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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pak Short-range nukes raise alarm

Pakistan's recent testing of NASR or Hatf-9 short range missile, coupled with its rapidly growing stockpile of low-intensity nuclear weapons, suggests that it is actually preparing to cross the nuclear threshold in case of a conflict with India, The Times of India reported on Sunday.
One of world's most authoritative voices on Pakistan's nuclear strength and American nuclear expert Hans Kristensen told the paper that a nuclear-tipped NASR seemed more like a weapon intended for use against Indian forces advancing into Pakistani territory.

"While that wouldn't threaten Indian survival in itself, it would of course mean crossing the nuclear threshold early in a conflict, which is one of the particular concerns of a short-range nuclear weapon,'' said Kristensen, who is also Federation of American Scientists' Nuclear Information Project director.
While the 60-km short range of the nuclear capable missile doesn't threaten the security of any major Indian city, it certainly makes the Indian army and security forces vulnerable in case India does try to implement its much talked about Cold Start Doctrine

"A NASR would have to drive all the way up to the Indian border to be able to reach important targets in India. Amritsar would be one candidate, as would several smaller cities along the border. But that would also expose the missile to counter attack,' Kristensen said as he emphasized that with its range of only 60 kilometres, the multi-tube NASR system is not intended to retaliate against Indian cities but be used first against advancing Indian Army in a battlefield scenario.

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