Adviser to the National Command Authority (NCA) of Pakistan retired Lt Gen Khalid Kidwai on Tuesday (Nov 6) said Pakistan would not follow India’s suit in developing a defence system against ballistic missiles because it found little value in such systems, but would continue to seek to redress the imbalances caused by Indian moves.
“Pakistan remains unfazed and as before, we have adequate response options which will disallow any disturbance of the strategic balance or strategic stability. That fundamental policy will prevail,” Gen Kidwai told a conference on ‘Nuclear Deterrence and Strategic Stability in South Asia’ hosted by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI).
He was speaking in the context of India-Russia deal for S-400 missile systems. India had been working on the development of a multi-layer ballistic missile defence system for over a decade now. Besides the S-400 deal, India has large-scale cooperation with Israel for BMD development.
“Much hype has been created around this particular technology induction and some have gone to the extent of calling it a game changer for South Asia,” he said, adding that this was wrong.
“The history of our strategic force development clearly indicates that Pakistan has never allowed this (strategic) balance to be disturbed to our disadvantage; we have always found effective solutions to redress induced imbalances from time to time,” Gen Kidwai said.
He said Pakistan had already possessed “cost-effective solutions” to take care of India’s BMD in the shape of MIRV capability and four categories of cruise missiles. He said India’s BMD only had symbolic value and “Pakistan’s answer [to it] is available today”.
The NCA adviser said Pakistan had long ago taken “conscious decision” of not developing an anti-ballistic missile system because of reasons that remain valid even today.
He maintained that Pakistan’s response to India’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant too could be found in Full Spectrum Deterrence which implied possession of a full array of strategic, tactical and operational weapons, having appropriate weapons yield, coverage and numbers, and liberty to choose targets.
SVI president Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said India was looking for space for fighting a limited war with Pakistan, whereas the latter was trying to deprive the former of that opportunity by coming up with responses like tactical deterrence. “This is our contribution to peace,” he added.
India, he regretted, was pushing the region into an arms race that would have long-lasting consequences.