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BNN News Archive Page
       Monday, July 24, 2006

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Pakistan Builds New Nuclear Reactor - Non-Proliferation Taliban Attempt to spike Indo-US Nuke Deal

The Washington Post on Sunday ran a story on Pakistan's Nuclear Ractor plans including progress on large plutonium production reactor. Later in the day the Bush administration acknowledged yesterday that it had long known about Pakistan's plans. The reactor, which reportedly will be capable of producing enough plutonium for as many as 50 bombs each year, was brought to light on Sunday by independent analysts who spotted the partially completed plant in commercial-satellite photos.

The news report expectedly had arms-control experts and some in Congress express alarm about a possible escalation of South Asia's arms race. While all of this sounds rather serendipitous, it comes in the backdrop of the proposed Indo-US Nuclear Deal that has been approved the House and Senate International Relations Committes and is up for Congressional approval. The Indo-US Nuclear Deal was a breakthrough for India and a peeved Pakistan made several proposals to be treated on par with India. Pakistan's pleas falling on deaf ears in Washington it looks like the ISI and the Pakistani diplomatic machine has pulled a fast one on Washington and New Delhi with this rather serendipitous discovery via satellite of progress on this plutonium site. The intention of the Pakistani establishment in making this available to the Non-Proliferation Taliban is very clear. To spike the Indo-US Nuke deal by raising the bogey of fictitious a nuclear weapons race in the Indian Sub-Continent.

Offstumped has long suspected Pakistan of applying Salami Tactics at bleeding India and leaving it without any strategic options to deter it.

Musharraf on his part has cleverly continued the cloak and dagger Salami Tactics of the past century with his all pervasive charm on the television screen with his recent address to the nation condemning the Mumbai Blasts in an attempt to preserve international goodwill while appearing reasonable to a domestic constituency within Pakistan.

The Pakistani establishment and the militancy in Kashmir has mastered the art of Salami to bleed India without actually being hurt in a significant way. To further understand this Art of the Salami, consider this conversation between the Indian Prime Minister and his National Security Advisor.

Transcript of a conversation between, the Prime Minister (PM) and his National Security Advisor (NSA)


NSA: Prime Minister, you believe in the nuclear deterrent?


PM - Oh, yes


NSA: Why?


PM: Pardon?


NSA: Why?


PM: Because it deters.


NSA: Whom?


PM: Pardon?


NSA: - Whom? Whom does it deter?


PM: Our neighbours from attacking us.


NSA: Why?


PM: - Pardon?


NSA: Why?


PM: They know if they launched an attack, I'd press the button.


NSA: - You would?


PM: Well, wouldn't I?


NSA: Well, would you?


PM: At the last resort, yes, I certainly would.


PM: Well, I think I certainly would. Yes.


NSA: And what is the last resort?


PM: If our neighbour tries to annex Kashmir.


NSA: You only have 12 hours to decide, so you're saying the last resort is the first response?


PM: Am I?


NSA: You don't need to worry. Why should the enemy try to annex Kashmir ? They can't even control NWFP. No, if they try anything, it will be salami tactics.


PM: Salami tactics?


NSA: Slice by slice.


NSA: One small piece at a time. So will you press the button if they cross the LOC ?


PM: It all depends.


NSA: On what?  Scenario one. Riots in PoK town bordering China, homes in flames. chinese fire brigade cross the border for help. Would you press the button...?


PM: mmmm.....


NSA: The pakistani rangers come with them. The button...?


PM: mmmm......


NSA: Then some pakistani troops, more chinese troops just for riot control, they say.


PM: mmmm......


NSA: And then the rangers are replaced by regular army. Button...?


PM: mmmm.......


NSA: Then the Chinese troops don't go. They are invited to stay to support civilian administration. The civilian administration closes cross border BUS and Train service.  Now you press the button?


PM: I need time to think about it.


NSA: You have 12 hours.


PM - Have I? You're inventing this.


NSA: - You are Prime Minister today. The phone might ring now from Western Command.


NSA:  The Pakistani army accidentally on purpose cross the frontier with Chinese Troops behind them on their border. - Is that the last resort?


PM: - No.


NSA: Right, Suppose the Pakistani troops invade into villages and occuppy positions like in Kargil Suppose their tanks and troops have taken vantage points ? - Is that the last resort?


PM: - No.


NSA: Why not? 


PM:  We'd only fight a nuclear war to defend ourselves. That would be committing suicide!


NSA: So what is the last resort? Connaught Place ? Sansad Marg ? The Constitution Club?


PM: Maybe the nuclear deterrent makes no sense.


NSA: - Yes, it does. If the Pakistanis or Chinese have the bomb, so must India . And keep Iran just in case.


PM - What are you proposing?


NSA: You wouldn't really press the button.


PM: - I might if I had no choice.


NSA: They'll never put you in a situation where you have no choice.


They'll stick to salami tactics.



This hypothetical conversation was an adapation of the British Comedy Yes Prime Minister to the Indo-Pak context.

While the terrorists and elements within Pakistan continue to devise ways to bleed India slice by slice with no fear of reprisal, Musharaff at every point in time has charmed the International Media, the Americans and quite a few Indians enough to ensure that there is always a choice in preserving him and his establishment. The Americans view him as vital to the War on Terror compelling the Indians to always talk peace with him rather than exercise the nuclear option. There is no effective deterrent to Pakistan's Salami Tactics against India.

India's approach to Pakistan is neutered by the lack of strategic options.



Offstumped Bottomline: The Non proliferation lobby is all set to spike the Indo-US Nuke deal. India needs to craft a strategy that isolates, exposes and contains Pakistan. India needs to execute on this strategy in a way that it inflicts a huge cost on Pakistani Salami Tactics. A debate on unilateral withdrawal of moratorium on first use of nuclear weapons and a strategy to effect regime change in Pakistan must be part of such of an approach. Until then Pakistan's Salami Tactics will continue to bleed India.

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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion through Blogs and Podcasts.

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posted by Yossarin at 10:08 PM  

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