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International Anarchic Structure in Nuclearizing South Asia: An Analysis (1974-98)
This explanatory research aimed at analyzing the nuclearization of south Asia using the framework of ‘third level of analysis’ named ‘international anarchic structure’ by Kenneth Waltz. South Asia is the home to 1/3rd of the global population, out of which around 41% population lives under poverty line. Historical intra-state rivalries, personal political ambitions and the crucial geostrategic locality made the region extremely attractive for major powers since the de-colonialization of the sub-continent. The cold war antagonism offered extra space and shelter in acquiring nuclear capabilities to both India and Pakistan. India’s first nuclear test in 1974, putting aside all the international nuclear proliferation efforts, provided legitimacy to Pakistan’s nuclear designs. Moreover, the global powers once achieved their objectives in 1989, left the region on its own fate. Almost decade long pattern of confrontation-crisis-negotiations resulted in nuclear tests in 1998 by the two south Asian states while ignoring CTBT. Inclusion of nuclear weapons brought about unprecedented threats and the region became ‘nuclear flash point.
International Anarchic Structure, Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, International Atomic Energy Agency, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Confidence Building Measures.
South Asia (comprising eight countries) is not a clear cut or well defined region, however its tremendous political significance is due to its geo-strategic location as it connects three important regions, South-East Asia, West Asia, and Central Asia along with its remarkable manpower (Colambage, 2018). According to Snedden, “despite common historical, cultural, religious, and ethnic commonalities, people-to-people interaction among regional states is minimal, with least sense of belongingness of being South Asians” (Snedden, 2016). The Region is home to one third of the total global population however, 41% lives under below poverty line (Annual Report 2017,"End Extreme Poverty 2015"). Moreover, the two major SA states are the largest ‘Arms recipient’ and collectively imports 18% of the total global arms industry. Alarming security conditions, military antagonism among bigger states of the region, legacy of historical intra-state conflicts, along with the widespread and continuous interference by major powers for their own vested interests led the region toward nuclearization. The region is now considered as world’s most dangerous region and usually named as the ‘nuclear flashpoint’ (Ahmed and Bhatnagar 2008; Bhatta 2004).
Indo-Pak rivalry proved as one of the most enduring rivalry of 20th century in South Asia with least signs of dissolution in foreseeable future. As the relationship between the two neighbors did not normalize and remained highly strained for last more than seven decades. One of the most important distinction which has contributed to this rivalry are the possession of nuclear weapons by both India and Pakistan in which an international power structure has played a vital role.
Kenneth Waltz’s neorealist theory provides a sound basis for identifying the chief characteristics of the international political structure. As the starting point of neorealism is the anarchic character of the international system, (absence of a higher authority) which induces states rationally to value self-help. It indicates two prominent aspects: states do not trust one another and make the cooperation a difficult task moreover, states seek military power for survival, which produces tensions since the power of one is a threat to others (Waltz, 1959). International politics, then, is characterized by recurrent power politics. States do not trust each other, are prone to war, tend to engage in competitive arms build-ups, and seek alliances to bolster their relative positions.
Waltz considers the first two images (individual and state level) as comparatively less dominant than the final and third image, so this study aims to analyze the nuclearization of South Asia with the help of the ‘third image’ which defines the structure of world politics. The third image suggests that systemic level of the ‘anarchic structure of the international system’ is the fundamental cause of war. According to this perspective, "anarchy" is defined not as a condition of disorder or chaos but the absence of sovereign body that rules the interactions among autonomous nation-states (Waltz, 1959). This research aimed to analyze the manipulated role played by international anarchic structure. Let us have a look at historical legacy of rivalry between the two main South Asian states.
Brief History of Indo-Pak Relations
India and Pakistan griped in long- standing rivalry since their independence in 1947, with the de-colonization of the Indian sub-continent from British colonial rule as a result of freedom movement. The two prominent political parties who led the independence movement, ‘Indian National Congress’ and ‘All India Muslim League’ (AIML). In 1947 Muslims of the sub-continent under the banner of AIML opted for a separate homeland. However, the relationship between the major two south Asian states are marred by suspicion, hostility and acrimony since their inception especially due to Kashmir issue (disputed territory between India and Pakistan).
Interestingly the eminent leaders of AIML were very hopeful that establishment of Pakistan and India will ensure the ‘peace, harmony and security’ for the people of Indian sub-continent as a result of internal balance of power (Waheeduzzaman, 1969). Muhammad Ali Jinnah expressed his high hopes in early 1940’s that ‘both the countries will join together as good neighbors and friends’. In October, 1944 and November, 1946 Mr. Jinnah expressed his desire that the two independent states would declare a ‘Monroe Doctrine’ for the defense of sub-continent against all aggressors’ from outside. (S.M. Burke, 1973). Even an idea of ‘Common Defense’ was coined by few leaders from both the sides (Jalal, 1990).
However, the conditions took different turn against the aspirations of the top leadership of sub-continent and relations strained even in pre-partition period and transformed into enduring rivalry in post-partition era. Hurried partition plan by British, other post-partition differences and disputes further intensified the already existing enmities and made the security conditions of the whole region fragile forever. For thrice in 1948, 1965 and 1971 (Pakistan lost its half of the eastern territory) both entangled in wars against each other and aggravated the enmity and suspicions.
Though the newly created state of Pakistan was relatively much smaller in size when compared to India yet became the world’s fifth biggest state in terms of population and area. Stephen Cohn, described the significance, “While history has been unkind to Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit. It has resource rich area in the North-West, people rich in the North-East”.
The crucial geostrategic locality made it extremely attractive for the world’s powers since its very creation. Being located on the cross-roads of the west Asia, south Asia and central Asia, Pakistan provides the shortest possible route for land locked and resource-rich CARs to the Arabian Sea. As its coastline areas are connected to the Persian Gulf where more than 60% of the oil and gas transportation takes place and the route is considered as life-line to global economy. India, on the other hand became the world’s second largest country with huge landmass and population. She became one of the crucial player in geo-political and economic affairs at world stage in general and particularly in the South Asia, Indian Ocean and beyond.
International Treaties to Control Nuclear Proliferation
U.S President Eisenhower, delivered his famous “Atom for Peace” speech in 1953 and gave an idea for the establishment of a regulatory and monitoring body on international level. Pursuing the same idea, in 1957 International atomic energy agency (IAEA) was established and both Pakistan and India joined the organization the same year. Though the idea was that the organization will help to guarantee the security and peaceful usage of nuclear technology however, it opened the new avenues for the spread, transfer and proliferation of nuclear technology in the world under shelter.
Similarly, in 1968 ‘Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’ was established which aimed to control the spread of nuclear technology, nuclear disarmament and peaceable usage of nuclear technology. NPT classified the world into “Nuclear-weapon states” and “non-nuclear-weapon states”. The position of “Nuclear weapon states” was given to only those countries of the world who possessed Nuclear weapons earlier than January 1st, 1967 whereas all other countries were declared and classified as “non-nuclear weapon states” whether they have nuclear weapons or not.
Though India initially
showed the commitment verbally to disarmament objectives but refused to sign NPT
due to the division within the Indian establishment, who showed serious
concerns over signing the treaty in the absence of reliable security
guarantees. There were many who consider the treaty as discriminatory therefore
decided not to accede. Similarly, Pakistan too supported the treaty at first
stage but later attached it with the provision of Indian signature on NPT.
India and Pakistan therefore remain de facto, rather than de jure,
Nuclearization of South Asia
In South Asia nuclear weapons were introduced amidst the history of strain Indo-Pak relationship in 1970s when first nuclear device was tested by India in 1974 and persuade Pakistan to pursue the same nuclear path for its own survival. The nuclearization of the South Asia was a slow as well as impervious process and happened in an opaque manner.
Indian Nuclear Program
After independence from British rule in 1947, India became one of the most prominent advocate for ‘Universal Nuclear Disarmament’. India’s spiritual and important political leader Mohandas Gandhi wrote in Harijan in 1948, that “I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children as the most diabolical use of science” (Merton, 2007). Nuclear aspirations exposed in 1946 when one of the top Indian leader Mr. Nehru stated that “India would develop atomic power for peaceful uses but warned that, so long as the world was constituted as it was, every country would have to develop and use the latest scientific devices for its protection” (Kavic, 1967). Explicit interest in acquiring nuclear technology was showed by New Delhi just few years after independence in 1950s and embarked on ‘Peaceful Nuclear Program’ for the fulfillment of civilian needs.
Major powers played a crucial role in establishing the nuclear programme for India, in Trombay, “Bhabha Atomic Research Centre” initiated under “US Atom for Peace Program”. Similarly, the first ever reactor built in India in 1955 (1 Megawatt (MWt) Aspara Research Reactor) was acquired from England. In the same year, another heavy-water-moderated reactor CIRUS 40 MWt was built with Canada’s assistance and the supply of heavy water for the project was agreed by U.S. According to Leonard Weiss, around one thousand scientists from India took part in different research projects (nuclear) in U.S between 1955 to 1974 (Weiss, 2004).
In mid-1950s the consensus among Indian leadership started developing regarding the idea of acquiring nuclear weapons. The ground work previously done on nuclear fuel cycle enabled Indian acquisition to develop technical competency to manufacture nuclear weapons. Indian government ratified in November, 1964 to work on the “Subterranean Nuclear Explosion for Peaceful Purposes” (SNEPP) thus provided a legal authorization to the option to use nuclear technology for military purpose. In order to separate the weapon-grade plutonium manufactured by CIRUS research reactor, a recycling facility at Trombay was commissioned by Indian government.
After an approval given to conduct the ‘nuclear test’ by PM Indira Gandhi in 1972, India on 18th May, 1974 carried out first nuclear explosion and named it ‘peaceful nuclear explosion’. An explosion was a demonstration of Indian capacity to produce nuclear weapons. Though the international nonproliferation efforts received major setback with India’s nuclear test and restrictions were imposed on India to limit her access to uranium enrichment and nuclear technology. Moreover, for the time being, US intercepted the low-enriched nuclear fuel to two of the India’s power reactors. However, the deadlock on nuclear cooperation, between India and US broke in 1983 and the US-India ties further improved after the assassination of Indira Gandhi 1984.
Pakistan Nuclear Programme
It is difficult to figure out exactly when Pakistan and India initiated their nuclear programs and achieved the capability, particularly Pakistan as she did not test the capability whereas India tested in 1974. However, after the debacle of Dhaka and Indian nuclear tests in 1974, Pakistan was left with very few options for its defense and survival against military giant in its neighbor. Secondly Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, was in desperate need of not only enhancing his personal stature within the country but also to boost the public morale which was at the lowest after losing the eastern wing of Pakistan. He gave an ambitious slogan ‘ghass khain gay atom bomb banain gay’ means the nation is ready to eat grass for making nuclear bomb.
Pakistan’s nuclear program severely crippled by Carter administration’s efforts against nuclear proliferation in 1978. Plutonium reprocessing agreement between Pakistan and France collapsed due to immense pressure from the U.S and led to the suspension of economic as well as military aid in 1979 as a result of new law named as ‘Symington Amendment’. US aid was prohibited by this particular law to those states that pursue uranium enrichment capabilities without the safeguards of IAEA. However, if President of United States certify that the U.S vital interests would be in danger in case of suspension of the U.S aid or ‘reliable guarantees’ by the recipient countries are provided to the President of United States that they would not pursue or accrete nuclear weapons. Due to serious reservations regarding Pakistan’s nuclear program in Washington, inter-agency task force in the U.S discussed over multiple possibilities including a covert military operation on nuclear sites to inhibit Pakistan’s nuclear capability (Burt, 1979).
A US analyst wrote that in August 1979, that Islamabad administration was under great anxiety and was seriously worried that in case U.S influence failed to affect Pakistan’s nuclear policy, the U.S may consider other options like conducting covert operation against Pakistan’s nuclear facilities either through direct ‘Commando Operation’ by Israel or India. Islamabad took these rumors seriously enough that air defense system was put on high alert and PAF Mirages kept on flying over the nuclear facility sites 24/7 (Tahir-Kheli, 1982). He further wrote that later this idea of sabotaging Kahuta militarily, was abandoned by Carter administration by calling it too risky as well as politically provocative (Burt, 1979).
International Anarchic Structure: The Acceleration of Nuclear Programs in South Asia
Afghanistan’s invasion by USSR in 1979 proved extremely beneficial for Pakistan as nuclear non-proliferation efforts by the U.S were put on the backburner and Washington moved forward for Pakistan’s strategic partnership to counter USSR advances in the region.
When Carter administration examined a behavioral change in USSR and called for immediate worldwide response to punish them for their behavior, Pakistan became an essential frontline ally of the U.S and indispensable part of every strategy to counter Soviets. When the new terms of cooperation between Islamabad and Washington were in process of finalization, proposal offered by US President Carter were rejected by President Zia by calling it ‘peanuts’ or inadequate for the security needs of Pakistan. Finally, things settled down after the arrival of President Reagan and a deal of $ 3.2 billion concluded in 1981. Both economic and military components were included in the agreement including helicopters, tanks, anti-tank missiles, howitzers and forty F-16 fighter jets.
The security conditions for Pakistan improved on eastern (India) fronts due to the new strength added to its conventional capability. After signing the deal with the U.S, Islamabad became a central channel for handing over the weapons to Mujahedeen (volunteer Islamic fighters) fighting against soviets in Afghanistan. During 1980’s the U.S relations with both Islamabad and New Delhi were on its best and at the same time the development phase of nuclear programs of both the South Asian countries was probably on its peak.
Though some of prominent U.S congressmen showed concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program, its long term regional impacts and US policy towards nonproliferation objectives. However, during 1980’s Washington policy was mainly driven by its anti-communist ambitions and to roll back the Moscow onslaught in the region. Eventually the U.S administration successfully convinced the congress to pass a provision in the national interest of the U.S. The provision paved the way to waive ‘Symington Amendment’ for six years by the President Reagan. Non-proliferation law (section of law) was also amended by congress (which aimed to cut-off US financial assistance to any non-nuclear country which test or explode nuclear devices). So Pakistan was eligible for the U.S aid until she abstained from testing its nuclear capability.
On the other hand, Pakistan administration tried hard to alleviate Washington concerns and on February 1980 President Zia stated that, “We are not making any bomb…. It is a modest experiment that we are carrying on…. We are only trying to acquire technology” (Learn a Lesson from History, 1980). Though Indian PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi proclaimed that “New Delhi and rest of the world knew that Pakistan is on the way to develop nuclear weapons and very soon Islamabad may test its nuclear capability and it will prompt India to test another nuclear device of its own” (Cronin, 1985)
In the meanwhile, some important developments took place on Indian side, in 1982 ‘a nuclear test’ was proposed to PM Indira Gandhi who first authorized but later cancelled the proposal. However, in 1983 she certified the development of land-based missiles and ordered the concerning authorities for the development of more advanced and sophisticated weapons designs with the help of USSR (Chengappa, 2000).
As the nuclear program of Pakistan was progressing, reports regarding the India’s plans to abolish Pakistan’s nuclear installations stirred the Zia administration and they started considering the threats very seriously. Throughout early 1980’s Pakistan Air Force (PAF) remained in air to protect Kahuta and other major nuclear sites of Pakistan. According to US officials, Zia administration installed surface-to-air missiles around Kahuta to counter any extra ordinary situation. According to media reports in 1982, some intelligence officials from US exposed, that planners from Indian military, proposed an idea of destroying Pakistan’s nuclear sites however, the idea was rejected by Mrs. Gandhi but “did not foreclose the option of striking if Pakistan appeared on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability” (Chengappa, 2000).
In September, 1984 anxiety in Islamabad resurfaced, when CIA briefed the Senate committee on Intelligence that Indian military once again proposed a plan to destroy Kahuta to get permission from the political leadership (Oberdorfer, 1984). It was a matter of great concern for the U.S as well, as Pakistan’s engagement on eastern border (India) may prove catastrophic for the U.S on western side in Afghan. In the meanwhile, what added more into the concerns was that the U.S intelligence remained unable to trace two squadrons of ‘Jaguars’ the most advanced Indian fighter jets. It was feared that those jets have been moved for a possible operation against Pakistan across the borders (Oberdorfer, 1984).
Being the frontline ally of the U.S in Afghan war against USSR, Washington facilitated Islamabad in every possible way. President of Pakistan was given assurance on 16th September by Deane Hinton, the U.S ambassador to Pakistan, that “if the United States were to see signs of an imminent Indian attack, Pakistan would be notified immediately” (Kanti P. Bajpai, 1995). Similarly, in one of the public- lecture Hinton remarked that “in case of Indian attack on Pakistan, US would be responsive”. The repeated assertions by senior and top U.S officials pushed Mrs. Gandhi to seek similar verbal assurances from USSR that any such actions by US would be a threat to USSR as well as India and finally successfully achieved the task (Kanti P. Bajpai, 1995).
Pakistan immediately took ‘suitable defensive measures’ to deal with any possible Indian misadventure (Oberdorfer, 1984). Pakistan’s representatives clearly pointed out in press interviews that any act of hostility would be taken as naked aggression and Pakistan would be left with ‘no other option but to retaliate’. However, the fear of attack on nuclear facilities of Pakistan subsided somehow in December 1985, as both Islamabad and New Delhi verbally assured not to attack each other’s nuclear installations (Wright, Martin, 1973).
During 1980’s Islamabad administration skillfully and successfully managed to convey credentials of their nuclear capabilities to New Delhi on one hand and by ameliorating the U.S concerns over nuclear proliferation on the other hand. Advances in nuclear technology by Pakistan were revealed incrementally, as Dr. Abdul Qadeer khan (Pakistan’s nuclear scientist) in February 1984, claimed that “by the grace of God, Pakistan is now among the few countries in the world that can efficiently enrich uranium”. President of Pakistan, though confirmed the breakthrough yet skillfully dealt with the comments by A. Q. Khan by adding that, “Pakistan has acquired a very modest research and development capacity of uranium enrichment … for peaceful purposes” (Spector, 1984).
Although these developments once again aggravated the concerns and the U.S President Reagan had to warn in an official letter to President Zia-ul-Haq in September 1984, that Pakistan will have to face ‘serious consequences’ in case of exceeding the uranium enrichment limit of 5% (93% required for nuclear weapons) and Islamabad administration assured Washington their resolution to respect the limitations (Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, 1988). However, the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations unanimously passed a Pakistan-specific nonproliferation amendment in 1984, according to which the U.S President had to certify annually that Pakistan was neither acquiring equipment and technology nor they possess nuclear weapons otherwise the U.S aid would be terminated. On the other hand, having the consciousness that in case, the amendment would become a law, it will obstruct the Afghan war and will be harmful for the U.S interests, a comparatively softer ‘Pressler amendment’ was adopted in 1985. Which required certification from the President of United States (regarding the possession of no nuclear device by Pakistan) before dispatching aid for each subsequent fiscal year. This amendment threatened the ‘US aid termination’ in case of possession or detonation of nuclear weapons however, put no restriction on nuclear research and development on Pakistan.
Dr. Rabia while in her interview with Stimson Center South Asia, on the language of Pressler amendment said, “the language of the amendment was kept vague deliberately by the U.S to provide a waiver to Pakistan not to compromise U.S interests in Soviet-Afghan war” (Rabia, 2017).
Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi highlighted Pakistan’s advances in nuclear field as he claimed in June 1985, that “Islamabad is very near to create nuclear bomb” and added that, “In principle we are opposed to the idea of becoming a nuclear power. We could have done so, for the past 10 or 11 years, but we have not”. While revealing India’s nuclear advancements, he said that “If we decided to become a nuclear power, it would take a few weeks or few months” (Spector, 1987). Later in 1985, a high-level US delegation could not convince New Delhi that Islamabad’s nuclear program was not as advanced as feared and Rajiv said that “The US seems to believe that Pakistan has not got the enriched uranium yet. We believe they have” (Walcott, 1985).
Brasstacks Crisis 1986-87
The crisis emerged in November, 1986 when India started significant mobilization of its armed forces to war fighting levels near the Pakistan’s vicinity. General Sunderji (Indian military chief) and Arun Singh (Indian defense minister) were considered as the architects of the ‘Brasstacks exercises’ which was the largest, since WW11 and bigger than NATO exercise. It involved around quarter million troops and cost almost quarter billion dollars. It was viewed by Pakistan that the conflict was designed by New Delhi on behest of Moscow, in order to bring Pakistan under pressure, as the later was engaged in Afghan Mujahidin’s support against Soviet invasion on behalf of US.
Though the military exercises were named as ‘Brasstacks exercises’ ostensibly and Indian stance over Brasstacks was to develop new strategies and evaluate latest armaments in battle conditions including the ‘Reorganized Army Plains Infantry Division’ (RAPID) and ‘Plan AREN’ (area radio engineered network), (Flory, 1987). However, Islamabad viewed this massive mobilization suspiciously and the military analysts and planners called it an “aggressive exhibition of overwhelming conventional force”. So Pakistan started the mobilization of its own military for its defense without any further delay and New Delhi took it threatening and in response deployed its troops near Pakistan border (around 100 miles). The crisis further aggravated the already contentious political and military conditions between the two countries due to occupation of Siachin Glacier by India in 1984 and Pakistan’s concerns regarding New Delhi’s designs to annihilate Pakistan’s nuclear installations.
The Brasstacks involved 1300 tanks, nine infantries, three armored, three mechanized, three armored brigades, one assault divisions, along with the naval component and deployed near Pakistan areas like a real war like conditions with all paraphernalia. The Brasstacks exercises were divided into four different phases, May-June 1986 Brasstacks I took place, in November 1986 Brasstacks II, (navy and air force separately held exercises) in November-December 1986 Brasstacks III was scheduled whereas, Brasstacks IV was planned in February-March 1987.
On October 1986, while US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was on visit to Pakistan, PM. Junejo raised the issue and asked him to inform Pakistan timely, ‘if the balloon is going up.’ For Islamabad the situation was naturally dangerous and precautionary measures were immediately required so it moved its troops and weaponry from interior areas towards borders with India and increased alertness along with the borders in general and in Brasstacks exercises region in particular. Pakistan reacted with a Close co-ordination with US and allies along with its own manoeuvers by starting its own military exercises in December 1986 with the name ‘Saf – Shikan’. Which included Pakistan’s strike corps Army Reserve South (ARS), exercised in Bahawalpur-Marot region across the Rajasthan border of India. ‘Flying horse’ (second code-name) was carried on by the Army Reserve North (ARN), in the Chenab-Ravi corridor. Though ARS finished its exercises in earlier November 1986 and ARN in mid of December 1986, however due to the apprehensions Islamabad decided to extend its forces’ stay in the fields and canceled the leaves already granted as one of the necessary administrative measure.
The war hysteria reached on its peak due to offensive moves taken from both the sides. However, to defuse the tension, regional diplomatic efforts accelerated, as a result Islamabad mooted an offer to resolve the issues through urgent negotiations with New Delhi on 24th of January, 1986. Similarly, Indian PM. Rajiv Gandhi while talking to Pakistan’s ambassador at New Delhi airport implicitly remarked that diligent efforts are required to de-escalate the border tensions. In the meanwhile, ambitious Arun Singh (Defense minister) was replaced by V. P. Singh in order to show conciliating gesture to Pakistan though this action had some other motives as well. Both the Prime Ministers finally agreed to reactivate the dormant military hotlines between the two countries. Pakistan’s foreign secretary visit to India on 26th January to hold talks with its Indian counterpart, Alfred Gonsalves, then talks between both the countries on Secretary – level and regular interaction between DGMOS from both the sides helped in diluting the situation. India accepted to consider Pakistan’s twelve points plan to normalize the relations however, cancellation of Brasstacks exercises (which were planned till March) was not demanded by Islamabad.
In the meanwhile, eight points were put on table by India which included withdrawal of armored division by Pakistan unilaterally. Both the sides agreed on gradual disengagement and withdrawal of troops sector-by-sector and decided to clear all the mines, to de-activate the forward bases and not to attack each other. In the meanwhile, President Zia accepted the invitation by Indian cricket board to watch an upcoming match between India and Pakistan on 21st February 1987 in Jaipur and further consolidated the situation and accelerated peace process towards stabilization. The most prominent was an agreement signed on 31st December, 1988 by the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan over the ‘Prevention of Attack on nuclear installations’ of each other.
The strategic and political intentions behind the Brasstacks military exercises became a matter of unending debate. A prominent Indian strategic analyst Ravi Rikhye commented that “Indian leadership missed the life-time chance because of its timidity” (Rikhye, 1988). However, military assessment on Pakistan side evaluated that Brasstacks exercises were aimed to analyze the credibility of Pakistan armed forces, secondly it was viewed by Pakistan that the conflict was designed by New Delhi on behest of Moscow, in order to bring Pakistan under pressure, as the later was engaged in Afghan Mujahidin’s support against Soviet invasion.
In the concluding phase of crisis, Dr. A. Q. Khan (Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist) while in an interview, which published in the Observer (London) on 1st March 1987 claimed that “if Pakistan would be pressed hard, she would not be hesitant in developing a nuclear weapon”. Though the statement did not aggravate the Crisis however, it added in the acceleration of Pakistan and India’s nuclear programs. India responded over the disclosure by A. Q. Khan by stating that “the revelation is pushing us to review our option”. Similarly, President Zia declared while in an interview with the Time magazine that, “Pakistan has the capability of building the Bomb. You can write today that Pakistan can build a bomb whenever it wishes. Once you have acquired the technology, which Pakistan has, you can do whatever you like” he further added that “Pakistan still has no actual plan to make nuclear weapons” (Doerner, 1987).
Decade of Confrontation-Crisis-Negotiations 1989-98
By the end of Afghan war in 1989, USSR was clearly on verge of disintegration due to severe political, economic and military setbacks and world changed from bipolarity to unipolarity with the end of cold war between US and USSR.
After achieving the desired objectives in the region, the U.S refused the certification regarding the Pakistan’s nuclear weapons (requirement of Pressler amendment) in 1990. In 1992 it was claimed that Islamabad possess the capacity to create nuclear weapons however, denied the presence of nuclear bomb (Kux, 2003).
India planned nuclear tests in 1995 but cancelled as detected by the U.S but in 1996 reconsidered it seriously. The regional nuclear credential became overt when both India and Pakistan in May 1998 conducted tit-for-tat nuclear tests. The developments on Indian side happened in the backdrop of the rise of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP has strong commitment to ‘Hindutva ideology’ and its policies have sturdy reflection of Hindu nationalist stance historically with tough anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan inclination. Moreover, BJP policies have militarized and hardened Indian behavior on various issues, particularly over the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, which further deteriorated the relations between Islamabad and New Delhi and disrupted ongoing dialogue process.
Finally, India detonated series of nuclear explosions on 11th May, 1998 and 13th May, 1998 simultaneously which included one thermonuclear, three miniature sub-kilo ton, one roughly Hiroshima-sized fission device and two sub-kiloton devices. According to few reports, one of these used a reactor-grade (mix of plutonium) instead of pure weapons-grade (Pakistan Can Build One Nuclear Device, Official Says, 1992).
Pakistan Nuclear program became a classic example of action- reaction phenomena. Although addition of nuclear weapons resulted in deterrence stability and both India and Pakistan did not attack each other even in extreme level of crisis from mid-1970’s till 1998. However, the study concluded that ironically nuclear proliferation occurred more swiftly during the period, when negotiations over nuclear non-proliferation treaty was on its peak. In the same period, the aspirations for acquiring nuclear technology by some states like Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea were kept under firm observation but during the same period Pakistan, India, Israel successfully managed to develop their nuclear programs.
The U.S during USSR-Afghan war manipulated the inter-state threats and animosity between India and Pakistan successfully and provided space to the nuclearization of the region by using it for her own designs on regional and international level. Amendments were brought to provide wavier to facilitate Pakistan due to its strategic and political importance for the U.S in war against USSR and on the other hand, huge arms sale to India by USSR to exert pressure on U.S and Pakistan (being the key ally of U.S) endangered the regional peace to unprecedented level.
Moreover, it was the ‘self-help’ motive which drove Pakistan (after 1971) not to trust India and its intensions and made the cooperation between two rivals difficult. Pakistan calculated that to counter mighty giant India (in conventional warfare) in its immediate neighbor is almost impossible for it. However, the attainment of nuclear power under the shelter of an alliance with major powers of the world will deter the potential threats from India. According to neorealist approach, in anarchic structure of the world, power of one is considered as threat for other. So both India and Pakistan were distrustful regarding each other’s intentions, which leads to competitive arms built up in general and alliances with major powers in particular.
The ‘Old World Order’ ended and bipolarity crumbled in 1991 with the break-up of USSR. The US achieved the desired results and emerged as a single super power of the post-cold war, “International Power Structure”. Once the world changed from bi-polarity to unipolarity, the U.S refused to certify Pakistan’s economic and military aid (given under Pressler Amendment) in 1990 and left the region on its own fate. In 1996 after India’s refusal to signed CTBT, perhaps Islamabad smelled the New Delhi’s intentions and upcoming challenges, refused to sign the CTBT as well. Finally, after a contentious decade, in order to tilt the balance of power in its own favor BJP government decided to test its nuclear capability in 1998 and later the same path was followed by the Pakistan in the same month. The actions were irrevocable and turned the region into a nuclear flashpoint of the world. Moreover, India and Pakistan beside their stressful economic conditions, kept on spending their resources on importing military built ups, sophisticated missiles technology and other advanced defense equipment from the major powers and became the prominent recipient of international arms industry till now.