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Pakistan’s Quid Pro Quo Plus: A Key Strategic Determinant

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Since the formulation of its 1999 ‘Draft Nuclear Doctrine’ (DND), India has gone through gradual shifts in its doctrinal posture. India’s stance initially was that it would maintain a policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU). However, the first amendment to this draft which came out in January 2003which was based on the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security’s (CCS) review of the nuclear doctrine. It stated that if the Indian armed forces or its people were attacked with chemical and biological weapons, India reserves the right to respond with nuclear weapons. Subsequently the notion of a pre-emptive nuclear strike has emerged within the discourse surrounding the Indian strategic community. Moreover, quite recently, in an apparent shift from its NFU Policy, on August 16, 2019 India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that India might review its NFU policy based on future circumstances. Such assertions would likely provoke Pakistan to further strengthen the policy of ‘quid pro quo plus’ as a viable response option against nuclear and conventional threats from India.

Unfortunately, the current security architecture of South Asia revolves around India’s irresponsible behavior as a nuclear state. Pakistan due to the Indian desire to establish its regional hegemony has maintained a certain balance of power to preserve its security. Contrary to India’s declared NFU policy, Pakistan has never made such a commitment or statement and has deliberately maintained a policy of ambiguity concerning a nuclear first strike against India. The ‘minimum credible deterrence’ which forms the very basis of Pakistan’s deterrence posture has over the years evolved into an assurance of full-spectrum deterrence. Furthermore, this posture asserts that since Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are for defensive purposes in principle, they are aimed at deterring India from all kinds of aggression. In the same vein, even now, Pakistan is likely to keep its options open and still leave room for the possibility of carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a viable deterrent against India if any of its stated red lines are crossed. In this regard, Pakistan’s policy of ‘Quid Pro Quo Plus’ (QPQP) that has been assured with the combination of nuclear deterrence and conventional capabilities seems to be an appropriate and reliable strategic resort given the emergent security dynamics of South Asia especially since the year 2019.

It is pertinent to highlight that, the ‘Quid Pro Quo Plus’ (QPQP) is based on an assertion that India would not be allowed to consider Pakistan’s nuclear capability as a bluff. Also, Pakistan reserves all other options as well to protect its territorial and ideological integrity. In addition to the full spectrum deterrence (FSD), Pakistan has maintained credible conventional responses keeping in view India’s desire to wage either a limited and low-intensity conflict. Pakistan’s FSD is believed to be not aimed at deterring a surgical strike by India; rather it is intended to deter a war, ranging from a limited to an all-out war. This has not only strengthened the credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence but has also enhanced the conventional deterrence against India, which enjoys significant conventional superiority. With such a strategic trajectory, Pakistan would likely maintain a vital strategic balance in the conventional and nuclear equation vis-à-vis India. This would serve as a key determinant of the current state of strategic stability in South Asia. 

It is worth mentioning here that, Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine and policies are aimed at assuring its security and preserving its sovereignty. This has been carried out by deterring India with the employment of both minimum credible deterrence and full-spectrum deterrence capabilities. In this regard, Pakistan has developed its missile technology based on; short, intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles. Pakistan’s tactical missile ‘Nasr’ for instance, is believed to be introduced essentially in response to India’s limited war doctrines. This aims to further assure that India would be denied initiating a low-intensity conflict and dominating the escalation ladder which could provoke Pakistan to go for a massive retaliation. Moreover, the induction of ‘multiple independently re-entry vehicles’ (MIRVs), the development of land, air, and sea-launched cruise missiles and the provision of a naval-based second-strike capability have all played a significant role in the projection of the ‘quid pro quo plus’ notion.

Hence at the present, it seems likely that India aspires to increasingly project itself as a regional hegemon and a potential superpower. India’s policies are aimed at destabilizing Pakistan’s pre-existing deterrence framework comprised of nuclear and conventional force postures. In such circumstances, Pakistan’s threat perception would likely remain increasingly inclined towards its eastern border. Pakistan, based on its principled stance of being a responsible nuclear weapon state does not want to counter India toe to toe concerning its military aspirations and hegemonic designs. Based on the undeniable threats from India to its existence, Pakistan must preserve the deterrence equilibrium vis-à-vis India and maintain the ‘balance of power’ in the South Asian region. Pakistan is already punching well above its weight, and nuclear deterrence along with conventional preparedness would be the only way through which Pakistan can maintain a precise balance of power to preserve its security. This could be further carried out by deterring India with a resort to restrain based on ‘quid pro quo plus’ policy.

Haris Bilal Malik is working as a Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) Islamabad.

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Defense

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

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In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.

India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.

India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.  

In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy.  Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation.  The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.

On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.

Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.  

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A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces

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The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.

The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.

The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.

This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.

Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.

Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.

Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.

Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.

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Defense

Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS

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Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.

According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”

Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.

Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.

According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.

The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.

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