Victory in East Pakistan made the Indian leaders euphoric and megalomaniac. They ventured upon an ambitious force modernization program and also conducted nuclear test in 1974 which impinged upon the security of Pakistan. It impelled Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to lay the foundations of uranium enrichment plant at Kahuta on 31 July 1976 under Dr. AQ Khan. He pursued the nuclear option despite host of barricades built around him and for this act he was made a horrible example.
Late President Ziaul Haq took full advantage of the favorable phase of Pak-US close relations because of US high stakes in Afghan war and allowed the nuclear program to develop at Kahuta with speed. He announced in December 1982 that Pakistan had achieved the capability to enrich uranium. This miracle was brought about in six years in the face of total ban imposed by the West on transfer of nuclear technology or import of any part related to it.
To keep this sensitive project secret from the world was in itself a commendable effort on part of all those associated with it. By the time the western powers got the wind of it, the project had reached an advanced stage and there was no turning back. The significance of the feat becomes more distinguished and inestimable when one realises that this breakthrough was made by a third world country where even needles and ball bearings are not indigenously produced.
Zia made several proposals to make South Asia free of nuclear weapons but India spurned all his offers. No sooner the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 and the threat of communism evaporated in the thin air, it brought about fundamental change in the policies of USA in South Asia. Pakistan lost its strategic significance and its nuclear program once again became an eyesore.
In order to restrain Pakistan from pursuing its peaceful nuclear program, the US Administration stopped the flow of arms supply and economic aid through infamous Pressler Amendment in 1990. The US on becoming sole super power after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, sidelined Pakistan and took India on board. Taking advantage of growth of close ties with Washington and souring of Pak-US relations, India stepped up its propaganda campaign to convince Washington to declare Pakistan a terrorist and a nuclear proliferating state.
Obsessed by its security concerns and in anticipation to the fourth round, Pakistan strove hard to keep the widening military balance within limits. It was in the context of its extreme security concerns that Pakistan was forced to make its nuclear deterrence credible by conducting six successful nuclear tests on 28 May 1998 in response to Indian five tests on 12 May. These tests were undertaken in spite of extreme pressure put by the US and other world powers.
Even the Indo-Israeli axis exerted pressure by trying to put into action its long conceived plan of a surgical air strike from Srinagar airbase against Kahuta on the night of 27 May 1998. Vested groups within Pakistan did not lag behind in trying to discourage the leadership from giving a tit for tat response to India and strained their lungs asserting that such a venture would be suicidal for Pakistan. Irrespective of the colossal internal and external pressures, Pakistani nation stood like a rock and urged the government to go ahead with nuclear blasts whatever be the cost. Pakistan under Nawaz Sharif rose to the occasion and lived up to the expectations and aspirations of the nation.
Nuclearisation of Pakistan poured cold water on the aggressive designs of India. The US started to vainly exert pressure on Pakistan to sign CTBT unilaterally since India refused to do so. Pakistan also kept up with its missile development program which was initiated by Benazir Bhutto and produced series of short and medium range guided missiles much superior to Indian missiles.
Once Pakistan got caught on the wrong foot due to AQ Khan’s confession obtained under duress in 2004, the Americans started exerting greater pressure and succeeded in not only penetrating into our sensitive areas but also collecting sensitive data like number of warheads and triggers and storage through aerial photography, infra red snaps and satellite triangulation. They succeeded in making our managers separate warheads from delivery means and from triggers and storing the three components separately, all under the pretext of safety and security.
Realising that it can no more blackmail Pakistan or wage an open war, India in connivance with USA, UK and Israel is now trying to achieve its sinister objectives through sabotage and subversion as well as psychological and cultural onslaughts. A vile Indo-US-Israeli campaign has been mounted expressing serious concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Irrespective of assurances given by Pakistani leaders, they keep stressing that nukes would be stolen by extremists or by officials working inside nuclear installations. In actuality, the trio is striving hard to steal Pak nukes through Blackwater. The US is least concerned about Indian nuclear program which has worst safe keeping record in the world because of numerous incidents of pilferage and smuggling of fissile material as well as accidents.
Consequent to Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, output of India’s 22 nuclear power reactors would jump to 10,000 megawatts by 2012 and manufacturing rate of nuclear bombs would leap to 40 per year. India has also inked nuclear deal with Russia, which has promised to set up 4 new reactors. India’s agreement to place only 4 nuclear reactors under safeguards of IAEA by 2014 is inconsequential. In next five year time, it would be able to manufacture 200 additional nuclear bombs thereby doubling existing stock level. It is a purposeful move to pressurize Pakistan to do the same well knowing that US influenced IAEA has double standards when dealing with Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Indian lobby in USA succeeded in making Kerry Lugar aid bill for Pakistan harmful. Apart from other insulting conditions, the bill seeks freeze of Pak nuclear program.
Despite achieving quantum jump in nuclear field, Indian leadership remains worried over Pakistan’s nuclear capability. While Indian Army Chief Kapoor is threatening to wage war against Pakistan and China, on the other he and naval chief are fretting and sweating that Pakistan has exceeded minimum nuclear deterrence level and improved its nuclear capability.
Blackwater outsourced by CIA and RAW is being used to create anarchy in major cities and to gain access to nukes. Reportedly, Blackwater has begun to make diagrammatical drawings and video films of nuclear installations as well as available routes.
Pentagon had conducted a war game in 2000 in which it was brainstormed that whenever Indo-Pakistan war takes place and Pakistan Army is on the verge of throwing up its cards and is preparing its nukes, US Special Forces would swoop in to destroy them during the assembly of warheads and triggers or while on the move. Currently, the US is busy giving final touches to its sinister plan how to quietly extract Pakistan’s nuclear teeth after giving heavy dozes of anesthesia. It is desperate to gain access to our nuclear arsenal under the garb of making it safe and secure from accidents, proliferation and theft. It wants its special marine force to create secure parameter around each site, or evolve a joint control system.
Notwithstanding that acquisition of nuclear and missile capability by Pakistan has greatly minimised the risk of war with India, however, it has earned Pakistan the perpetual hostility of India, Israel and USA in particular and western world in general since possession of nukes with a Muslim country is unacceptable to them. New ways are now being devised by our adversaries to denuclearise Pakistan without having to wage a war.
The writer is a retired Brig, Member Board of Advisors, Opinion Maker. He is a defence and security analyst. Has published 5 books and has been Military Attache to Cairo.