Friday, February 10, 2006

India almost invaded Pakistan in 2002: "Pakistani generals have said that the nuclear option would be exercised were the national existence of the country to be at stake. Had the Indian army overrun Pakistan, that situation could well have arisen. One of the scenarios considered at the time was that Pakistanis might use one nuclear weapon on Indian troops in the field, almost as a demonstration, a warning, and that such a limited use on a battlefield might not create the political space for India to escalate. But most people believed that after the first weapon was used the war would escalate to a much more serious exchange."

"The jihadis have nuclear ambitions of their own, and there were concerns during this crisis-and after it-about how secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are. The question is whether some of those weapons or the technology that surrounds them might leak to jihadi groups or dissenting Islamist military officers. He said the AQ Khan affair remains “a mystery in important respects,” but there has been a specific mechanism within the Pakistani military to enable it to control its nuclear-weapons programme. It obtained control and authority over AQ Khan’s laboratory two years before Khan was stopped. Elaborating, he said, “It’s unclear how much the Pakistani Army knew about Khan’s activities, particularly in the later phase. But if they didn’t know anything, which is the claim that the Pakistani leadership has made, it suggests that their internal system of controls was very weak. And, if they did know, then it begs a whole different set of questions: what, if anything, the Pakistani Army thought it was accomplishing by permitting, for instance, the sale of nuclear-weapons technology to Libya.”

"Coll quoted unnamed Pakistani generals who, he said, had told him that they have8,000 people working in their security directorate, most of them soldiers and retired soldiers, all dedicated to guarding the 50 to 100 weapons that Pakistan is thought to have manufactured. He added that there have been “very serious breakdowns” in the past five years or so. AQ Khan is one case, but not the only one. Asked if India and Pakistan had learnt any lessons from the 2002 standoff, he replied that there is evidence that some in the leadership on both sides learned the wrong lessons from this crisis. “For instance, the Indian military, or sections of it, came away with the lesson that they need to be able to attack quickly after a terrorist event, so they don’t create the time for outside powers to intervene diplomatically. They have started to recommend a new military doctrine called ‘cold start,’ which would allow them to attack across the Pakistan border within days.”"

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