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Security Infrastructure in the Western Balkans

[Lecture incorporated in the volume

Sonderschrift 50 Jahre Pakistan, zum 50-jährigen Jubiläum der Islamischen Republik Pakistan,

Deutsch-Pakistanisches Forum e. V., Bonn, 1998]

Alain Lamballe

History and geography

The northern frontier

The western frontier

The southern border

The eastern frontier

The line of control in Kashmir

The making of defence policy

Type of conflict expected

Northern border

Western border

South and eastern borders

Development of infrastructure

Diversification of supply lines

Official organs and influence of the military

Financial resources

The intelligence and information means of defence

Indirect strategy

The military means of defence

General features of armed forces

Paramilitary forces

Armed forces

Higher command

Defence industry

Defence through nuclear deterrence

Defence through diplomacy

China

Iran and Afghanistan

Arab countries

Central Asia

Counter-actions of India

United States of America

Other countries

International organisations

Peace through diplomacy

Peace through confidence building measures

Peace through arms control

Conclusion

 

Since independence in 1947, Pakistan always felt vulnerable to its eastern neighbour, India. Internal, and more especially, external security has always been a permanent issue in the life of the nation, bringing the military to the forefront of politics and engulfing large amounts of money, to the detriment of badly needed economic development.

History and geography

History and geography dictate the elaboration of a defence policy. Usually but not always, history looses grip as time goes on. In Europe, for instance, former foes have become friends and even allies but this is not yet the case in South-Asia. Due to the development of science and technology, geography also yields more or less of its importance. So the Pakistan borderlines which cross, in the north, higher mountains and, in the east, inhospitable deserts are no more insuperable; in fact, they never were, except in particular seasonal conditions. Pakistan is a kind of quadrilateral, with four stretched out and mostly artificial borders, north, west, south and east. Altogether the land borders run on 5.500 kilometres and the sea coast is 1.110 kilometres long. The small width (east-west dimension) of the country increases vulnerabilities. Some rivers, especially the Indus and also its main tributaries, still impose respect to army units in the majority of their length.

The northern frontier

The northern frontier is a mountainous one with large valleys and very high peaks of the Hindukush and Karakoram ranges (some reaching more than 8.000 meters, including the K2, second summit of the world). An agreement was signed in 1963 to define the borderline; a small territory of about 5.000 km2 was awarded to China. A road built with the help of China and achieved in 1978 links the upper north with the Punjab plains; crossing the Khunjerab pass at an altitude of almost 5.000 metres, it also connects it with the autonomous Chinese region of Xinjiang. New axes are being built, sometimes with the help of China, to link for instance Chitral to Gilgit. Relations with the Afghan Wakhan corridor are only possible through tracks and depending on weather. As a whole, the so-called Northern Areas have become disenclaved.

The western frontier

The so-called Durand borderline settled at the times of the British in 1893 to carve out the North-West Frontier Province has never been recognised by any Afghan government since the birth of Pakistan due to the reason that it cuts arbitrarily Pashtun tribes and families. The border areas are hilly but easy to access. The Khyber Pass and other nearby passes have been crossed by many invaders since time immemorial, including Alexander the Great and the founders of the Mogul empire. In fact, only two invaders did not arrive in the subcontinent through this land access: the Arabs and the British who arrived by sea.

The border areas with Iran are hilly and mostly barren, and sometimes even desert, with good communications. The frontier is totally artificial; Baluchis live on both sides.

The southern border

This is the maritime border, mostly inhospitable (mangrove in the Indus delta, rock and sand on the Makran coast) with a few natural harbours.

The eastern frontier

The eastern frontier with India (about 2.000 kilometres) has always been a matter of worry. Settled by the Radcliffe Commission in the Punjab section, it is all the way through totally artificial, with no natural barrier from Kashmir to the Arabian sea. Cultivated plains in the north are replaced by semi-deserts (Cholistan in Southern part of Punjab) and deserts (Thar in Sindh) towards the South. The lack of depth makes the country, especially at some particular places, vulnerable to ground and air attacks from the east. The bigger towns of the country, mostly located in Punjab, are relatively close to the border.

India has started to build a fence with watch towers, lighted at night, from Sialkot towards the Arabian Sea; it is finished up to the level of Multan and work is going on in the desert areas.

The line of control in Kashmir

The line of control (750 kilometres) exist since 1948 with slight modifications. It does not have the statute of an international border. It runs into mountainous terrain, sometimes very high (with summits of more than 6.000 and even 7.000 metres and high plateaus including the largest one, Deosai) difficult to control, especially in winter time, and favourable to guerrillas, although the winters are harsh. It stops in the north of Skardu to give place to an undefined line going through the Siachen glacier.

The making of defence policy

The psychological environment is no doubt detrimental to peace; it generates a kind of permanent crisis. It is almost impossible in Pakistan as well as in India to get and read newspapers from the other country; only the Internet may put down, here as elsewhere, the ideological barrier. For the time being, ignorance of each other fosters mistrust and adversity.

Type of conflict expected

When talking about defence, one first needs to define the threats being or likely to be applied or at least to analyse the perception of threats by the political and military leaders. This perception may be different from the real threat but it is this perception which dictates the defence policy. To finalise the defence policy, Pakistani leaders must have drawn lessons from the past.

Northern border

Situation on the northern border was never critical, China being a friendly country.

Western border

The defence of the frontier did not either create concern in the west. Only when the Soviet army occupied Afghanistan, during 10 years from 1979 till 1989, did Pakistan really bother about its western frontier. USSR was a friend of India, and therefore a kind of encirclement was feared. Situation may be worrying again on the western frontier. The support provided to the Talibans by the various Pakistani governments and particularly the one led by Benazir Bhutto may cause a backlash if any leader, Massud or somebody else, gets rid of the so-called Muslim students. The lion of Panshir, as he is known, a Tadjik despised by Pakistan, may call for some kind of revenge. In fact, the main task of any winner would be to rebuild the country. In no way, would he be tempted to come to war with Pakistan; he would be no match because his forces would probably be exhausted and unable to beat the far bigger Pakistani army. But he may try to create trouble in the tribal areas of the North-West Frontier Province and foster some fundamentalist movements.

The border with Iran is quiet. Baluchis living in both countries do not disturb peace. The riches in those areas (gas, copper and possibly uranium) are not creating any particular threat for the moment.

South and eastern borders

The main and most of the time unique real threat to be strongly perceived came from India, that means from the south sea border and above all from the east land border. At sea, the only danger comes in fact from the Indian navy and air force which may threaten commercial links with the Middle East. Because of lack of west-east width, vulnerable lines of communication and vicinity of major towns within easy reach of enemy strikes, the Pakistan army must keep a high state of readiness, which in turn forces India to take defence counter-measures.

Talking about threats from India and the way Pakistan can face it, one has to make hypotheses about Pakistani hypotheses on Indian uncertainties. That makes things rather difficult.

Most probably the Pakistani strategists do not think that, in case of war, India's aim would be to annex territories. The only exceptions may be:

-                           the taking over of the area of the Siachen glacier (located close to the area given to China by Pakistan and to the area taken over from India in Aksai Chin), where fighting takes place time and again,

-                           the conquest of some militarily advantageous portions close to the line of control in Kashmir. Incidents are in fact common all along the line of control; sometimes violent with exchange of artillery fire, just like end of last August. Situation may flare up at any time and may become out of control of local commanders.

-                           the complete take-over of the Sir Creek (on the Arabian Sea) because of the potential existence of oil fields (which has yet to be confirmed),

-                           and hypothetically the area of Umerkot (south-east of Sindh), inhabited by Hindus but of no particular strategic value (during the 1965 war Indian forces could reach this town).

The dispute about the Rann of Kutch has been settled by an international judgement in 1968. Even in Kashmir, New-Delhi has no real interest in conquering the western and northern parts of the former kingdom inhabited exclusively by a hostile Muslim population; it just wants to consolidate its hold in the eastern and southern parts of it and transform the line of control into a recognised international border.

The war aim of India has always been and will be to destroy the Pakistani forces, if possible put them in smithereens before they can withdraw west of the Indus River and/or before a mediation of the United Nations. Such an ambition was never fulfilled in the past conflicts of 1947-1948 and 1965 (the 1971 main front was in the east). If war lingers, the logical intention of India would be to impede the supplies of the big towns in centre and north Pakistan, including the capital city, that means to separate the country into two, preferably where the width is smaller. For that, it would try to cut its lifeline, that means the main road axis as well as the railway axis from Karachi to Lahore, both running, east of the Indus River, sometimes close to the frontier. It would also try to make effective a blockade of Karachi (with its annex Port Qasim), the only harbour of the country and possibly mine it and to cut off sea lanes through which oil and other strategic items arrive. Within a few weeks, most of the country could be paralysed (the oil reserves in tanks hardly reach three weeks). Therefore, a longer war is likely to be detrimental to Pakistan and to lead to its defeat.

The destruction of refineries at Attock and Karachi, of hydro and thermal power stations may also be attempted by aircraft or missiles. Bombing of major bridges on the main rivers may stop inter-country mobility and ruin the economy and prevent troop movements and military supplies.

An Indian attack in northern Punjab, just like in 1965, is most unlikely. New irrigation canals, also useful for defence purposes, have been built, creating with the older ones and with major tributaries (flowing north-east to south-west) of Indus River a formidable net of obstacles for tanks. Furthermore, population has greatly increased making movements of enemy troops risky in built-up areas. A mechanised breakthrough in desert zones in central and southern parts of the country is more a probability with a possible movement to the north later on, avoiding big cities, just surrounding them.

Pakistan is aware of the limited capacity of its own armed forces. Those cannot match the opposite army, in no way annihilate it. They just can try to answer tit for tat, just maul the attacker. The Pakistani forces may nevertheless try to enter the India-held Kashmir where they could expect support from the local population. However, the conquest by force of the whole of Kashmir cannot be contemplated due to the important number of Indian troops (belonging to the army and paramilitary forces—Pakistan sources mention 600.000 men at arms).

Development of infrastructure

To improve its strategic resilience as well as its economic tools, Pakistan develops its infrastructure. In order not to depend on a unique naval base, in Karachi, a new base, which will be used particularly by submarines, is under construction at Ormara, on the Makran coast, in Baluchistan, relatively close to the Iranian border. To make it less isolated, a full-time metalled road has to be built along the coast, from Karachi. For economical but also military reasons, the transport infrastructure is being developed in southern Baluchistan. To face the possibility, although unlikely, of a long war of attrition, an alternative commercial harbour is being built, but slowly due to financial constraints, on the Makran coast, at Gwadar (Karachi is totally choked to capacity; therefore a second harbour is a necessity on purely economic grounds). Another site would be suitable for a third harbour in the future: Khor Kalmat with a beautiful bay able to shelter about 100 medium or big ships. Some kind of militarization of the Makran coast could be envisaged, for instance further development of sea monitoring stations, anti-ship and antiaircraft batteries on shore. An Indus highway will connect it, west of the Indus River, to Peshawar, rejoining the trunk road leading to Islamabad and Lahore (a motorway is about to be finished between these last two cities). Economically, the new Indus highway appears quite necessary to absorb the increasing traffic from south to north and north to south because the Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Lahore road is congested. It will still be exposed to Indian air attacks but relatively invulnerable to enemy mechanised units due to the protection offered by the Indus River, a formidable obstacle, especially during certain seasons, which can be widened at will by the defender thanks to the big dams up-stream. Furthermore, to diversify transport facilities, the river traffic on the Indus could be reopened, like it existed at the times of the British, from Kalabagh in the north to Port Qasim on the coast.

Diversification of supply lines

The huge gas and oil fields of Central Asian states are almost untapped. In order to reduce the vulnerability of energy supply, a gas pipe-line is contemplated from Central Asia through Afghanistan; for defence purposes, an oil pipe-line would be more useful. But instability in that country prevents any construction for the moment. With Iran, pipe-lines could also been constructed, leading eventually up to India (in case of war, Pakistan could stop the supply to India, which would have to depend, just now, on maritime supplies).

Official organs and influence of the military

The generals always had strong influence in Pakistan. Contrary to India, they took over power and for long periods: from 1958 up to 1971 with general Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan and from 1977 till 1988 with general Zia Ul Haq. Even when they assume no official power, which is now the case, they have the possibility to make the defence priorities taken into account. A national defence and security council, created in January 1997, included the chiefs of staff, particularly the chief of army staff. In a way, it officialised the supremacy, not at all mentioned in the constitution, of the so-called troika (president of the Republic, Prime Minister, chief of army staff who is the most powerful of all the chiefs of staff—the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee has no real power). But it has been discarded.

Other committees or councils exist such as:

-                           the defence committee of the cabinet, including, under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, interior, finance and some other ones as well as the chiefs of staff.

-                           the defence council comprising the same members as in the defence committee of the cabinet and, furthermore, the secretaries of defence, defence production and finance.

The army controls the building and repairs of the most strategic roads, not only in mountainous areas, but in the plains. A firm designed to transport on land important so-called strategic items throughout the country (National Logistics Cell) is directed by a former general. The sea transport of oil (National Tanker Company) is under the command of a rear-admiral. The merchant navy (Pakistan National Shipping Corporation) is most of the time administered by a vice-admiral. It is often also the case for the national air company, Pakistan International Airlines. Many retired officers manage societies (steel works, even banks) and are appointed federal or provincial ministers, governors of provinces and ambassadors (that was the case until very recently in Germany).

Financial resources

In order to get more money, generals have in the past exaggerated the level of threat, particularly coming from the east. They overemphasise the volume, the equipment and the training of Indian forces (about 50% of armament of Russian origin are now out of order due to scarcity of spare parts). They compare their own forces with the whole of the enemy potential, without taking into account that India must also protect its frontiers in the east (facing Bangladesh whose territory is used willy-nilly as a sanctuary by insurgents) and above all in the north (against China, even if tension has decreased since confrontation in 1962). The Indian forces can now hardly have any offensive posture.

Funds are missing because of obsolete tax system and corruption. A big amount of import taxes are lost because of smuggling through Afghanistan. The upturn in revenue collection is bad due to the high number of default taxpayers, the non-application of taxes on agricultural income (laws have to be voted by provincial parliaments—only Punjab has done it so far and even then, despite low rates, landowners are reluctant to pay) and the public disorder, mainly in Karachi (in normal times, the city generates about a quarter of tax revenues).

A kind of consensus may be seen regarding the defence of the country, although some complaints are being expressed in the press against the bloated amount of military expenditure made to the detriment of social fields. There are ten soldiers for one doctor, three soldiers for two teachers. The defence budget is difficult to estimate because some military related expenditure may not be officially included. Paramilitary forces get money from the ministry of home affairs. Some benefits generated by civilian firms and companies managed by retired officers may also be used for military purposes. Intelligence agencies, including indirectly military ones, are involved in drug trade control and may recover money, which, once it has been whitened, could be injected in defence projects. The defence budget remains high considering the meagre resources; at least one third of the national federal expenditures is for defence. However, for the first time since long and under the pressure of international organisations, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, it will decrease by about 8% in real terms during the current financial year (1st July 1997 to 30 June 1998). India is following suit.

The intelligence and information means of defence

Both countries have developed efficient intelligence services primarily working against their neighbours both in defensive and offensive ways. In Pakistan as in India, each service (army, navy and air force) has its own operational intelligence, which may be active occasionally in political and economic fields as well. Research activities are also being carried out by organisations or kinds of think tanks. In India, there are several of them. Fewer exist in Pakistan, like in Islamabad the institute of regional affairs, specialising in South Asia and the institute of strategic studies, with broader prospects.

The military culture of Pakistani leaders is voluntarily based on the Arab feats of arms and occasionally on the Mogul victories. Traditional South-Asian military history, mainly Hindu, is ignored and discarded, as if it were not a part of the Pakistani past. Strategic thinkers consider themselves, like their counterparts in every field of the life of the nation, mentally closer to Middle East than to South-Asia. In a way, the elite refuses its "South-Asianity" and refers to the "Arabicity" to which it does not belong and also to the Muslim world community to which it obviously belongs but not more than its counterpart in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives. However, the strategic thinkers do, of course, study the regional geostrategic situation, although publications are rare; reasons for that may be the paucity of the defence thought or fear of leakages detrimental to security.

Pakistan has no space national technical means to monitor the Indian territory. Maritime reconnaissance aircraft flying over the desert areas along the eastern border can only give fragmentary information. A civilian agreement permits however to obtain pictures from Spot satellite. Pakistan would also like to get access to Helios pictures, not mentioning the American space pictures, but knows that chances to be allowed to benefit by foreign reconnaissance military satellites are nonexistent. At the same time it realises its own vulnerability; Indian satellites can collect information without any hindrance.

Indirect strategy

In South Asia, Pakistan and India use indirect strategy. At least, each of these countries says the opponent makes use of it and is so comforted to resort to it itself. Such an attitude is encouraged by fissiparous tendencies in each country. Pakistan is aware of a lack of national feeling in India (particularly in predominantly Muslim Kashmir and in the north-east) despite the taking into account of diversities through regionalisation of power and the forging of identity through dissemination of films all over the country. In the same way, India capitalises on Pakistan's weaknesses (resentment against the Punjabis, non-integration of Mohajirs—refugees from India or their descendants speaking Urdu and numbering about 7,5 millions people—with the Sindhis, tension between Sunni and Shia, poor treatment of religious minorities, peculiarities of the two western provinces). Vulnerability of both countries increases with demographic explosion which creates deterioration of conditions of life and with spate of emigrants (Afghans, still numbering almost 2 millions in Pakistan and Bangladeshis in India).

Pakistan accuses India of resorting to reprehensible activities of interference. The Research and Analyses Wing (raw), that means the main intelligence service of India, is supposed to support the militant movements in Sindh, particularly in Karachi the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (an organisation of Mohajirs fighting against the Sindhis). True or not, people believe it. New-Delhi is also accused of infiltrating so-called refugees from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other South-Asian countries through the barrier established along the frontier. Ingredients necessary for the making of hard drugs would also pass through the Indian sealed border up to the North-West Frontier Province.

On the other side, India accuses Pakistan to be a terrorist state, supporting militarily activists in several of its provincial states. Such actions would be carried out in Kashmir primarily but also elsewhere, like in Punjab, in favour of the Sikh independent movements and in the north-east in support for instance of the Bodo autonomous or independence movements. The Muslim extremist groups in India, mainly active for retaliation against Hindu extremist acts like destruction of mosques, would be armed and advised in the same way. The actor behind would be the Inter-Services Intelligence (isi). Pakistan denies such offensive moves.

Of course, the aim of such actions is to destabilise the opponent. A kind of cold war is raging. A kind of information war is going on permanently through the media, using now the Internet.

The military means of defence

To face the military threats from India, Pakistan needs tools, that means adequate armed forces and modern defence industries.

General features of armed forces

The country being almost exclusively Muslim, the Pakistani armed forces are homogenous as far as religion is concerned (which is not the case in India, although Muslims enrol in insignificant numbers). But ethnically they are not (same case in India); the Punjabis remain predominant. The officers do not belong exclusively as before to the higher society; the recruitment is more diversified. Their training is not always elaborate; it remains traditional and rigid. But some bright officers are sent to study abroad, mostly in the West (Britain, France, Germany, United States of America).

It is rather difficult to know the mindset of officers. It is not common for them to express their political feelings especially with foreigners. Discussing with retired officers, including generals, gives however some clues. Most of the officers seem to be moderate in their thinking and practice their religion with sincerity; fundamentalist ideas are not very much spread out. Some of them, however, show ostensibly their Muslim belief, act with bigotry or even with hypocrisy. Not surprisingly, a significant number of officers do not hide their approval of the nuclear weaponry and even their anti-western stance. Many young officers appear to be very much in favour of nuclear weapons because the limitation of American military help tilts even more the balance towards India. A few retired generals express such views openly in books (like memoirs) or newspapers.

Soldiers are not so battle-hardened as they used to be because there was no war since 1971; Indian jawans (as other ranks are called) are in the same situation. But quite a few generals in both armies saw action on that year in former east Pakistan, now Bangladesh, as younger officers. Indian units were involved in Sri Lanka and in Maldives in the late eighties, gaining some further knowledge. Pakistani and Indian units obtained some other experience, although not always readily applicable on a South-Asian battlefield, in various operations under the aegis of the UN; their officers have been confronted with foreign armies and equipment. Pakistani units in Bosnia used vehicles of the former East-German army—sometimes of the same types of those in service in the Indian army; officers and non-commissioned officers thus got acquainted with equipment of the would-be enemy. Furthermore, peacekeeping and peace enforcement are common duties in UN operations; they are also to be found in Pakistan as well as in India.

Paramilitary forces

Internal problems compel both Pakistani and Indian governments to have important paramilitary forces. They are needed to quell disturbances, to maintain and enforce law and order. So, army units may not be distracted from their main task, the defence of the country against external threats. In fact, some of the paramilitary forces are bound to assure control and surveillance along the borders instead of regular army units (Frontier scouts in the North-West Frontier province—about 35.000, with headquarters in Peshawar and Baluchistan—also about 35.000, with headquarters in Quetta, Pakistan rangers in Punjab—about 20.000, with headquarters in Lahore and Sindh—also about 20.000, with headquarters in Karachi, coast guards—about 2.000, monitoring the maritime border). All these paramilitary forces relieve the army. In fact, officers from the regular army serve on deputation in them. The advantage to use paramilitary forces for the monitoring is also to defuse the situation; Pakistan Rangers are facing Indian Border Security Forces, both without heavy weapons, preventing any incident from escalating too fast. The army units of the countries are, except in a few places considered to be strategic like Sulemanki, located apart from the frontier, thus limiting the risks of escalation. The national guard, numbering about 180.000 men, fulfils several tasks including in war time reinforcement of active units and protection of rear areas, especially sensitive points.

Armed forces

At the time of independence, Pakistan disposed of a limited part of the armed forces, compared to India. Today, the Pakistani forces number more than 560.000 men, all regular soldiers, most of them in the army (about 520.000 men). New units were raised, including light infantry ones to fight in the northern mountainous areas. The army consists of 9 army corps, 7 of which being stationed east of the Indus River close to the Indian border or ready to counterattack. Only 2 of them are located west of the river, with headquarters respectively in Peshawar and Quetta; their main mission is not to face unforeseeable major threats from the west but to be engaged as national and strategic reserve if need be against India. The Pakistani army has now a full-fledged armoured division, a mechanised division and 19 infantry divisions and an important number of independent brigades. Equipment is being modernised: recently 320 T 80-UD tanks were bought from Ukraine at a reasonable price. Existing tanks, mainly from Chinese origin, are upgraded in order not to be outgunned by their opposite number of the Indian army. Artillery pieces are mainly of American and Russian origin. Helicopters come essentially from France; some of them prove to be very efficient in higher mountains, in the north.

The air force, equipped by French Mirage and American F 16, suffers from the political strains with the United States of America and the lack of financial availability.

The navy continues its modernisation with the induction of mine-hunters and submarines (equipped with Exocet missiles) bought from France. Its mission in war time would be to protect strategic imports, including oil.

The three services are outnumbered and outgunned by Indian forces. However, we have to consider that Indian units cannot be poised only against Pakistan: they also have to be deployed on other long borders, facing Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and mainly China. In such circumstances, the well trained and relatively well equipped Pakistani forces constitute a real challenge to India.

The diversity of equipment creates logistics problems for supplies and maintenance, in peace and war time. But India faces the same difficulties.

Higher command

There is no real joint operational staff. The joint chiefs of staff committee does not play any role to conceive and conduct operations. The concept of air-land battle does not seem to be enough developed. In the past, air-land co-operation was inconsistent and haphazard. It may not have changed; the army air defence command seems to have weak relations with the air defence commands of the air force. Three commands exist in the air force: north, central and south. No such decentralisation has been done in the army; the 9 army corps are all subordinated to the general headquarters. Contrary to what happens in India, a bigger country it is true, there are no geographical commands with several army corps. In war time, this may be a drawback because the army chief would have too many subordinates to command.

Defence industry

In order to avoid disabilities due to embargoes, Pakistan endeavours with some success to be self-sufficient in military equipment. It had practically no defence industry at the time of independence. Everything had to be started from scratch. China did help Pakistan to build up a defence industry. Three vast compounds were built in the western part of the country, in Punjab: one at Taxila (Heavy Industries Taxila) for the construction of tanks (a new tank, Al Khalid, is being developed, not without difficulty, with the co-operation of China) and other armoured vehicles, one at Wah (Pakistan Ordnance Factories) for producing armaments and ammunition, mainly for the army and a third one at Kamra (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex), to overhaul and maintain and even manufacture military aircraft and aeronautical equipment such as radars. The Pakistan Naval Dockyard in Karachi, belonging to the ministry of defence, repairs and maintains the navy ships. The Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works, a civilian establishment, can manufacture and maintain small and medium ships. Private firms are encouraged to produce for defence although the results remain mitigated. Telecommunication for civilian as well as military purposes is improving thanks to French participation; an up-to-date national network is taking shape.

The technological gap between the two rivals in South-Asia is big and is becoming bigger, mainly in high technology (space and missiles, data processing). Imports remain thus a must for Pakistan.

Defence through nuclear deterrence

Pakistan and India have some nuclear devices at their disposal. India developed its nuclear arsenal practically alone. Pakistan was helped by China as far as know-how is concerned, but without being given the fissile material. At a time, the United States seemed to have even envisaged the destruction of Pakistani nuclear facilities but reversed its position as soon as Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. India made a test in 1974. Pakistan, it is sometimes said but no proof can be given, has also conducted a test, using the Chinese nuclear site of Lop Nor.

The delivery vehicles may be aircraft (most probably F 16 from the Pakistani side and for India Mirage 2000 or various aircraft from Russian origin) or missiles. India is building its own missiles (like the medium range—from 150 to 250 kilometres respectively with a warhead of 1.000 kg or 500 kg—Prithvi, considered probably rightly by some experts to be nuclear capable, covering major targets in Pakistan, and the long range Agni, aimed at other targets in Pakistan (Baluchistan) and China at a maximum distance of 2.500 kilometres). Pakistan is trying to follow the same line but lags behind. Medium range Hataf missiles (Hataf 1 with a range of 80 kilometres and Hataf 2 with a range of 300 kilometres), probably developed with Chinese technology, may become operational later; both have a 500 kilograms payload. Chinese M 11 missiles with a range close to 300 kilometres are said to have been imported, although it is denied by both countries, and possibly deployed, say some analysts, in a regiment at Attock. Washington considers that China in doing so has violated the Missile Technology Control Regime—MTCR—, which it signed. A new missile factory has just been finished at Khanpur but its exact production remains to be known. A nuclear and ballistic race is raging in South-Asia.

The nuclear weapon systems (warheads and delivery vehicles) may not yet be highly sophisticated but some of them would be able to penetrate the enemy territory. Air defence is not that much updated in either of the countries; achievements in electronic warfare are not sufficient to make nuclear strikes impossible. Military or civilian targets in Pakistan, including the capital city are within easy reach; Indian targets are more difficult to deal with because located further but a few of them could be reached. For that geographical reason, because of the difference of territorial depth, quite independently of future technical advance and progress, India can rely on a second strike capability if some vectors have been kept out of reach of enemy air attacks (simultaneous Pakistani commando attacks on several sites well in depth inside Indian territory cannot be contemplated). Pakistan could envisage a retaliation strike only in case of a technological breakthrough in its favour; such a development is difficult to imagine. However transport in diplomatic bags and pouches, during a period of tension and crisis, of a nuclear device in kit is not at all unfeasible (and will be more and more easy) according to nuclear experts; when assembled in diplomatic premises, it could be detonated in New Delhi. India could of course do the same in Islamabad.

Defence through diplomacy

Defence may also be achieved through diplomacy that means striking of friendships or even better alliances. Pakistan tried to woo China, United States of America, Iran and some Arab countries.

China

Pakistan cannot really elaborate a policy of containment of India without China. There is a geographical (land or sea) discontinuity between the South-Asian neighbours of India (Pakistan has no common border with Nepal which has no common border with Bhutan—Sikkim was purposely annexed by India—which has no common border with Bangladesh, which is separated by sea from Sri Lanka which is also far away from Maldives). Moreover, there is no affinity between the three Muslim states in South Asia. Bangladesh cannot become an ally (before getting their independence, the inhabitants of East Pakistan were discriminated upon and it was one of the reasons of the upsurge) and the Maldives are insignificant and furthermore controlled by India. Nepal, a Hindu kingdom, cannot be of any help. Only China could contribute to contain India.

China was much wooed not only to get weapons but also as a potential ally. The treaty giving over to China a part of the Northern Areas may permit building of other roads to facilitate movements (including of course of troops) between Xinjiang and Tibet. It also gives Beijing the possibility to be a party to the final solution of the Kashmir problem. Therefore, it was in favour of China and designed to be highly detrimental to India. The Sino-Indian war in 1962 came within the Pakistani strategic concept of fostering a kind of alliance with China. However, Pakistan did not threaten to intervene to make a diversion, which would have retained some Indian units in the west (Punjab) or in the east (Bengal); that happened to be so because China, in a position of strength against India, did not ask for any help. The alliance did not materialise either when the need arose for Pakistan. During the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani conflicts, China never really threatened to intervene militarily against India; it just made political gesticulation without redeploying troops which were, in fact, already, on the spot, close to the border. Independently of the political will which has always been lacking, the Chinese navy can be, at this stage of its development, of no use in the Arabian sea to deter the Indian maritime forces. Recently Beijing expressed wishes to discuss litigious issues with New Delhi; confidence building measures were even agreed upon between the two countries. Islamabad may worry although China remains a friend.

Iran and Afghanistan

Pakistan needs to be allied to the bordering two countries in the west, Iran and Afghanistan, or at least to be friendly with them for a simple reason. It cannot afford to fight on two fronts, on the east and on the west. Furthermore, with a lack of strategic depth against India, the Pakistani forces must have the possibility to use Iranian and, if need be, Afghan territory to withdraw army forces or put aircraft out of reach (due to distance as well as political hindrance) of the Indian air power.

Making friendship with Iran must be achieved through diplomacy. But the internal situation in Pakistan may be detrimental to friendly relations with this country, particularly the intercine tension between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Internal and external policies become intricate. Any violence against Shia is likely to displease the Iranian authorities. In the same way, any Iranian activism as may exist time and again in some parts of Punjab (Jhang) and the Northern Areas (Gilgit, Skardu) may be criticised by the Pakistani government.

Arab countries

Relations are traditionally good with moderate Arab states. Pakistan co-operates to arrest and extradite former Arab mujahiddin who have turned international terrorists and fundamentalists who want to develop the Islamic revolution all over the world. Cairo is particularly grateful; 15 alleged Egyptian extremist militants have been extradited to their native country.

With Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Gulf States, links were very close when many Pakistani military advisers and even troops were detached in those countries (a regiment of Baluchis bound to serve in Oman was recruited in the area of Gwadar which remained under Omanese sovereignty up to well after 1947). Pakistan endeavours to get from those countries diplomatic support against India and financial help to buy weapon systems.

Naval exercises are organised, most of the time on a yearly basis, in the Arabian Sea with Oman and the United Arab Emirates (a country where Pakistan has strong interests: 450.000 of its nationals live there compared to 750.000 Indians out of a total population of 2.3 millions). Surface ships, submarines and maritime reconnaissance aircraft may participate. Even without any hope of help in a war with India, the Pakistani navy trains efficiently with these friendly navies which, occasionally, use the same equipment. Obviously, the Indian navy monitors such manoeuvres.

Central Asia

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, efforts have been carried out to reinforce relations with newly independent states in Central Asia. But geographic discontinuity as well lack of common interests (in particular disagreement on the attitude towards Afghanistan) did not bring any significant result for Islamabad.

Counter-actions of India

India is fully aware of this geostrategic situation. Its interest is obviously to antagonise the situation on the western boundaries of Pakistan. Therefore it is active to counterbalance the diplomatic and economic activities of Pakistan in Iran and Afghanistan as well as beyond in Central Asia. With some success. Iran and new states in Central Asia need to develop their trade relations with India, a reliable trade partner offering more needed and relatively more sophisticated products than Pakistan. In Afghanistan, India has its own friends as well.

United States of America

India developed a close relationship with the Soviet Union and Pakistan went nearer to the United States, joining the so-called South-East Asia Treaty Organisation (seato) in 1954, in which it remained up to its dissolution in 1972, and Central Treaty Organisation (cento) in 1955 in which it remained till its dissolution in 1979. The signing of two bilateral agreements in 1959 and 1981 were indicative of a kind of Pakistani infatuation for the United States. American reconnaissance aircraft took off from Peshawar to fly over the Soviet territory; the interception of one of them created a serious diplomatic incident between the two super powers in which Pakistan was involved. Pakistan was hardly paid back in return; during wars with India, Washington declared an embargo to exports of weapons to South-Asia. During the 1971 war, some naval gesticulation trying to intimidate India was made by the United States, but without any emphasis. When Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the alliance, which in fact was intended only against communism, served both countries; American weapons, particularly anti-aircraft missiles, poured into Pakistan for the mujahiddin. It went on for years until the withdrawal of Soviet units in 1989. Then suddenly the American interest dwindled and finally disappeared with the implosion of Soviet Union. If considered worthwhile, Washington can monitor the military situation in Afghanistan without any aircraft based in Pakistan; satellite observation, now greatly improved, is enough. Furthermore, the newly independent Central Asian states provide a base to see what happens militarily and politically in still troubled Afghanistan. Without considering any political decision by the United States of America, only the us navy would be in such a position to deter actions of the Indian navy against Pakistan maritime trade in the Arabian sea (although the French naval forces in the Indian Ocean would also be able to do so—but this is unlikely politically speaking).

The United States, which does not need Pakistan anymore, concentrates its criticism towards the Pakistani nuclear programme considered as proliferating. It is a world wide policy but being applied with rigour as regards Islamabad. Due to the Pressler amendment voted in 1990, military support is limited to maintenance and delivery of minor equipment and armament. The introduction of a new so-called Brown amendment in Washington in 1997 has allowed the supply of some equipment, including maritime reconnaissance aircraft but not of additional F 16, already since long paid for. Such an attitude is heavily condemned and even considered by some analysts as pushing Pakistan even further towards the nuclear option. Furthermore, the United States went just short of accusing Pakistan to be a terrorist state because of the involvement of former mujahiddin in Afghanistan, staying illegally or not in the North West Frontier Province, caught red handed in Western countries including America. Moreover, the recent rapprochement, in all fields, including the military one, between the United States and India generates some anxiety for the Pakistani leaders.

A redistribution of cards may be underway in South-Asia. It is a great shock to Pakistan whose loyalty to America has been shown again when its forces participated in the war against Iraq in 1990 as well as in operations within the ambit of the UN in Cambodia, Somalia and former Yugoslavia. However close contact is being maintained between the Pakistani army and the American Central Command; regular exercises still take place in Pakistan on an annual basis.

Other countries

Pakistani ships also call at ports in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Agreements have been signed with different countries not only for training (agreement with Malaysia in July 1997) but also for armament. The Pakistani ordnance factories try to export some weapons and ammunition to get finances and make their production more efficient.

International organisations

Islamic organisations like the Regional Co-operation for Development, the Economic Co-operation Organisation and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference are considered important forums to protect the security interests of the country. UNO is mostly favoured. Since 1948, the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) monitors the line of control in Kashmir; Pakistan behaves properly allowing international observers to travel freely in order to report on incidents, contrary to India which forbids any movement. A strong lobbying is going on in all organisations to get support in favour of the Kashmiri nationalist fighters. Pakistan considers vital that India does not obtain a permanent seat in the Security Council where it could veto any resolution. It is opposed to the extension of the number of permanent members of that council, fearing that admission of Germany, Japan and Brazil for instance may automatically lead to the entry of India.

Peace through diplomacy

Peace may also be achieved trough diplomacy, that means improving relations with the would-be staunch enemy. Direct official or non-official contact has most of the time been maintained between the two countries. When tension prevails, then informal relations go on with the so-called track 2 talks; former ambassadors, generals, lawyers, civil servants meet alternatively in both countries or elsewhere, discuss topical issues and convey messages .

Discussions about defence problems are normally not being held in South-Asia Association for Regional Co-operation (saarc). So they need to be done bilaterally. The new Prime Minister of India, a native from a Punjabi town, now in Pakistan, and whose family lived for some time in Karachi after partition before emigrating to India, therefore emotionally close to Pakistan, is probably the most sympathetic Islamabad can dream of. A professional diplomat, he has always been prone to negotiations and keen to improve the relations with the adjoining countries, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This human factor is likely to play its role in the international relations in South Asia if the chief of Indian government stays long in office, which is not sure.

In fact, both countries badly need peace to improve their economy. Pakistan particularly is in dire circumstances and cannot afford to go to war.

Peace through confidence building measures

Confidence building measures are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Asia; they do exist now between China and India and between China and Russia. They constitute tools of crisis management.

Confidence building measures between India and Pakistan were considered necessary after the big exercise of the Indian army (implying about 200.000 men), the so-called operation Brasstacks, in the winter 1986-1987, close to the Pakistani border. In December 1989, Pakistan conducted also a major exercise, Zarb-e-Momin, 250 kilometres from the Indian frontier; foreign military observers were invited, including the Indian defence attaché. Since an agreement signed in 1987, military units ceased to be deployed on the border. Such a non-deployment of army regular units on the international border may be considered as a confidence building measure. Local agreements were sometimes reached, like the redeployment of forces in the Siachen area in 1989, which in fact was never done. New measures have also been adopted : regular telephone talks between the two army headquarters (at the level of director general military operations), periodical meetings between the heads of paramilitary forces along the border. A code of good conduct between diplomats (including therefore military attachés) has been adopted in 1992. Large scale exercises close to the borders will not be carried on. In June 1997, the two Prime Ministers agreed to set a direct telephone hot line between them. Kindling can be lit by sparks, especially in Kashmir and Northern Areas but possibilities to talk at military and political levels, at short notice, in case of emergency, should normally prevent any war to break up by accident. Any skirmish or exchange of fire may be defused rapidly if the political leaders of both countries want it (which is the case now). Exchange of information happens also, as between all member nations, in the UN headquarters in New-York. As decided in 1991 and effective from 1993, each country, and Pakistan and India do it, has to fill the UN register of conventional arms; this measure of transparency provides data on military holdings and procurement from national production and imports.

More intrusive and therefore more efficient confidence building measures could be discussed, taking as examples what happens in Europe: prior and proper notification of military exercises, on site inspections, open sky, on navies (nothing has been done so far in that field), common patrols on the borders, setting of early warning observation posts. But India seems reluctant, thinking that a complete networks of confidence building measures would increase Pakistan’s status and diminish its own.

Peace through arms control

Like confidence building measures, arms control is part of diplomacy. Regional agreements may be reached. As far as universal agreements are concerned, which may be also relevant to South-Asia, Pakistan, generally speaking, aligns itself on India; when New Delhi refuses to adhere to a disarmament treaty, Islamabad adopts the same attitude but without endorsing any responsibility.

The two biggest countries of South Asia are not part of nuclear arms control. Islamabad would be ready to adhere to denuclearisation if New-Delhi takes the same step. But India refuses to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) because it considers the contemplated ban treaty to be biased in favour of already nuclear countries and therefore detrimental to the non-nuclear ones. For the same reason, India rejects the American proposal to convene a five-partite conference (China, Russia, United States, India and Pakistan) in order to hold nuclear talks. Both countries have however agreed in 1988 not to attack nuclear installations, in order to avoid any radiation on civilian populations; the agreement was ratified in 1991. Lists of nuclear installations are regularly exchanged.

Both countries accept the interdiction of chemical weapons; they signed the chemical weapons convention in Paris. Recently India admitted to have the know-how to produce chemical weapons and to possess stockpiles of them and declared to get rid of such weaponry. Such a stance is rather refreshing. Pakistan has not reacted yet although it may also have such weapons at its disposal.

India as well as Pakistan again adopt the same stance about antipersonnel mines; they have refused to adhere to the agreement outlawing them. They consider such mines necessary for the defence of their territories.

Conclusion

Wars are rarely to be justified but they may be useful in solving important pending issues between nations. As far as Pakistan is concerned, whatever the responsibilities assumed by the opponents, it waged three wars, in 1947-1948, in 1965 and in 1971. The first two, caused by Kashmir, did not bring any solution. Problem remains unchanged. The third one, implying the former East Pakistan, institutionalised the widening break-away between the two wings of Pakistan; it solved a problem with the creation of a new country, Bangladesh.

During the first 24 years of independence three wars broke out. They were initiated purposely (the first two ones by Pakistan, the last one by India), they did not happen inadvertently, by accident. No superpower is to be condemned. In the following 26 years, peace or rather absence of open conflict prevailed. One of the reasons may be found in the greater maturity of leaders of both countries, in the small number of war-mongers and also in the nuclear deterrence existing now unofficially in South Asia.