai-I in the Ras Koh Hills in the Chagai district, Balochistan. Pakistan’s fissile material production takes place at Nilore, Kahuta, and Khushab/Jauharabad, where weapons-grade plutonium is refined. Pakistan thus became the seventh country in the world to successfully develop and test nuclear weapons.
Pakistan is not known to have an offensive chemical weapons programme, and in 1993 Pakistan signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and has committed itself to refrain from developing, manufacturing, stockpiling, or using chemical weapons.
Pakistan is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is not bound by any of its provisions. In 1999, Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan and Vajpayee of India signed the Lahore Declaration, agreeing to a bilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing. This initiative was taken a year after both countries had publicly tested nuclear weapons. However, both do violate the provisions. Since the early 1980s, Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation activities have not been without controversy. U.S. intelligence claims it detected that Pakistan was seeking suspicious procurements from Belgium, Finland, Japan, Sweden and Turkey. According to more recent reports, it has been alleged that North Korea had been secretly supplying Pakistan with ballistic missile technology in exchange for nuclear weapons technology.
In order to prevent India from attacking Pakistan with lethal weapons, Pakistan refuses to adopt a \”no-first-use\” doctrine, indicating that it would strike India with nuclear weapons even if India did not use such weapons first. Besides, the theory of \”N-deterrence\” has been frequently being interpreted by the various government-in-time of effect of Pakistan. With its relatively smaller conventional force, and lacking adequate technical means, especially in early warning and surveillance, Pakistan relies on a more proactive nuclear defensive policy.
The strategists in Pakistan Armed Forces has ceded nuclear assets and a degree of nuclear launch code authority to lower-level officers to ensure weapon usability in a \”fog of war\” scenario, making credible its deterrence doctrine. Pakistan’s passive nuclear posture has neutralised India’s conventional options for now; limited retaliation would be militarily futile, and more significant conventional retaliation is simply off the table.
Pakistan’s motive for pursuing a nuclear weapons development program is never to allow another invasion of Pakistan. President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq allegedly told the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 that, \”If your forces cross our borders by an inch, we are going to annihilate your cities. Pakistan has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Needless to say, Indo-Pakistan cold war is being sustained over Kashmir issue and unless they resolve the Kashmir issue in favor of Kashmiris, the passive cold war could one day turn to be a hot war, annihilating people in South Asia, making the region more dangerous than today.
Needless to state the nuclear rivals in South Asia target their weapon systems at each other, while the Kashmiris caught in between continue to feel terrorized and threatened. Since Pakistan is a Muslim dominated nation while India a Hindu dominated, the western powers just leave them to fight each other – only they sell terror goods to both Pakistan and India!