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Pak Paper: CIA asked Pakistan not to start World War III in 1987

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    Pak Paper: CIA asked Pakistan not to start World War III in 1987

    Daily Times:CIA asked Pakistan not to start World War III in 1987

    WASHINGTON: In mid-October 1984, when there were fears that India under Indira Gandhi might bomb Pakistan’s nuclear facilities at Kahuta, the Pakistan Air Force readied a counter plan to fly F-16s to Bombay, bomb the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and crash their planes into it with a view to releasing radioactive waste and devastating the area, says a report by NBC TV in its latest broadcast.

    Pakistani intelligence feared that India would launch a surprise attack on Kahuta and a message was relayed to New Delhi that Pakistan would respond by attacking nuclear facilities inside India. According to the report, India backed down.

    Ten days before Ms Gandhi was assassinated rumours of another raid were spurred when she said a “new dimension” be added to India’s defence posture. In December, Pakistan and India agreed not to attack each other. Details of this agreement were finalised six years later.

    In July 1986, Pakistan tested a conventional explosive package necessary to detonate a nuclear weapon. This prompted the Indian Atomic Commission chairman to announce the following month, establishment of a 100MW reactor to produce plutonium. At the same time Pakistan and the Soviet Union were in talks to end Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Brigadier Mohammed Yousuf, ISI Afghan Bureau chief, wrote in his book, The Bear Trap (1986), that cross-border strikes were at their peak during this time.

    “We had become more aggressive in pushing the rebels,” he writes, adding that Afghan rebels were crossed over into Tajikistan. The ISI claimed it had succeeded, without American help, in taking the war to Soviet soil. “Virtually every incursion provoked massive aerial bombing and gunship attacks.” The USSR seriously thought of hitting back by attacking Kahuta directly or via India.

    This prompted Pakistan’s then foreign minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan to rush to Washington and ask the Americans to intervene. Mr Khan met with US Vice-President George Bush and National Security Council aide Howard Teicher. The joint US-Pak decision to supply Afghans with Stinger missiles had not gone down well with the Russians either. A letter by General Zia ul Haq, president of Pakistan, was read out to Mr Bush.

    The Pakistani nation, the letter read, “feels that it would be appropriate for the US to let the Soviet Union know that any Soviet or Soviet-backed aggression would activate the US-Pakistan security agreement.”

    Unacceptability of the Soviet attack was made clear to the Soviets. But while Mr Teicher feared that Soviet escalation against Pakistan would increase, John Matlock, former ambassador to Moscow, thought otherwise.
    “More likely,” he e-mailed Mr Teicher that same day, “might be cooperation with an Indian strike on nuclear facilities, if the Indians are sufficiently exercised to try something like that. In short, while I believe that the (Soviets) for sometime have considered pressure on Pakistan as an option to get back at us for what they see as humiliations in other areas, I do believe they are unlikely to go about it in an overt and direct way. (I could be wrong of course.)” He wasn’t.

    In December 1986, a US Defence Intelligence Report stated that Pakistan had tested a device in September and was one step closer to the bomb. India began massing troops along the border and at one point had deployed 400,000 troops, half the Indian army.

    In 1987, Abdul Qadeer Khan, nuclear physicist, declared that Pakistan had the bomb. At around the same time, BG Desmukh, Indian cabinet secretary said Gen Zia had told his people that an attack on the Bhabha facility and Bombay High gas were likely. On April 27, the Soviet ambassador went to the foreign ministry in Islamabad and Brig Yousaf was given the impression that Russia may be preparing to attack. In response the prime minister ordered cessation of all operations. The CIA, Mr Yousaf claims, asked Pakistan not to start World War III.

    In 1990, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Pakistan began focussing its attention on the Civilian Indian Authority in Kashmir. In early May, India sent an elite strike force near the border and Pakistan detected movement of Indian missiles. The then army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg wrongly believed that these were nuclear ready. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan immediately ordered turning plutonium into metal for use in case of war. The prime minister, who was also the defence and atomic energy minister, was kept in the dark. CIA shocked the White House by telling officials Kahuta had been evacuated, an indication that war was imminent. A nuclear storage facility was also spotted at Chagai. Pakistan was locked and loaded.

    Yaqub Khan told the Indian Foreign Minister SN Dixit that there would be “fire in the sky” if the Kashmir issue was not resolved. US deputy National Security Council advisor Robert Gates was immediately dispatched to the region and met with President Ishaq Khan and Gen Beg. Both spoke darkly about possibilities of war. Mr Gates was blunt. “General our military has war-gamed every scenario between you and the Indians,” he said, “and there isn’t a single way you can win.” His point was this: don’t count on American help.

    When he went to meet Indian premier VP Singh, Mr Gates told New Delhi that Pakistan was ready to close training camps and that the possibility of nuclear war had not been mentioned during talks. Without the knowledge of the government ministers, chief of the Indian Air Force sent one of his MiG-29 planes over Chagai and Kahuta on a reconnaissance mission. This went undetected by Pakistan but the US feared this could have easily been seen as the calm before the storm.

    In 1991, Pakistan told US officials it had picked up seismic activity coming from across the border and that it feared the Indians had tested a device. The US said an earthquake was to blame. In 1998, Kargil brought both countries back to the brink of a nuclear confrontation.

    #2
    Whats 'win' a war? If that mean's conquering India, of course not, we just don't have enough troops for that.

    Is 'winning' holding off a Indian assualt (despite numerical superiority), and ensuring Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, etc are kept free from Indian occupation?

    I objectively believe the second one is most appropriate, and i would have to say Pak forces are able to accomplish this, as they have been doing for the last fifty years!..I certainly don't see any Hindoo soldiers in Karachi!

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