US president Biden’s recent statement on Pakistan’s nuclear security concern have raised many questions in Pakistan and among the global community. As Biden said that what “he thinks is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,”. It also been said earlier by Hillary Clinton that “we live in fear that they’re going to have a coup, that jihadists are going to take over the government, they’re going to get access to nuclear weapons, and you’ll have suicide nuclear bombers. So, this could not be a more threatening scenario.”
Knowing the fact that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is nothing than a ‘deterrence policy’ against the predatory designs of Indian foreseeable hegemony. Since 1947, Pakistan is seeking refuge in different traditional security mechanisms to deter Indian mala-fide intentions. Though, the fact that India by default has upper hand in terms of geo-political balance on other South Asian states but Pakistan is the only state in the region that can resist Indian regional hegemony.
The main question, what is threating the West and matter of concern for other major stakeholders? Why did the abrupt remarks come against the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan? The main point to ponder, it’s not about the structural nuclear security concern, its more about lack of strategic cohesion which may lead to unprecedented and irreversible consequences. However, the main accounts of Western concerns fall under the following potential aspects: first the increased risk of nuclear war between India and Pakistan, which may jeopardise the strategic stability of the region, second, fear of radical and non-state actors’ control on the nuclear technology and lastly, persistent structural-domestic instability which may lead to sever concerns about the durability and nuclear security in the state.
Whereas the armed command is extremely vigilant over its nuclear program as it is compartmentalised and includes strict operational security. Moreover, the program is protected by strong institutional and domestic political constituencies. Pakistan’s authorities view nuclear weapons as ‘vital to their security,’ against Indian probable aggression, as India perceives it against China. Islamabad has taken a number of extremely reliable and robust measures to improve its nuclear security and to prevent proliferation of nuclear-related technologies and weapons, it includes strengthening export control laws, improved personnel security, and international nuclear security cooperation programs.
As matter of nuclear policy, India and Pakistan are ensuring the strategic doctrine of ‘credible minimum deterrence’ against each other. Though, Pakistan’s nuclear program started with a concept of credible minimum deterrence, but lasted on the concept of ‘full spectrum deterrence.’ It’s been claimed that continuous nuclear expansion by Pakistan and development of new types of long-range nuclear weapons, and adoption of a doctrine called ‘full spectrum deterrence’ validates Pakistan’s national security policy of nuclearisation. However, such developments are the actual international concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear capability, ignoring the fact that Pakistan’s nuclear policy is ‘defensive’ and reactive in nature. Theoretically, it’s a structural security dilemma that pushing Pakistan in a spiral of insecurity against Indian nuclear program.
As per the then National Security Council Coordinator for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Gary Samore in 2011: “The Pakistani government takes the nuclear security threat very seriously, and they’ve put a lot of resources into trying to make sure that their nuclear facilities and materials and weapons are well secured. There’s no lack of recognition that this is a very important issue, and there’s no lack of incentive on the part of the Pakistani government to maintain control. What I worry about is that, in the context of broader tensions and problems within Pakistani society and polity—and that’s obviously taking place as we look at the sectarian violence and tensions between the government and the military and so forth—I worry that, in that broader context, even the best nuclear security measures might break down. You’re dealing with a country that is under tremendous stress internally and externally, and that’s what makes me worry. They have good programs in place; the question is whether those good programs work in the context where these broader tensions and conflicts are present.”
So far, the main concern is not in terms of technical capacity, its more about ‘nukes without any cohesion’, which may lead to multidimensional apprehensions such as political, institutional and ideological. In the contemporary arena, where every nation nation-state is exposed on multiple fronts, when security deals with comprehensive magnitudes. In such vulnerable circumstances, the capacity of the armed command is not under question, it’s the other contributing and regulatory factors that raised the actual security concerns. Therefore, Pakistan needs political, economic and ideological ‘cohesion’ to safeguard its long-term objectives. What needs to be understood it’s not an individual effort anymore neither a sole responsibility rather it’s a collective effort as per the evolving global order.
Biden’s statement needs not to be taken as retaliatory, rather we need to consider the constructive side of his statement. Where he is not singling out any institution or questioning any command rather addressing the whole nation and the concern of national cohesiveness. On the other hand, it has also been analysed that the statement is given as a tactical pressure for some political gain or possibly a direct/indirect access to Pakistan’s nuclear and strategic facilities. Otherwise ‘nothing new’ was in Biden’s statement, as it was claimed by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the president “views a secure and prosperous Pakistan as critical to U.S interests.”
Thus, Pakistan’s nuclear security regime is anchored in the principle of multi-layered defense system for the entire spectrum of any nuclear threat, beside the technical requirements and security system, it should include other non-tradition intimidations and cohesive response from the whole nation. No doubt that nuclearisation for Pakistan is a milestone which has been sustained and growing under its safe command, the US concern is more about its circumstantial security, and as responsible state we need to respond rationally to every potential threat.
Giving direct or indirect access of Pakistans nuclear setup to Americans will be a national disaster , and total capitulation of its sovereignty. According to the agreement We cannot use F 16s against India.Consequently ,with US in our nuclear backyard it will be nuclear impotency.