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    Pakistan nukes outstrips India's

    U.S. reverses
    of South Asia nuclear
    By Robert Windrem
    and Tammy Kupperman

    WASHINGTON, June 6 — Pakistan’s
    nuclear arsenal is vastly superior to that
    of rival India, with up to five times the
    nuclear warheads, say U.S. military and
    intelligence officials now reassessing
    the South Asian balance of power.
    Senior U.S. officials have told NBC
    News in the past week that Pakistan not
    only has more warheads than its
    long-time adversary, but has far more
    capability to actually use them.
    and Pakistan in May 1998 caught American
    intelligence off guard. While U.S. agencies
    long had known about weapons-development
    research in both countries, the decision by
    both to go public with their capabilities
    shocked policymakers.
    Since then, U.S. intelligence and
    diplomacy has focused on South Asia with a
    new intensity. Until recently, for instance,
    Pakistan was considered to have somewhere
    between 10 and 15 nuclear weapons and
    India between 25 and 100.
    But after two years of intelligence
    gathering, officials now believe those figures
    overstate the capabilities of India’s
    home-grown arsenal and understate those of
    Pakistan, whose program has relied on
    generous Chinese assistance. One official
    said the Pakistanis “are more likely to have
    those numbers [25 to 100 weapons] than the
    Perhaps most important, the official said,
    is that Pakistan appears far more capable than
    India of delivering nuclear payloads. “I don’t
    think their [the Indian] program is as
    advanced as the Paks,” the official said,
    speaking particularly of ballistic missiles.
    Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni,
    commander of the U.S. Central Command,
    said long-time assumptions that India had an
    edge in the South Asian strategic balance of
    power were questionable, at best.
    “Don’t assume that the Pakistani nuclear
    capability is inferior to the Indians,” said
    Zinni, the senior U.S. officer responsible for
    the Middle East and South Asia.

    Other military
    and intelligence
    officials, as well as
    an intelligence
    analysis of South
    Asia’s nuclear
    balance obtained by
    NBC News, shed more light on the revised
    “They both have a capability,” said one
    senior military official. “Pakistan’s may be
    better than India’s, with more weapons and
    more capability.
    “You can’t underestimate the Pakistani
    program,” said the official. Like most of the
    officials NBC News contacted, this one
    would speak only on condition of anonymity.


    These officials believe India understands
    that it is behind. A recent Defense
    Department analysis of the Indian program
    obtained by NBC News states that India is
    moving to address its shortcomings.
    Quoting India’s recently publicized draft
    nuclear doctrine, the Defense Department
    report said that “India announced its plans to
    develop a minimum nuclear deterrent force
    comprised of a triad of nuclear delivery
    systems — air, mobile land-based launches
    and sea-based platforms. The air component
    of its triad is the only one that may be in
    place already.”
    The U.S. report also states that “India
    probably has a handful of nuclear bombs,”
    meaning roughly five. With regard to delivery
    systems — the missiles and bombers needed
    to launch a nuclear strike — U.S. officials
    now believe Indian capabilities to be
    seriously lagging.
    According to the Defense Department
    document, which is unclassified, India has no
    nuclear-capable missiles and fewer aircraft
    capable of delivering a nuclear payload than
    Pakistan does. India has twice tested a new
    intermediate-ranged missile, the Agni, which
    may eventually provide the basis of an
    nuclear missile force. However, current U.S.
    analysis suggests the Agni will not be fielded
    with nuclear warheads for another 10 years.
    Additionally, India appears to only have
    begun work on missile warhead design and
    on the miniaturization of weapons — two
    critical hurdles to the actual use of weapons.

    The U.S. assessment of Pakistan, on the
    other hand, has been greatly upgraded.
    A U.S. official stated that Pakistani air
    and missile delivery systems are now
    believed to be “fully capable of a nuclear
    exchange if something happens.” Other
    officials noted that Pakistan’s air force, with
    its U.S. F-16’s and its French Mirage
    fighter-bombers, are superior at penetrating
    enemy airspace than India’s Soviet-designed
    MiGs and Sukhois.
    Most importantly, Pakistan is now
    thought to possess about 30 nuclear-capable
    missiles: the Chinese M-11 short range
    missile and its Pakistani variant, the Tarmuk,
    as well as the North Korean Nodong
    intermediate-range missile (known locally as
    the Ghauri).

    The mystery that shrouds both of these
    growing nuclear arsenals has become a major
    cause for concern among U.S. policymakers,
    who even before the 1998 tests had deemed
    South Asia the most likely site of a nuclear

    According to one analysis done by the
    U.S. Air Force, more than 150 million
    Indians and Pakistanis could perish in an
    all-out nuclear exchange — three times the
    total number of people who died in World
    War II.
    One frequently cited fear among U.S.
    intelligence officials is an accidental nuclear
    war in which Pakistan mistakes the firing of
    an Indian missile bearing a conventional
    warhead as a nuclear strike.
    Despite what appears to be a healthy fear
    of the other on both sides, the United States
    still fears there could be a series of crises
    that lead to something worse. Last year’s
    Pakistani incursion in the Kargil area of
    Kashmir, the disputed Muslim territory
    controlled by India, is a good example of the
    region’s unpredictability.

    scared both
    sides,” Zinni
    said. “There is
    usually a
    agreement to
    keep conflict
    around the Line
    of Control,” he
    said, referring to
    the U.N. cease-fire line set after the two
    nations’ 1947 war over the region. “It
    escalated with mobilizations on different
    fronts — tit for tat. Both sides are now very
    concerned about how escalation works and
    how it could happen very quickly.”
    Zinni said the United States intervened in
    the “nick of time” with Kargil. The United
    States doesn’t exert much influence on the
    daily level of fighting, but a senior military
    official official does believe that Washington
    has some sway in terms of escalation because
    neither side really wants an all-out war,
    despite some hard-liners on both side who
    publicly claim they want to bring the issue to
    a head.

    NBC News’ Tammy Kupperman is based
    at the Pentagon. Robert Windrem is an NBC
    News investigative producer based in New

    Woh what a beauty 2Pak ! - and it seems that the source is none other the highest in command of the US Military... no wonder they cannot isolate Pakistan, as they would have the world's 6th most powerful and sophisticated nuclear power as an enemy!


      GO PAK!!!
      That is seriously very encouraging for us the pak people, but on the other hand india will start to up grade its weaponary and we will have a arms race cold war style.
      You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!



        Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has warned that her country will build a nuclear arsenal if India continues to increase its armed forces, which are already many times larger than Pakistan's.
        Miss Lodhi, in a recent speech, also complained that India is trying to become a nuclear rival to China and a superpower in South Asia.
        And she urged the United States to avoid feeding India's ambitions and adopt a more balanced foreign policy in the region.
        "We, for our part, cannot ignore India's own, professed objectives and ambitions to emerge as a global nuclear power equal to China, to dominate South Asia politically and economically, to control the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean," she told a workshop on South Asia last week.
        Addressing the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the National Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs, Miss Lodhi predicted that her country will respond if India's military buildup continues.
        "The imbalance against Pakistan in conventional capabilities is inherently destabilizing," she said.
        India's army is more than twice the size of Pakistan's. India's air force is five times larger, and its navy is seven times larger. India justifies its military expenditures as a means of dealing with what is a perceived threat from China.
        "If India continues in its conventional arms buildup, Pakistan will be compelled to respond," Miss Lodhi said.
        "We will not be foolish enough to be dragged into matching India's huge and growing military expenditures. Instead, Pakistan will have to enhance its reliance on its nuclear and missile capabilities to ensure against the threat of conventional aggression or attack by India.
        "The danger of nuclear use will inevitably increase exponentially."
        Miss Lodhi thanked President Clinton for his recent visit to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, saying the "U.S. interest in South Asia is welcome and overdue."
        However, she urged Mr. Clinton to develop a more balanced policy toward the region. Pakistan believes U.S. policy tilts toward India for strategic reasons.
        "In our view, the U.S. should also not succumb to simplistic constructs for its policy; for example, the utility of strategic partnership with India to neutralize China in any future Sino-U.S. competition in Asia," said Miss Lodhi.
        "That, in our view, would be a recipe for engendering a new Cold War and conflictual — rather than cooperative — trends.
        "The overall objective of the U.S. in the multipolar, globalized world should be to promote and preserve friendly and cooperative relations with all major power sources and centers, rather than contemplating scenarios of containing or neutralizing one or more of them with the collaboration of others." She urged the United States to develop a "security architecture" for India and Pakistan around "four pillars." Washington should promote "nuclear restraint," conventional arms control, peaceful resolution of conflicts and economic and social development in Pakistan and India.


          Hmmmm so US may use this for stricter measures against Pakistan. That may be one reason of accepting Pakistan's nuclear superiority.

          Of course Pak Ambassador is going to say they have less nukes than india that is just common sense. Mohabbat just likes to paste stuff without checking if it makes logical sense to be posted in a certain thread or not.


            X Factor - people like Mohabbat get so excited when they see artlcle's with the slightest anti-Pakistani tilt and paste and post them, without checking them - and thats why they end up being humiliated when the full facts are debated...AND IT SOMETIMES ASTOUNDS ME THAT ALL THESE POOR INDIANS WHO CLAIM PAKISTAN IS AN IRRELEVANCE TO THEM, SPEND SO MUCH TIME ON OUR FORUMS AND THEIR OWN FORUMS SPEWING OUT LIES AND HATRED AGAINST PAKISTAN. Its a pity really that such a BIG AND CONFIDENT?? country is stooping so low??


              yeah i was reading on chowk that some indian site banned all pakistanis so much for hospitality....but we get called all kinds of stuff oh well


                Well Pakistan's nuclear program is basically chinese establishment and chinese program is older.
                In any case, it doesnt matter. If my nkes wre worse thatur nukes, they will still kill. Maybe have to drop more of them. So instead of 20, may be u will need 40 to wipe out Pakistan. I hope such an eventuality does not come for either country, though.


                  ZZ i think the article talked about number of warheads as well.


                    I believe, India will ignore sparsely populated Baluchistan. That takes awayt 43% area of Pakistan. Rest are not a long a flight from border. So u can drop like 2nd world war.
                    But if Indian program is indeed less developed it will cause difficulties in fighting China, if and when time comes, sice the targets are far off. I had heard that fissionable material is more in India.
                    I do not think Pak will drop nukes, India will suffer,. But Pak will be wiped out. It is a small country.
                    Any nuclear exchange will wipe out Bangladesh for no fault of her, since Ganges flows there and it could get contaminated.


                      does number matter? one is bad enuf.. no one's gonna use even that. why have a dozen? especially when nuke fuel aint all that long lasting once made into a nuke... i'd make one if i need one, stockpiling doesnt make sense..
                      Simple ain't easy.


                        Originally posted by queer:
                        ... i'd make one if i need one, ..
                        challo banao. I will make one over the weekend too j/k

                        I take the article in a different sense, and that is that they have upgraded their evaluation of pakistan's nuclear program and are presenting it as a bigger threat....and have other political ambitions behind this analysis otherwise making this info public does nothing for anyone involved.

                        From a military strategy point of view though...any country no matter how big could be set back in a big way if their commerce centers, water supplies, major agricultural area and major infrastructure is destroyed.

                        Personally, i would rather die in a nuclear blast rather than face fallout and die slowly or rot walking in a wasteland waiting for support.

                        We talk about nuclear warfare but people dont really put the destruction and impact of this into perspective. There really are no winners in nuclear warfare...

                        btw thanks for the hint, I will tell my pals to move to baluchistan

                        The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


                          not just a few years, many generations will be affected. radiation simply refuses to go away. If water sources and sea gets affected, it has unpredictable consequences. If indeed there is nuclear war, it will be disaster for subcontinent. Thogh leaders are stupid, I hope they will not be so stupid as to do it.


                            ZZ I agree. and that is why that people wonder why am I satisfied with the military rule. atleast these guys are intelligent.
                            The sham democracy that has existed in pakistan recnetly gave such huge responsibility in the hands of people with limited perspectives. Imagine JI in power with and armed with a bomb....the thought is a bit scary. And of course similar concerns exist on this side about the sensibilities of indian leadership.
                            The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.



                              Sometimes, It Helps to Add a 'Rogue State'
                              Suddenly, according to a report, Pakistan, not India, is viewed as South Asia's reigning nuclear power. There may be mischief behind such a leak...

                              Reports that Pakistan's nuclear capability far exceeds India's are likely to be taken with a pinch of salt among observers of South Asia's arms race — and among missile-defense skeptics. According to a number of unnamed military and intelligence sources cited by NBC, the U.S. now believes that far from being the region's nuclear underdog, Pakistan may have up to five times as many warheads as India and is way ahead of its rival in developing missile systems to carry them. Whereas it had originally been believed that Pakistan had between 10 and 15 nuclear devices while India had between 25 and 100, the NBC report suggests India's capability had been overstated and that Pakistan was more likely to have between 25 and 100 devices.
                              "Given the history of Pakistan's nuclear program, these figures will certainly raise a few eyebrows," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "Pakistan struggled unsuccessfully for decades to develop nuclear weapons, and half of their devices failed to go off in their 1998 tests, which created the impression they were still battling to perfect the technology. Pakistan's nuclear program is generally assumed to be heavily dependent on Chinese assistance, and it sounds a little far-fetched that Beijing would allow them to develop a nuclear program on that scale."

                              Military and intelligence leaks to the media, of course, are not always inadvertent. "At a time when we're trying to promote a 'Star Wars' missile defense against rogue states, it always helps to have a few more potential threats out there," says Dowell. "Somebody may have a reason for encouraging looseness with this information." To be sure, advancing the notion that a state as unstable — and as prone to Islamic fundamentalist pressure — as Pakistan is developing an arsenal of nuclear warheads and a fleet of converted intermediate-range Chinese and North Korean missiles on which to carry them underscores the dangers cited by missile-defense advocates. It makes little difference, however, to the balance of nuclear terror on the ground in South Asia. Pakistan is a lot smaller than India, both geographically and in population, and would need a larger nuclear capability to annihilate India than vice versa. Such economies of scale, though, may be irrelevant to the language of nuclear deterrence. Says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson, "Once you have one or two that you're capable of using, it makes no difference whether you have five or 500."