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  AQ Khan: Nuclear hero to Pakistan, villain to West.

 THE EXPRESS TRIBUNEBy AFP, June 30, 2018 ISLAMABAD: 
Pakistani atomic scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan is hailed as a national hero for transforming his country into the world’s first Islamic nuclear power but regarded by the West as a dangerous renegade responsible for smuggling technology to rogue states.

Revered as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, Khan was lauded for bringing the nation up to par with arch-rival India in the atomic field and making its defences “impregnable”.

But he found himself in the crosshairs of controversy when he was accused of illegally proliferating nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Khan was placed under effective house arrest in the capital Islamabad in 2004 after he admitted running a proliferation network to the three countries. ……. A court ended his house arrest in February 2009, but Khan has to inform authorities of his movements in advance, even within Islamabad, with security accompanying him on his every step. …. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1746448/3-q-khan-nuclear-hero-pakistan-villain-west/

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July 2, 2018 Posted by | Pakistan, safety | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles of nuclear weapons

India, Pakistan expanding their new nuclear weapons stockpiles: SIPRI  https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/india-pakistan-expanding-their-new-nuclear-weapons-stockpiles-sipri-2605161.html  There are nine countries which have nuclear warheads. They include Russia, the US, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, Moneycontrol News@moneycontrolcom , 19 June 18 

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in its 2018 edition of the yearly report on the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security said despite the overall decrease in global nuclear weapons year-on-year, India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles.

India, which had an estimated 120-130 nuclear warheads as per 2017 report, now has 130-140 warheads. Similarly, Pakistan, which had 130-140 warheads now has increased to 140-150 warheads. Both countries are also developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.

Another nuclear country in Asia, China continues to modernise its nuclear weapon delivery systems and is slowly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal. The country now has an estimated 280 nuclear warheads. In 2017 report, the number was 270.

The US and Russia still constitute a major share of approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons that exist in the world. Both together account for nearly 92 percent of all nuclear weapons despite reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

Moreover, the cold war-era rivals also have long-term programmes underway to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.

“The renewed focus on the strategic importance of nuclear deterrence and capacity is a very worrying trend,” says Ambassador Jan Eliasson, Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board.

“The world needs a clear commitment from the nuclear weapon states to an effective, legally binding process towards nuclear disarmament.”

Other countries which are a nuclear state include the UK (215 warheads), France (300 warheads), Israel (80 warheads) and North Korea (10-20 warheads). The figures for North Korea are uncertain, the report said, however, there was no doubt that it has nuclear weapons.

In 2017, North Korea has made technical progress in developing its nuclear weapon capabilities, including the test of—what was claimed to be—a thermonuclear weapon, in September. North Korea also demonstrated unexpected rapid progress in the testing of two new types of long-range ballistic missile delivery systems. These testing led to a crisis in the Korean peninsula.

However, in a meeting with US president Donald Trump, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un vowed to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Koran peninsula.

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan – growing risk of nuclear war there should not be ignored

Another nuclear crisis in the making? Great power competition and the risk of war in South Asia, BAS, Moeed Yusuf 5 June 18, In May 1998, India and, later, Pakistan conducted multiple nuclear tests to become the first pair to go nuclear in the post-Cold War era. Two decades on, these South Asian rivals remain locked in a deeply antagonistic relationship that constantly threatens to boil over.

The US-North Korea showdown, the upcoming summit, and the fate of the Iranian nuclear deal have consumed the global nuclear debate over the past year. During this time, India and Pakistan have slipped into an active low-level confrontation largely unnoticed.Violence on the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the disputed territory of Kashmir has been at its highest level since the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 2003. In 2017, the bloodiest year since, there were nearly 3,000 ceasefire violations. Persistent tit-for-tat military shelling across the LoC has caused significant casualties and damage. Civilians have been targeted and killed at an unprecedented rate, as well.

Previous wars and major crises between the two sides were triggered by miscalculated military maneuvers in Kashmir or, in more recent years, by terrorist attacks. Neither can be ruled out in the current context; either could unleash a deadly escalatory spiral.

The risks involved in such a scenario would quickly remind the world why US President Bill Clinton dubbed the LoC as “the most dangerous place” on Earth at the turn of the century. India and Pakistan lack robust bilateral escalation control mechanisms. In the past, they have depended heavily on the United States and other strong third-party states with influence in the region to mediate crisis outcomes. These third parties have responded eagerly and acted with remarkable coordination in pursuit of de-escalation.

The next crisis may demand the same—but the global powers may be found wanting. The antecedent conditions that previously drove their positive engagement have already eroded. Never since South Asia’s nuclearization has global politics been so uncertain, great power relations so fraught, and competing global priorities so distracting. This reality combined with the continued absence of alternative tested crisis management experiences in South Asia may force a break from the successful crisis management patterns of the past.

A look at the past. South Asia’s nuclearization in 1998 not only ushered in a new era of regional nuclear competition but it also forced a rethink of the established norms of nuclear crisis management. The Cold War was dominated by the two superpowers. No stronger third parties able to readily influence their crisis behavior existed. Virtually all examination of nuclear contests therefore assumed bilateral contexts. While the United States and Soviet Union regularly intervened in regional crises in support of their allies, they used these moments primarily to compete and advance their global interests vis-à-vis the other.

The advent of regional nuclear dyads fundamentally altered the incentives for the United States and other strong powers to compete through regional proxies. The worry of second-age nuclear powers like India and Pakistan stumbling into nuclear war on their own proved overbearing. Crisis moments were now marked by the urge to ensure the absence of catastrophic escalation—above all prior policy preferences, no matter how important or urgent.

India and Pakistan are no strangers to crises. Since 1998, they have experienced at least three major and several modest bouts of high tension.  ……

A future different from the past? The importance of third party crisis management in South Asia has only grown over time. India and Pakistan have been unable to agree on dependable risk reduction and escalation control mechanisms with a direct bearing on crisis moments. Simulation exercises continue to point to their likely inability to terminate escalated crises. In fact, as reluctant as India and Pakistan are to admit this, they have learned from previous crisis iterations and internalized third-party roles as part of their crisis planning. Worryingly, some of their doctrines and crisis strategies assume the option of third-party bailouts.

These South Asian rivals have not ruled out conflict under the nuclear umbrella. India now boasts an operational limited war doctrine, Cold Start, that envisions swift military action against Pakistan—before international actors can pressure India to forego aggression

……….. The aura of unpredictability that presently surrounds US foreign policy has brought America’s willingness to act as that leader into question. Simultaneously, the precipitous decline in US relations with surging competitors like China and Russia and increasing difficulties in transatlantic relations has tempered global confidence in the ability of the great powers to operate collectively as agents of peace. ……..https://thebulletin.org/another-nuclear-crisis-making-great-power-competition-and-risk-war-south-asia11876

June 6, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear politics between India and Pakistan need attention and understanding

The other nuclear powers that need attention https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2018/0531/The-other-nuclear-powers-that-need-attention

Beyond Iran and North Korea, the nuclear-armed rivals of India and Pakistan need help to prevent a war. A cease-fire in disputed Kashmir shows progress, but a deeper reconciliation, especially an understanding in their shared history, is needed. May 31, 2018, By the Monitor’s Editorial Board

As long as he is already trying to denuclearize North Korea as well as permanently ban Iran from building a nuclear weapon, President Trump may want to pay heed to India and its neighbor Pakistan. The two nuclear-armed powers have gone to war three times since they achieved independence in 1947. And over the past year, regular skirmishes along their disputed border in Kashmir have killed dozens and displaced 50,000 civilians.

Pakistan and India each recognize a nuclear war would be mutually devastating. Yet they need help in overcoming a deep suspicion and animosity, driven in part by diverging narratives of their shared past, that could someday trigger a full-scale conflict.

With the border fighting in Kashmir getting out of hand in recent months, the two countries agreed May 29 to honor a cease-fire pact that was first put in place 15 years ago. The agreement is a welcome step. Yet it provides only a pause in hostilities without a commitment to a peace dialogue and, more important, the creation of a culture of reconciliation.

Iran and North Korea are still a long way from any attempt to reconcile with their perceived foes. Ending their nuclear threat has required outside pressure. Pakistan and India, however, have tried at times to come to terms with each other since the violent partition of British India into their respective countries, one largely Muslim and the other largely Hindu. Sometimes their leaders talk or the countries share a sports contest. Nonetheless, trade and travel between the two remain minimal given the size of their economies. And the Kashmir dispute as well as terrorist attacks keep them apart.

Religious differences have mattered less in their relations than the role of nationalist politicians who find it convenient to whip up hatred and fear of the other side. The ill will is generated in large part by competing histories of the 1947 partition – who started it, who killed more people, and who were the heroes and villains. Over the decades, the official history textbooks in each country have become political weapons to create an enemy and build up national unity.

Peace between India and Pakistan will require some sort of agreement on their shared history, one that must reduce old grievances and lessen the paranoia that could trigger a nuclear war. In Northeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, and China have tried in the past two decades to write a joint history in hopes of reducing the use of old resentments. The efforts have largely failed.

Yet this past winter, India and Pakistan achieved some success in transcending nationalist histories with the first citizen-level attempt at a joint telling of their shared history. Two history professors, one in Pakistan and the other in India, held a semester-long course titled “Introduction to South Asian History” that included more than 20 students from each country connected online. The teaching took place mainly over Skype and included a visit of 11 Pakistani students to India in May.

The two teachers, Ali Usman Qasmi of the Lahore University of Management Sciences and Pallavi Raghavan at OP Jindal Global University, reported that the students were amazed to discover what they did not know about the other country. They achieved an “overlapping consensus” on historical events with respect and understanding. The success of the course, they wrote, “shows that an alternative imagining of the past conducive to achieving peace and harmony in the region is … possible.”

Cease-fires in Kashmir, even a peace dialogue or a full opening of trade, will help India and Pakistan avoid the worst kind of wars. But much of that may not matter until the two peoples can craft a shared understanding of the past in order to reconcile for a better future.

June 1, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Submarines with nuclear weapons bring nuclear war closer for India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan are quietly making nuclear war more likely, Both countries are arming their submarines with nukes. Vox, 
By Tom Hundley  Apr 2, 2018 “……….
The audacity of a bloody attack inside one of the most heavily secured naval facilities in Pakistan was jarring enough. Even more jarring was the source of the attack: al-Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the strike and praised the dead men as “martyrs.” Five more naval officers implicated in the plot were later arrested, charged with mutiny, and sentenced to death.

The Zulfiqar incident is the most serious in a long string of deadly security breaches at Pakistani military installations, from multiple attacks on nuclear facilities near Dera Ghazi Khan (2003 and 2006) and on the air force bases at Sargodha and Kamra (2007 and 2012) to the the gruesome 2014 attack on a school for the children of military officers in Peshawar that left more than 140 people dead, including 132 children.

But even if Pakistani bases have been hit before, the Zulfiqar strike is particularly alarming. That’s because Pakistan is preparing to arm its submarines and possibly some of its surface ships with nuclear weapons — which means terrorists who successfully fight their way into a Pakistani naval base in the future could potentially get their hands on some of the most dangerous weapons on earth.

The Pakistan navy is likely to soon place nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on up to three of its five French-built diesel-electric submarines. It has also reached a deal with China to buy eight more diesel-electric attack submarines that can be equipped with nuclear weapons. These are scheduled for delivery in 2028. Even more disturbing, Pakistani military authorities say they are considering the possibility of putting nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on surface vessels like the Zulfiqar.

Pakistan says its decision to add nuclear weapons to its navy is a direct response to India’s August 2016 deployment of its first nuclear submarine, the Arihant. A second, even more advanced Indian nuclear submarine, the Arighat, began sea trials last November, and four more boats are scheduled to join the fleet by 2025. That will give India a complete “nuclear triad,” which means the country will have the ability to deliver a nuclear strike by land-based missiles, by warplanes, and by submarines.

The submarine is the key component. It’s considered the most “survivable” in the event of a devastating first strike by an enemy, and thus able to deliver a retaliatory second strike. In the theology of nuclear deterrence, the point of this unholy trinity is to make nuclear war unwinnable and, therefore, pointless.

When it comes to India and Pakistan, by contrast, the new generation of nuclear submarines could increase the risk of a devastating war between the two longstanding enemies, not make it less likely. ……..

……. India and Pakistan are mortal enemies that have dozens of nuclear warheads aimed at each other. That was scary when those nukes were only on land. It’s a much scarier situation now that those nukes have been put onto submarines that move deep underwater, holding the deadliest payloads imaginable.

Tom Hundley is a senior editor at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.https://www.vox.com/2018/4/2/17096566/pakistan-india-nuclear-war-submarine-enemies

 

April 4, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Commerce Department sanctioned seven Pakistani companies – alleges links to nuclear trade

Axios 29th March 2018,  The Commerce Department this week sanctioned seven Pakistani companies for
alleged links to nuclear trade. Their place on an “Entity List”
requires them to obtain special licenses to do business with the U.S. This
move follows other U.S. penalties against Pakistan, including a successful
push to put Pakistan on a “gray list” of countries not doing enough to
stem terrorist financing and a freeze on all U.S. security assistance to
Pakistan.

But Commerce’s action should not be seen as part of the
existing campaign to pressure Pakistan to crack down harder on terrorists.
Why it matters: Commerce’s move does underscore Washington’s concerns
about Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation record — even as nuclear
watchdog groups cite improvements in Pakistan’s nuclear security.
https://www.axios.com/nuclear-security-worries-drive-latest-us-penalties-on-pakistan-1522259525-d5bea2f2-a2aa-47e6-a5e8-b376e8e3853a.html

April 2, 2018 Posted by | Pakistan, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

New types of nuclear weapons being developed by Pakistan

Pak developing new types of nuclear weapons: US, Economic Times, Feb 13, 2018,

  Pakistan is developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical ones, that bring more risks to the region, America’s intelligence chief warned today.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ remarks came days after a group of Pakistan -based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists struck the Sunjuwan Military Camp in Jammu   on Saturday , killing seven people including six soldiers.

“Pakistan is developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons,” Coats told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats organised by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Pakistan continues to produce nuclear weapons and develop n ew types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer-range ballistic missiles, he warned.

“These new types of nuclear weapons will introduce new risks for escalation of dynamics and security in the region,” Coats said, reflecting on the risks involved in developing such types of nuclear weapons. …….https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/pak-developing-new-types-of-nuclear-weapons-us/articleshow/62907167.cms

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan and India exchange information on their nuclear installations and facilities.

Uneasy neighbors share information on nuclear facilities, http://www.mywabashvalley.com/news/uneasy-neighbors-share-information-on-nuclear-facilities/896851253, 2 Jan 18, ISLAMABAD (AP) — Uneasy neighbors Pakistan and India, who regularly trade gunfire in the disputed Kashmir region, are sticking to a 20-year-old agreement to exchange information on their nuclear installations and facilities.

In a statement Tuesday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the 1988 agreement requires each country to hand over the list on Jan. 1 each year, which the representatives of the two countries did on Monday. It has been adhered to every year since 1992, the statement said.

Although neither country is signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), they both became declared nuclear powers after India conducted an underground nuclear weapons test in 1998 and Pakistan followed suit a few weeks later.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since the 1947 creation of Pakistan from a larger India.

January 3, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) opens up a dangerous new era

The Risks of Pakistan’s Sea-Based Nuclear Weaponshttps://thediplomat.com/2017/10/the-risks-of-pakistans-sea-based-nuclear-weapons/The Babur-3 opens a dangerous era for Pakistan’s nuclear forces.By Ankit Panda, October 13, 2017 Nine days into 2017, Pakistan carried out the first-ever flight test of the Babur-3, it’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). A variant of the Babur-3 ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), this SLCM will see Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent head to sea—probably initially aboard its Agosta 90B and Agosta 70 submarines, but eventually, perhaps even on board new Type 041 Yuan-class submarines Pakistan is expected to procure from China.

In a new article in the Fall 2017 issue of the Washington Quarterly, Christopher Clary and I examine some of the novel security challenges Pakistan may experience with its sea-based deterrent. It is already well known that Pakistan has outpaced it’s primary rival, India, in terms of its nuclear stockpile growth.

On land, low-yield systems, like the Nasr, have also raised concerns of a lower nuclear-use threshold in South Asia. The move to sea can have some positive effects on overall strategic stability; indeed, the perceived survivability of a sea-based deterrent can abate so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” pressures for Pakistan’s land-based forces. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Sea-based weapons can aggravate crisis stability concerns in the India-Pakistan dyad and present unique command-and-control challenges for Pakistan, which may be required to place these weapons at a higher level of readiness during peacetime. Finally, Pakistan’s internal security environment will remain a concern with a submarine-based deterrent. The threat of theft and sabotage may be greater in the case of Pakistan’s sea-based weapons than it is for its land-based forces. In aggregate, we argue that the sea-based deterrent may, on balance, prove detrimental to Pakistan’s security.

Pakistan, like other nuclear states, employs a range of physical and procedural safeguards to ensure that its nuclear weapons are only used in a crisis and a with a valid order from the country’s National Command Authority (NCA). The introduction of a nuclear-capable SLCM aboard its Agosta submarines would necessitate the erosion of some of these safeguards.

For instance, some physical safeguards that Pakistan is known to use for its land-based weapons — including partially dissembled storage, separation of triggers and pits, and de-mated storage — would be impractical at sea. Meanwhile, the experience of other nuclear states, like the United Kingdom, with sea-based deterrents suggests that sea-based nuclear weapons generally see fewer use impediments. Pakistan has long asserted that its nuclear command-and-control is highly centralized, but it remains doubtful that this would remain true for its small nuclear-capable submarine force in wartime or a crisis. The temptation to pre-delegate use authorization may be too great.

Leaving aside the command-and-control and safeguard concerns, sea-based weapons may seriously aggravate crisis stability, in other words, the temptation for India to attack first as a crisis begins. The theory behind a survivable sea-based second-strike capability is more compelling assuming a large submarine force capable of maintaining a continuous at-sea deterrent presence. Pakistan’s submarine force, by contrast, would likely employ a bastion model — meaning that their peacetime locations would be known and hence the submarines would be vulnerable to Indian conventional attack.

Similarly, Indian forces, unable to discriminate whether a detected Pakistani submarine in a crisis was fielding nuclear or conventional capabilities, would have to presume nuclear capability should the Babur-3 see deployment. All of this in turn not only would make Pakistan’s submarine force a prime early-crisis target for Indian forces, but also aggravate use-or-lose pressures for land-based forces.

Ultimately, even if India resisted attacking Pakistani submarines to avoid unintended escalatory pressures, it would at least see value in targeting the Very Low Frequency (VLF) radar facility established at Karachi in November 2016 that would allow Pakistan’s NCA to communicate with its at-sea deterrent in a crisis. This would require some confidence in New Delhi that Pakistan had not pre-delegated use authorization and that Islamabad’s sea-based weapons would still require the transmission of a use-authorization code from the NCA.

Finally, a major cause for concern with Pakistan’s move to the sea with its nuclear forces comes from its ongoing struggle with various radical Islamic militant groups. Here, Pakistan is somewhat unique among nuclear possessor states. While militants have mostly targeted soft targets in urban centers, the Pakistani military has endured major attacks as well. In particular, Pakistan has endured attacks and infiltration attempts at sensitive military and naval sites, some associated with its nuclear program. Then-Defense Minister Khawaja Asif acknowledged that Pakistan Navy insiders even abetted Al Qaeda attackers in the 2014 PNS Zulfiquarattack. (Similar reports surfaced around the time of the 2011 PNS Mehran attacks, too.)

Militants with an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons may find no better targets than sea-based systems with fewer physical safeguards. Moreover, the locations of these weapons would be well-known in peacetime, unlike Pakistan’s land-based weapons. The Pakistan Naval Dockyard in Karachi or the Jinnah Naval Base in Ormara — the two known sites capable of hosting Pakistani submarines — are thus prime for attack, infiltration, and even insider risks. While many of the above risks raised by the Babur-3 are far from unique to Pakistan, no other nuclear state faces a similar level of internal militancy.

The Babur-3‘s introduction presents a classic at-sea deterrent dilemma for Pakistan. It can choose to have its presumed second-strike capability either totally secure or readily usable in wartime. For a range of reasons, Pakistan can be expected to opt for the latter option. This will require real compromises on nuclear weapons security that expose Pakistan’s sea-based deterrent to theft and unauthorized use. Combined with the crisis stability implications and the more mundane concerns rising from costs, a sea-based leg to Pakistan’s nuclear forces appears to be, on balance, a net negative for its overall security.

Ankit Panda is a senior editor at The Diplomat, where he writes on international security, politics, economics, and culture. He tweets at @nktpnd. The above essay is based on a longer Washington Quarterly article written with Christopher Clary [PDF] that appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of the journal.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump: USA ready to act militarily against North Korea: Merkel calls for de-escalation of the rhetoric

Donald Trump says US military solutions ‘locked and loaded’ against North.  Korea.news.com.au , AUGUST 12, 2017 US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will “regret it and regret it fast” if he attacks the US air bases in Guam or any of America’s allies.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Pakistan, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No answer in sight, to North Korea’s march toward nuclear capability

As US military flexes, North Korea marches toward nuclear capability http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/02/politics/us-north-korea-military-posturing/ By Zachary Cohen and Brad Lendon, CNN June 2, 2017 

Story highlights

  • North Korea testing missiles at unprecedented rate
  • US shows of force just make North Korea more angry

How much damage can North Korea’s weapons do?

At this point, the pattern is familiar.

One week, North Korea fires off a ballistic missile, then US B-1 bombers stretch their wings over South Korea. The next, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees another missile test, and two US Navy aircraft carriers show their might in waters off the Korean Peninsula.
This merry-go-round of military flexing in the Pacific has become the norm.
But as the US stacks more and more firepower in North Korea’s backyard, Pyongyang marches closer to nuclear capability — and analysts say there is little the world’s strongest military can do about it.And with most estimates putting Kim’s unpredictable regime three to five years away from achieving its nuclear ambitions, the US is simply running out of time.
“There is no amount of military pressure alone that will compel Kim Jong Un to volunteer to eliminate his nuclear and missile programs,” said Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
After two decades of sticking largely to the same ineffective playbook, the course is unlikely to change without a drastic shift in policy from an outside nation.
“The likely outcome will be similar to prior efforts,” predicted Robert Ross, a Boston College professor and China policy expert. “North Korea will call our bluff, the US will draw back from using military force, and North Korea will continue to develop their nuclear program.”…..
[Here CNN gives  a detailed timelineof events]……
How the Kim dynasty has shaped North Korea

China’s role

Diplomatic pressure is just as unlikely to cause either North Korea or the US to back down, experts say.
US President Donald Trump has often cited China, North Korea’s longtime ally, as a key player in reining in North Korea’s quest to have long-range nuclear missiles.
Earlier this year, Beijing called on Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear and missile testing while calling on the US to stop military exercises on and near the Korean Peninsula, which North Korea sees as a threat to its sovereignty.
But since then, the military merry-go-round has spun faster. North Korea is testing missiles at an unprecedented rate — once a week — while there have been five B-1 bomber flights, just one of US military’s shows of force, since April 1.
Economic sanctions, which would need to be backed and enforced by China, don’t seem to be the answer, the analysts say.
China is wary of implementing sanctions on Pyongyang that would risk economic collapse in North Korea.
“The irony here is, if China amped up economic pressure on North Korea, it might lead to a collapse — which would mean more refugees even if a military conflict doesn’t take place,” said Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning DC think tank.
It is unlikely China would be compelled to implement any sort of meaningful sanctions that stray from the status-quo when North Korea’s missiles do not pose an immediate threat to them, Cheng said.
“China’s priority is avoiding war on its border and it won’t sacrifice that to help US deal with North Korea’s nuclear program,” Ross told CNN. “Trump continues to rely on China and may be very frustrated by their inability to deliver.”

North Korea shows no sign of budging

Displays of US military power have only succeeded in escalating the situation — making the chances of Pyongyang giving up its missile program, which it sees as a deterrent to a military first strike from the US, very slim, according to Ross.
Statements from Pyongyang seem to bear that out.
“On May 29, the US imperialists committed a grave military provocation by letting a formation of infamous B-1B nuclear strategic bombers fly over south Korea once again to stage a nuclear bomb dropping drill,” said a statement from North Korea’s state-run media outlet KCNA. “The gangster-like US imperialists are making all the more desperate in their moves to ignite a nuclear war despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK,” it said.
Mount, the Center for American Progress analyst, says the fact that the US hasn’t given North Korea any “red lines” it cannot cross means the Kim regime has no reason to stop moving ahead with its nuclear missile program.
“Deterrence requires clear communication to work effectively,” Mount said.
The Trump administration “seems to stake its credibility on North Korea refraining from developing an ICBM, without sending a strong signal to deter it from doing so. It’s the worst of both worlds,” he said.

The countdown is underway

Further complicating the situation is the unpredictable nature of the Kim regime — as well as a shrinking window of time before North Korea is able to develop a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to the US. “At some level we are going to be facing an unprecedented situation” if they are able to develop nuclear capabilities, said Cheng.
An additional concern for the US is the idea that Pyongyang is not simply interested in developing these missile capabilities for deterrence purposes as they have also long expressed a desire to “re-unify the Korean Peninsula” under their flag, according to Cheng.
“This is a regime that’s done a lot of things that are pretty out there and when you look at all of that one can’t be sure what they would do if they had nuclear capable ballistic missiles,” he said, adding that an invasion of South Korea could be possible if the North “thinks they can get away with it.”
The analysts see little hope for any resolution, diplomatic or military.
“Do we have a solution?” asked Cheng. “Probably not, but we haven’t had one for a long time.”

June 3, 2017 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Pakistan, 2000 schools go solar

http://www.ecowatch.com/pakistan-schools-go-solar-2360991261.html , 17 Apr 17, About 20,000 schools in the province of Punjab in Pakistan will convert to solar power, according to government officials.

Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif reviewed the progress of the “Khadim-e-Punjab Ujala Programme” to install solar rooftop systems on the area’s schools at a recent meeting.

The project will kick off in Southern Punjab schools and expand in phases across the province, according to a local report.

The Asian Development Bank and France’s AFD Bank are backing the program, Cleantechnica reported. This is the first program of its kind in the country.

In Pakistan, nearly half of all residents are not connected to the national grid. Residents who are connected to the grid regularly experience rolling blackouts and power outages. And the problem is only expected to get worse in the coming years.

Renewable resources can help mitigate this growing energy crisis. Pakistan happens to be rich in solar, as the Express Tribune described:

“With eight to nine hours of sunshine per day, the climatic conditions in Pakistan are ideal for solar power generation. According to studies, Pakistan has 2.9 million megawatts of solar energy potential besides photovoltaic opportunities.

“According to figures provided by FAKT, Pakistan spends about $12 billion annually on the import of crude oil. Of this, 70 percent oil is used in generating power, which currently costs us Rs18 per unit. Shifting to solar energy can help reduce electricity costs down to Rs 6-8 per unit.”

Solar energy has made great strides in Pakistan in recent years. In February 2016, its parliament became the first national assembly in the world to be powered entirely by solar energy. The legislative body, known as the Majlis-e-Shoora, is in the capital city of Islamabad.

One of the world’s largest solar farms is currently under construction in Punjab. Developers of the 1,000-megawatt Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur have already added hundreds of megawatts of energy to the national grid.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Increased risk of an accidental nuclear weapons exchange between India and Pakistan

Nuclear roulette BY EDITORIAL THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE  https://tribune.com.pk/story/1377625/nuclear-roulette/ , 8 Apr 17, A mutually agreed nuclear disarmament treaty between India and Pakistan has never been on the cards and is never likely to be. Both maintain a nuclear arsenal and both have the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons anywhere within the territory of the other. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) is indeed assured. Neither state presents a nuclear threat face to any other enemy. Given the oscillating volatility of both states it is unsurprising that the nuclear cards get a periodic shuffle, and India under Modi has moved into an altogether more martial phase with threat levels, nuclear and conventional, rising accordingly. Analysts and observers are of a uniform opinion — the place a nuclear exchange is most likely to happen accidentally, as in a reactive event rather than a first-strike assault — is between India and Pakistan, and India is likely in that event to be the state that pushes the button first.
Reports are in circulation that India may consider revising its no first strike policy, allowing its ‘nuclear establishment’ to conduct pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan in the event of a war.

The environment of managed instability along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary has heated up in the last year. In addition to cross-border shelling there have been movements of armour and heavy artillery on both sides. India has claimed to have raided into Pakistan — without providing substantive evidence of such — and any shift in the position regarding nuclear doctrines is going to do nothing for strategic restraint in the region.

 Why this latest upping of the ante is irresponsible and dangerous is that it adds another layer of uncertainty. For all the sabre-rattling by India there is little real possibility of the pot boiling over, and now would be an opportune time if ever there was one to explore moderate and peaceful outcomes, create confidence-building measures, propose a halt to the arrests of each other’s innocent but wandering fisherpeople — and there seems little doubt that Pakistan would be willing to consider all of that as part of a composite dialogue, but no. Instead India plays the pre-emptive strike card and raises further human rights concerns in Kashmir. Let us be blunt. Act your age, India. Grow up. And stop throwing your toys around the (nuclear) playpen.

April 8, 2017 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s policies on nuclear weapons

How Pakistan Is Planning to Fight a Nuclear War, National Interest, Kyle Mizokami, 26 Mar 17, Sandwiched between Iran, China, India and Afghanistan, Pakistan lives in a complicated neighborhood with a variety of security issues. One of the nine known states known to have nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and doctrine are continually evolving to match perceived threats. A nuclear power for decades, Pakistan is now attempting to construct a nuclear triad of its own, making its nuclear arsenal resilient and capable of devastating retaliatory strikes.

Pakistan’s nuclear program goes back to the 1950s, during the early days of its rivalry with India. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto famously said in 1965, “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”

 The program became a higher priority after the country’s 1971 defeat at the hands of India, which caused East Pakistan to break away and become Bangladesh. Experts believe the humiliating loss of territory, much more than reports that India was pursuing nuclear weapons, accelerated the Pakistani nuclear program. India tested its first bomb, codenamed “Smiling Buddha,” in May 1974, putting the subcontinent on the road to nuclearization……..

Experts believe Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile is steadily growing. In 1998, the stockpile was estimated at five to twenty-five devices, depending on how much enriched uranium each bomb required. Today Pakistan is estimated to have an arsenal of 110 to 130 nuclear bombs. In 2015 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center estimated Pakistan’s bomb-making capability at twenty devices annually, which on top of the existing stockpile meant Pakistan could quickly become the third-largest nuclear power in the world. Other observers, however, believe Pakistan can only develop another forty to fifty warheads in the near future.

Pakistani nuclear weapons are under control of the military’s Strategic Plans Division, and are primarily stored in Punjab Province, far from the northwest frontier and the Taliban. Ten thousand Pakistani troops and intelligence personnel from the SPD guard the weapons. Pakistan claims that the weapons are only armed by the appropriate code at the last moment, preventing a “rogue nuke” scenario.

Pakistani nuclear doctrine appears to be to deter what it considers an economically, politically and militarily stronger India. The nuclear standoff is exacerbated by the traditional animosity between the two countries, the several wars the two countries have fought, and events such as the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, which were directed by Pakistan. Unlike neighboring India and China, Pakistan does not have a “no first use” doctrine, and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, particularly low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, to offset India’s advantage in conventional forces.http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-pakistan-planning-fight-nuclear-war-19897

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan and India have agreed to extend their bilateral nuclear safety agreement

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-pakistanflag-indiaPakistan, India extend nuclear safety agreement, By Our Correspondent, Express Tribune, February 21, 2017 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India have agreed to extend their bilateral agreement on reducing the risk from accidents relating to nuclear weapons in a move suggesting the two rivals are still mindful of nuclear dangers despite currently strained ties.

The key agreement was extended for the next five years (2017-2022), said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Tuesday.

The agreement came into force in 2007. It was subsequently extended for a period of five years in 2012. The accord is part of the nuclear confidence building measures agreed between Pakistan and India. The aimed of the agreement is to promote a stable environment of peace and security between the two countries, reads the official handout.

“It is premised on the recognition that the nuclear dimension of the security environment of the two countries adds to their responsibility for avoidance of conflict,” the statement added.

The agreement provides for immediate exchange of information between the two countries in the event of any accident relating to nuclear weapons, under their respective jurisdiction and control, which could create the risk of radioactive fallout, with adverse consequences for both sides, or create the risk of an outbreak of a nuclear war…….https://tribune.com.pk/story/1334606/pakistan-india-extend-nuclear-safety-agreement/

February 22, 2017 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment