Latest Post

Britain’s Truss expected to be named Conservative leader, new PM. Explainer: Will capping Russian oil prices actually work? Chile’s New Constitution Could Guarantee Neoliberalism Dies Where It Was Born. How the 1905 Revolution Inspired Rosa Luxemburg’s Vision of Emancipation. Pakistan’s Devastating Floods Show the Climate Crisis Is Also a Debt Crisis.
Spread the love

Pakistan nuclear weapons have played a pivotal role in keeping the best deterrence between the two nuclear rivals.

Since independence, relations between the two nascent states, India and Pakistan were not smooth. After a year of their independence, both fought a war at Kashmir which further strained the bilateral relationship. India was of the view that Pakistan would not be able to sustain and will soon join India. However, that proved merely wishful thinking. Though Pakistan was passing through a very tough situation, the leadership worked hard to sustain.

India tried its level best to weaken Pakistan from both eastern and western sides. Afghanistan had strained relations with Pakistan since the independence of the latter and was the only country that voted against Pakistan’s membership in the United Nations. In such a situation, India has a chance to exploit Pakistan from the Afghan side as well. Afghanistan’s premier Sardar Daoud from 1953-1963 was a staunch supporter of the Pakhtunistan issue and used haji Mirza Ali khan known as Faqir of Ipi against Pakistan.


Similarly, India and Pakistan went into another full-scale war in 1965 in which India could not weaken Pakistan but in 1971, Pakistan’s eastern wing got independence with the Indian help by dismembering Pakistan. Hence, Pakistan was in a weaker position in the early 1970s. In 1974, India tested its nuclear device that alarmed Pakistan. Pakistan was in hot waters and the leadership had no way but to go for parity with India so that it could not threaten its security in the future. This was the turning point where Pakistan started its nuclear program to go nuclear due to an existential threat from its eastern neighbor. The efforts made by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the arrival of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was instrumental in kick-starting the nuclear program.

Pakistan’s nuclear program was objectionable to global powers including the US and there were many plans that could roll back Pakistan’s nuclear program. The declassified documents published by National Security Archives states, “In November 1978, the United Kingdom and the United States sent complementary demarches to other members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in efforts to “delay” the Pakistani nuclear program by denying it access to sensitive technology and equipment.” Likewise, it was the US pressure that France backed out from its agreement for delivering a nuclear processing plant to Pakistan. However, as a blessing for Pakistan’s nuclear program, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided an opportunity for Pakistan to continue its program. 

During the Soviet campaign and the hot period of the Cold War, Pakistan developed its nuclear weapons though the west was in suspicion that Pakistan was working on its nuclear program but it could not take stern measures due to the latter’s cooperation against the Soviets. Bleeding the Soviet Union was more important than rolling back Pakistan’s nuclear program. Thus, Pakistan skillfully utilized the opportunity and went ahead to achieve weapon grade enrichment. 

The principal objective of Pakistan’s nuclear program was to achieve parity with India so that it could not threaten it in the future. India has a superior and sizable conventional and nuclear power that was a source of great concern for Pakistan. Later in the 1990s, Pakistan was constantly pressured by the west to sign CTBT and NPT yet Pakistan refused and asked for a regional approach which should include India as well as a signatory. 

When India conducted its nuclear test in May 1998 and declared itself a nuclear power, Pakistan was compelled to do the same and balance the equation. Hence, Pakistan despite extreme pressure from the west tested its nuclear device in late May. The nuclear parity is a reason that despite many major events, no war has happened between both the states in the last 24 years. Thus, the nuclear weapons have played a better role in deterrence between India and Pakistan.  

Pakistan is not abiding by no-first use as in his speech in 2002, the then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf stated that we would respond with full might in case of any conventional attack from India. Pakistan nuclear weapons have played a pivotal role in keeping the best deterrence between the two nuclear rivals. Hence, the nuclear factor is very important in India-Pakistan relations and has proved a guarantor of peace despite India’s malign intentions and misadventures. 

Author: Zafar Iqbal Yousafzai 

A Critical Outsider Exclusive



Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :