‘Babur’ & Its Implications for Pakistan’s Defense Capabilities

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Babur missile a multiplier for Pak deterrence: DG SASSI

 Diplomatic News Agency, 27 Sept 2012

‘In short Babur is a force multiplier for Pakistan’s deterrence credibility, with this development of Babur, Pakistan has now all the capable platforms, land, air & sea borne capability for maintaining deterrence stability’. This was said by Dr Maria Sultan Director General, South Asian Strategic Stability Institute in a press conference held at Press Club Islamabad on 27th September 2012. The South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) is an independent think tank dedicated to promoting peace and stability in South Asia. Its work is focused on strategic stability in the South Asia region, and thus on the emergent nuclear relationship which is at the heart of that stability.

India’s BMD technology development affects the balance of power in the region. Indian BMD systems pose challenges to Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence capability by corroding strategic equilibrium and unstable balance of power in India’s favor. Dr Sultan further stated that the ‘No First Use’ is in itself logic to build a large nuclear arsenal, and one which can clearly be seen in the draft nuclear doctrine where India, on the one hand, pledges to maintain minimum credible deterrence and on the other, it aspires to build a nuclear triad and further weapon development without taking into account regional stability.

Mateah Aqeel Research Fellow SASSI said that Hatf VII (Babar) can be a good equalizer against the Indian ballistic missile defense system. The missile is stated to have a high degree of maneuverability, allowing it to have a “hugging” the terrain ability, and is also seen as a counter to BMDs.  Asra Hassan Research Fellow SASSI said that Hatf VII (Babur) add to deterrence in both conventional and nuclear realms due to their ability to penetrate sophisticated air defense and anti-ballistic missile defense networks and, therefore, are a credible option for counter-force targeting on land and sea.

Beenish Ansari Research Fellow SASSI said that Hatf VII test strengthens Pakistan’s deterrence capability and national security.Pakistan has been testing and improving its cruise missile systems since 2005 and now maintains land-and air-based versions of the system, Babur and Raad, respectively.

Adnan Bukhari Research Fellow SASSI said that Cold Start Doctrine has the potential not only to operationalise Indian military doctrine on the basis of preemption but can also trigger a nuclear conflict. Deterrence in South Asia is delicate because of rapid militarization and operationalisation of Cold Start Doctrine. India introduces Cold Start Doctrine to carry out limited war against Pakistan and remain below the nuclear threshold. The concept of limited war will push the region into further instability.

Khadija Sharif Research Fellow SASSI said that Hatf VII has the potential to give Indian troops pause in implementing adventurous doctrines and will prohibit India from punishing Pakistan through these aggressive doctrines like cold start Doctrine. A projection of limited war however in the Indian context. Pakistan faces a conventional asymmetry with India which the nuclear weapons have neutralized.

Mobeen Tariq Research Fellow SASSI said that India is on the way of modernizing its navy; the presence of Indian nuclear submarines has strategic implications for Pakistan. So Pakistan has to acquire a sea-based deterrence for emerging threats which are emanating from Indian naval modernization. Hatf VII (Babur) has heightened Pakistan’s strategic standoff capability at sea. It can enhance Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence capabilities by demonstrating to the world that Pakistan can protect not only its territory but also its maritime security. Naval blockade against Pakistan is impossible after the induction of this missile.

Muhammad Shakir Baacha Research Fellow SASSI said that in addition, the missile has in-built links with (SACCS) the command and control systems that can be used to coordinate the operational functions of nuclear forces with centralized control from the NCA. Pakistan has fully automated its Strategic Command and Control Support System (SCCSS) that enables robust Command and Control capability of all strategic assets with round the clock situational awareness in a digitized network-centric environment to decision makers at the National Command Centre (NCC).Pakistan now has the capability to work out a comprehensive and robust command and control over its cruise missiles throughout their flight trajectory.

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