Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Musharraf admission: What’s so surprising?

Arun Kumar Singh - - - - - - Sept.16 : - - - - - - Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s latest admission that military aid provided by the United States to Pakistan for the war against terror during his tenure had been used to strengthen defences against India, and that he ensured Pakistan’s strategic weapons programme was "speeded up", as well as China’s latest border incursions should finally clear the cobwebs from the minds of India’s political leadership. - - - - - - Many Indians wonder why we continue to suffer nasty surprises at the hands of Pakistan and China. Forty-seven years after the Sino-Indian war in 1962, India has again been taken by surprise by China in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand. - - - - - - India’s lack of strategic culture has been repeatedly exposed and its military often forced to fight under very disadvantageous conditions. - - - - - -

Our political-bureacratic leadership has allowed defence preparations to fall below critical levels while following a policy of "passive, low, reactive defence". Hopefully, the restrictions imposed on the Indian Army — not being allowed to patrol some "sensitive areas" on the Sino-Indian border — will be lifted before the Chinese seize more of our territory. - - - - - -

There should be no doubt as to why Pakistan and its terrorists will always aim to cause mayhem in two places in India — Mumbai and Vadinar. Mumbai is the financial capital of India. Its stock market turnover is four times that of Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And Vadinar is a small coastal town in Gujarat’s Jamnagar district. Vadinar port in the Gulf of Kutch has three oil refineries, with the capacity of 99 million tonnes and over two million tonnes of fuel storage. Both are India’s economic jugular, and attacking these will keep India economically hyphenated to Pakistan. - - - - - -

Fortunately, the Coast Guard’s new North-West Command for Gujarat, with its headquarters at Gandhinagar, has become functional. It is expected to be formally inaugurated by the defence minister in October. Hopefully, this new command will urgently receive additional vessels and aircraft to ensure the safety of Gujarat, including Vadinar. - - - - - -

What is the second-best method to hit Mumbai and Vadinar apart from terrorist attacks? The answer: cruise missiles with land attack capability, launched from ships, submarines and Maritime Patrol aircraft like the P-3C Orion. Theoretically, the 120-km range Harpoon anti-ship missile, with a 250 kg warhead, fits the bill perfectly for Pakistan as an interim system while ratcheting up the production of its larger Chinese-gifted 500-km range Babur cruise missiles to build a stockpile of 450. - - - - - -

The long-term aim of Pakistan’s Babur cruise missiles (these can be delivered by fighter or maritime patrol aircrafts to extend their range) is to counter India’s over-publicised Ballastic Missile Defence System (BMDS) and give Pakistan a "cheap" but massive first-strike capabilty intended to overwhelm India’s nuclear retaliation capability. - - - - - -

Right now, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is designed to counter India’s superior conventional military power, but the Babur cruise missile, along with new miniaturised plutonium warheads, will put Pakistan in a different league altogether. The newer versions of the Harpoon — which Pakistan is hoping to acquire from the US — already comes with a built-in secondary land attack capability. What Pakistan apparently tested a few months ago was the older anti-ship Harpoon missile. - - - - - -

Given today’s miniaturised Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), any missile specialist should be able to convert the vintage anti-ship Harpoon to a land attack capable missile with reasonably accurate chances of hitting the oil refineries at Vadinar and the various installations in Mumbai port. The only problem would be how to replace the 250-kg conventional warhead in the 53-centimetre diameter, cylindrical Harpoon missile with a plutonium miniature nuclear warhead. Most Indian scientists will tell you that it’s impossible for Pakistan to achieve this. Here also I expect China to transfer the technology of a proven miniaturised nuclear weapon which would fit the Babur and possibly the Harpoon cruise missiles. - - - - - -

The question is what are the launch platforms for the modified land-attack Harpoon missile? The answer is simple. The two older French-built Agosta 70 submarines and the half-a-dozen American P-3C Orion aircraft are the ideal launch platforms. The missile has sufficient stand off range to hit Vadinar and Mumbai. - - - - - -

The media has given enough details of Pakistan’s new Khushab 2 and 3 reactors that are expected to produce about 15 to 30 kg of plutonium for three to 10 miniaturised nuclear weapons per year. The latest media reports indicate that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stockpile has now grown from 70 to 90. I have no idea about India’s nuclear weapons stocks, and am uncertain about how many Agni-type missiles India can produce per year. - - - - - -

China will take Indian deterrence seriously only after we induct the 5,000-km Agni-5. The recent controversy about the 1998 thermonuclear tests "fizzle" has not cleared the air. As a nuclear specialist, it is my opinion that a lot of luck would be needed to get a complex thermonuclear prototype device to function properly for the first time and, even if it did, it would need at least two more confirmatory tests in a rugged "militarised" form. Deterrence works best when it’s based on hard reality, and not ambiguous discussions. - - - - - -

China, as expected, has kept the pressure on India, with the latest news of its forces violating Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand. China has mastered the art of long-term strategic planning and obviously, its gameplan is to keep India tied down by the triple threats that emerge from China, Pakistan and Pakistani-sponsored terrorists. - - - - - -

India’s external affairs ministry should stop justifying China’s daily incursions by talking about "the differing perceptions on the Line of Actual Control". China will stop its incursions only when it is deterred by India’s conventional and strategic defence capability. India needs to change its "no-first-use" nuclear policy. - - - - - -

Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam - - - - - -

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1 comment:

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    Ur whole blog looks pretty intresting...i ll visit often....