Tag Archives: NASR

Can Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers Be ‘Normalised’?

Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, Vol. 57, No. 1, Feb-March 2015, pp.117-132

Arundhati Ghose, Adjunct Faculty, ISSSP, NIAS, Bangalore

Manpreet Sethi, ICSSR Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi

Survival CoverMark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, is among the latest to hazard solutions to Pakistan’s nuclear dangers and myriad other problems. In his Adelphi book, Overcoming Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers, he identifies four specific dangers presented by Pakistan’s nuclear programme: the potential for nuclear use; for a nuclear arms race; for nuclear terrorism; and for onward proliferation and nuclear accidents. After an assessment of each danger, he proffers three recommendations, among them the ‘nuclear normalisation’ of Pakistan, defined as offering the country a nuclear-cooperation deal ‘akin to’ the one given to India in 2008.

Is Pakistan indeed amenable to external inducements in the nuclear arena? Does it merit inducements? More importantly, if the West were able to offer them as part of a quid pro quo, would that change the basic drivers of Pakistan’s nuclear policy? If not, could any offer from the West prompt Pakistan to alter its nuclear-weapons trajectory to the satisfaction of the non-proliferation community? Based on the available evidence, it would seem that Fitzpatrick’s answer to these questions is overly simplistic.

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Commentary: Pakistan’s Nasr/Hatf-IX Missile: Challenges for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Strategic Analysis, Vol. 38, No. 4, July 2014, pp. 444-448.

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

strat analysisOn November 5, 2013 Pakistan conducted its fourth test of the Hatf-IX (Nasr) short range battlefield ‘nuclear’ missile. To date there have been four flight tests of the missile system. After the first three tests (April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013) Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had put out identical press releases. These statements claimed that the missile had a range of 60km and carried ‘nuclear warheads (sic) of appropriate yield’. The ISPR statement following the fourth flight test of Nasr, a salvo firing of four missiles, was worded differently and did not repeat the claim that Nasr carried a nuclear warhead. Curiously, it referred to the missile’s nuclear capability in a roundabout sort of way. The statement claimed that the missile ‘contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios’.

This then begets three questions. First, what is Pakistan trying to signal by way of the Nasr and what is the significance of the change in wording of the ISPR statement following the fourth Nasr test flight? Secondly, can Pakistan actually fit a nuclear warhead into the Nasr? Thirdly, how credible would Nasr be in Indian eyes and how will it impact the Indo-Pak deterrence relationship.

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Battlefield Weapons and Missile Defense: Worrisome Developments in Nuclear South Asia

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2014

HATF-IX/NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Rajaram Nagappa, Arun Vishwanathan and Aditi Malhotra

An ISSSP Report titled ‘HATF-IX / NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence’ was quoted by Prof. R. Rajaraman in the  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Journal, March/April 2014 Vol. 70 No. 2, pp. 68-74.  The link of the article is given below.

For the entire paper click here

The study was undertaken by the authors at the ISSSP, NIAS carried out a technical analysis and sizing of the missile to see whether a nuclear warhead can fit into it. The study also highlighted the importance for nuclear stability in the Indian sub-continent and whether NASR is leading Pakistan into a ‘commitment trap.’ The study showed that a weapon system like NASR has more disadvantages than advantages from all considerations ranging from damage potential to impact on deterrence stability.

To read the complete report click here

Is there a debate about Nasr/Hatf-IX within Pakistan?

Generation Why: South Asian Voices, Stimson Center, February 27, 2014

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

gen whyOn November 5, 2013 Pakistan flight tested its short range battlefield missile Nasr/Hatf-IX. The test involved successive firing of four missiles (Salvo) from a multi-tube launcher. As compared to the first (April 19, 2011) flight test which was carried out from a two-tube launcher, the remaining flight tests (May 29, 2012, February 11, 2013 and November 5, 2013) were carried from a four tube launcher.

However, this was not the only – or even the most significant – difference between the four flight tests. The most significant departure was the language used in the Inter Services Press Release (ISPR) press release following the fourth Nasr flight test. The ISPR press releases following the earlier tests had unambiguously claimed that the Nasr “carried nuclear warheads (sic) of appropriate yield.” Though the remaining text of the statement is largely similar to the earlier press releases, the statement following the fourth flight-test is different in one aspect. The statement claims that the missile, “contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against threats in view of the evolving scenarios.”

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Hatf IX/Nasr – Pakistan’s BNW: implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Rajaram Nagappa, LV Krishnan, Arun Vishwanathan, Aditi Malhotra

December 17, 2013, India International Centre, New Delhi

A team from the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore made a presentation on Pakistan’s Hatf-IX/Nasr battlefield nuclear weapon and its implications for Indo-Pak deterrence. The presentation was held at the India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi. It was attended by several serving and retired diplomats, military officers, academics and officials from various government departments. 

The complete ISSSP report on the Hatf-IX/Nasr is available here

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Pakistan’s nukes-Playing Russian roulette?

Indian Review of Global Affairs, November 28, 2013

Ambassador Arundhati Ghose, Adjunct Faculty, National Institute of Advanced Studies

It is public knowledge that since April 2011, Pakistan has conducted three tests of its Hatf-IX (NASR) missile, the latest in February of this year. The introduction of battlefield nuclear weapons for use as a deterrent to conventional land based troops has been seen and reported as a reaction to the Indian Army’s doctrine of ‘Cold Start’ which in turn was drawn up as a possible response to another Mumbai-like terrorist attack. Apart from this fairly widely reported conclusion, it appears clear that the effort behind this development is to signal to both India and to the international community, Pakistan’s willingness to escalate any move by the Indian Army against it to a nuclear level. Indeed, the Indian strategic community has been discussing the implications of Pakistan’s move for some time – a comprehensive analysis available in the public domain is the one by the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme of NIAS. At the semi- official level, Ambassador Shyam Saran, Chairman of the National Security Advisory board pointed out that India’s nuclear doctrine made no difference in the categorisation of nuclear weapons. Any nuclear attack on India or on her troops anywhere would be responded to by the inflicting of ‘unacceptable damage’. 

In recent weeks, so many concerned western ‘experts’ to the capital, to discuss the abstruse-to the Indian public-subject of “strategic stability” in Asia/ in the sub-continent. While this is a perfectly legitimate activity, their concerns, and they are perhaps valid ones, should surely be addressed to Pakistan, which has nurtured terrorists and is signalling the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield. Efforts should concentrate on finding ways to persuade Pakistan to desist from what are obviously suicidal attempts.

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Pakistan’s HATF-IX / NASR : Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

HATF-IX / NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Authors: Rajaram Nagappa, Arun Vishwanathan and Aditi Malhotra

To read the complete report in pdf click here

NASR ImageOn April 19, 2011 Pakistan conducted the first test flight of Hatf-IX (NASR) missile. The Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) described the missile as a ‘Short Range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile’. Till date there have been three tests of the missile system on April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013.

Following the Pakistani tests and claims of NASR being a nuclear capable missile, there has been a lot of analysis pointing to the dangers it poses for Indo-Pak deterrence. However, despite the large amount of literature which has come out following the NASR test in April 2011, not much attention has been directed at carrying out a holistic assessment of the tactical nuclear weapons issue. It is this crucial gap that that this report seeks to address.

The NASR warhead section has been estimated to have a cylindrical section which is 361 mm in diameter and 940 mm long with a conical portion which is 660 mm long. Thus, the important question is whether (a) Pakistan has a miniaturized weapon warhead which will fit into this dimension, (b) whether it has been tested and (c) in the absence of tests, how reliable is the weapon system. Most importantly, in the absence of demonstrated reliability, how confident will Pakistan be in fielding it?

Pakistan’s gambit of using NASR to signal a lowering of its nuclear threshold to counter any conventional military operation by India is likely to pose challenges for robustness of nuclear deterrence between Pakistan and India. An important question to ponder over and one that holds some importance for nuclear stability in the Indian sub-continent is whether NASR is leading Pakistan into a ‘commitment trap.’ It would be wise to guard against a situation where Pakistan would be forced to follow through just because of its past assertions.

The study shows that a weapon system like NASR has more disadvantages than advantages from all considerations ranging from damage potential to impact on deterrence stability.

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