Cold start or cold feet? The Frontier Post Cold start or cold feet? | Missile ThreatMissile Threat Posted on November 12, 2012 by editor Pakistanâ€™s development of Hatf-IX (Nasr) short-range ballistic missile is giving Indian myth-makers cold feet. New Delhi began the nuclear weapons game in South Asia, continues developing its nuclear and conventional forces but demurs from facing the consequences. India destabilized the region by not settling the territorial disputes and disregarded calls by the UN to address the Jammu and Kashmir issue. It developed the provocative doctrine of fighting war with limited territorial aims â€“ called the Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) â€“ and now appears to be appealing to the international community that it must â€œcome together to stop Pakistanâ€™s quest to acquire [short-range] destabilizing weapons.â€ It is widely believed that Pakistan has developed Nasr to deter India from operationalizing the CSD. The provocative doctrine would ostensibly telescope Indiaâ€™s military mobilization time to launch shallow and swift attacks in Pakistanâ€™s territory and punish it before the nuclear weapons come into play. With its short-range and nuclear capability, Nasr signals that every inch of Pakistanâ€™s territory is sacrosanct and its people would not stand even a minor Indian ingress. Nasr has shifted onus of maintaining stability in Indiaâ€™s court. Interestingly, India has started distancing itself from the CSD saying it is just a concept and is rather Pakistanâ€™s favorite bogeyman. New Delhi has now re-styled it to a more benign title Proactive Defense Strategy. Seven major misperceptions have appeared in the recent commentary on Nasr that call for dispassionate analysis. First, holds that Nasr is a Pakistan Army project whereas the National Engineering and Scientific Commission developed it. Second, related-misperception is that the command and control of the so-called Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs) would have to decentralize at some stage of war to enable their timely employment. Actually, the National Command Authority (NCA) exercises assertive control over the development, deployment and use of all nuclear weapons. The video footages of the recent tests of the short-range missiles show NCAâ€™s capability to directly control these weapons. All nuclear-armed states have to make the tightrope walk to balance that nuclear weapons are always available but there is no misuse or accidental launch. The challenge lies in balancing this infamous â€œalways-never dilemma.â€ Third, Indian Prahaar missile is not nuclear-capable and India has opted not to go down the so-called TNWs route. Three arguments belie the claim that Prahaar has a conventional delivery capability only. One, although the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) wisely avoided using the N-word for Prahaar, there is no mechanism to verify if a nuclear warhead would not be used. The DRDO statement only said â€œcarries different types of warheadsâ€¦â€ and has been misinterpreted. Two, it is quite unlikely that DRDO would develop a 150-kilometer range Prahaar that could fire a salvo of six missiles in different directions. This advanced capability would preferably be developed for a nuclear delivery system. Three, Prahaar was tested in July 2011 after two years of work. India was developing the so-called TNWs independent of Pakistanâ€™s decision to develop Nasr. Fourth, the moniker TNWâ€”the term was literally imposed on South Asia, neither Pakistan nor India used it for Nasr and Prahaar. The U.S. and erstwhile Soviet Union could afford to use â€˜tacticalâ€™ and â€˜battlefieldâ€™ for their SRBMs because these would land on â€˜their European battleground.â€™ Anything falling on their mainland would be strategic. Likewise, it would be incorrect to use TNW for Prahaar or Nasr as their use will have strategic results. Pak-India border is populated and would become the battlefields at the outset. Hence, the Western counter-force and counter-value targeting terms do not hold in the Subcontinentâ€™s scenario because even low yields like 0.05 to 0.5 kilotons would affect the forces, civilian population and industries close to borders. Fifth, the NATO has eschewed the so-called TNWs and Subcontinent, especially Pakistan is treading the perilous nuclear war-fighting route. The fact is that the U.S. and Russia possess sizeable arsenal of the so-called TNWs. Russia uses its SRBM arsenal as a lever against the U.S. to compromise its European ballistic missile defense shield. Sixth, the so-called TNWs lower the nuclear-use threshold. If this argument were accepted, then it would be easy to conclude that a rational state would eschew any doctrine that provokes its adversary to deploy and use the SRBMs. If both adversaries possess the short-range delivery means, they would be deterred from escalating a crisis to even contemplate a limited war. Stability in Europe despite the TNWs is an example. If the deterrence fails then bets on all genres of nuclear weapons would be off. Seventh, SRBMs are difficult and expensive to manufacture. Many wonder about Pakistanâ€™s capability to miniaturize warheads that could fit Nasrâ€™s thin 300 mm diameter. Recalling the yield data about Pakistani tests on May 28 and 30, 1998 it would be easy to infer that a couple of designs were low-yield weapons. Likewise, in thirteen years Pakistan must have made at least â€˜someâ€™ progress in smaller warhead designs that could fit Nasr. Miniaturization is step one to a multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capability and artillery delivered weapons. The MIRVs help defeat anti-ballistic missiles, while SLBMs and cruise missiles give assured second strike capability of absorbing a nuclear attack and still retaliate with submarine-based weapons. This technological spinoff from developing Nasr would save Pakistan from nuclear blackmailing. Naturally, Pakistanâ€™s adversary would portray such technological leap as a gaffe. India initiated the nuclear game in the South Asia, shunned Pakistanâ€™s repeated proposals of no war pact, nuclear weapons free zone and strategic restraint regime in the South Asia, but it seems to be developing cold feet from Pakistanâ€™s responses. Although Pakistani initiatives have been overtaken by time, there is always hope. If India quits intransigence to genuine peace efforts, offers credible evidence of revoking dangerous doctrines, resolves the thorny issues, ends unabated militarization, Pakistan should be willing to respond. Until then, who knows if more may come from Pakistan in terms of variety of delivery means at the pace the Pakistani strategic planners are moving! The choice of making peace rests with India; Pakistan was only a reluctant entrant in the nuclear club. In the meanwhile, it seems to have been a short distance from Cold Start to Cold Feet.