Pakistan’s Nuclear Future

January 19, 2010

The risk of war between Pakistan and India and possible nuclear escalation would be bad enough, however, most American security experts are riveted on the frightening possibility of Pakistani nuclear weapons capabilities falling into the hands of terrorists intent on attacking the United States.

Unfortunately, a nuclear terrorist act is only one of several frightening security threats Pakistan now faces or poses.

A new book edited by Henry D. Sokolski, Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, takes a long look at these threats as possible. Its companion volume, Worries Beyond War, (2008) focused on the challenges of Pakistani nuclear terrorism. These analyses offer a window into what is possible and why Pakistani nuclear terrorism is best seen as a lesser included threat to war, and terrorism more generally. Could the United States do more with Pakistan to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons holdings against possible seizure? News reports indicate that the United States has already spent $100 million toward this end. It is unclear what this money has bought. If policymakers view the lack of specific intelligence on Pakistani nuclear terrorist plots against the United States as cold comfort and believe that such strikes are imminent, then the answer is not much. If, conventional acts of terrorism and war are far more likely than acts of nuclear terrorism, then there is almost too much to do. In the later case, nuclear terrorism would not be a primary, stand-alone peril, but a lesser included threat. What sort of Pakistan would that be? A country that was significantly more prosperous, educated, and far more secure against internal political strife and from external security threats than it currently is. How might one bring about such a state? The short answer is by doing more to prevent the worst. Nuclear use may not be the likeliest bad thing that might occur in Pakistan, but it is by far the nastiest. Certainly in the near- to mid-term, it is at least as likely as any act of nuclear terrorism. More important, it is more amenable to remediation.

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Sumit Lal: The ubiquitous Indian

October 28, 2009

Our friend from New Delhi, Sumit Lal, former Director and General Manager at ECCO INDIA, and currently Business Adviser at ECCO Asia Pacific Limited, has just started his own blog.

Please check it out here.

India gets nuclear submarine

July 9, 2009

India will launch its first nuclear submarine later this month, the Financial Times reports.

The submarine would add India to a short list of countries with the capability to launch a nuclear strike from the sea.

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Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal at risk

May 4, 2009

The New York Times reports today that Washington is increasingly concerned about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal, including the potential of militants to steal a weapon or otherwise infiltrate nuclear laboratories or fuel-production facilities.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Sufi Mohammad, the radical and increasingly influential Muslim cleric in Pakistan, said the Taliban would not lay down their arms in the Malakand region unless government military operations there are halted.

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Fears About Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

April 27, 2009

As militancy grows in Pakistan, U.S. officials are increasingly concerned about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

The Washington Times reports that the military controls the country’s nuclear stockpile, so any scenario that changes the balance of power in the military – from a coup to a Taliban takeover – could endanger the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

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Afpak: Richard Holbrooke’ U.S. Strategy for South Asia

April 8, 2009

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, opened meetings with Indian officials today in an attempt to win support for President Barack Obama’s strategy to bring peace to the region.

Al-Jazeera reports Richard Holbrooke will meet with India’s foreign minister, to counter concerns from India that Washington favours Pakistan.

Pakistani officials have disputed that Washington shows disproportionate support for India in its bilateral relations with Pakistan, and have criticized the parameters of Holbrooke’s “Af-Pak” mission, saying a more productive assignment would include mediation of the India-Pakistan conflict in Kashmir, which foreign policy experts say is inextricably linked with terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Interview with U.S. General David Petraeus

March 31, 2009

The chief foundations of all states… are good laws and good arms. And as there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms… where there are good arms there must be good laws. (Niccolo Machiavelli)

U.S. General David Petraeus, in an interview with Fox News, said the U.S. military is putting “additional focus” on rooting out ties between Pakistan’s intelligence service and the Taliban. He also said the U.S. military reserves the “right of last resort” to take out threats inside Pakistan.

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