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The country has faced some of the most devastating attacks on its defense establishments by the jihadist in the past decade or so.There have been repeated instances where some of these attacks were mounted with the help of within the Pak military establishment.The rapid tacticalization of a strategic asset in the region considered to be a nuclear flashpoint, has raised a plethora of security and strategy related issues.
Pakistan realized that it had little choice but to adopt an aggressive nuclear escalation posture.
This aggressive posture entailed integration of its nuclear weapons into its military structure to credibly and directly deter Indian conventional attacks.
With limited battlefield early warning and surveillance capabilities, the Pakistan Army viewed the threshold for nuclear first use as relatively low in a conventional conflict with India— perhaps even preemptive first use.
Cold Start versus TNWs The Kargil conflict of 1999 and Operation Parakaram of 2001 exposed India’s inability to rapidly mobilize its strike corps.
It gives Pakistan the ability to respond to any kind of Indian aggression all along the tactical spectrum through Pakistan’s willingness to implement a nuclear first use policy in a tactical environment.
The strategic calculus is narrowed down to deterring a conventionally stronger India.Terrorist Threats to Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: A Clear and Present Danger Sajid Farid Shapoo Pakistan has the world’s fastest growing nuclear stockpile.[i] Given the rate of plutonium and highly enriched uranium production, it may be able to produce another 200 nuclear warheads in the next 5 to 10 years, taking its arsenal close to 350.The production of such a staggering stockpile has been associated with an extremely worrisome trend; the majority of nuclear warheads produced by Pakistan in last decade are low yield tactical weapons.The strategic matrix entailed that Cold Start would also deter Pakistan from using its nuclear arsenals.Notwithstanding its capability to execute Cold Start, the Indian Army had long resisted accepting it as a professed strategy of the armed forces.The unabated internal chaos coupled with a perpetual tension with its eastern neighbor, makes Pakistan a bit of a nuclear nightmare.Its willingness to use tactical nuclear weapons even against a limited conventional incursion by India further complicates the situation.However, in spite of this ambiguity towards accepting is India’s strategic doctrine post 2001.Pakistan, as a result, has shifted its doctrine from strategic deterrence to what it calls‘full spectrum deterrence’.Dynamics of Tactilization: Command and Control Vulnerabilities Pakistan’s Army appears to have procedures in place to operationalize an already offensively oriented posture, thereby ensuring that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are suitably deployed and are usable in a crisis situation.As Tim Hoyt writes: “It is apparent that Pakistan’s Command and control procedures are delegative, lean heavily toward the always side of the ‘always/never’ divide, and probably include both devolution and possibly pre-delegation in order to ensure the use of weapons[vi].” Such delegated command and control structure involves features that enable rapid assembly, accelerated movement, and assured delivery mechanism to maintain the credibility of a tactical first use or asymmetric escalation posture, particularly during crisis situations against India.