Yom-e-Takbeer: US Efforts to Stop Pakistan Nuclear Tests in May, 1998

"Believe me when I tell you that my heart is with you. I appreciate and would even privately agree with what you're advising us to do (abandon nuclear tests)", said Pakistan's Ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott on May 16, 1998

The order to conduct Pakistan's nuclear tests came from Mr. Nawaz Sharif who was Pakistan's prime minister in 1998. It came on May 28, just over two weeks after India's nuclear tests conducted May 11 to May 13, 1998. Pakistan went ahead with the tests in spite of the US pressure to abstain from testing.  US President Bill Clinton called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately after the Indian tests to urge restraint.  It was followed up by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott's visit to Islamabad on May 16, 1998.

In his 2010 book titled "Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb", Secretary Talbott has described US diplomatic efforts to dissuade Pakistan in the two weeks period between the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests. Here are a few excerpts of the book divided into four sections covering Clinton's call to Sharif, Talbott's visits to the Foreign Office (FO), general headquarters (GHQ) and Prime Minister's House:

Clinton's Call to Sharif: 

Clinton telephoned Sharif, the Pakistani PM, to whet his appetite for the planes, huge amounts of financial aid, and a prize certain to appeal to Sharif—an invitation for him to make an official visit to Washington.

“You can almost hear the guy wringing his hands and sweating,” Clinton said after hanging up.

Still, we had to keep trying. Our best chance was an emergency dose of face-to-face diplomacy. It was decided that I would fly to Pakistan and make the case to Nawaz Sharif.

Meeting at Foreign Office in Islamabad:

On arrival in Islamabad, we had about an hour to freshen up at a hotel before our first official meeting, which was with the foreign minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, and the foreign secretary (the senior civil servant in the ministry), Shamshad Ahmad.

When we got to the foreign ministry, we found that the Pakistani civilian leaders had finally figured out how to handle our visit, and the result was a bracing experience. My two hosts rolled their eyes, mumbled imprecations under their breath, and constantly interrupted.

They accused the United States of having turned a blind eye to the BJP’s preparations for the test.

As for the carrots I had brought, the Pakistanis gave me a version of the reaction I had gotten from General Wahid five years earlier. Offers of Pressler relief and delivery of “those rotting and virtually obsolete air- planes,” said Gohar Ayub, were “shoddy rugs you’ve tried to sell us before.” The Pakistani people, he added, “would mock us if we accepted your offer. They will take to the streets in protest.”

I replied that Pakistanis were more likely to protest if they didn’t have jobs. Gohar Ayub and Shamshad Ahmad waved the point aside. The two Pakistani officials were dismissive. The current burst of international outrage against India would dissipate rapidly, they predicted.

Visit to General Headquarter (GHQ) in Rawalpindi:

We set off with police escort, sirens blaring, to (Chief of Army Staff) General Karamat’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Karamat, who was soft-spoken and self-confident, did not waste time on polemics. He heard us out and acknowledged the validity of at least some of our arguments, especially those concerning the danger that, by testing, Pakistan would land itself, as he put it, “in the doghouse alongside India.”

His government was still “wrestling” with the question of what to do he said, which sounded like a euphemism for civilian dithering. There was more in the way Karamat talked about his political leadership, a subtle but discernible undertone of long-suffering patience bordering on scorn.   For example, he noted pointedly “speculation” that Pakistan was looking for some sort of American security guarantee, presumably a promise that the US would come to Pakistan’s defense if it was attacked by India, in exchange for not testing. “You may hear such a suggestion later,” Karamat added, perhaps referring to our upcoming meeting with Nawaz Sharif. I should not take such hints seri- ously, he said, since they reflected the panic of the politicians. Pakistan would look out for its own defense.

What Pakistan needed from the United States was a new, more solid relationship in which there was no “arm- twisting” or “forcing us into corners.” By stressing this point, Karamat made clear that our arguments against testing did not impress him.

Meeting at Prime Minister's House:

I shared a car back to Islamabad with Bruce Riedel and Tom Simons to meet Nawaz Sharif.

What we got from the Prime Minister was a Hamlet act, convincing in its own way—that is, I think he was genuinely feeling torn—but rather pathetic.

On this occasion Nawaz Sharif seemed nearly paralyzed with exhaustion, anguish, and fear. He was—literally, just as Clinton had sensed during their phone call—wringing his hands. He had yet to make up his mind, he kept telling us. Left to his own judgment, he would not test.

His position was “awkward.” His government didn’t want to engage in “tit-for-tat exchanges” or “act irresponsibly.” The Indian leaders who had set off the explosion were “madmen” and he didn’t want “madly to follow suit.”

But pressure was “mounting by the hour” from all sides, including from the opposition led by his predecessor and would-be successor, Benazir Bhutto. “I am an elected official, and I cannot ignore popular sentiment.” Sharif was worried that India would not only get away with what it had done but profit from it as well. When international anger receded, the sanctions would melt away, and the BJP would parlay India’s new status as a declared nuclear weapons state into a permanent seat on UN SC. I laid out all that we could do for Pakistan, although this time I tried to personalize the list a bit more.

Clinton told me two days before that he would use Sharif’s visit to Washington and Clinton’s own to Pakistan to “dramatize” the world’s gratitude if Sharif refrains from testing. This point aroused the first flicker of interest I’d seen. Nawaz Sharif asked if Clinton would promise to skip India on his trip and come only to Pakistan. There was no way I could promise that. All I could tell Nawaz Sharif was that Clinton would “recalibrate the length and character” of the stops he made in New Delhi and Islamabad to reflect that Pakistan was in favor with the United States while India was not. Sharif looked more miserable than ever.

Toward the end of the meeting, Sharif asked everyone but me to wait outside. (Foreign Secretary) Shamshad (Ahmad) seemed miffed. He glanced nervously over his shoulder as he left. When we were alone I gave the prime minister a written note from Secretary Albright urging him to hold firm against those clamoring to test.  The note warned about the economic damage, to say nothing of the military danger, Pakistan faced from an escalating competition with India. Sharif read the note intently, folded the paper, put his head in his hands for a moment, then looked at me with desperation in his eyes.

At issue, he said, was his own survival. “How can I take your advice if I’m out of office?” If he did as we wanted, the next time I came to Islamabad, I'd find myself dealing not with a clean-shaven moderate like himself but with an Islamic fundamentalist “who has a long beard.” He concluded by reiterating he had not made up his mind about testing. “If a final decision had been reached I'd be in a much calmer state of mind. Believe me when I tell you that my heart is with you. I appreciate and would even privately agree with what you're advising us to do.”

Summary:

It is clear from Secretary Talbot's description that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not want to go forward with the nuclear tests but he had no choice.  Fearing that he would be removed from office if he decided not to conduct atomic test, he told Talbott, “How can I take your advice if I’m out of office?”  Summing up the failure of the US efforts to stop Pakistan's nuclear tests, US Ambassador to Pakistan Ann Patterson said the following in a cable to Washington in 2009 :  "The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India".

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#Nuclear skills have helped #Pakistan earn/save $7.4 billion. Peaceful use has aided in #power generation, #agriculture & #medicine. Pak developed 100 new #crop varieties, treated 800,000 #cancer patients every year in hospitals using nuclear #radiation. http://v.aa.com.tr/1857356

Dispelling the impression that pursuing nuclear technology was a drain on national resources, a top Pakistani nuclear scientist claimed that its peaceful use helped the country to add 1,200 billion rupees ($7.4 billion) to its national exchequer.

Participating in a webinar program to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of Pakistan’s nuclear testing organized by Islamabad-based think-tank, the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Ansar Pervez, the former chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, said that the nuclear technology was being used for peaceful purposes in diverse sectors including medicine, health, agriculture, industry, pollution control, water resources management, and safe and sustainable electricity production.

He said that it allowed Pakistan to develop 100 new crop varieties, which added $7.4 billion to the treasury. He further said that 800,000 cancer patients are being treated every year by hospitals using nuclear radiation.

The nuclear program, Pervez said, has not only ensured its national security and regional peace but also helped pursue at least 12 sustainable development goals and promote socio-economic development.

Pakistan is one of only 13 countries across the globe capable of sharing its nuclear knowledge and expertise with other countries for peaceful purposes.

Director General of Arms Control and Disarmament Kamran Akhtar stated that the huge Indian defense acquisitions and developments in the areas of artificial intelligence, cyber security and space militarization are destabilizing for the region. He said the international community must exercise care and caution in sharing its advanced nuclear and other related technologies with India.

“Pakistan can be compared with any developed country in terms of its nuclear expertise, knowledge and capabilities, and is completely qualified to become an active and productive member of the strategic export control regime of the world,” he added.

Naeem Salik, the former director of Strategic Plans Division, said Pakistan became a nuclear weapon state once its security needs were neither understood nor met by the world and its several arms control initiatives were not reciprocated. He said Pakistan has a credible minimum deterrence posture which provides Pakistan security without engaging in a costly arms race with India.

Khalid Rahman, the executive president of IPS, said the unparalleled success of Pakistan’s nuclear program provides a principle to follow in policymaking to address various issues of national significance.

“If we understand this principle and pursue our other national goals with similar zeal, spirit, determination, consistency and unity, then we can effectively meet all other challenges that our nation faces,” he argued.
Riaz Haq said…
Nuclear energy of Pakistan
As it’s rightly said that Pakistan is confident but never complacent regarding nuclear safety and security
by Rabia Javed


https://nation.com.pk/28-May-2020/nuclear-energy-of-pakistan


Advocating the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Stephen Hawking once said, “I would like nuclear fusion to become a practical power source. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming.”

Pakistan’s nuclear energy program started in 1954, largely inspired by then US President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in December 1953. During his address Eisenhower emphasized on promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the field of agriculture, medicine, and electricity generation.

Over the years, Pakistan’s civilian nuclear energy programme has contributed to its socio-economic uplift. Furthermore, there is an ample room available for Pakistan to enhance its nuclear power generation capability to meet growing energy demands.

Pakistan has played a very important role in utilizing the peaceful nuclear energy sector in various domains. Peaceful applications are best utilized in power generation, minerals exploration, developing high-yield stress tolerant crops, cancer treatment, designing and fabrication of industrial plants and equipment and human resource development for many years.

Pakistan has used its Centres of Excellence to promote and share best practices in nuclear security through three affiliated institutes: the Pakistan Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Security (PCENS), the National Institute of Safety and Security (NISAS), and the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS). Along with this, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) was established under the Ordinance III of 2001 for regulation of nuclear safety and radiation protection. In 1994, Pakistan also signed convention on nuclear safety which requires states to established regulatory bodies separated from those involving the promotion of nuclear energy. PNRA, since its development, has demonstrated excellence as a role model for safety culture at national and international levels by adopting various precautionary measures.

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Appreciating the "positive role" played by Pakistan in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear technology, IAEA assisted Pakistan to establish Veterinary Residue Laboratory, which now carries out food safety tests ofinternational standards. The new laboratory can test meat and other food products and certify that they do not contain veterinary drug residues that exceed safety limits.

Nuclear technology is playing a crucial role in cancer treatment. So far, 18 cancer hospitals – spread across Pakistan’s four provinces and the capital, Islamabad – are working on cancer treatment. These hospitals alone, working under the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, are responsible for 80% of cancer treatment in the country. The IAEA stands ready to assist Pakistan in strengthening capacities for key elements of a cancer control programme. These include prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and palliative care.

On the eve of global summit on nuclear security in Vienna, Pakistan provided a thorough glance to its ‘stringent’ nuclear safety mechanisms. This event was attended by diplomats around the world. A booklet was presented by Pakistan titled ‘Pakistan’s Nuclear Security Regime,' released alongside IAEA’s third International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS) - with the aim to demonstrate Pakistan's “commitment and contribution to the global objectives of civilian nuclear utilization.” Such a step was taken with an aim to counter the myths, disinformation, misperceptions and unfounded propaganda against the country’s peaceful nuclear energy programme. The booklet outlines that there is an urgent need to recognise the best practices Pakistan has in place for safety of its peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Riaz Haq said…
Why #Pakistan Risked Everything To Build #Nuclear Weapons? It became a high priority after #India defeated Pakistan in 1971 to create #Bangladesh. Pakistan now has a nuclear “triad” of delivery systems based on land, in the air and at sea. https://news.yahoo.com/why-pakistan-risked-everything-build-140000382.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=tw via @YahooNews


The sea component of Pakistan’s nuclear force consists of the Babur class of cruise missiles. The latest version, Babur-2, looks like most modern cruise missiles, with a bullet-like shape, a cluster of four tiny tail wings and two stubby main wings, all powered by a turbofan or turbojet engine. The cruise missile has a range of 434 miles. Instead of GPS guidance, which could be disabled regionally by the U.S. government, Babur-2 uses older Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC) navigation technology. Babur-2 is deployed on both land and at sea on ships, where they would be more difficult to neutralize. A submarine-launched version, Babur-3, was tested in January and would be the most survivable of all Pakistani nuclear delivery systems.

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Pakistan’s nuclear program goes back to the 1950s, during the early days of its rivalry with India. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto famously said in 1965, “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”

The program became a higher priority after the country’s 1971 defeat at the hands of India, which caused East Pakistan to break away and become Bangladesh. Experts believe the humiliating loss of territory, much more than reports that India was pursuing nuclear weapons, accelerated the Pakistani nuclear program. India tested its first bomb, codenamed “Smiling Buddha,” in May 1974, putting the subcontinent on the road to nuclearization.

Pakistan began the process of accumulating the necessary fuel for nuclear weapons, enriched uranium and plutonium. The country was particularly helped by one A. Q. Khan, a metallurgist working in the West who returned to his home country in 1975 with centrifuge designs and business contacts necessary to begin the enrichment process. Pakistan’s program was assisted by European countries and a clandestine equipment-acquisition program designed to do an end run on nonproliferation efforts. Outside countries eventually dropped out as the true purpose of the program became clear, but the clandestine effort continued.

Exactly when Pakistan had completed its first nuclear device is murky. Former president Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Bhutto’s daughter, claimed that her father told her the first device was ready by 1977. A member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said design of the bomb was completed in 1978 and the bomb was “cold tested”—stopping short of an actual explosion—in 1983.

Benazir Bhutto later claimed that Pakistan’s bombs were stored disassembled until 1998, when India tested six bombs in a span of three days. Nearly three weeks later, Pakistan conducted a similar rapid-fire testing schedule, setting off five bombs in a single day and a sixth bomb three days later. The first device, estimated at twenty-five to thirty kilotons, may have been a boosted uranium device. The second was estimated at twelve kilotons, and the next three as sub-kiloton devices.

The sixth and final device appears to have also been a twelve-kiloton bomb that was detonated at a different testing range; a U.S. Air Force “Constant Phoenix” nuclear-detection aircraft reportedly detected plutonium afterward. Since Pakistan had been working on a uranium bomb and North Korea—which shared or purchased research with Pakistan through the A. Q. Khan network—had been working on a uranium bomb, some outside observers concluded the sixth test was actually a North Korean test, detonated elsewhere to conceal North Korea’s involvement although. There is no consensus on this conclusion.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #Uranium exploration in Bannu, Kohat approved. The country is investing heavily for the development of #nuclear #medicine and radiation therapy hospitals and equipment including the #cancer fighting centres.- Pakistan - DAWN.COM

https://www.dawn.com/news/1563546

The government has approved work for exploration of uranium in Bannu basin and Kohat plateau at an estimated cost of Rs926.03 million and allocated Rs200m for Atomic Energy Commission’s project in the budget for fiscal year 2020-21.

The country is investing heavily for the development of nuclear medicines and radiation-related hospitals and equipment including the cancer fighting centres.

Currently, there are 18 ongoing development projects of the commission and Rs23.09bn has been allocated for these projects in the new budget. None of the projects have any foreign funding, either in the shape of grants or loans.

These projects include uranium exploration in the Dera Ghazi Khan area of Punjab for which Rs140m has been allocated in the budget though the project’s total cost is Rs794.9m.

For the cancer hospital NORI Islamabad, which is expected to be completed by the end of June 2021, Rs1.23bn has been allocated. For each of the Bahawalpur Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Oncology (BINO) and Karachi Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine, Rs125m has been allocated in the federal budget.

Government plans to invest heavily in nuclear medicines

Similarly, Rs280m has been allocated for Gilgit Institute of Nuclear Medicine, Oncology and Radiotherapy and Rs500m for Gujranwala Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy. Both the centres are expected to become operational next year.

As the country is also investing in the nuclear power projects, Rs18bn has been allocated for units 1 and 2 of the Karachi coastal power projects and Rs1.5bn has been allocated for the research reactor-3 of 10 megawatts.

The 3D printing facility being established in Islamabad has been allocated Rs97.43m in 2020-21.

However, only Rs10m has been allocated for nuclear fuel enrichment plant and Rs21m for the nuclear power fuel testing project in the next budget, indicating that work has been stalled or slowed down at these projects.

Other projects, where the pace of work has apparently slowed down, includes the fuel fabrication plant and the seamless tube plant for which the government has allocated Rs42m and Rs32m, respectively.

The new development budget has allocated Rs100m for studies related to the development of nuclear power plants and Rs140m for survey of mineral resources.

There are two development projects for Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), including the establishment of national radiological emergency coordination centre in Karachi, Islamabad and Mianwali, with the final allocation of Rs199.18m. The other PNRA project is related to enhancing the capacity of the regulator for oversight against vulnerabilities of cyber threats with the allocation of Rs150m.

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