In 1994, there was a clear indication and warning that the Indian nuclear and missile technology could be used against Pakistan, when Pirthvi missile was tested by India. These apprehensions were substantiated, when in 1997 India intended to deploy missiles along Pakistan’s border. This deployment created a tense condition, and troops from both sides were deployed along the border. Chance of armed conflict had arisen and peace of the entire region came under severe threat.
Following the events of 1994 and 1997, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998. At that time, entire world was shocked of these nuclear explosions. As far as Pakistan is concerned, declaring the nuclear capability was intended to deliver loud and clear message to India that Pakistan had achieved credible deterrence and to preclude India from initiating any action against Pakistan.
As, deterrence is a political tool and provide a state with the assurance that adversary will never initiate attack as long as deterrence is intact. Pakistan’s former Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani also stated that Pakistan had developed a strong nuclear deterrence capability but it did not harbour aggressive designs against anyone. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is solely intended to deter all types of aggression.
After the advent of nuclear weapons the option of conventional war remained far behind. Even though, in 1999 both states came at the brink of full scale war during Kargil Conflict. But, realities of nuclear deterrence struck the thought process of both side’s leaderships; ergo, the crisis remained unsuccessful to achieve full swing and peacefully concluded.
It, thus, became clear to India that conventional war with Pakistan would be a suicidal mission especially under the nuclear threshold. Indian military strategists, therefore, started working to formulate such strategy, which could provide them with the desiring results. They emerged with the strategy of war fighting under nuclear threshold called ‘Cold Start Doctrine’ (CSD). Under the ‘Cold Start Doctrine’ the Indian Armed Forces envisages swift deployment of troops on the western border within days if a situation of a full-blown war arises. This doctrine aims to allow Indian forces to conduct sustained attacks while preventing a nuclear retaliation from Pakistan. The operation would be carried out by a unified battle group involving various branches of India’s military.According to the Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (retd) the doctrine was based on two major elements. The first involved the readjustment of “Pivot” corps (defensive or ground holding corps) to make it possible to launch offensive operations virtually from a “cold start” to deny Pakistan the advantage of early mobilization. The second element of the CSD conceptualizes a number of integrated divisional-size forces launching limited offensive operations to a shallow depth to capture a long swathe of territory almost all along the international boundary.
After receiving clear signaling form India on multiple forums that India intends to develop such a strategy that could put the peace of region at stake, Pakistan decided to fail their strategy to secure the peace of entire region. Pakistan, thus, developed ‘NASR’, having full features to counter CSD (officially confirmed by Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat). ‘NASR’ was designed to deny space to India for conventional conflict below the nuclear threshold.
On 24th of January 2019, Pakistan successfully conducted training launch of short range surface to surface ballistic missile “Nasr” to enhance the operational efficiency of Army Strategic Forces Command besides re-validating the desired technical parameters. For achieving desired effects launching of quad salvo was involved in this training exercise. Nasr is equipped with interesting features like precision of Nasr is peerless along with shoot and scoot weapon system with the ability of in-flight maneuvrability. Full spectrum deterrence posture has been ameliorated by the induction of this weapon system remaining within the bailiwick of policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence. Nasr will play cardinal role against prevailing and evolving threat spectrum more efficaciously including enemy’s ballistic missile defence and other Air Defence Systems.
Adviser to the National Command Authority (NCA) Lt-Gen (retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai said; we are not apologetic about the development of tactical nuclear weapons. They are here to stay and provide the third (tactical) element of our full-spectrum deterrence.
Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa also clearly said that Nasr has put cold water on cold start. Pakistan’s military and civil leadership signaled the adversary by the development of ‘NASR’ that war is not an option. As far as, hue and cry about the command & control features of weapon system is concerned Gen Bajwa missed the concern and said he had complete confidence in effective command, control, safety and security of all strategic assets and measures being taken to augment these.
Keeping in view the aggressive posturing and harsh statements of India against Pakistan, it is evident that India could not materialize CSD only due to ‘NASR’, and it is proving itself a weapon of peace by failing the Indian CSD. International community must acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan for ensuring the peace of entire region. And, international community should also play its due role in defusing Indo-Pak tensions.