India shedding NFU under Hindutva agenda dangerous: Gen Ehsan

ISLAMABAD, Mar 31 (APP): Former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
Committee Gen (r) Ehsan-ul-Haq says Indian moves to shed its pretense
of `No First Use’ of nuclear weapons doctrine at a time when
Hindutva ideology was dominating in India was worrying for Pakistan.
The former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was
speaking at the launch of Dr Brig (r) Naeem Salik’s book `Learning
to Live with the Bomb, Pakistan: 1998-2016′ published by Oxford
University Press.
Dr Salik, who has previously worked with Strategic Plans
Division (SPD) and contributed to establishment of National Command
Authority, in his 352 pages book, sheds light on the evolution of
Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, the establishment of command and
control apparatus, and development of safety and security
This is the second book authored by Dr Salik, who is now
associated with Islamabad’s Center for International Strategic
Studies (CISS) as a senior research fellow.
“The most dangerous thing is that these pronouncements are
coming in the context of Hindutva agenda of BJP government.
Otherwise at no stage since the 1998 nuclear tests did Pakistan, at
any level, consider Indian pronouncements of No First Use (NFU)
credible. Indians are now themselves exposing the falsehood of those
claims,” Gen Haq said.
It is the first time that a senior former official in Pakistan
has reacted to the recent indications by Indian scholars, based on
the statements to top Indian officials, that India could be moving
away from its declared NFU doctrine and consider a massive disarming
strike against Pakistan.
The general recalled that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Indian attitude has turned increasingly belligerent. At the same
time Pakistan suffers from discriminatory attitudes in the global
non-proliferation regime, he observed adding “Pakistan has to
carefully monitor the developments related to the nuclear order and
exercise utmost vigilance in safeguarding its legitimate interests.”
He regretted that Pakistan despite possessing the nuclear
capability still does not exhibit the confidence of a nuclear power
in its policies, diplomacy, and national psyche and character.
This, he maintained, must change because “while there are many
things that could be done to us, there are many things that cannot
be done to us.”
Dr Salik, the author, contended that there had been a
significant change in Pakistan’s behavior as a state since it went
the nuclear weapons. “If you compare 1999 Kargil crisis with the
subsequent events, you find a degree of maturity in thinking, there
is more certainty, there is a defining thought process. There is enough evidence to suggest that Pakistan has learnt a lot,” he said while talking about the `learning’ that Pakistan underwent since the nuclear tests.
Persistent international pressure, he believes, “accelerated
Pakistan’s learning process”.
Executive Director CISS Amb Sarwar Naqvi, while introducing
the book, said the book gave an insight into Pakistan’s own
learning curve regarding management of multiple aspects of its
nuclear program.
Amb Naqvi said: “As a person with extensive experience of
representing Pakistan on the nuclear diplomacy front, I can say that
the content of the book is rich in substance and the author has
covered multiple dynamics of choices that Pakistan made in steering
its nuclear program to the existing direction.”
The launch ceremony also featured reviews by eminent scholars
Dr Christine Leah, visiting fellow at CISS, Dr Askari Rizvi,
Ambassador Tariq Osman Haider, Mr Ejaz Haider, and Dr Rabia Akhtar.
Dr Leah observed that the biggest strength of Dr Salik’s work
was his personal experience of working with the nuclear program.
She said it could help address the concerns in the West about
the security aspect of the program. “It should be source of
reassurance for Western security scholars and practitioners in the
field of nuclear security. It is a very important message for people
having negative views about Pakistan”.
Commenting on the book Dr Akhtar said “despite challenges of
political instability and unrest, Pakistan manages, somehow, to
effectively control its nuclear arsenal. Therefore, this story about
Pakistan must be told.”
Defense analyst Ejaz Haider said the book provides an over-
view of what Pakistan has done after 1998 tests and helps to
comprehend the nuclear related developments that occurred during
this period.
Ambassador Osman explained the importance of nukes to
Pakistan’s security paradigm and said Dr Salik’s book tells how the
nuclear program progressed and how Pakistan learnt to be responsible
nuclear state.
“The book is a kind of analysis about whether Pakistan can be
described as a responsible nuclear power and comes out with the
conclusion that Pakistan is indeed a responsible nuclear state,” Dr
Rizvi noted.

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