My op-ed in Mint: Pakistan’s nuclear expansion

A less self-centred perspective

In today’s Mint I argue that at the margin, more warheads do not provide more security for Pakistan vis-à-vis India. So, an analysis of Pakistan’s motives must consider alternative explanations.

Bruce Riedel, who chaired US President Barack Obama’s policy review for Afghanistan-Pakistan, points out in a recent essay in The Wall Street Journal that there have been “persistent reports of some kind of understanding between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for Islamabad to provide nuclear weapons to Riyadh if the Saudis feel threatened by a third party with nuclear weapons.” And although they both deny a secret deal, “rumours of one continue to surface as Iran gets closer to developing its own bomb”.

British journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, citing former senior US and Pakistani officials, write that the Saudis wanted the “finished product, to stash away in an emergency, and Pakistan agreed to supply it in return for many hundreds of millions of dollars”. Pakistan also brokered the transfer of the nuclear-capable CSS-2 missiles from China to Saudi Arabia in the late 1980s.

As Iran gets closer to building a nuclear arsenal, Saudi Arabia—the Iranian Shia theocracy’s geopolitical and ideological rival—is likely to seek a nuclear balance across the Persian Gulf. Using Pakistan to hold its arsenal in trust allows Saudi Arabia to stay clear of violating its non-proliferation commitments.

Now, even if Pakistan’s own insecurities with respect to its eastern neighbour are kept out of the calculation, Iran’s nuclearization suggests that Pakistan will have to build additional capacity for its Saudi Arabian partner. In other words, Pakistan is in a nuclear arms race all right—but it’s probably a West Asian one. [Mint]

2 thoughts on “My op-ed in Mint: Pakistan’s nuclear expansion”

  1. Excellent article that.
    However, all this raises the question: Does Pakistan politically belong to the Indian subcontinent anymore? They seem to be doing everything possible to distance themselves from the South Asian discourse.
    Consider that Urdu is their national language(Persian influence) even though it spoken by less than 8% of the populace. Compare that with Punjabi(Indian influence), spoken by nearly half the population.
    I think we can better understand where this basket case is going if we consider it as a Central/West Asian republic.

  2. Urdu has got some persian influence on it, but its the native language of 8% of pakistan but is spoken and understood by 95%, and if the language is so, away from southasia how do people on both sides india and pak watch indian films with urdu songs…c’mon…

    Is punjabi really spoken by half of india i think ur are forgetting the southindia altogether…

Comments are closed.