Military of Pakistan
Joint Services Parade in 2005.
|Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee||General Tariq Majid|
|Secretary of Defence||Lt Gen (R) Syed Athar Ali|
|Chief of Army
Chief of Air Staff
Chief of Naval Staff
|Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
Rao Qamar Suleman
|Military age||16-49 years old|
|39,028,014 males, age 16-49 (2007 estimate),
36,779,584 females, age 16-49 (2007 estimate)
|29,428,747 males, age 16-49 (2007 estimate),
28,391,887 females, age 16-49 (2007 estimate)
|1,969,055 males (2007 estimate),
1,849,254 females (2007 estimate)
|Active personnel||619,000 (ranked 7th)|
|Budget||$7.8 billion (ranked 23rd)|
|Percent of GDP||4.5 (2006 estimate)|
|History||Military history of
UN peacekeeping missions
Weapons of mass destruction
|Ranks||Awards and decorations of the Pakistan military|
In the event of a war between Pakistan and India, the Indian numerical superiority in men and conventional arms is likely to overwhelm Pakistan. In a deteriorating military situation, when an Indian conventional attack is likely to break through Pakistani defenses, or has already breached the main defense line causing a major set-back to the defense, which cannot be restored by conventional means, the government would be left with no other option except to use nuclear weapons to stabilize the situation. India's superiority in conventional arms and manpower would have to be offset by nuclear weapons. The political will to use nuclear weapons is essential to prevent a conventional armed conflict, which could later on escalate into a nuclear war.
Pakistan's nuclear doctrine therefore is based on the first strike option. In other words, the Pakistani government will use nuclear weapons if attacked by India even if the attack is with conventional weapons. With his experience of a graduated nuclear response, Professor Stephen P. Cohen feels that Pakistan would use what he calls an 'option-enhancing policy'. This would entail a stage-by-stage approach in which the nuclear threat is increased at each step to deter India from attacking. These stages are as follows:
Some weapon systems would be in reserve for the counter-value role. These weapons would be safe from Indian attack as some would be airborne while the ground based ones are mobile and could be moved around the country.
Starkly contrasting India, Pakistan has adopted a policy of nuclear first-use. In 1998, Pakistan's foreign secretary Shamsad Ahmed mentioned that Pakistan's policy implies that it will not only use nuclear weapons in a retaliatory strike, it is also ready to take the lead and use nuclear weapons first to counter Indian conventional aggression.
Two major factors have prompted Islamabad to adopt such a posture. First, a first-strike nuclear force is affordable in financial terms and is less cumbersome to build. As first-use policy purports a small nuclear arsenal, it is easier to manage once it is built and its command and control system is less complex compared to a second-strike nuclear force. This is also consistent with Pakistan's policy of minimum nuclear deterrence, another key feature of Pakistan's nuclear doctrine. Second, India's conventional power far outweigh Pakistan's; so a first-use policy is an 'equaliser' of this imbalance. Islamabad's policy in this context is reminiscent of NATO's adoption of a first-use policy during the Cold War period against conventionally superior Warsaw Pact forces in the European theatre. Pakistan's structural vulnerabilities - lack of go-strategic depth, proximity of missile and air bases and storage facilities to international borders and within the range of an Indian pre-emptive conventional strike, further exacerbate Pakistan's military inferiority, which reinforces the Pakistani rationale to adopt a first-use policy.
Despite its adoption of a first-use policy, Islamabad is yet to clearly state the circumstances or the 'red-lines' that will prompt a Pakistani first-use of nuclear weapons. According to a retired Pakistan Air Force officer, for example, Islamabad will use nuclear weapons first under the following conditions: