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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Reaction to Pervez Hoodbhoy's article on North Korean Nuclear and Missile tests

The Article by Pakistan's nuclear physicist and a regular commentator on state of Pakistan's education has factual discrepancies in terms of Indian Nuclear Programme - especially the way it has developed.

Pervez Hoodbhoy's article can be read Here

He states, " Nuclear nationalism has worked well to stoke patriotic fires in all three countries. Remember those heady days of 1998 when India proclaimed its arrival on the world stage as a nuclear power? And when Pakistan strutted about excitedly as the first nuclear power in the Muslim world? Bomb-makers in both countries thumped their chests, and people showered rose petals on the ‘great’ nuclear scientists. There could be no greater nonsense.

My response to his equating India's nuclear programme that started with the peaceful nuclear explosion in 1974 and not in 1998, is below.

India is perhaps the only country that did the peaceful nuclear explosion in 1974 ... yes a good 24 years before it was forced to conduct 1998 shakti explosion to show the double standards of 5 nuclear states including USA, USSR and China, in letting Pakistan have the nuclear bomb. 

It's really a pity that the author decided to club India with Pakistan and North Korea (NK). Pakistani and NK nuclear and missile projects and capabilities clearly have Chinese components - it's well established. 

India despite developing its own nuclear bomb capability and missile capability opted, yes opted, to wait and show to the world it's good intentions for a nuclear weapons free world, which alas the existing powers never gave any ears.
India has been a reluctant and forced nuclear power, which she built completely on its own, unlike the borrowed means by Pakistan and North Korea. Even after the tests in 1998 we have been fighting the asymmetrical CTBT and NPT and have clearly told to the world about our Nuclear Doctrine which is NO FIRST USE ! 

Neither Pak nor NK has NFU . In fact it's a matter of deeper concerns that Pakistan is in fact proposing to use tactical nuclear weapons in case of war which clearly indicates the level of irresponsibility that is extremely dangerous for the world at large. 

With greatest infestation of terrorists organization along with the continuous spiral of making large number of nuclear bombs .. perhaps for KSA as well ... we are facing the nuclear jehad factory of the world along with the NK. So please spare us the comparison... India has been the most responsible actor in nuclear dimensions ... much more than the 5 nuclear haves and other possessors of nuclear weapons.

China Takes Pakistan - A Scenario by 2017-2022

Since year 2011 I have been painting a scenario where in China will get deeper and deeper into Pakistan. Its been the case for many decades that China has been the "thick" friend of Pakistan - especially military and exclusively on nuclear and missiles capabilities of Pakistan. Bhutto's Islamic Bomb has many Chinese elements is well-established.

When I wrote the scenario in 2013 January, it was just a struggling Pakistan and the military had just started talking about internal militancy as a major threat. My contention was China will be the biggest threat Pakistan has and the contours of that threat will emerge as the Dragon start holding and engulfing its prey in its rapidly vibrating tongue.

Today we have two specific initiatives that makes the scenario more and more plausible. 

My timeline for Chinese occupation was 2017-2022. But with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) becoming a major future - to be developed with Chinese Money (please see the article Here) I must say it may happen much before the year 2022 - the Chinese occupation of Pakistan. Well this Occupation will definitely be "friendly". Further there is element of Military in this CPEC. For example an article Here says,

"Like most things in Pakistan, the CPEC (despite its name) is as much about security as it is about economy. These roads can be used for movement of troops and landing of aircraft in the event of a war. Since we are never sure which of our borders is more problematic at any given time, the more the routes, the merrier; also, the further apart they are, the better."

 Second initiative is the Gwadar Port develpment. With Billions of Dollars from China, Gwadar port is a fortress says the NDTV headline.The article states

"Securing the planned $46 billion economic corridor of roads, railways and pipelines from northwest China to Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast is a huge challenge in a country where Islamist militants and separatist gunmen are a constant menace."
The Chinese can not afford to let Pakistan go. Their Silk Road revival plan and the rapidity at which they are executing it is at stake. My article at Indian Defence Review on China's Silk Road initiative can give a view of what is happening.

The Scenario was proposed in 2011 - 
Article written in January 2013
China Takes Pakistan – A Scenario by 2017-2022

In the long run Pakistan's greatest enemy will prove to be neither India nor internal militancy, it will be China. The recent focus by Pakistan claiming internal militancy to be number one enemy – and a doctrinal shift away from India may be of importance for Pakistan’s internal consumption. However, what may not be clear even to Pakistan army/ISI/Controllers of Pakistan is the fact that it may be prudent for Pakistan to have doctrinal focus on China.

Scenario: Pakistan supported, penetrated and engulfed by China - 2017-2022 timeframe

The process of Chinese support to Pakistan is an ongoing process. Since 2010, China has 11000 soldiers in POK. This is close to 2+ Infantry brigades equivalent strength. Chinese are involved in building the Gwadar port – a very strategic conduit to middle-east and of course to Africa as well. Besides, China has been providing arms and ammunition to Pakistan Military forces for many decades now. Chinese are in. They are considered the thick friends by Pakistani Military.

Key factors making the above scenario likely:

USA is a declining superpower. The Obama win in the Presidential elections might have delayed the demise little bit. In 2017, there will be a new US President. Most likely it will be a republican President. US Forces will leave Af-Pak by 2014 creating a sudden military vacuum. This will be filled by Talibans in the most atrocious manner one can imagine. By 2017, Pakistan military will seek more and more support from China as China already is the largest supplier to Pakistan. China will enter, embed itself and bring-in its strategy of changing the population ratio – as clearly implemented in Tibet, systematically. Pakistanis may start learning Chinese by 2017.

China is pursuing Deng’s reforms of 1978. The Deng reforms very clearly articulate the “superpower” phase that China will has entered since the start of this century. A new type of Superpower is the design. To fulfill the Superpower by 2050 dream, will require secure, fast and wide access to Africa because of its natural resources – untapped. Also, China will need access of markets in other part of world. Karakoram highway is already open to China. China will need to build fast goods trains from Karachi, Gwadar and Pasni to Karakoram. It will also require the land transport to be safe and secure. By 2022 China has to achieve that. Their Superpower design is at stake.

Pakistan is failing if not already a failed state. Living under drones 24x7 has made many Pak-Afghan areas border residents anti-US. The people also may be shifting towards Chinese, thinking of China to be their long-term savior. With Pakistan completely under China, it will be very difficult for India to be of consequence in the new “Chinese world”.  With India curtailed, China will pursue its world dominance economically and otherwise. If Pakistan does not go to China, it is but a matter of few years that Pakistan will be divided into 3 or 4 independent countries. These countries may fight with each other. This will not allow China to access the sea-routes to the world at large. Deng’s algorithm for China does not allow Pakistan to get away from Chinese hands. China is slowly, steadily and systematically getting ready to do a “Tibet” on Pakistan. However, this time, China is pursuing the mission with great patience.

Impact on India
Pakistan was created as “non-India”. Non-India is an identity that Pakistan would like to preserve. However, that identity is in grave danger from multiple dimensions - the greatest dimension being the China’s superpower quest and design. India needs to fight it out in multiple ways. China taking over Pakistan is order of magnitude more dangerous for us compared to Tibet overtaken by China. Today, Hindus from Pakistan are seeking asylum in India. From 2017 onwards, there will be an influx of Pakistanis Muslims - in India – they would be terrorized by Talibans and then controlled by China – hence they would be forced to run away. Indian culture, language and even mannerisms are similar and Pakistanis will be more than happy to be assimilated in India. However, China, having taken up control of Pakistan, will not stop at that. China will start looking at Arunachal Pradesh and eastern parts of India as well. This will be a very dangerous scenario for India.

Options for India
Assimilate Pakistan in India by force – most readers will laugh at this suggestion. However, this thought has been proposed by press council of India’s Chairman, Mr. Katju. I am not sure about his drivers, however, instead of letting China take over Pakistan just like we allowed in Tibet, uniting Pakistan with India is a rather more promising option. However, the “how” to do it, is the key question. Second, do we have sufficient national willpower to execute this.

Should we join US in China containment?  Should we become the new frontline state of US, just like Pakistan became against soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Of course, we may not become, but some element of cooperation with US and rest of the world powers in not letting China get Pak, needs to be carried out. Diplomacy, military power and economic factors need to be analyzed and a holistic response needs to be created.

Do nothing. Let us react to this when it happens. This is a highly unlikely scenario; we will see when it happens. If the reader is from Indian government think tanks, policy makers and executing agencies, I can see their response. However, in this case, waiting for the crisis to happen may not be a correct measure. Remember, India’s very existence may be at stake.

Crisis avoidance is better than disaster management. Crisis leads to disasters. If we can see the crisis, a crisis avoidance blueprint needs to be created and executed. This time disaster will be extremely costly.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Top Three Objectives of Indian Pharma Companies


Monday, February 08, 2016

"Agni-V - Its Value for India's Security" - My Article and its on-line Journey - a view !

India test fired Agni-V missile some months back and its next test is slated for this month sometimes as per news reports.

Given my interest in Defence I write on defence and strategic issues regularly and sometimes some of these gets published online as well.

Please see my articles on Indian Defence Review

So my article on Agni-5 or Agni-V missile was published on 3rd Feb 2016 - Agni-5 : A True Game Changer I got my usual comments from my regular friends on Facebook and over email.

But couple of days later a friend of mine on Facebook posted

The Importance Of Agni-V To India’s Security 

I was obviously curious to know as it was very close to my article. Lo and behold it was exactly the same article. However, here the shares statistics were very different - It was saying almost 1000 likes and 50 shares on facebook. I was shocked. Two reasons - the online mag never bothered to ask me about this direct lifting of my article from Indian Defence Review and secondly there are people who visit this magazine and actually are writing comments and sharing  it at a rapid pace.

By Sunday night the likes on facebook and shares had reached a mind boggling 11600+ and 800+ shares.

Whats more - it was picked up by other online defence portals as well such as defence updates
Key lessons

If you want to write a domain specific articles get it published in domain specific portals (e.g., Indian Defence Review). But if you want wide reach - get it published to a portal where wide variety of people come. The number of likes and shares can increase exponentially.

But in my opinion - what type of people are reading it and their understanding (as reflected in their comments) will not be to the level of the domain and field readers that you hope will read.

So in effect - you hope more people in your field and domain read it - but you are also likely to get lot of random readers who are driven by totally tangential motives to the field and domain that you are addressing.

For those who want to read the article completely - you can read it here as well.

The Importance Of Agni-V To India’s Security

The fourth Agni-V test is scheduled to be conducted during the month of February 2016. This will be the second canister launch. Agni-V will be ready for induction after few more tests – especially the test of its multiple independent targeting re-entry vehicles (MIRV) capability.

Although its induction and deployment is some years ahead, it has already produced interesting reactions. The key discussion has been about its range – whether it is 5000 km or 8000 km and above, and whether it should be truly called an ICBM. There has also been some buzz about the multiple independent targeting re-entry vehicles (MIRV) capability and their ability to carry 3-10 different warheads in a single missile. Indeed, it is a major feature and technology that will catapult India to a very small set of nations with this capability.

The ability to carry 1-1.5 tons warhead over 5,000+ kilometers range is definitely another feature of the missile that puts it in a different category than whatever missiles India has. A 500 Kg payload can give the earlier missiles ability to carry nuclear warheads with 20KT yield, or something similar to what was exploded above Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With three times the payload, India now has the capability, in theory, at least, to carry higher yield, say 150KT to 1 MT yield nuclear warheads to distances more than 5000 km away. This gives India a real counterforce capability if our doctrine and strategy warrants that option.

Counter-Force versus Counter-Value nuclear strategies
If a country has the capability to strike population centers of the adversary with nuclear weapons, it is considered to have counter value capability in nuclear strategy terminology. These targets include population centers including big cities, large industrial complexes, power centers, dams, oil refineries etc. The counter value targets typically are “non-military targets” of the adversary, mostly population centers. As these are mostly larger spread and “soft” targets, the lower yield nuclear weapons, say with a yield of 20 Kilo Tons (KT) of TNT or so, are considered sufficient to pronounce this capability.

Further, for counter value nuclear forces, one need a delivery weapon – can be a ballistic missile – which need not have a very high accuracy. One can understand, that if a nuclear bomb explodes above the center of the city or few kilometers away, the devastation of the city will be immense, and in the long term there will not be much qualitative difference in terms of impact on the city – say killing 1 million people immediately or 500,000 people immediately – which one will you take? The obvious answer is none.
The counter value nuclear forces are giving this message to the adversary – we will take a couple of your cities – whether our missile takes 1 million or 0.5 million people of your city is not important – we can destroy a couple of your main cities if you attack or threaten us with a nuclear weapons strike. The counter value nuclear weapons are the forces to deter the adversary. These are indeed deterrence forces.
On the other hand, counter force nuclear forces are meant to destroy adversary’s nuclear delivery capability. The counter force nuclear weapons need to deliver high KT or even Mega Ton (MT) of TNT equivalent nuclear yield to the enemy nuclear weapons housed inside the hardened, underground, nuclear shielded sites. Besides, high yield and very high accuracy (typically a Circular Error Probability of 0.01% of the range), the nuclear explosion has to be a surface burst rather than an air burst as in the case of counter value weapons.
The surface burst will create large ground craters and take the earth along with adversary’s missiles in the protected silos – to the atmosphere – thereby destroying enemy’s nuclear missiles and also creating the dreaded nuclear fallout and radioactive rains that may continue for many months in future. These are truly horrendous nuclear weapons – not only in the capabilities but also the intentions of their possessors.

India’s Nuclear Doctrine and Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)

India conducted its first peaceful nuclear test in 1974. In 1998, India was forced to conduct nuclear tests so that Pakistan could come out as an overt nuclear weapons state. India should be given due credit for speaking the language of a nuclear weapons free world and acting on it till 1998. Only because one-sided treaties such as NPT, CTBT, and FMCT, were coming to force, India conducted its nuclear tests. Also, within a couple of years, it published its draft nuclear doctrine, which clearly termed the policy of No First Use (NFU) of nuclear weapons. This is a very consistent communication and definitely a responsible behavior, that none can dispute.

With the NFU doctrine, India does not need counterforce capabilities. This is true, against any adversary or potential adversary. The counterforce nuclear weapons developed during the cold war period into what in the nuclear parlance is called the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine. It is clear that MAD is the doctrine of a country that will take the nuclear attack as the first option in the escalatory spiral of any conflict. However, India has very clearly stated it is not following the MAD line and is therefore not developing any first strike capability against any adversary at any range.

However, given the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world and pressure by the world powers that are increasingly developing more and more powers, India needs to develop a second strike capability, that remains potent after a first strike by the adversary and is capable of delivering counter value punches at any range across the world.

Why ‘at any range’? The world is definitely becoming multi-polar and also the threat of force as a coercive influence to shape the future is pursued by different power centers in multiple ways. Further, a nation in the globalizing world has to identify its national interests and safeguard these globally. Hence, India needs a potent second-strike ICBM-range capability for counter value nuclear strikes as a deterrence to any potential adversary that may have designs to either threaten or actually think about taking out Indian nuclear missiles in the first strike. It is in this context that Agni-V MIRV ICBM should be viewed and considered.

Agni-V can be a second strike counter force capability – A game changer

Agni-V with its higher payload and MIRV capability – with high accuracies – does give India a counterforce capability. This is definitely a higher order message to potential adversaries. With Agni-V, India says to the world that although we stick to a no first use policy we now have a counter-force capability to strike at the nuclear strike forces of the adversary. Also, with MIRVs even if one Agni-V survives a first strike by the enemy and reaches the adversary’s capital city it will unleash complete devastation. This should make an adversary see the futility of striking against India.

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