In a report to Congress, the Pentagon on informed that China is on its way to modernize its nuclear forces in order to and bolster its strategic strike capabilities.
Detailing China’s nuclear power, Pentagon said the country was deploying new command, control and communications capabilities to its nuclear forces to improve control of multiple units in the field. According to the Pentagon, China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter the US and other countries’ ballistic missile defence systems, including maneuverable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs), MIRVs, decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding.
Obviously, the defence capabilities possessed by the big powers including USA and Russia are among the main factors driving China to modernize its nuclear force. Indian fast track in updating its nuke arsenals is yet another reason Beijing has decided to focus on it nukes as a priority.
Pentagon said China’s nuclear weapons policy prioritizes maintaining a nuclear force able to survive an attack and to respond with sufficient strength to inflict unacceptable damage on an enemy. “Further increases in the number of mobile ICBMs and the beginning of SSBN deterrence patrols will force the PLA to implement more sophisticated C2 systems and processes that safeguard the integrity of nuclear release authority for a larger, more dispersed force,” it said.
China’s nuclear arsenal currently consists of approximately 75-100 ICBMs, including the silo-based CSS-4 Mod 2 (DF-5A) and Mod 3(DF-5B), the solid-fueled, road-mobile CSS-10 Mod 1 and Mod 2 (DF-31 and DF-31A), and the more-limited-range CSS-3 (DF-4). This force is complemented by road-mobile, solid-fueled CSS-5 Mod 6 (DF-21) MRBM for regional deterrence missions.
Pentagon reported that China insists that the new generation of mobile missiles, with warheads consisting of multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) and penetration aids, are intended to ensure the viability of its strategic deterrent in the face of continued advances in the USA and, to a lesser extent, Russian strategic ISR (Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), precision strike, and missile defence capabilities. “Similarly, India’s nuclear force is additional driver behind China’s nuclear force modernisation,” the Pentagon said in its report.
Through the use of improved communication links, ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) units now have better access to battlefield information and uninterrupted communications connecting all command echelons.
China has long acknowledged that it tested a hypersonic glide vehicle in 2014. The country’s official media also cited numerous PLASAF (Peoples Liberation Army Second Artillery Force) training exercises featuring manoeuvre, camouflage, and launch operations under simulated combat conditions, which are intended to increase survivability. Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities.
China continues to produce the JIN-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), with four commissioned and another under construction. The JIN will eventually carry the CSS-NX-14 (JL-2) SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) with an estimated range of 7,200 km. Together these will give the PLAN its first credible long-range sea-based nuclear capability. JIN SSBNs based at Hainan Island in the South China Sea would then be able to conduct nuclear deterrence patrols, it said.
Meanwhile, amid reports that China and Pakistan are jointly opposing India’s bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, the USA has said India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for entry into the exclusive club. State Department Spokesman John Kirby said the US president reaffirmed during his visit to India in 2015 that the US view was that India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for NSG membership. His remarks came in response to a question on reports that China and Pakistan have joined hands to oppose India becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). “Deliberations about the prospects of new members joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group are an internal matter among current members,” he said.
Defending its move to block India’s entry into the NSG, China recently claimed that several members of the 48-nation bloc shared its view that signing of the NPT was an “important” standard for the NSG’s expansion. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing that not only China but also a lot of other NSG members are of the view that Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone for safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Asked about reports that China is pushing Pakistan’s entry into NSG linking it to India’s admission into the bloc, Lu said the NSG is an important part of NPT, which has been the consensus of the international community for long. Although India is not part of the NSG, Indian side recognizes this consensus, he claimed.
India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan were the four UN member states which have not signed the NPT, the international pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Last month, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said that China has helped Pakistan to stall India’s bid to get NSG membership.
Off and on some experts do raise, at times seriously mostly or as a mere routine matter, the specter of a third World war, though already the US led NATO has been continuing a terror wars in Mideast to ensure energy and routes security.
China’s focus on South China and sea and its efforts to keep its nuclear forces in combat readiness gives the world the impression about an impending world war.
It is, however, not necessary that there would another world war or a big war to be launched by Washington or NATO that would exclusively target China, a veto power. As it is known there is clearly some tacit understanding among the veto members not wage a direct war between or among the veto powers.
No nuclear power, howsoever close it may be to USA, Russia or any other big power should be allowed to be a member of NSG until they sign the NPT for safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Since power is sincere or honest, any nuke power can proliferate nuclear material to put the humanity in greater risks.
China’s modernization effort could be a usual routine check of the effectiveness or otherwise of its nuclear forces, maybe with more vigor than hitherto.
Pakistan’s Nuclear Safety and Security
Wyn Bowen and Matthew Cottee discuss in their research entitled “Nuclear Security Briefing Book” that nuclear terrorism involves the acquisition and detonation of an intact nuclear weapon from a state arsenal. The world has not experienced any act of nuclear terrorism but terrorists expressed their desires to gain nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has observed many incidents of lost, theft and unauthorized control of nuclear material. The increased use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes has intensified the threat that terrorist can target these places for acquiring nuclear materials. They cannot build a nuclear weapon because production of a nuclear weapon would require a technological infrastructure. Thus, it is the most difficult task that is nearly impossible because the required infrastructure and technological skills are very high which even a strong terrorist group could not bear easily, but they can build a dirty bomb.
A dirty bomb is not like a nuclear bomb. A nuclear bomb spreads radiation over hundreds of square miles while nuclear bomb could cause destruction only over a few square miles. A dirty bomb would not kill any more people than an ordinary bomb but it would create psychological terror. There is no viable security system for the prevention of nuclear terrorism, but the only possible solution is that there should be a stringent nuclear security system which can halt terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials.
The UN Security Council and the IAEA introduced multilateral nuclear security initiatives. Pakistan actively contributed in all international nuclear security efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. For example, United States President Barak Obama introduced the process of Nuclear Security Summit (NSS)in 2009 to mitigate the threat of nuclear terrorism. The objective of NSS was to secure the material throughout the world in four years.
Pakistan welcomed it and not only made commitments in NSS but also fulfilled it. Pakistan also established a Centre of Excellence (COEs) on nuclear security and hosted workshops on nuclear security. In addition to all this, Pakistan is a signatory of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 and affirms its strong support to the resolution. It has submitted regular reports to 1540 Committee which explain various measures taken by Pakistan on radiological security and control of sensitive materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) transfer. Pakistan is the first country which submitted a report to the UN establishing the fact that it is fulfilling its responsibilities. Pakistan ratified Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) in 2016. It is also the member of Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). It can be rightly inferred that Pakistan is not only contributing in all the international nuclear security instruments but has also taken multiple effective measures at the national level.
Pakistan created National Command Authority (NCA) to manage and safeguard nuclear assets and related infrastructures. The Strategic Plan Division (SPD) is playing a very important role in managing Pakistan’s nuclear assets by collaborating with all strategic organizations. Establishment of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA)in 2001 is another development in this regard. The PNRA works under the IAEA advisory group on nuclear security and it is constantly improving and re-evaluating nuclear security architecture. National Institute of Safety and Security (NISAS) was established under PNRA in 2014. Pakistan has also adopted the Export Control Act to strengthen its nuclear export control system. It deals with the rules and regulations for nuclear export and licensing. The SPD has also formulated a standard functioning procedure to regulate the conduct of strategic organizations. Christopher Clary discusses in his research “Thinking about Pakistan’s Nuclear Security in Peacetime” that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals are equipped with Permissive Action Links (PALs) for its stringent security. According to Pakistan’s former nuclear scientist Samar Mubarakmand, every Pakistani nuclear arsenal is now fitted with a code-lock device which needs a proper code to enable the arsenal to explode.
Nonetheless the nuclear terrorism is a global concern and reality because terrorist organizations can target civilian nuclear facility in order to steal nuclear material. The best way to eradicate the root of nuclear terrorism is to have a stringent nuclear security system.
Western media and outsiders often propagate that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals can go into the wrong hands i.e. terrorists, but they do not highlight the efforts of Pakistan in nuclear security at the national and international level. The fact is that Pakistan has contributed more in international nuclear security efforts than India and it has stringent nuclear security system in place.
India’s Probable Move toward Space Weaponization
The term Space Weaponization tends to raise alarm as it implies deployment of weapons in the outer space or on heavenly bodies like Sun and Moon or sending weapon from earth to the outer space to destroy satellite capabilities of other states. Thus, space weaponization refers to the actions taken by a state to use outer space as an actual battlefield.
Space militarization on the other hand is a rather less offensive term which stands for utilization of space for intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance missions through satellites to support forces on ground in the battle field. Space militarization is already in practice by many states. In South Asia, India is utilizing its upper hand in space technology for space militarization. However, recent concern in this regard is India’s attempts to weaponize space, which offers a bleak situation for regional peace and stability. Moreover, if India went further with this ambitiousness when Pakistan is also sending its own satellites in space, security situation will only deteriorate due to existing security dilemma between both regional counterparts.
Threats of space weaponization arise from the Indian side owing to its rapid developments in Ballistic Missile Defenses (BMDs) and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM). Both of these technologies, BMDs and ICBMs, hand in hand, could be used to destroy space based assets. In theory, after slight changes in algorithms, BMDs are capable of detecting, tracking and homing in on a satellite and ICBM could be used to target the satellites for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Many international scholars agree on the point that BMD systems have not yet acquired sophistication to give hundred percent results in destroying all the incoming ballistic missile, but they sure have the capability to work as anti-satellite systems. The reason behind the BMD being an effective anti-sat system is that it is easier to locate, track and target the satellites because they are not convoyed with decoys unlike missiles which create confusions for the locating and tracking systems.
India possesses both of the above-mentioned technologies and its Defense Research and Development Organization has shown the intention to build anti-satellite weaponry. In 2012, India’s then head of DRDO categorically said that India needs an arsenal in its system that could track the movement of enemy’s satellite before destroying it, thus what India is aiming at is the credible deterrence capability.
One thing that comes in lime light after analyzing the statement is that India is in fact aiming for weaponizing the space. With the recent launch of its indigenous satellites through its own launch vehicle not only for domestic use but also for commercial use, India is becoming confident enough in its capabilities of space program. This confidence is also making India more ambitious in space program. It is true that treaties regarding outer space only stop states from putting weapons of mass destruction in outer space. But, destruction of satellites will create debris in outer space that could cause destruction for other satellites in the outer space.
On top of it all the reality cannot be ignored that both Pakistan and India cannot turn every other arena into battlefield. Rivalry between both states has already turned glaciers and ocean into war zones, resultantly affecting the natural habitat of the region. By going for ballistic missile defences and intercontinental ballistic missiles India has not only developed missile technology but also has made significant contribution in anti-sat weaponry, which is alarming, as due to security dilemma, Pakistan will now be ever more compelled to develop capabilities for the security of its satellites. So far both states are confined till space militarization to enhance the capabilities of their forces, but if that force multiplier in space goes under threat, Pakistan will resort to capability to counter Indian aggression in space as well, which will be the classic action-reaction paradigm. Thus, it is pertinent that India as front runner in space technology develop policy of restrain to control the new arms race in the region which has potential to change the skies and space as we know them.
Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy: Impact on Strategic Stability in South Asia
Most significant incident happened when India tested its nuclear device on18 May, 1974.After India’s nuclear test, Pakistan obtained the nuclear technology, expertise and pursued a nuclear program to counter India which has more conventional force than Pakistan. Pakistan obtained nuclear program because of India, it has not done anything independently but followed India. Pakistan just wanted to secure its borders and deter Indian aggression. It was not and is not interested in any arms race in the region. It is not signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT). Pakistan has not signed NPT and CTBT because India has not signed it. Since acquiring the nuclear weapons, it has rejected to declare No First Use (NFU) in case of war to counter India’s conventional supremacy.
The basic purpose of its nuclear weapons is to deter any aggression against its territorial integrity. Riffat Hussain while discussing Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine argues that it cannot disobey the policy of NFU due to Indian superiority in conventional force and it makes India enable to fight conventional war with full impunity. Pakistan’s nuclear posture is based on minimum credible nuclear deterrence which means that its nuclear weapons have no other role except to counter the aggression from its adversary. It is evident that Pakistan’s nuclear program is Indiacentric.. Owing to the Indian superiority in conventional forces Pakistan nuclear weapons balance the conventional force power percentage between the two states. In November 1999, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar stated that ‘more is unnecessary while little is enough’.
The National Command Authority (NCA), comprising the Employment Control Committee, Development Control Committee and Strategic Plans Division, is the center point of all decision-making regarding the nuclear issue.According to the security experts first use option involves many serious challenges because it needs robust military intelligence and very effective early warning system. However, Pakistan’s nuclear establishment is concerned about nuclear security of weapons for which it has laid out stringent nuclear security system. Pakistan made a rational decision by conducting five nuclear tests in 1998 to restore the strategic stability in South Asia, otherwise it was not able to counter the threat of India’s superior conventional force.
The NCA of Pakistan (nuclear program policy making body) announced on September 9, 2015 the nation’s resolve to maintain a full spectrum deterrence capability in line with the dictates of ‘credible minimum deterrence’ to deter all forms of aggression, adhering to the policy of avoiding an arms race.”It was the response of Indian offensive Cold Start Doctrine which is about the movement of Indian military forces closer to Pakistan’s border with all vehicles. Pakistan wants to maintain strategic stability in the region and its seeks conflict resolution and peace, but India’s hawkish policies towards Pakistan force it to take more steps to secure its border. Pakistan’s nuclear establishment is very vigorously implementing rational countermeasures to respond to India’s aggression by transforming its nuclear doctrine. It has developed tactical nuclear weapons (short range nuclear missiles) that can be used in the battle field.
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in 2013 that Pakistan would continue to obey the policy of minimum credible nuclear deterrence to avoid the arms race in the region. However, it would not remain unaware of the changing security situation in the region and would maintain the capability of full spectrum nuclear deterrence to counter any aggression in the region. Dr. Zafar Jaspal argues in his research that Full credible deterrence does not imply it is a quantitative change in Pakistan’s minimum credible nuclear deterrence, but it is a qualitative response to emerging challenges posed in the region. This proves that Islamabad is not interested in the arms race in the region, but India’s constant military buildup forces Pakistan to convert its nuclear doctrine from minimum to full credible nuclear deterrence.
India’s offensive policies alarm the strategic stability of the region and international community considers that Pakistan’s transformation in nuclear policies would be risky for international security. They have recommended a few suggestions to Pakistan’s nuclear policy making body, but the NCA rejected those mainly because Pakistan is confronting dangerous threats from India and its offensive policies such as the cold start doctrine. Hence no suggestion conflicting with this purpose is acceptable to Pakistan. This is to be made clear at the all national, regional and international platforms that Pakistan is striving hard to maintain the strategic stability while India is only contributing toward instigating the regional arms race.
Turkey’s financial crisis raises questions about China’s debt-driven development model
Financial injections by Qatar and possibly China may resolve Turkey’s immediate economic crisis, aggravated by a politics-driven trade war with...
Deep-Seated Corruption in Nigeria
One of the biggest problems in the African continent is corruption, but in Nigeria, corruption has gotten to a frightening...
Kofi Annan: A Humane Diplomat
I was deeply shocked whenever I heard that Kofi Annan is no more. A noble peace laureate, a visionary leader,...
3 trends that can stimulate small business growth
Small businesses are far more influential than most people may realize. That influence is felt well beyond Main Street. Small...
Terrorists potentially target millions in makeshift biological weapons ‘laboratories’
Rapid advances in gene editing and so-called “DIY biological laboratories”which could be used by extremists, threaten to derail efforts to prevent...
UN mourns death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘a guiding force for good’
The United Nations is mourning the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away peacefully after a short illness,...
Pakistan at a crossroads as Imran Khan is sworn in
Criticism of Pakistan’s anti-money laundering and terrorism finance regime by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) is likely...
Middle East2 days ago
The bitter truth for mullahs’ regime in Iran
East Asia2 days ago
Chinese Game: U.S. Losing Asia and Africa
Middle East2 days ago
Trump to Netanyahu: Palestinians Must Be Completely Conquered
Urban Development3 days ago
Why public transit is a key economic issue for growing cities
Newsdesk3 days ago
Waste-to-energy and circular economy workshops to be held in Uruguay
Tech3 days ago
Digital Spending Increases, Greater Focus on Digital Strategy Is a Top Need for State Auditors
Russia1 day ago
All sanctions against Russia are based on lies
Diplomacy24 hours ago
Kofi Annan: A Humane Diplomat