The strategy behind Pakistani nuclear development

2017-07-13

in Bombs and rockets, History, Politics

Today, there are three important strategic beliefs [in Pakistan] regarding nuclear weapons that were largely absent when [Zulfiqar Ali] Bhutto took power in 1971 but have since become dominant in Pakistani strategic thought. First, nuclear weapons are the only guarantee of Pakistan’s national survival in the face of both an inveterately hostile India that cannot be deterred conventionally and unreliable external allies that fail to deliver in extremis. Second, Pakistan’s nuclear program is unfairly singled out for international opposition because of its Muslim population. This feeling of victimization is accentuated by a belief that India consistently “gets away with” violating global nonproliferation norms. Third is the belief that India, Israel, or the United States might use military force to stop Pakistan’s nuclear program. Today, these three beliefs—nuclear necessity for survival, international discrimination against Pakistan, and danger of disarming attacks—form the center of Pakistani strategic thinking about nuclear weapons. Collectively, these convictions have served to reinforce the determination of Pakistan’s military, bureaucratic, and scientific establishment to pay any political, economic, or technical cost to reach their objective of a nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Khan, Feroz Hassan. Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb. Stanford University Press; Stanford. 2012. p. 6

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