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Is third largest large enough?

Updated Aug 29, 2015 10:18am


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The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

MANY Pakistanis are thrilled by the news originating from two think tanks in Washington. Although no real evidence has been presented, they claim that the Pakistani nuclear arsenal may become the world’s third largest over the next five to 10 years. The current number, estimated at around 120 Hiroshima-sized warheads, could increase to around 350.

This would exceed numbers held by France (290), China (240), and UK (190).

Is the sky the limit? If not, what is the number that Pakistan “must have”? Seventy years ago, just one bomb had turned Hiroshima to rubble. Today, if Pakistan and India use even half their arsenals, the radioactive ash and smoke would destroy not just both countries but also cause a global catastrophe. Nevertheless, neither specifies a cap. The only figures I have ever seen are speculations published by a retired Pakistani air force officer.

His logic goes something like this: adequate deterrence requires two Indian cities to be hit with five nuclear bombs each. Assume 50pc probability of successfully penetrating enemy defences. Suppose also that 50pc of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are destroyed in an Indian pre-emptive first strike. Using rules of arithmetic that even a 10-year old knows, he puts the desired number at 40 bombs. Then, changing probabilities from 50pc to 90pc, he raises the cap to a staggering 1,000! For the reader: change two cities to three, and five bombs to six, and calculate the change. It’s huge!

Why this open-ended warhead and missile race between India and Pakistan?

The illogic stares you in the face. Arbitrary input parameters generate arbitrary outputs. And yet all this can be made to appear as the end product of a logical process. But deterrence is purely psychological and nobody has a clue about what is sufficient. Probabilities in a nuclear war environment cannot be properly estimated because the unknown massively outweighs the known. Garbage in, garbage out!

The Indian side is just as guilty of massive leaps of logic. The high priest of India’s nuclear policy in the 1990s, K. Subrahmanyam, vehemently asserted that nuclear arms racing was a Cold War concept totally alien to subcontinental thinking. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he, as well as his hawkish Pakistani counterparts, claimed that the nuclear philosophy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was the product of twisted Western minds. We, the people of South Asia, were supposedly wiser and would limit destruction only to “what was needed”.

Subrahmanyam and I had first clashed on the subject of India’s nuclear intentions at a meeting held at the University of Chicago in 1992, held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Enrico Fermi’s nuclear reactor. This was six years before India actually tested. We crossed swords off and on at various meetings for nearly 20 years.

The last time I met this guru of India’s nuclear votaries was just before he died of cancer. This was in Delhi at a meeting held in 2010 at IDSA (Institute of Defence and Strategic Analysis) of which he had been director. I reminded him of his earlier belief that Pakistan could not develop nuclear weapons. Hadn’t he and his colleagues actually weakened India by producing a level playing field? And where was his theory of no racing? Perhaps because of his illness,

Subrahmanyam’s response was weak and unconvincing. But the real reason is that events have proved him wrong.

Like Pakistan, India also refuses to set an upper limit on its arsenal. But why have they gone into open-ended racing when both are saddled with enormous problems of resource scarcity and poverty? A large part of the answer has to do with the nature of modern industrial production.

Imagine setting up a factory that makes jam from peaches. You need to invest in expensive machinery, train management and engineering staff, and set up an acquisition process for raw materials. If you produced only one batch of jam, each jar would probably cost Rs1 million. But when in steady production, that cost could decrease to Rs100.

While the price reduction for warheads is not quite so dramatic, every additional one costs much less than the first one once the machinery, management, and personnel are in place. After routine procedures are established, the system goes on autopilot. The urge to keep production increases because the livelihood of tens of thousands now hinges upon this. There is, of course, a crucial difference. The public buys jam, but the consumer of warheads is the missile-making complex. The system feeds on its own output, and keeps expanding.

To keep everything going, nothing is better than a real threat. Failing that, one needs to be invented. Pakistan’s militarists got lucky in 2010 when India’s former army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, blurted out his infamous Operation Cold Start. Although it proved impossible to operationalise, Cold Start provided yet another reason for jacking up Pakistan’s numbers. Now tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) could be developed as a defensive measure. Although much is made of TNWs, in fact they are not very effective militarily — invading frontline combat units can be sufficiently well-hardened and dispersed so as to not make good nuclear targets.

India and Pakistan are seeing the emergence of a nuclear military-industrial complex that is distorting priorities. This term was first used by president Dwight D. Eisenhower in his speech of 1961. He hit the nail on the head when he declared that, “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex”. But America’s mad rush towards militarisation became unstoppable. By 1967, the Cold War saw the US warhead count reach a peak of 31,255 — enough to destroy the world four and a half times over.

In the present climate of a tribal blood feud between two nuclear-armed neighbors, vision and judgement have been severely impaired. Since 1998 we have pretended to be two responsible nuclear states. But calling off talks and hurling accusations (as well as artillery shells) exposes this myth. Meanwhile, those who stand to gain more power and influence from nuclear expansion are multiplying in numbers. It is hard to imagine what can restore sanity.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2015

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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (175) Closed

Adil Khan Aug 29, 2015 01:50am

The sanest person in Pakistan. We Love you Mr. Hoodbhoy

Harisingh Aug 29, 2015 01:52am

Another great article Dr Hoodbhoy! I also agree that there is no obvious solution to this problem.

My personal feeling is that hawkish agenda on both sides is two folds: (1) economically cripple the other side (2) create a public opinion pressure on the opposition so that there is no option other than compromising.

I don't think it is all doom-gloom because at the end of the day people of both nations want to progress and get out of the misery we have been living in for the past few centuries.

shouvik mukherjee Aug 29, 2015 01:52am

Dr Hoodbhoy: "Suppose also that 50pc of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are destroyed in an Indian pre-emptive first strike." But India has a no first use policy..

Kiran Aug 29, 2015 01:52am

Sir, You speak simple logic! Unfortunately majority people in military and govt of both countries are having zero logic brain..supported bunch of another brain less war mongering citizens from both countries. I wish at least some of such people listen to your sane opinions and put into action. Respect from India!

Harmony-1 Aug 29, 2015 02:55am

"If Pakistan and India use even half their arsenals, the radioactive ash and smoke would destroy not just both countries but also cause a global catastrophe". Both nations need to seriously ponder about it. The solution is what the author suggests in the last paragraph with one added suggestion. Stop proxy wars...or else it would lead to real war!

Raj Patel Aug 29, 2015 02:57am

I agree with Dr. But I have a question. If India would not have gone on path of nuclear deterrence, do you think that Pakistan would not have gone that way after 1971 defeat ?? Or is it not that India force Pakistan to divert it's resources on nuclear weapon instead of well fare of awam thus making Pakistan venerable to disintegrate in long term strategy ? India knows that this is non winnable war if it results in nuclear war. Hence India contained with 100 war head I suppose. Most of the fissile material is used for generating energy in India.

AdHawk Aug 29, 2015 02:59am

Excellent essay as usual. Some comments: 1) Just as the public buys jam they also buy the nuclear weapons, insofar as they uncritically support, rather enable the bluster and jingoism of their respective politicians. 2) The U.S. military at least employs the talents of its own people to develop its toys. Fruits of their cutting edge research invariably finds its way to the civilian arena, in the shape of nuclear power, space exploration, GPS and the internet to name a few. South Asians on the other hand fill the pockets of Westerners with their hard-earned cash in return for useless trinkets, and remain destitute as ever.

Suren Singh Sahni Aug 29, 2015 03:10am

Since 1940 U.S. Alone has spent $5.5 Trillion on Nuclear weapons and lost wars in Afghanistan Vietnam Somalia Cuba Ukraine Iraq etc. Osama and few of his friends Mullah Omar were able to hit US and Kill 4000 civilians. Besides US and Russia both the largest nuclear powers are economically bankrupt. Nuclear weapons can it buy peace or secure the graves.

tariq Aug 29, 2015 03:20am

Well Mr. Hoodbhoy has done it again with this good article. The problem is so simple to solve. The main disagreement between India and Pakistan is Kashmir. Why can't they agree on a joint rule for that part of the country and go forward as friends! Surely a little reasoning can definitely be applied. This would remove poverty and illiteracy from both nations!

Bashir Aug 29, 2015 03:44am

Pakistan is only reacting to the nuclear threat from a larger adversary, who has not accepted the creation of Pakistan, and is intent on weakening us. I can see the logic of Dr. Hoodbhoy's arguments but I also saw the threats emanating from Indians after they exploded their nuclear device in 1998. Pakistan's reaction may be out of proportion but definitely not unjustified. The fact that India had stepped back after trying to invade Pakistan twice in the last fifteen years had a lot to do with Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, and its public doctrine to not to rule out its use if Pakistan's integrity is threatened. India started this race, and they can stop it by ending the production of new nuclear weapons.

adi Aug 29, 2015 05:16am

how does the Grass taste?

Mike Aug 29, 2015 05:21am

Borrow money and build up arsenals are just irresponsible behavior at its worst. Think what happened with USSR by their aggressive behavior.

UKumar Aug 29, 2015 05:47am

Prof Hoodbhoy makes excellent point and is very good writer. I agree with basic thesis of nuclear free world. What I disagree is that he brings India while writing about Pakistan nuclear program. He should then expand his views to include China. After all India is surrounded by two nuclear powers who are a team.

Raj Aug 29, 2015 05:49am

India does not need nukes to destroy pakistan. Just make sure they spend every penny on nukes and have nothing left for energy, infrastructure or economy.

ROHIT PANDEY. Aug 29, 2015 06:09am

Dr Hoodbhoy has made his point. Nuclear weapons are dangerous and are not needed.

Suresh Aug 29, 2015 06:14am

"When will sanity prevail", well that is a million $ question nobody has an answer. Always loved your column, always impartial and respectful. Thank you Dr Hoodbhoy.

Ani Aug 29, 2015 06:45am

Well, Europeans fought with each other for centuries, and learnt after paying a very heavy price of millions of lives and billions of dollars in the second world war that they can easily co-exist even as a single entity (Euro). I hope both the nations instead of focusing on war, spend their money on human development instead.

UKumar Aug 29, 2015 07:14am

@tariq It is not this simple. Even if India and Pakistan solve Kashmir problem, India will still need nuclear weapons to protect from China.

Ejaz Aug 29, 2015 07:22am

Nuclear weapons in the hands of two hot blooded neighbours is like a monkey with a razor

NORI Aug 29, 2015 07:37am

Sir, as always, it's a good article. Firstly, I feel sad when I know that people suffer but nuke production never hits a glitch. Secondly, India is not in a race with any country on nukes. Otherwise, how can you explain India's 100 war heads when China has more than double ? Every argument (size, economy, issue with rivers, Tibet occupation etc) Pakistan has against India is equally valid for India against China.

IFTIKHAR KHAN Aug 29, 2015 07:39am

Even the nuclear arsenal never being used ( I hope ), the stockpile of nuclear arsenal in Pakistan and India help strengthens the hands of fascist and retrogressive forces in domestic politics of both countries. The nuclear arsenal is a useful tool in the hands of nemesis-centric strong deterrence agenda of ultra nationalist forces thus hurting the forces of social welfare agenda.

Naeem Aug 29, 2015 08:51am

It is a disaster that Pakistan is spending billion on nuclear weapons while spending a small amount on education, the backbone of the economy and common good

Sam Aug 29, 2015 09:27am

Dr hoodbhoy, loved your column. However, report for 3rd largest nuclear stockpile is for Pakistan and not India. If you re-read the report, it says "it seems that India is diverting its fissile material for electricity generation.". Even today, India's stockpile is assumed at around 80-100 compared to Pakistan's 100-120. Seems, Pakistan needs to look inside and set priorities right. I am worried about scenario when India becomes obsessive about Pakistan's stockpile and start churning more stockpile then there will be no upper limit.

vcbhutani Aug 29, 2015 09:29am

Policy makers in Pakistan are determined to go on building more nuclear warheads, perhaps because they are not so expensive to produce. I have not heard that India was also building more nuclear warheads. My impression is that the number of Indian warheads has remained constant at 100 to 110. I do not pretend to have any confidential information: I only read what appears in newspapers. I am not worried about a nuclear warheads race between Pakistan and India. If Pakistan makes 300 and India remains at 100 to 110, that is enough for Indian security. MAD will be the proper deterrent and not actual use of nuclear weapons. It is Pakistan’s sovereign privilege to make as many nuclear weapons as it likes to. Beyond a point, making of nuclear weapons must cut into the basket of resources. It is for Pakistan to determine its priorities. If Indian policy makers listened to me, I would advise them to be ready to respond with 10 if Pakistan fired 1 at India. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi

manzer Aug 29, 2015 09:30am

Calling it third largest is highly misleading. UK, France and China have Hydrogen bombs. India and Israel probably have it too. So the total arsenal of Pakistan is much smaller compared to UK, France and China, let alone US and USSR. And it is probably even smaller than Israel and India. I am not in favor of these devices but just want to point out that this statement, even if technically true, is highly misleading.

Sunil Aug 29, 2015 09:31am

India has never flaunted its nuclear arsenals in numbers.

Khalid Aug 29, 2015 09:42am

Sure. Let's just dump our stockpile and hope india and rest of your buddies sitting in Israel and Washington will end their fourth generation war against Pakistan out of good will. We know you very well Mr. and what you have done to harm Pakistan.

S.A.Naqvi Aug 29, 2015 09:46am

In present times one can imagine how dangerous the nuclear war had probabilities on both the countries disregarding the balance confinement for their defensive position hence, the best way to ponder over resisting all mindset of undermining the good relationship between two countries through meaningful dialog respecting each other's moral and territorial boundaries as well avoiding provocative actions.

Amin Syed Aug 29, 2015 09:56am

With due respect! will you explain why France has (290), China (240), and the UK (190), and you did not mention the number of the US and Russia. I'm living in the UK and confused, what UK would do with this number? and why France? and the US and Russia?

Imad Aug 29, 2015 10:03am

If our people understood the true horrors of a nuclear war, people from both sides could pressure our governments to scale back nuclear programs. There are other more vital priorities like feeding millions who flight for bear survival daily in both countries !! Rightly said by the writer "its hard to imagine what can restore sanity".

m m amin Aug 29, 2015 10:07am

"It is hard to imagine what can restore sanity ." I recall the USSR and USA were pursuing MAD ie mutually assured destruction ; there were two top,world stature ,personalities Bertrand Russel and Andrei Sakharov working to generate awareness ,and trying to pull the world from precipice ; total destruction of the world. Now Pakistan and India are in this state of frenzy . Prof. Hood please keep it up and generate public awareness to the dangers of MAD.(read madness)

Prof . Hood please keep the subject alive and generate the public awareness to restrain the leaders in the two countries from suicidal MAD race.

Waqas Aug 29, 2015 10:17am

@Amin Syed your comment actually nailed this article in the head. Beautiful!!

Totiking Aug 29, 2015 10:43am

I agree fully with the sentiments. It is a scary situation. Many think that if an extremist group or a government with fundamentalist inclinations got power, the use of such bombs become a real possibility. That will be the beginning of the end of civilisation and life.In normal circumstances, atom bombs are a deterrent to wars, as has been proved after both USA and USSR (now Russia) refrained from attacking each other. In fact wars have only taken place where one party did not possess the bomb. It is very important that both India and Pakistan start serious talks about ironing relations.

Global Indian Aug 29, 2015 10:48am

those who stand to gain more power and influence from nuclear expansion are multiplying in numbers. .Rightly said by Mr Hoodbhoy . Salute you Sir from across the border.

Indian Aug 29, 2015 11:36am

The sanest person both in India and Pakistan. Why cant we have leaders like Mr. Hoodbhoy.

Ashish Chaudhary Aug 29, 2015 11:41am

we spend only 2.5% of our GDP on defence that includes nuclear. how much does pakistan spend?

EuroStar77 Aug 29, 2015 12:03pm

@shouvik mukherjee Don't be childish. Policies changes. It is always capabilities which matters.

Mahmood Aug 29, 2015 12:11pm

Starve the nation, so we can build more weapons! Pure insanity and misplaced priorities!

Analyst Aug 29, 2015 12:15pm

Respect to Mr Hoodboy. He is an expert in everything and knows everything about everything - from physics, to religion, to evolution, to geo-political affairs, to foreign policy . . . . . . the list goes on and on. True Pakistani.

Faraz Aug 29, 2015 12:18pm

@Suren Singh Sahni well said and ppl on both sides need to understand that

Faraz Aug 29, 2015 12:20pm

@Sunil that's because of its numerical supremacy and not because it is a responsible nation

Faisal Aug 29, 2015 12:47pm

"Although no real evidence has been presented..." till then its just speculation.

Srk Aug 29, 2015 12:49pm

@Adil Khan yes cant agree less.

Srk Aug 29, 2015 12:52pm

@Bashir kargil episode took place after both nations got atomic

Ashok Aug 29, 2015 12:52pm

@tariq Let me tell you the currently the situation is like that only, part of the Kashmir controlled by Pakistan and rest control by India, why don't we maintain status quo on this.

mir aftab Aug 29, 2015 12:53pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy has exposed vested interests in both countries. This will continue unless the article contents trickle down to the unaware masses that should react because they are the ones who are bearing the costs.

Srk Aug 29, 2015 12:53pm

@Amin Syed UK is threatened by Russia

Imtiaz Aug 29, 2015 01:00pm

We'll eat grass but we'll have a bomb.

Now we are eating grass and have many bombs.

Only 3.6% of electricity is nuclear energy in Pakistan, so there's no good side effect of it.

On top of that we are a religious state and percentage of our using these weapons are several times higher than other nuclear arms possessing nations which are secular.

Mehta Aug 29, 2015 01:02pm

Good article but it would have been great if Dr. Hoodbhoy have mentioned Indias big neighbour China. It was never only about pakistan.Nuclear arms was not necessity but compulsion after disaster of 61 indo- china war

Satyameva Jayate Aug 29, 2015 01:11pm

@tariq - Friendship DOES NOT require absence of conflict. China has border conflicts with all its neighbours in the south and east, but it is a big trading partner with all of them.

Morad786 Aug 29, 2015 01:12pm

India should show a big heart if it wants to be treated like a senior in the region...

Tha Aug 29, 2015 01:15pm

@Amin Syed They had them for ages. They learned their mistake and stopped making nukes whereas India and Pakistan still have to learn it

Rashid Sultan Aug 29, 2015 01:38pm

@Amin Syed I don't think the prof needs to answer your question about nuke war heads held by the old European powers. It has no relevance other than to point out despite being nuclear capable post WW2 these countries have capped their war heads unlike India & Pakistan who are on a roll now and don't need these weapons at all.

Sivakumar Aug 29, 2015 01:42pm

As ever Dr. Hoodbhoy hits the nail on it’s veritable head by his enormous intellect and integrity. It’s not for nothing that he is enormously respected on both sides of the border a feat that few can pull of. However the article though insightful and comprehensive in it’s content, suffers from the lack of mention of China. Dr. Hoodbhoy completes skirts over the relevance of a nuclear armed China in India’s security and strategic calculations and unfortunately like some other Pakistani analysts gives in a distorted belief that Indian military planners are constantly thinking about none else but Pakistan.....

analytic Aug 29, 2015 01:48pm

The writer makes an excellent start and gives convincing arguments, but blunders in the end where he dismisses the utility of tactical nukes in just half a sentence. Secondly equating the US Military Industrial Complex with the Pakistani Defence Production is disproportionate to say the least. There is no comparison of the scale, and the purpose.

Nishant Srivastava Aug 29, 2015 02:06pm

Wow great article! Completely agreed, we are risking lives of all those who otherwise are supposed to inherit this land. Tribal blood feud is the perfect way to describe the situation. The last man standing of such a war may well be the only man standing here!!!

Akbar Sait Aug 29, 2015 02:20pm

@Raj Dear Sir unfortunately North Korea is living proof that things dont necessarily work like that.

rs Aug 29, 2015 02:28pm

Fair one. But for India, China is also having long borders. Where as for Pakistan it is not so. As such both cannot be compared.

wigi Aug 29, 2015 02:29pm

@Amin Syed and @waqas

Other countries mentioned had it during the cold-war era (And NATO includes UK, France etc). Now having spent so much, they need not destroy it. China on the other hand wants to make itself a credible superpower, and without such deterrence it stands no chance to be a superpower (Superpower = a mix of economy, military & technological might). They just have the credible deterrence in place. That's as far as nailing the article (and jumping to conclusions and thumping the chests) goes.

AW Aug 29, 2015 03:06pm

Sanity? The majority is of the sane people on both sides of the border wanting peace, trade and friendship, but they are not the decision makers. The "Leaders" on both sides are bent upon keeping the walls up for protection of their "Leadership"

jojodelhi Aug 29, 2015 03:13pm

Sir When ever I read you, my faith that Pakistan might still have hope reaffirms. Please stay healthy and safe.

Harmony-1 Aug 29, 2015 03:21pm

@AW - Good one!

Harmony-1 Aug 29, 2015 03:21pm

@Sunil - That's untrue. You guys “flaunt” about everything, from so and so Indians doing so well in so and so places to Modi taking selfies. Ask Rohit Pandey, he will vouch for it.

HZR Aug 29, 2015 03:37pm

if Pakistan and India use even half their arsenals, the radioactive ash and smoke would destroy not just both countries but ......and that includes China the purveyor and proliferation of this technology with its twisted logic my enemies enemy is my friend.

HZR Aug 29, 2015 03:39pm

@Harmony-1 It is not only both nations but the neighbours of both nations as well,as otherwise they will suffer from"collateral damage"

HZR Aug 29, 2015 03:42pm

@tariq Put it another way..for the sake of few silly should in Kashmir are both nations willing to destroy themselves. Is Kashmir so precious that they are ready for mutual destruction.Silly and so abandon Kashmir for now and choose the path of progress.

Akram Aug 29, 2015 03:48pm

excellent article, Dr Hoodbhoy is correct in that there needs to be a physical limit to which both states adhere. Perhaps similar to the Start treaties signed by the US and Russia. Its time to discuss this, before the situation gets out of hand and resources are wasted, when they can be put to better use fighting poverty in both countries.

I think about 500 warheads for Pakistan will be sufficient, the indians will probably want a similar no.

Akram Aug 29, 2015 03:50pm

@shouvik mukherjee

the no first use policy has never been tested in reality, lets see how long it lasts when your army is losing a conventional battle.

European Aug 29, 2015 03:52pm

Somewhere people seem to have forgotten that India tested its first nuclear bomb in 1974 and despite of its neighbors decided not to go further with the development and production of nuclear weapons.

Punch Aug 29, 2015 04:04pm

Missiles are the Freudian symbols of the modern age. Some countries like to flaunt them.

bit saf Aug 29, 2015 04:07pm

There is no dearth of wise people in this otherwise Subcontinent of Religious Lunatics. Yet very few are wise AND articulate, who consistently raise their voice of reason even in these crazy times. Only engagement of people like Prof Hoodbhoy and like-minded Indians can probably show the way to peace in our neighborhood. The rest, including the nuclear warriors and candle-light marchers and cricket diplomats are just junk.

Hassan Virk Aug 29, 2015 04:44pm

I think that retired PAF officer is Shahzad Chaudhary :)

Komal S Aug 29, 2015 04:48pm

@Morad786 For that Pakistan has to behave like a Junior! Enough of this Big Heart Nonsense!

omer khan shaheen Aug 29, 2015 04:50pm

@shouvik mukherjee Is it? because history says otherwise.

Mahendra Singh Aug 29, 2015 04:53pm

Well, why third largest? Why not number 1 in the world!

Jigar Aug 29, 2015 04:54pm

@Morad786 Maybe Pakistan should listen to what seniors say.

Indian Aug 29, 2015 04:56pm

Sir ,We from India know what our cap are's. When Sir you are comparing Pakistan with India ,we are intentionally comparing the wrong one. India has to take care of Chinese threat also , and now Pakistan and Chinese friendship are deeper than ocean , higher than sky and don't know what. So comparison should be level playing.

Rajendra Asthana Aug 29, 2015 04:58pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy, a little correction. India tested its first nuclear weapon in 1974 at Pokhran. Dr. Raja Ramanna was the prime mover.

T.M. Reddy Aug 29, 2015 05:18pm

India has shown to the world they are a power in space technology and space-crafts. Latest is or was MOM around the Mars at a very cheap rate with fantastic images appreciated around the world. Any brain should think what the main motive of Indian nuclear power. It is: Power to generate alternate cheap energy and other to venture into unknown universe - the war mongering is a low key and low profile in India or around the world.

Mark Aug 29, 2015 05:31pm

@Bashir India tried to invade pakistan twice in the past 15 years?

Life must be great in the alternate universe.

Khalid Aug 29, 2015 05:35pm


It was great, ALHAMDULILLAH.

Mark Aug 29, 2015 05:35pm

A very well-written article.

But building up a nuclear arsenal is pointless till the time terrorism is contained.

Arslan Aug 29, 2015 05:58pm

This is a case of using innuendo to lecture. Are the reports authoritative? Is the retired (unnamed) air force officer well informed?

While I am not a fan of nuclear deterrence, we live in a world where we do not make all the rules. The basic rule remains that if you cannot protect yourselves, you are at a disadvantage. While a serious debate on what protection entails is desirable, it is naive to rely just on the magnanimity of others.

Pnpuri Aug 29, 2015 06:46pm

I agree, but who will bell the cat. The primary dispute between two countries is Kasmir, the moment attempt was made at Ufa to put issue on back burner,you know what happened. But two countries should understand that soviet Russia collapsed in spite being a nuclear power. God forbids there is war, whoever may use first , it will be enough for collapse of world economy.

Saujatri Aug 29, 2015 07:00pm

Very neatly explained, unwanted rivalry between two neighbors had not only made them scapegoats for the arms vendors but also made these two countries threatening time bombs for the entire region. How many nukes we have and how many the other have certainly do not make any sense. Any major city is nuked among these two countries by any one of these two, it will definitely have a deadly bearing on the other country ... so close both the countries are located, and so far they are from each other in terms of mutual trust. An alarming situation over all.

Jonty Rhodes Aug 29, 2015 07:05pm

Good article. But the problem is that whenever you talk about the nuclear arsenal of India, you have to include China in that equation. India has close to 100-110 nuclear warheads according to report. Pakistan has 120 right now and the report says that they can go up t0 350 with current speed. At the same time, you have to also see that China has 290 warheads. Majority of India's defense policy is China centric because we have lost a war against them and they are way bigger than us in terms of their defense capabilities. China is Pakistan's close partner. Further, China is trying to build more defense capabilities in Indian ocean also with its string of pearls policy. So India perceives China as a bigger threat than Pakistan. But despite all these threats, we have diverted majority of material towards producing energy according to report. Also, India officially has a "No First Use" policy. Remember that also when making a comparison.

Nayak Aug 29, 2015 07:20pm

what a clean, simple, intelligent and an honest man!! Love from India.

Sasa Aug 29, 2015 07:35pm

Good scare tactics. Both India and Pakistan will not dare to use nuclear bombs. Results are nothing but destruction of South Asia civilization. World will not let it happen.

Woz Ahmed Aug 29, 2015 07:38pm

Sir an insightful article as always. I google your name just out of interest your achievements are many, particularly attempts at educating our nation. Sir I salute you.

When I see how foreign seccretary starts a conference saying we are a nuclear state, we can defend ourselves, but you don't hear that from France, UK, Russia or even India, that concerns me.

We need a massive family planning programme, Dawn has shown poor villagers saying they want family planning advice and support, but none is forthcoming, I believe our population will be 300 million and rising by 2050, no time at all.

Let us stop at 100 nuclear warheads and invest in our people. Kashmiris want independence not union with Pakistan, so why are we sacrificing our futures ? We can't say it's a moral thing as the oppression of Muslims in Xianging , China where Ramadan is banned is far more serious..

I doubt things will change, but you will always be a voice of sanity.

khan Aug 29, 2015 07:59pm

@shouvik mukherjee Thats not correct. India has a no first use policy against nations that are not nuclear.

ali Aug 29, 2015 08:01pm

@Khalid Well, you know him very well, but you don't know anything about your economic muscles and capabilities to cope with the extra expenses. The countries you mentioned they are self sufficient in human capital and all other sustainable economic characters. Unfortunately Pakistani people are the worst sufferers of this madness. You need energy, employment, universal education, proper democracy, and better infrastructure, don't you want that?

hashmi Aug 29, 2015 08:01pm

To me this is the suicide tendency India or Pakistan pursuing . There is no end to it, that is why developed nations concentrate on promoting better life to their people .
Mr. Hoodbhai has been most of the times very reasonable.

kamal kaushik Aug 29, 2015 08:14pm

i have been following the article of Dr Hoodbhoy since last couple of years does this nuclear upmanship solves the problem of subcontinent i think no instead of this nuclear nasha govt should spend money on health education and well being of its citizens

pathanoo Aug 29, 2015 08:19pm

Both countries are playing with deadly fire. India needs Nuclear weapons to protect itself against China and Pakistan aginst India. The logic has some validity but its mostly flawed. A miscalculation would be unthinkably destructive and neither country would be left standing at all.

rahul - india Aug 29, 2015 08:52pm

Im an indian and i want this india pakistan madness to end. together we can achieve greatness and yet we fight amongst ourselves to no end.

rahul - india Aug 29, 2015 08:55pm

@tariq you have your kashmir and we have ours. why cant we keep it at that. joint rule is impossible due to reasons like 1. who will conduct elections 2. will it a contest between parties of pakistan vs parties of india or all parties of both countries take part 3. who will set the fisca/monetary policy 4. currency issues will be there. your rupees and our rupees are not the same.

Secular Pakistani Aug 29, 2015 09:53pm

There were reports that the Indian establishment had war gamed a nuclear war scenario with Pakistan on the bases that most of india would survive if Pakistan nuked it while Pakistan would not.Pakistan must have enough nukes to completely decimate India..only then will deterrence truly work.

Siddhartha Aug 29, 2015 09:55pm

For Pakistan, I don't think the third largest is enough. They need to have more so that they can be No.1 on possessing nuclear warheads ahead of the US and Russia. Then they can really put pressure on India. There dream is that India will be on her knee and give up Kashmir, Hyderabad (decan), part of UP and other Muslim dominated states to Pakistan.

This is the mind set of Khan-dominated Pakistani society!!!

From USA, S.A.Hyder, Ph.D. Aug 29, 2015 10:05pm

@shouvik Mukherjee: It is just a policy. Not written in Bhagwat Geeta. Policy can be reversed in less than a second. Then what? Will the other party remind the first party of the policy? Nonsense and hogwash.

A.vjed Iban Aug 29, 2015 10:10pm

@shouvik mukherjee Even if "most" are destroyed, there would be retaliation even from just one nuke. 1 nuke, 10,000 nukes, both nations will face fallout effects for sure.

From USA, S.A.Hyder, Ph.D. Aug 29, 2015 10:10pm

@Tariq: If there is no Kashmir dispute then what will the two military do?

prasant Aug 29, 2015 10:18pm

Apj Abdul Kalam had said strengths respects strength.India detonated nuclear bomb taking china into consideration, & pakistan detonates looking at India.So now 3 of us are in a position where no one can attack. So please be sure that indian nukes are china specific & chinas nukes are usa specific.Again usas are Russia specific and vice versa. There is no rocket science.

dsdsd Aug 29, 2015 10:26pm

A great article. A mad and higly dangerous race between two least developed, poor, and dirty countries. The sufferes are the citizens of the two nations. This explains why none of the promises (education, health, freedom from 'slavery' and bonded labour, etc.) made by the leaders of these countries at the time of independence have been realized. I wonder, whe, if ever, will this end?

shyam singh Aug 29, 2015 10:28pm

Mr. Hoodbhoy is the sanest and the most honest Pakistani I have ever known,always love to read his opinions and views, a great man indeed.

Rex Major Aug 29, 2015 10:30pm

@Indian : The sanest person both in India and Pakistan. Why cant we have leaders like Mr. Hoodbhoy.

... because leading a nation does not only mean being able to talk well on disarmament. Being sane (or sanest) is a very good quality to have, but that alone isn't going to help anyone lead.

From USA, S.A.Hyder, Ph.D. Aug 29, 2015 10:31pm

@Amin Syed What Pakistan and India would do with their arsenal? There is no reason for any one to have a nuclear arsenal, if not going to be used. God forbid if any one has the insanity to use it. Do you think Sweden or Japan or Germany do not have the capacity or the intellectuals or finances to develop nuclear bombs. They certainly have but chose not to. They are using their resources for the benefit of their country rather than becoming prisoner of their military-industrial complex. The countries with nuclear arsenal have such an overwhelmingly strong military base that it dictates the policy and not the government. Government is in the name only.

Mustafa Aug 29, 2015 10:35pm


'Another great article Dr Hoodbhoy! I also agree that there is no obvious solution to this problem.'

Pakistan is the only nuclear country that would permit such an article to be printed in a major newspaper and that too from a 'nuclear expert'. Do similar articles appear in major newspapers in India?

Mustafa Aug 29, 2015 10:39pm

It was Soviet Union's nuclear weapons that allowed Russia to emerge as an independent democratic country. If Russia didn't possess the nuclear weapon they would have had a 'democracy' forced upon them from the world colonial order like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Egypt.

Amir Cheema Aug 29, 2015 10:41pm

Mr Hoodbhoy have you wondered why India and Pakistan had two major wars within 25 years of their existence and no major war since then. Nuclear warheads are not meant to be used. They act as serious deterrent against wars. I would take the cost of nuclear program over a major war any day. I wish leaders and people of India and Pakistan were as smart as Norway and Sweden but they are not and your logic is not valid in this area of the world. Otherwise India and Pakistan would have solved Kashmir dispute fifty years ago. These two countries are not even close to start talking about outstanding disputes.

Mustafa Aug 29, 2015 10:52pm

@Jonty Rhodes;

'But the problem is that whenever you talk about the nuclear arsenal of India, you have to include China in that equation.'

And when you include China you have to include America and when you include America you have to include Russia. It is a chain reaction, pun intended.

sri Aug 29, 2015 10:59pm

@khan hw can we use second as der will be no first strike by non nuclear country..?

Guest65 Aug 29, 2015 11:04pm

You hit the nail on the head " those who stand to stand gains and power ,......are multiplying in numbers " , just count the number of " Brigadiers , through Major generals , Lt Generals to Generals and of the same ranks in Navy and Airforce " and compare it vis not the start but the War of 1965 , which , we lost at the Tashqand table by a self proclaimed Field Marshal after our 16/17 years of war ammunations & preparations could not sustain a bare 17 days fullscale war , will be celeberated in a week time ??? How many Folds they have grown ?????

EuroStar77 Aug 29, 2015 11:06pm

@Jonty Rhodes China is used as an exuse go justify large arm spending in the world. A large scare war between India and China is nit going to happen for many reasons which can not be explained here.

Kabir Aug 29, 2015 11:10pm

@Suren Singh Sahni Excellent response my friend

Anupam Aug 29, 2015 11:15pm

North Korea and South Korea are more responsible than India and Pakistan when it comes to border skirmishes. And we all know the reputation of North Korea. We are better than North Korea at least, if not South.

I don't know who is responsible, but all I can say is, it takes two to tango. Or as any common citizen in either country would say "ek haath se taali nahi bajti".

Satt Aug 29, 2015 11:20pm

@khan No..India has "no first use policy" towards all irrespective of nuclear or not.

ashutosh mishra Aug 29, 2015 11:24pm

Gem like !! As always !!!

Observer1 Aug 29, 2015 11:25pm

@rahul - india , I am Pakistani and feel the same way. United we can do so much. Lets end the fighting but Politicians on the both side would say NO I am sure..

Observer1 Aug 29, 2015 11:26pm

@rahul - india Why not let Kashmiris decide their future under U.N resolutions. Good way to resolve...don't you think?

vinayak Aug 29, 2015 11:33pm

Only sane logical voice ...please protect yourself... Subcontinent need educationists thinker like you.

Muzaffar Ali Aug 29, 2015 11:38pm

General MacArthur said: there is no security only opportunity!

We need to change the definition of " security".

Perhaps security for Pakistan is to be the most literate and creative nation in the world....

fiicNfiik Aug 29, 2015 11:57pm

Dear Mr Hoodbhoy. A well written piece. There is only one thing missing from your logic. That is the export potential. It is only logical that once each country satisfies its 'hunger' for bombs, the military industrial complex would like to keep the production lines working and to boldly go where no man has gone before - arm those who feel threaten by anyone, any time, any where. Only problem is that those who wage gorilla wars will not be deterred by nuclear weapons.

AM India Aug 30, 2015 12:08am

Indian nuclear weaponisation has nothing to do with Pakistan. The decision was taken as a response to China going nuclear and further confirmed when the Enterprise sailed into the Bay of Bengal.

Once india went nuclear, Pakistan would obviously follow suit - that was expected. Mr. Subrahmanyam is on record stating that it is a good thing that Pakistan went nuclear as it would be more secure in it's dealing with India.

You are a good man Mr. Hoodbhoy - No offence, but I don't think you understand Mr. Subrahmanyam or General Sundarji... "Deterrence is not war fighting" would be one place to start.

There is nothing illogical about indian or pakistani having nuclear arsenals but it is certainly illogical to go beyond a credible minimum number. Just one hitting Delhi is enough to finish the GoI. So why is the Pakistani arsenal increasing? you don't need it for us, so who are you making it for? That is the question to ask and the answer is obvious. It's not that complicated.

AM India Aug 30, 2015 12:08am

Indian nuclear weaponisation has nothing to do with Pakistan. The decision was taken as a response to China going nuclear and further confirmed when the Enterprise sailed into the Bay of Bengal.

Once india went nuclear, Pakistan would obviously follow suit - that was expected. Mr. Subrahmanyam is on record stating that it is a good thing that Pakistan went nuclear as it would be more secure in it's dealing with India.

You are a good man Mr. Hoodbhoy - No offence, but I don't think you understand Mr. Subrahmanyam or General Sundarji... "Deterrence is not war fighting" would be one place to start.

There is nothing illogical about indian or pakistani having nuclear arsenals but it is certainly illogical to go beyond a credible minimum number. Just one hitting Delhi is enough to finish the GoI. So why is the Pakistani arsenal increasing? you don't need it for us, so who are you making it for? That is the question to ask and the answer is obvious. It's not that complicated.

Secular Pathan Aug 30, 2015 12:57am

So we are fast becoming another USSR? No way, that thing doesn't last for long.

Pervez Hoodhboy is trying to make us USA and saving us from becoming another USSR. But No, Pakistanis will hate this man the most because he is the most reasonable and rational and straight forward person in the country.

Wake up people, we need to make Pakistan like a Scandinavian Secular Welfare State. A country where the police is scared of its people not the people scared of its police.

Indian Aug 30, 2015 01:01am

@shouvik mukherjee That does not mean India cannot deliberately or accidentally destroy weapons deployed/stored with conventional weapons in a war.

ROHIT PANDEY. Aug 30, 2015 01:28am

@Harmony-1 I am going to tap the " recommend" button beneath your post.

I sure like it!:):):)

Javed Aug 30, 2015 01:32am

@Satyameva Jayate TruthWillPrevail some day but from honest people not like... I know what you mean but it is not business only. In India-China relationship it always China that set the tone and trade is heavily lopsided in China's favor. India-Pakistan relations are much more complex even if there was no Kashmir.

Javed Aug 30, 2015 01:36am

@jojodelhi And who we should look up to India for hope,in Modi, RSS?

Javed Aug 30, 2015 01:39am

@Ashish Chaudhary Defense spending is based purely on threat perception. FYI we spend over 5% of GDP even higher should not surpise any body

ROHIT PANDEY. Aug 30, 2015 01:40am

@Rajendra Asthana Dr Raja Ramanna was once on a visit to Iraq.

Saddam Hussein is reported to have approached Ramanna asking him to stay back in Iraq and develop n weapons for Iraq. Dr.Ramanna said that the next 24 hours,when he was due to fly out of Iraq the worst in his life.

What would Dr Abdul Qadir would have to say about this particular incident? Pakistan,it seems to me,once leaked nuclear secrets like distributing confetti at a wedding?:):)

By the way,Saddam Hussein was SECULAR and his B'aath Party enforced it and he FORCED tribals to send their girls to school just opposite of what Taliban did to Malala Yusufazai.

I like him a lot and am sad that he stirred the USA and West to dethrone him,really!:(:(

ROHIT PANDEY. Aug 30, 2015 01:43am

@Muzaffar Ali Perhaps security for Pakistan is to be the most literate and creative nation in the world....

See? You got that ABSOLUTELY right ..formula to mint a lot of more Dr Hoodbhoys in Pakistan?:):)

Javed Aug 30, 2015 01:51am

@UKumar A typical canned answer..look at your relationship with China? Almost peace ime normal as if massive trade is not a sign of normalcy then what would be? Your nosie about border dispute is all hoax as you know deep down in your heart you escalate diplomatically the whole realationship will crumble in a day and active military confrontation as we have it today are completely out of qustion, even few skirmishes would bring the realtionship crashing down and now look at India-Pakistan relationship things even without Kashmir with BJP/RSS in power things look quite ugly..

Bhujang Patil Aug 30, 2015 01:59am

Dr Hoodbhoy,

You mentioned the nuclear tests of 1998 as if India did it for the first time.

May 1974 tests (Operation "Smiling Buddha" ) at Pokhran is what you should have mentioned.
Does that change the equation of your article? India has shown a great restrain not to blow the production out of proportion for 25 years before 1998 tests.

Mohd Kamran Aug 30, 2015 01:59am

Hahaaa.....Pakistan, the front runner in N- weapons...thats all they can focus would be great if that energy could've been diverted to some constructive tasks instead..

Marcus_715129 Aug 30, 2015 02:22am

If India really sees itself as the more responsible party then it really needs to behave like one and so far in my opinion it has behaved far much worse then Pakistan. It has not only made some of the most proacative remarks by idiotic ministers but has threatened Pakistan and time. It would appear to me that Pakistan is much more responsible than India and its not the Pakistanis the world need to worry about but the India's with their fundalmental hindu goverment that has a clear agenda to destroy Pakistan and that in my book or in any other countries book is not acceptable behaviour.

murthy nori Aug 30, 2015 02:22am

Irrespective of who uses first, both countries will disappear from this earth. Both sides can discuss further in heaven. Good luck .

s.khan Aug 30, 2015 02:45am

The question that prof. Hoodbhoy has raised with regard to Pakistan's arsenal applies to all. Why USA and Russia need thousands of war heads. USA and Russia are also spending large amount of money on modernising these weapons. After long period the operability of the weapons is not certain. USA is the worst culprit and escaped self inflicted damage narrowly by sheer luck. On a flight it accidentally dropped nuclear bombs on North Carolina. Somehow the explosion didn't occur due to the failure at the last stage. Another time it dropped a bomb in arctic on a flight. There is also a case of misunderstanding when Russia suspected that USA has launched a nuclear attack and was about to respond when a check was made and it proved false alarm. India and Pakistan don't have much warning time. Pakistan's decision to increase its arsenal was predictable. The Economist magazine, opposed American nuclear deal with India, predicted that Pakistan will react to the deal by increasing its arsenal.

issak Aug 30, 2015 02:48am

all countries holding nuclear weapons and other types haven't been touched, are stronger with world wide influence, hence, Pakistan also has that right to do the same for its defense!

Moody Blue Aug 30, 2015 04:14am

@Morad786 Indian side had a big heart but look at what the "splittists" (famous Chinese term) tried to do by stabbing it in the center of that heart. Why doesn't the side seeking that dangerous and mortal split not have a big heart instead? Any reason to wait? Or do you admit that only a small single-focused heart bent on endless wars and conflict resides within?

Surinder Kade Aug 30, 2015 04:19am

Prof did not mention that India faces nuclear China on its northern border,India had to go Nuclear.

Moody Blue Aug 30, 2015 04:20am

The author offers no new analysis but reminds the reader of the "nuclear winter" hypothesis from the 1970s or 1980s. Like the domino theory, if India or Pakistan starts a local nuclear war, its effects will drag in ALL nuclear powers into the conflict - they'll fall into place like dominoes. So, it does not matter if Pakistani and Indian nuclear weapons will be in play at the outset. It will be a catastrophe for our planet and its inhabitants - in the end. Our way of life is a slow-burning nuclear weapon that will have the same consewquences.

Amir Khan Aug 30, 2015 06:03am

Yes. Oblivion can never be a solution, however hard the rationale.

Not enemy from California Aug 30, 2015 06:41am

@Bashir Saab, It is not just reacting but over reacting

Vijay (Toronto) Aug 30, 2015 06:43am

@Akram And how many 'conventional battles' has India lost against Pakistan?

Bnath Aug 30, 2015 06:53am

@Bashir A couple of things, 1. If India had not tested in 1998, would Pakistan have not got nuclear? If Pakistan had not tested would that have meant they don't have a device? Think Israel. 2. There is absolutely no fondness in India to undo the partition.

pranav Aug 30, 2015 07:54am

India often asserted that she will not initiate nuclear war, it is Pakistan who knows that if they not going to use nuclear warheads then the result will be same as was of last four wars.

Mustafa Aug 30, 2015 07:57am

Dr. Sahib's ostensibly even-handed approach to the nuclear race in the subcontinent is in reality more against Pakistan's nuclear program because his audience are in Pakistan. The 'conciliatory' comments from across the border are absent from the Indian media. Also I noticed that all our well wishers from across the border have refrained from using the term 'Indian Subcontinent', the much relished term among Indians and Westerners.

M Khan Aug 30, 2015 08:12am

Industrial millitary complex is the most powerful lobby in US. This complex keeps the band of boggy man alive, sometimes it is North Korea, Iran, Russia and China, A tiny Vanuzula that according to them is a threat to US interest. It looks like India and Pakistan following the same path unfortunately.

P Setra Aug 30, 2015 08:20am

@Bashir A lot of Pakistanis are misled by lies told by vested interests. India has no reason to deny, detest or undo the partition. Just give the logic a chance. It seems hard for some Pakistanis to compromise with this fact, not the other way around.

dawn Aug 30, 2015 08:41am

@Punch - and some are deterred by them.

Ravi Reddy Aug 30, 2015 10:07am

Dr.PH always speaks sense , nothing but sense. I always wonder , how he manages. Respect from Hyderabad, the one in Deccan.

Rehman Aug 30, 2015 11:57am

India is the world’s largest arms importer today. The Indian defence budget is set to hit a record high of $40bn whereas Pakistan’s budget is just $6.002bn. With such a meagre defence budget, Pakistan’s conventional capabilities simply do not prove sufficient to deter or halt an Indian conventional military attack. Pakistan can never become a part of any kind of arms race with India due to the economic restraints it faces. Thus it sees nuclear weaponry as a balancer in such a fragile security environment, and rightly so.

Rehman Aug 30, 2015 11:59am

Isn’t it ironic that while Pakistan is dubbed as the fastest nation to develop its nuclear weapons, most western media organisations keep mum over who controls the worldwide stock of fissile material (highly enriched uranium and plutonium) needed to create nuclear weaponry? According to many reports, the P5 states as well as India have an upper hand when it comes to fissile material stockpiles. So how can Pakistan be the fastest developer of nuclear energy, when it has so little control over nuclear raw material? This just doesn’t add up.

Eramanagalam Somapalan Aug 30, 2015 03:22pm

It is indeed alarming situation. Let us hope and pray that saner elements on both sides win all the time.

vrpatil Aug 30, 2015 04:42pm

Ofcourse a good article.For mentally or psychologically insecure persons or states,(minds filled with jelousy,hatredness and suspeciosness instead of sanity and logic) even when they posses worlds' all nuclear arsenals ,they don't feel safe ever.Cuba for example stood against USA firmly in all aspects, without nuclear power ,even that too under a dictator.Building of a nation needs ,character,integrity and a credible vision, not just absurd political gimmics or blackmailing , extortionist mindsets.

Muzaffar Ali Aug 30, 2015 07:04pm

Countries should stop thinking from the barrel of the gun for solutions, .....

Cooperation not Confrontation will lead to peace, harmony, growth and security for all.

Educated,prosperous and aware citizen is our best security

K m JHA Aug 30, 2015 09:28pm

@Morad786 and you should respond to its big heart with a good gesture not with guns otherwise will not be gud

wajahat Aug 30, 2015 10:23pm

The world is witnessing nuclear hypocrisy at its best. Israel remains a defacto Nuclear power with several hundred warheads and remains unquestioned, together which the P5 having thousands of warhead altogether, while Iran is coerced into a sanctions regime. Weakness in today's world only results in Libya and Iraq. NATO wouldn't have ventured in Libya if it had nukes. Both Libya and Iraq stand destroyed today as nations. Let our requirements dictate the number of warheads we should possess, not anybody else.

Javed Aug 31, 2015 01:22am

@Raj Patel In all likelihood Pakistan would not have gone this route, had no plans till 1974 as it is was an impossible task both economically and technically. Most of the set up in Pakistan at the time was a small nuclear power plant and a resaerch reactor with research facilities in Islamabad and any of the route either Uranium or Plutonium was undoable but Indian first experiment"Smiling Budhha" was the watershed momnet for Pakistan to think seriously. BTW right after the second tests in 1998 LK Advani on the record threting Pakistan so Indian efforts(going nuclear) has always been Pakistan specific, although the propaganda (mutely) is against China

Javed Aug 31, 2015 04:05am

@Analyst Looks like he knows more about every thing than our so-called experts, politicians and generals combines.The rest is all noise. He mkaes lot of sense for sane minds, for others (insane) nothing will make sense.

Moody Blue Aug 31, 2015 04:08am

@Javed What an incoherent comment. Is this meantg to counter Dr. Hoodbhoy's rational and persuasive analysis?

Abdul Muqtadir Aug 31, 2015 05:11am

Dr. Hoodbhoy has brought a very important topic worth pondering for the survival of the masses of both nations that are basically the same people. The other point to note is despite the madness and expenses on Nuclear arm race and parallel to that expenses on conventional Arm forces are on the increase. Despite the reduction of Pakistan size and boundaries in 1971 its armed forces and expenses are on the same level, rather have increased. Now Pakistan should really think that it is getting Loans/ Aids from USA & Saudi Arabia which it can avoided if it cuts its such expenses. Regarding threat of India, it should try to resolve it by political talks and diplomacy like nowise Sharif was trying until Gen. Musharaf did the Kargil Fiasco.

gopa Aug 31, 2015 01:08pm

India's population is seven times bigger than Pakistan, but India's GDP is eight times bigger than Pakistan.

gopa Aug 31, 2015 01:11pm

@Mike There will be a stage when they cannot pay back and then they will be forced to hand over the arsenal which was responsible to create the mess.

ABL Aug 31, 2015 01:28pm

@tariq Dear Tariq, more serious conflicts and political problems have been resolved during the last couple of decades in this world, both local and regional in Asia, Africa and Europe, which were even more complicated than Kashmir. The issue is the willingness of the leadership on both sides of the border, both civilian and military to solve this issue. Trust me, now there are more advanced forms of conflict resolution strategies than ever before. Every conflict can be resolved by 'talking' when both parties are determined to solve it.

karan Aug 31, 2015 01:49pm

Can we all stop living in this (disgusting)fantasy world that India and Pakistan will nuke each other.

Nuked land is worth Nothing. Nothing. It is like a wound that never heals. Which ever country nukes the other is essentially gaining nothing for itself- just the destruction of the other. Not including the nuclear fallout that will affect the aggressor anyway.

Responsible nuclear states don't threaten each other with nukes. And countries like ours which have majority population that are poor and deprived dont crave nukes or war.

Focus on something that actually matters.

rehan Aug 31, 2015 03:38pm

What about the first and second largest ? No comments on them at all !

rahul1 Aug 31, 2015 05:50pm

Merge both countries - and spontaneously one would see surplus nuclear heads, Kashmir issue resolved in a moment, happier & peaceful Afghanistan ; more cooperative and productive SAARC. Well I was just day dreaming ! Truth is 70 years ago, It was easy to split the region but extremely difficult to merge state of Pakistan with Indian nation - our egos outweigh all other commonalities. May God bless

someone Aug 31, 2015 06:31pm

Mr. Hoodbhoy,lets first clear the misconception of India's need for nuclear weapon. Pakistanis always think it was meant for them and they could never be more wrong about it. In 1962 India lost war to China, despite peace treaty. That was a great set back. Then China does a nuclear weapon test. There was no option for India but to have minimum deterrence against hostile China.Now Pakistan may say that they have the same logic but they need to be reminded that in all wars between India and Pakistan, it was always Pakistan who was aggressor. .

D C JOSHI Aug 31, 2015 06:56pm

Both countries should freeze the outstanding issues for 50 years. They should join a collaborative arrangement to develop the economies of the entire region.Religion never built strong societies.Reduce the hold of military on elected govt. Take lessons from history. China will never able to fulfil its comments to Pakistan. It is itself being buffeted by democratic typhoon which can not be contained for long.

DA Aug 31, 2015 09:22pm

Great article.

Mehreen Aug 31, 2015 10:19pm

It is the season of war drums...and the complex wins again.

The-odd-one Aug 31, 2015 11:42pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy's articles are always a little surprising. In our current landscape of jignoism and fundamentalism he manages to say a lot with just a little.

nimesh Sep 01, 2015 04:35am

Pakistan will have the 3rd largest nuclear arsenal but 202o. Twice the size of India's 175.