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NCA shows satisfaction over full spectrum deterrence

National Command Authority , NCA’s 22nd meeting took place on 24th February 2016 chaired by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister of Pakistan. NCA undertook a comprehensive review of the prevailing regional and international security environment..It took a note of the growing conventional and strategic weapons’ development in the region. It has also considered recently released figures from London based Institute of International Strategic Security IISS, Military Balance. According to it, India is the largest importer and spender to purchase Military hardware and software in the region. The West is letting this happen for its commercial interests and to contain China. This will bound to destabilize South Asia, if India is allowed to walk on this path. NCA expressed serious concerns over the adverse ramifications for peace and security on this account.

These developments exacerbate Pakistan’s security dilemma, compelling it to make desirable improvements to achieve a balance and minimal developments in its conventional and strategic force posture. Therefore, NCA reiterated its determination to take all possible measures to make national security robust; enabling it to effectively respond to the threats to national security without indulging in an arms race,as Pakistan seeks balance, not parity with India not in an arms race. The West and other observers usually do not focus on Indian provocative action but on Pakistani reaction. Taking in to account that nuclear deterrence is the factor of stability in South Asia, NCA expressed the resolve to maintain Full Spectrum Deterrence (FSD) in line with the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD). It is to be noted that in 2009, joint statement after bilateral dialogue, both countries, Pakistan and India had accepted that ‘nuclear deterrence is a factor of stability’. This is a good indicator of the role of nuclear weapons now Indians do not make such statement because nuclear Pakistani capability is a good equalizer that Indians find difficult to digest.

Reiteration of FSD ‘in line’ with CMD indicates that Pakistan is covering full spectrum of threat i.e. Cold Start Doctrine from short-range nuclear weapons and denying land-based stand-off capability in Andaman and Nicobar Isles by Shaheen III. As India moves the ends of threat spectrum, Pakistan covers the spectrum of change by minimal but credible means. Acknowledging the services and professionalism displayed by the scientists and engineers, NCA congratulated them for the recent successful tests of various ballistic and cruise missile systems. This is new and a good development. It is stated had it not been for scientists like later Muneer Ahmed (plutonium capability) and several unsung heroes, we would not have been able to deter India. NCA took a comprehensive review of the security and safety mechanism of the nuclear program and expressed deep satisfaction on the measures in-place to ensure highly effective security of strategic assets and installations. This is necessary to mention that Pakistan has around 28000 men strong security force that has a ‘defense in depth’ security mechanism.

A reliable command and control system is quintessential for credibility and effectiveness of deterrence. NCA reposed full confidence in the reliable command and control system of the national strategic capability and appreciated the high standard of operational preparedness of the strategic forces. NCA re-emphasized Pakistan’s desire for establishing the Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia and the inescapable need of a meaningful and sustained comprehensive dialogue process for resolution of all outstanding disputes, ushering in an era of peace and prosperity in the region. It should be noted that Pakistan seeks peace, conflict resolution instead of crisis management. This was indirect reference to centrality of Kashmir the mother of all problems.

NCA noted with satisfaction that Pakistan has the requisite credentials that entitle it to become part of all multi-lateral export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for which Pakistan seeks adoption of a non-discriminatory approach.This is to counter American and Western support to Indian entry into Nuclear Supply Group, NSG and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). India is a non-signatory of NPT and as per existing criteria ineligible for NSG etc. If there is an exception being made for India, so should be givento Pakistan.

NCA was also briefed on the final Nuclear Security Summit scheduled to be held in Washington D.C. It has been examined that the word ‘final’ NSS signals that Pakistan is not really interested in any parallel or new initiatives because IAEA has a central and leading role in NSS related commitments. Details of inter-agency process to ratify the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (Amended) by Pakistan were also presented to NCA. The NCA gave approval in principle for its ratification. It was re-affirmed that, as a responsible nuclear State, Pakistan would continue to contribute meaningfully towards the global efforts to improve nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation measures.

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