Is Pakistan capable of a second-strike?

In great international power politics, nuclear weapons have repudiated the concept of real wars. Instead, it focuses on upgrading state capabilities to deter the adversary state from the consequences of the first strike. Second strike capacity is the capacity of a state to answer an atomic assault through an atomic counter. However, the credibility of a second strike is attained when the adversary state accepts that attacking will eventually result in massive retaliation or mutual-assured destruction.

Pakistan had attained its nuclear license in 1997 and, since, developed its atomic technology to keep its flag high in international relations.

Recently, Pakistan with Turkey is manufacturing the Babur-3rd class guided missile heavy corvette. According to the Pakistan Strategic Forum, “The class of four Babur corvettes are being built under the joint venture MILGEM project between Pakistan and Turkey, with 2 ships being built in Istanbul, Turkey and 2 in Karachi, Pakistan at a cost of around $1.5 Billion to the Pakistan Navy. The Babur Class Corvettes are 3,000-tonne multi-mission platforms, equipped for anti-ship warfare (AShW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) as well as anti-air warfare (AAW)”.

The Babur-3 guided corvette missile which Pakistan will officially announce next month holds the accurate precision power in the 9,300-kilometre range.

This is a great instant boost in Pakistan’s second-strike capability including up-gradation to continental, aerospace and maritime security dimensions.

Babur Cruise Missile is another medium-range turbojet engine Pakistani missile with a range of 900-kilometre (2021 model).

Shaheen III is Pakistan’s land-to-land highest range of 2750-kilometres ballistic missile tested on 9th March 2015.

Afterwards, the Pakistan Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with an expected range of 7000-kilometre is under-development. The manufacturing of this missile will give Pakistan a strong hold over its nuclear attainments.

However, right now, Pakistan does not have an atomic controlled submarine. Nuclear powered Ballistic Submarine (SSBN) is specially designed for long-range rockets and holds the capacity to be immersed underwater for a longer time and cannot be recognised by radars and projectors. Diesel-electric submarines, notwithstanding, are a long way from being strong, as they are not tranquil and along these lines can be recognized, undermining their endurance and thus the believability of the subsequent strike.

A state balance of power in the context of second-strike capability can be categorized in two short ways; a state’s internal capabilities in terms of military, politics and national elements and a state’s external stance in international relations. The state goodwill in using nuclear weapons depends both on internal and external stances and neglecting any element can result in fierce economic and political sanctions.

In recent years, Pakistan has been tilting toward China while trying to not worsen its relations with the USA as well. In the past decade, Pakistan had notably increased military ties with Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and China.

China is linked with Pakistan in interest to its Road and Belt Initiative Project. Gwadar Port is the main object for the successful completion of China’s project. Pakistan is effectively utilizing these opportunities to build economic and political ties with China which is going to enhance Pakistan’s second-strike capability in context to the external goodwill in international relations and more nuclear advancement, especially in nuclear SSBN submarines.

BURHAN AHMED LODHI

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