Pakistan’s refusal not to use nuclear weapons in case of conventional conflict with India and Pakistan Army’s belief that a nuclear deterrent allows it to pursue terrorism against India brings down the possibility of a civil nuclear deal with the US thereby imposing checks on Islamabad’s atomic arsenal
Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine doesn’t not make it clear when the nuclear option could come into operation. It is rooted in a belief system that weapons are lone means of taking on India’s larger armed forces.
The threat to use “tactical” or battlefield nukes is supported by arguments based on altered history, an interpretation of Indian intent and far-fetched comparisons with NATO strategies during the Cold War.
Given the military’s belief, including strategic affairs experts, that N-weapons are part of regular military and anti-India jihadi groups, there is no likelihood of Pakistan agreeing to slash its armoury.
Pakistan’s reference to jargon such as “full spectrum” deterrence amounts to use of its nuclear weapons as a means to prevent India from using military options in case of terrorist attacks.
This interpretation of deterrence—of using nukes to get even for terrorist attacks—is unique to Pakistan and has nothing in common with Cold War doctrines that to the military’s oft-repeated quotes.
India’s s argument is that any attempt to buy off Pakistan’s nukes is not only not likely to work, but may also be counter-productive as it is is reinforced by the Nawaz Sharif government’s inability to chart a policy.
Having bowed down to the military’s pressure that Pakistan pitch Kashmir to the top of its engagement with India to take the focus away from terrorism, the Sharif regime has even less elbow room on any nuclear deal.
Though the Pakistan Army was unsuccessful in achieving any of its objectives with regard to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the dispute, however, remains a focus as far as maintaining nuclear arms is concerned.
The K-issue serves to block any progress with India; it is evident most uncontrollable aspect of bilateral ties isn’t the best starting point and cooperation on terrorism might actually make the region safer.