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Chances of India-Pakistan conventional war inconceivable due to mutually assured destruction

The chances of a conventional war between India and Pakistan was inconceivable due to Islamabad’s “robust nuclear capability” and policy of “Full Spectrum Deterrence”, a Pakistani strategic expert said today. “The era of conventional hot wars is behind us. India can generate as much heat as it likes on Line of Control including phantom surgical strikes from time to time, which in any case would be strongly retaliated by Pakistan,” Adviser National Command Authority Lt Gen (retd.) Khalid Kidwai said. Speaking at the 6th Workshop on ‘Defence, Deterrence and Stability in South Asia’ here, Kidwai credited the reduction in chances of convention war to Pakistan’s “robust nuclear capability” and the policy of “Full Spectrum Deterrence”.

“Because of mutually assured destruction, there is unlikelihood of a hot war or a conventional war and therefore the conflict has shifted towards sub-conventional level. As of now, that could be seen in full play at our Western borders,” Gen Kidwai said. He also explained the salient features of the ‘Full Spectrum Deterrence’ policy, which envisages possession of a full range of nuclear weapons that could reach every part of the Indian territory; having enough yield and numbers to deter rival from its policy of massive retaliation; and having liberty of picking targets.

Speaking about Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities, he said, the country was self-reliant in nuclear field, but its programme was not the fastest growing in the world. “There are no aggressive overtones to our capability; the over-arching policy is Full Spectrum Deterrence, but within the larger philosophy of Credible Minimum Deterrence. Pakistan will maintain peace and security in South Asia with adequate level of armaments at all tiers: strategic, operational and tactical,” he maintained.

The NCA adviser renewed the call for resolution of disputes in the region saying as long as that is not done, the region would remain in flux alternating between “strategic stability and instability”. Fragile peace in the meantime, he believed, would be maintained through defence and deterrence postures.


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