Ukraine's Lesson For Pakistan: Never Give Up Nuclear Weapons

Commenting on Ukraine, Russian analyst  Alexey Kupriyanov told Indian journalist Nirupama Subramanian: "For us, Ukraine is the same as Pakistan for India". What he failed to mention is that Pakistan has developed and retains its nuclear arsenal while Ukraine gave up its nukes in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union. Many Ukrainians now regret this decision. Ukrainians know that no country with nuclear weapons has ever been physically invaded by a foreign military. They now understand the proven effectiveness of nuclear deterrence.  They realize that all the talk about "rules-based order" is just empty rhetoric. The reality is the Law of the Jungle where the strong prey on the weak. The US military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that Washington is just as guilty of violating the "rules-based order" as Moscow. 

Ukraine Gave Up Nukes in 1990s. Source: Utica Phoenix

Denuclearization of Ukraine:

When Ukraine became independent in the early 1990s,  it was the third-largest nuclear power in the world with thousands of nuclear arms. In the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to denuclearize completely based on security guarantee from the U.S., the U.K. and Russia, known as the Budapest Memorandum.  Ukrainian analyst Mariana Budjeryn explained in an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly as follows: 

"It is clear that Ukrainians knew they weren't getting the exactly - sort of these legally binding, really robust security guarantees they sought. But they were told at the time that the United States and Western powers - so certainly, at least, the United States and Great Britain, they take their political commitments really seriously. This is a document signed at the highest level by the heads of state".

US Efforts to Stop Pakistan's Nukes:

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.”


After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Ukrainians are now regretting the decision to give up their nuclear weapons in 1990s based on western security assurances. In 1998, Pakistan flatly refused to do what the Ukrainians did. 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".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

US-Pakistan Civilian Nuclear Deal?

India's Hostility Toward Pakistan 

Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

Debunking Haqqani's Op Ed: "Pakistan's Elusive Quest For Parity

Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb

Cyberwars Across India, Pakistan and China

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech

Pakistan's Space Capabilities

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Scientist Reveals Indian Nuke Test Fizzled

The Wisconsin Project

The Non-Proliferation Review Fall 1997

India, Pakistan Comparison 2010

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Global Firepower Comparison

Evaluation of Military Strengths--India vs. Pakistan

Only the Paranoid Survive

India Races Ahead in Space

21st Century High-Tech Warfare'


Ednan Syed said…
In 1994 Ukraine agreed under American pressure to give up its nuclear weapons on the guarantees that EU and America will protect it.
To All The Pakistani LIBTARDS:
Are you still against our nuclear program ? It is the biggest deterrent against attacks.
Riaz Haq said…
Ukraine, Nuclear Weapons, and Security Assurances at a Glance | Arms Control Association

In late April 1993, 162 Ukrainian politicians signed a statement to add 13 preconditions for ratification of START, frustrating the ratification process. The preconditions required security assurances from Russia and the United States, foreign aid for dismantlement, and compensation for the nuclear material. Additionally, they stated that Ukraine would dismantle only 36 percent of its delivery vehicles and 42 percent of its warheads, leaving the rest under Ukrainian control. Russia and the United States criticized these demands, but Ukraine did not budge. In May 1993, the United States said that if Ukraine were to ratify START, Washington would provide more financial assistance. This began subsequent discussions between Ukraine, Russia, and the United States over the future of Ukrainian denuclearization.

1993 Massandra Accords

Ukrainian and Russian officials reached a set of agreements, including protocols on nuclear weapons dismantlement, procedure, and terms of compensation. However, the two sides could not agree on the final document, and the summit ultimately failed.

1994 Trilateral Statement

The Massandra Accords set the stage for the ultimately successful trilateral talks. As the United States mediated between Russia and Ukraine, the three countries signed the Trilateral Statement on January 14, 1994. Ukraine committed to full disarmament, including strategic weapons, in exchange for economic support and security assurances from the United States and Russia. Ukraine agreed to transfer its nuclear warheads to Russia and accepted U.S. assistance in dismantling missiles, bombers, and nuclear infrastructure. Ukraine’s warheads would be dismantled in Russia, and Ukraine would receive compensation for the commercial value of the highly enriched uranium. Ukraine ratified START on February 3, 1994, repealing its earlier preconditions, but it would not accede to the NPT without further security assurances.

1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

To solidify security commitments to Ukraine, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances on December 5, 1994. A political agreement in accordance with the principles of the Helsinki Accords, the memorandum included security assurances against the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territory or political independence. The countries promised to respect the sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine. Parallel memorandums were signed for Belarus and Kazakhstan as well. In response, Ukraine officially acceded to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state on December 5, 1994. That move met the final condition for ratification of START, and on the same day, the five START states-parties exchanged instruments of ratification, bringing the treaty into force.

2009 Joint Declaration by Russia and the United States

Russia and the United States released a joint statement in 2009 confirming that the security assurances made in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum would still be valid after START expired in 2009.

2014 Russian Annexation of Crimea

Following months of political unrest and the abrupt departure of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian troops entered the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine in March 2014. On March 18, over the protests of the acting government in Kiev, the UN Security Council, and Western governments, Russia declared the annexation of Crimea. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine called the action a blatant violation of the security assurances in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. However, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, “the security assurances were given to the legitimate government of Ukraine but not to the forces that came to power following the coup d'etat.”
Riz said…
Another most important lesson for the sovereign countries that no brother countries no super power no QUAD will come to save you from the aggressors , you will have to fight alone
Riaz Haq said…
#India avoids condemning #Russian invasion of #Ukraine, keeps aloof from #Biden’s coalition against #Moscow. #Modi’s balancing act is proving increasingly difficult this week as Russian tanks and fighters bear down on #Kyiv. #China #Pakistan #geopolitics

Today, Russia has leased a nuclear submarine to India. Russian scientists are helping develop India’s hypersonic missile program. Russian T-90 tanks form the backbone of India’s ground forces, and Russian MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets are mainstays in its air force. The Indian navy’s flagship is an aircraft carrier — a “Kiev-class” — purchased from Russia.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia is by far India’s largest arms supplier, accounting for 70 percent of India’s imports between 2011 and 2015 and roughly half between 2015 and 2020. India recently purchased Russian S-400 antiaircraft missiles, which could trigger U.S. sanctions.


Since Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a large-scale attack against Ukraine on Thursday, the Biden administration has sought to rally allies and partners to condemn Russian aggression and join in trade and financial sanctions.

One country that has conspicuously rebuffed Biden’s appeals is India, a rising Asian power that relies on Moscow for almost all its advanced weapons.

For years, India has juggled its close relations with Russia — an enduring legacy of the Cold War — with its fast-growing ties with the United States, which has envisioned India as a crucial partner in its long-term strategy to counter China’s rise.

Blinken pulls India closer amid challenges in Afghanistan, China

But India’s balancing act is proving increasingly difficult this week as Russian tanks and fighters bear down on Kyiv in a war that has drawn a thick line between the West and Russia, with only China as Moscow’s major economic and diplomatic backer.

While Japan, Australia and the United States all unveiled new export bans against Russia on Thursday and Friday, India — the fourth leg of the grouping known as the Quad — demurred, highlighting a glaring fissure in one of the key American partnerships that Biden has pledged to repair and strengthen.

In remarks Thursday, Biden urged countries to take a stand against Putin, saying that “any nation that countenances Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association.” The United States was pressing India about its stance toward Russia, Biden told reporters. “We haven’t resolved that completely,” he added.

Shortly after Biden spoke, the State Department said Secretary Antony Blinken held a call with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, to discuss “the importance of a strong collective response to Russian aggression.” India issued only a terse acknowledgment that the call took place.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Putin and called for “concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations,” according to a readout from the Indian government. Modi’s language diverged sharply from the Western characterization of the Russian attack as a one-sided, unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation.

Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at the Rand Corp. think tank, said the Quad grouping — a cornerstone of Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China — “could easily fray.” In recent weeks, other Quad nations have condemned Moscow as Russian troops massed around Ukraine — but not India.

The Russian operation “is clearly breaking the rules-based order, which is whole reason the Quad got together in the first place,” Grossman said. “For India to continue to sit on the sidelines — that’s going to become increasingly an untenable position if they want to maintain good ties not just with the Quad but also Europe.”
Riaz Haq said…
President Zelensky: #Ukraine 'left alone' to defend against #Russian invasion. “Today, I asked the twenty-seven leaders of #Europe whether Ukraine will be in #NATO. I asked directly. Everyone is afraid. They do not answer.” | TheHill

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech Thursday that Ukraine has been “left alone” to defend against the Russian invasion that began less than 24 hours earlier.

“Today Russia attacked the entire territory of our state,” Zelensky said. “And today our defenders have done a lot.”

“They defended almost the entire territory of Ukraine,” he continued. “Which suffered direct blows. They regain the one that the enemy managed to occupy.”

Zelensky said of the Ukrainian people that “we are supported,” citing conversations he had with world leaders after the invasion.

However, he added that Ukraine is “left alone in defense of our state.”

“Who is ready to fight with us?” Zelensky asked. “Honestly — I do not see such.”

Zelensky brought up a potential Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which he previously asked about during remarks on Saturday afternoon.

“I ask them,” Zelensky said of Ukraine’s allies on Thursday. “Are you with us? They answer that they are with us. But they are not ready to take us to the alliance,” referring to NATO.

He continued: “Today, I asked the twenty-seven leaders of Europe whether Ukraine will be in NATO. I asked directly. Everyone is afraid. They do not answer.”

Zelensky also addressed rumors that he and his family had left the Ukrainian capital.

“I know that a lot of fakes are being produced now,” he said. “In particular, that I allegedly left Kyiv. I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital."

“My family is also in Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine.”

Most of Zelensky’s speech honored the hundreds of soldiers that were wounded or killed by Russian forces during the day. At the time of the speech, he said 137 Ukrainians had died, 10 of whom were officers, and 316 were wounded.

“On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically,” Zelensky said. “But did not give up. All of them will be posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.”

Zelensky concluded: “Now the fate of the country depends entirely on our army, on our heroes, our security forces, all our defenders. And on our people, your wisdom and the great support of all friends of our country. Glory to Ukraine!”
Riaz Haq said…
Could #SWIFT be used to sanction #Russia? Swift as a weapon could erode the #dollar-dominated global financial system, including by fostering alternatives to Swift being developed by Russia and the world’s second largest economy, #China. #Trade via @WSJ

Russia’s assault on Ukraine triggered a surge of calls for Western allies to completely sever Russia from the global financial system by disconnecting it from the so-called Swift global payment system. Fear in places like the U.S. and Germany of potential collateral damage have put the idea on hold for now.

What is Swift?
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, is the financial-messaging infrastructure that links the world’s banks. The Belgium-based system is run by its member banks and handles millions of daily payment instructions across more than 200 countries and territories and 11,000 financial institutions. Iran and North Korea are cut off from it.

Why is Swift important for countries, including Russia?
Cross-border financing is critical to every part of the economy, including trade, foreign investment, remittances and the central bank’s management of the economy. Disconnecting a country, in this case Russia, from Swift would hit all of that.

Who is advocating for such a move?
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lobbied other Group of Seven members to flip the switch. Other proponents include countries along the European Union’s border with Russia and some members of Congress, including California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The move, they argue, would help cripple Russia’s economy in a way that more targeted sanctions can’t.

Why are other countries resisting it?
Critics say there could be economic blowback, not just in Europe, which has deep trade ties and relies heavily on Russia’s natural gas exports, but also the rest of the world. Some former U.S. officials say the move could severely hurt Russia’s economy, but also harm Western business interests such as the major oil companies. President Biden, while ruling it out for now, said the option isn’t off the table completely.

At an estimated $1.7 trillion last year, Russia’s gross domestic product makes it the 12th largest economy in the world. Even if the global economy wasn’t hobbled by a three-year pandemic, rising inflation, supply chain disruptions and escalating East-West political tensions, losing 2% of global GDP and one of the world’s top oil exporters would inflict severe damage to it.

Additionally, using Swift as a weapon could erode the dollar-dominated global financial system, including by fostering alternatives to Swift being developed by Russia and the world’s second largest economy, China. That could undermine Western power, especially the diplomatic leverage that sanctions offer.

What have Western nations done instead?
Besides halting a new natural gas pipeline and hurting Russia’s ability to raise debt, Western sanctions so far have blacklisted many of Russia’s biggest banks, affecting the majority of the country’s banking sectors assets. Those sanctions ban transactions with the targeted institutions, cutting off their access to U.S. dollars and financing.

Why would cutting Swift off be different?
President Biden said that with Thursday’s sanctions, allied efforts essentially amount to the same things as cutting Russia off from Swift. But there are differences.

Swift is a bludgeon in the economic warcraft arsenal compared with targeted sanctions that provide precision and diplomatic flexibility for policy makers.
Riaz Haq said…
China’s Cross-Border International Payments System could give Russia a lifeline and accelerate de-dollarization

Washington’s new sanctions against Russia were no match for President Biden’s rhetoric, leaving out the most obvious measure that the United States might take to hurt Moscow, namely exclusion from the SWIFT international payments system.

Banks conduct virtually all hard-currency transactions via SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. But a new Chinese alternative might allow Russia to conduct most of its trade in yuan rather than dollars.

China’s Cross-Border International Payments System (CIPS), founded in 2015, is still under development and includes only 80 foreign banks. But there is no reason in principle that CIPS can’t substitute for SWIFT. And if Russia successfully shifts its trade payments out of the dollar system, the blow to American prestige and power would be enormous.

De-dollarization of trade is under debate in Western Europe. Germany’s Manager Magazine wrote on February 14, “Exclusion from the international payment system SWIFT is considered the sharpest sword that the West could wield as an economic sanction against Russia.

“However, it is a double-edged sword: the economic consequences would not only be serious in Russia, but also in Western Europe. In addition, the decoupling of Russia and China from the US dollar would be accelerated. Both countries are already working on competing payment systems.”

Russia also has developed an interbank messaging system, which now covers about 20% of domestic financial payments.

China’s yuan has advantages and disadvantages as a dollar substitute. It has gained about 8% against the US dollar since the Covid recession began in early 2020.

China’s consumer inflation rate stands around 1% year-on-year vs. 7.5% in the US, and the yuan to some extent has acted as a hedge against dollar inflation, as I wrote on February 17.

Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Taimur Rahman
Interestingly, 14 countries have joined NATO since 1997. Who is this alliance against? Obviously it is against Russia.

Ironically there was a time when Russia wanted to be part of NATO.
Riaz Haq said…
Shahid Raza@schaheidLessons from Ukraine.

1: Never give up your nukes.

2: Economic power without military power is like ringing a dinner bell for aggression.

3: Maintain a cutting edge air force and air defenses.

4: Aggressor is mostly going to be your neighbor.

5: Old fashioned conscription👍🏽
Riaz Haq said…
Late American South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Washington's Brookings Institution
told his audience: "Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over."
Riaz Haq said…
PIA Repatriation Flights Head To #Poland Amid #Evacuation Efforts. The first flight left on Sunday for Warsaw, where it will pick up those #Pakistanis in #Ukraine who successfully reached the #Polish border.

In total, officials estimate that 500-600 Pakistanis remain to be flown out of the country, which means it could take a few more flights before everyone is safely moved out of border countries. We can expect more details as groups slowly make their way through war-torn Ukraine in the coming days.


Pakistan International Airlines is undertaking two evacuation flights to bring home citizens affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine. The first flight left on Sunday for Warsaw, where it will pick up those who successfully reached the Polish border. The flights come as countries globally step up efforts to evacuate citizens from the heart of the crisis.

As reported by Tribune, PIA is flying two emergency flights out of Poland to rescue the hundreds of Pakistani students and others stuck in the country after the war broke out. The airline will deploy its largest plane, the Boeing 777, to pick up those who can be evacuated currently. Ukraine's airspace has been closed since February 24th, making any flights in and over the country impossible for the near future

To get people out of Ukraine, countries have been looking for alternate routes to reach the border countries of Poland and Romania and then sending in flights. Warsaw, Bucharest, and more cities have all played hosts to special flights this week to help thousands return safely. However, the task is not so simple.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez added the details of coordinating this evacuation amid a war, saying,

"The preparations have been made to send two flights to Poland from Pakistan on Sunday. The Pakistani embassy in Ukraine is not only contacting all those Pakistanis who want to return to the country, but also providing them all-out information in this regard. The Pakistani embassy in Ternopil will transfer all the students to Poland by land route. PIA's Boeing 777 plane will then repatriate the students from Poland."


Stepping up
PIA is one of the dozens of airlines facing the consequences of Russia's invasion. For example, Air India has flown several missions to Bucharest and Budapest, and more are planned in the coming days to rescue citizens. However, in addition to evacuation, the political fallout of the war has altered the flight paths of several carriers.

Economic sanctions by the UK meant that British airlines had lost access to Russian airspace, creating longer, more costly flights for Asia-bound routes. Some cargo services have even been axed due to the changes. The EU took similar actions when it banned Russian carriers from its airspace, which is almost likely to result in a reciprocal ban. The airspace sanctions are some of the harshest seen since the Cold War and could reshape flight paths for a while.

For now, the coming days will see tense negotiations to protect foreign nationals as the war continues to rage in Ukraine.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian student killed in #Ukraine amid criticism over evacuation. Medical student from southern state of #Karnataka killed by shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of #Kharkiv, India’s foreign ministry says via @AJEnglish

An Indian student has been killed in shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, India’s foreign ministry says, as criticism over New Delhi’s evacuation of students from the war-torn country mounts.

“Foreign Secretary is calling in Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate our demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones,” ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Russian forces are firing artillery and laying siege to Kharkiv and other major cities, a Ukrainian official said, as the invasion of the former Soviet republic entered its sixth day.

Indian media reports said the student, identified as Naveen Shekharappa, belonged to the southern state of Karnataka’s Haveri district and studied medicine in Ukraine.

The student died while he was trying to find his way out of Kharkiv, his roommate told India’s NDTV network.

“He lived near the governor’s house and had been standing in the queue for food. Suddenly there was an air strike that blew up the governor’s house and he was killed,” Pooja Praharaj, a student coordinator in Kharkiv, told NDTV.

A Ukrainian woman picked up his phone, according to the student coordinator. “Speaking from his phone, she said the owner of this phone is being taken to the morgue,” Praharaj said.

Indians make up about a quarter of the 76,000 foreign students in Ukraine, by far the largest number, according to Ukrainian government data.

New Delhi has evacuated about 4,000 Indians in the last month, but some 16,000 remain trapped, according to the latest data from India’s foreign ministry.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Indian embassy in Ukraine also issued an advisory, asking the Indian students to “leave Kyiv urgently”.

The Indian government has dispatched four federal ministers to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to assist in the rescue efforts.

‘Screaming in terror’
But many stranded students in Ukraine have criticised the Indian government’s rescue efforts as they released a slew of videos on social media highlighting their plight.

According to Indian media, some Indian students are being prevented from crossing into neighbouring countries, with border guards reportedly refusing to let them pass and demanding money.

“I was standing near the Ukrainian border, awaiting my turn to enter Romania when I saw a few guards point guns at Indian students and start abusing them in their language,” the Times of India quoted one student as saying.

“Students, who were already scared, started screaming in terror.”

“(We) have been asked to reach the western border, which is impossible for us because the connecting bridges have been blown up due to bombardment… but we are not getting any kind of help in Ukraine,” he said.

Aruj Raj, a student in Kharkiv, told the newspaper that he has been in a hostel bunker with 400 other Indian students since Thursday.

“There is so much bombing happening outside. We can see street fighting through our windows. The city is still under curfew. It is impossible for us to step outside. We hardly have anything left to eat or drink,” he said.

India’s main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the government for not coming up with “a strategic plan for safe evacuation” of Indian students in Ukraine.
Suhail H. said…
Interesting “The Telegraph” article:

Greater Russia is now a full-spectrum commodity superpower, less vulnerable to sanctions than Europe itself
The West’s pain threshold is about to be tested – Fortress Russia will endure this contest of self-reliance more stoically than Europe


24 February 2022

In a matter of hours, the world order has turned drastically less favourable for the western democracies

Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Ukraine elevates Russia into a full-spectrum commodity superpower, adding critical market leverage over global grain supply to existing strategic depth in energy and metals.

We wake up to the sobering reality that Russia is too pivotal for the international trading system to punish in any meaningful way. It influences or determines everything from bread in the shops, to gas for Europe’s homes and power plants, to supply chains for aerospace and car plants, or soon will do if Kyiv falls.

Who knew that almost 90% of Europe’s imports of rapeseed oil comes from Ukraine, or Spain's jamon iberica depends on grain feed from the black earth belt of the Ukrainian steppe?

Ukraine turns Putin’s neo-Tsarist empire into the Saudi Arabia of food, controlling 30% of global wheat exports and 20% of corn exports.

It is not just Brent crude oil that has spiked violently, hitting an eight-year high of $102. Aluminium smashed all records on Thursday. Chicago wheat futures have hit $9.32 a bushel, the highest since the hunger riots before the Arab Spring.

Do not confuse this with inflation. Rocketing commodity prices are a transfer of wealth to exporters of raw materials. For Europeans at the sharp end, it acts like a tax, leaving less to spend elsewhere. It is deflationary for most of the economy. If it continues for long, we will slide into recession.

So while there is brave and condign talk of crippling sanctions against Russia, it is the West’s pain threshold that is about to be tested. My presumption is that Fortress Russia will endure this contest of self-reliance more stoically than Europe’s skittish elites.

Sanctions are of course imperative as a political statement. The West would be complicit if it did nothing. But the measures on the table do not change the equation.

The debate in Parliament over whether to hit a few more oligarchs or restrict City access for more Russian banks has bordered on parody: Brits talking to Brits in a surreal misunderstanding of raw geopolitics, as if Putin was going to give up his unrepeatable chance to snatch back Kyivan Rus and shatter the post-Cold War dispensation of Europe because David Lamy is vexed by golden visas.

Nor does the temporary German suspension of Nord Stream 2 change anything. The pipeline was never going to supply extra gas this decade. The Kremlin’s purpose was to reroute the same Siberian gas, switching it from the Ukrainian corridor to the Baltic, depriving Kyiv of self-defence leverage.

Once Putin controls Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 instantly becomes irrelevant.

The cardinal error was made in June 2015 when Germany went ahead with the bilateral pipeline just a year after the annexation of Crimea, signalling that the first Anschluss of 21st Century Europe would go unpunished, or worse, that it would be rewarded with a strategic prize.

If you want to date the death of a sovereign democratic Ukraine, it was that Merkantilist decision. Royal Dutch Shell was an abettor. Putin got our measure.

The 36% fall in the MOEX index in Moscow on Thursday morning means that western investors with a Russian portfolio through pension funds or ETFs have lost money. It does not mean that Russian is being forced to its knees, as some would have it.

Nor does the modest decline in the rouble imply unmanageable economic stress. Russia’s exchange rate mechanism is designed to let …
Riaz Haq said…
#US ally, #QUAD partner #India has not explicitly condemned the invasion of #Ukraine. It's distanced itself from #Putin, but its social-media platforms are awash with #misinformation. Supporters of PM Narendra #Modi have amplified false #Russian claims.

Arun Pudur, the founder of an Indian software firm, has 78,000 followers on Twitter. On March 3, he tweeted that the Ukrainian army had captured Indian students and was "using them as Human shields" in its fight against Russia's invasion.

This misinformation racked up hundreds of likes and retweets.

The incendiary claim, which echoed untruths from Russian President Vladimir Putin, drew a swift rebuttal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

The Indian government's willingness to dismiss pro-Russia misinformation about Ukraine belies how complicated its position is on the issue. It abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia. While its language on the war has hardened since the invasion, it's still the lone member of the 10 largest economies, other than China, that has yet to openly criticize Russia or join economic sanctions against the country.

While India's position has been evolving, pro-Russia, pro-Modi false claims have had their uses. They can blunt criticism that New Delhi has faced domestically for its failure to evacuate the 18,000 students trapped in Ukraine sooner, at a time when Indians have gone to the polls in regional elections.

Pudur, who did not respond to a request for comments from Insider, runs one of several thousands of Indian social-media accounts propagating Kremlin talking points about a conflict taking place more than 2,500 miles away.

The failure to evacuate the students sooner sparked criticism of the Modi administration. In response, pro-government handles began promoting untruths that promoted New Delhi's efforts and supported Putin, according to fact-checkers.

By March 9, #OperationGanga — the name of the Modi government's mission to rescue citizens from Ukraine — was the top-trending topic on Twitter in India, while #IStandWithPutin had more tweets than #StopPutinNOW. All of this played out as five Indian states voted for their legislatures through February and early March.
Riaz Haq said…
George W. Bush's Freudian Slip on #Ukraine: "Brutal Invasion of #Iraq". Ex #US president condemned #Putin's "brutal, unjustified invasion of Iraq" and then blamed the slip on age. #Russia
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence
July 12, 2022 Telegraph Nepal

-Zafar Khan and Rizwana Abbasi, Pakistan

Empirical evidence suggests that Pakistan has successfully deterred India with its minimum deterrence capability. The policy statements of Pakistani leaders, however, indicate that minimum is not a static capability; it is flexible; and it would evolve in accordance with the changing strategic environment.
For example, Sattar et al stated: ―Minimum is open for debate. It has got an open interpretation. It remains flexible. There is no number game. It, thus, remains a non-fixed entity.‖14They added:
―Minimum nuclear deterrence will remain the guiding principle of our nuclear strategy. The minimum cannot be quantified in
Static numbers.


It would be extremely pessimistic, as the Carnegie-Stimson report suggests, that Pakistan would need to find an alternative nuclear future to become a ―normal nuclear weapons state, keep ―strategic deterrence based upon the principles of ―assured destruction and stop developing short range delivery vehicles in response to a limited war that could be imposed on Pakistan by India‘s proactive military doctrine. In other words, Pakistan would need to keep strategic weapons for the worst-case scenario and cap the short and longer-range deterrence capabilities against the adversary. This proposed alternative nuclear future does not fully serve Pakistan‘s security and national interests. Some reasons are highlighted below.

First, such a policy would undercut the credibility of its minimum deterrence if Pakistan did not develop a short-range deterrence capability to counter the CSD that aims at waging a limited war against Pakistan from eight integrated points31 under the nuclear overhang.

Second, plugging no gaps against the possibility of CSD operations for a ―limited conventional war, as the report suggests, would allow India to exploit Pakistan‘s vulnerabilities and deterrence weaknesses. This is not merely theoretical because India in pursuance of the CSD did contemplate a surgical strike against Pakistan in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. Conceptually, the development of Nasr as a low-yield battlefield weapon demonstrates what Lawrence Freedman once stated ―I exist; therefore, I deter. Nasr can, therefore, be seen as an instrument for nuclear peace in South Asian deterrence stability disrupted by India‘s Pragati/Prahaar short range nuclear capability. Therefore, the development of Nasr, specific to India‘s development of battlefield nuclear weapons and CSD, becomes part of Pakistan‘s deterrence capability without which its deterrence credibility could be extremely weakened.

Third, strategic deterrence, as defined by the Carnegie Stimson report in the worst-case scenario resulting in nuclear exchanges and major conventional warfare, cannot be a rational response to deter a limited war emanating from the CSD. If this was the case, both the Soviet Union and the US would not have crafted a strategy for building and deploying the TNWs to deter a limited war. Although neither the US nor the Soviet Union had used the TNWs, they still exist both in Europe and Russia, successor to the Soviet Union, for deterrence purposes. In fact, despite the end of the Cold War, TNWs still play a role in the United States‘extended deterrence in Europe.

Finally, Nasr’s development falls within the broader contours of Pakistan‘s declarations on credible minimum deterrence and full spectrum deterrence. It does not imply numerical expansion in deterrence forces. The increase within Pakistan‘s deterrence capability would be in proportion to India‘s planned expansion. This may, however, not exactly be within the parameters of weapon-to-weapon competitive strategy practiced during the Cold War. Whether Pakistan would practice recessed deterrence or follow the ready-arsenal strategy for some of its deterrence forces would depend on the prevailing strategic environment.

Riaz Haq said…
'Pakistan isn't Collapsing, India Should Focus on Silver Linings. Boycott or War Aren't Options'

In a 30-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire to discuss his book ‘India’s Pakistan Conundrum’, Sharat Sabharwal ( ex Indian Ambassador to Pakistan) identified three preconceived notions that the Indian people must discard. First, he says it’s not in India’s interests to promote the disintegration of Pakistan. “The resulting chaos will not leave India untouched”.

Second, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that India has the capacity to inflict a decisive military blow on Pakistan in conventional terms. “The nuclear dimension has made it extremely risky, if not impossible, for India to give a decisive military blow to Pakistan to coerce it into changing its behaviour.”

Third, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that they can use trade to punish Pakistan. “Use of trade as an instrument to punish Pakistan is both short-sighted and ineffective because of the relatively small volume of Pakistani exports to India.”


Historically, the relationship between India and Pakistan has been mired in conflicts, war, and lack of trust. Pakistan has continued to loom large on India's horizon despite the growing gap between the two countries. This book examines the nature of the Pakistani state, its internal dynamics, and its impact on India.

The text looks at key issues of the India-Pakistan relationship, appraises a range of India's policy options to address the Pakistan conundrum, and proposes a way forward for India's Pakistan policy. Drawing on the author's experience of two diplomatic stints in Pakistan, including as the High Commissioner of India, the book offers a unique insider's perspective on this critical relationship.

A crucial intervention in diplomatic history and the analysis of India's Pakistan policy, the book will be of as much interest to the general reader as to scholars and researchers of foreign policy, strategic studies, international relations, South Asia studies, diplomacy, and political science.
Riaz Haq said…
The future of war: A special report

Big wars are tragedies for the people and countries that fight them. They also transform how the world prepares for conflict, with momentous consequences for global security. Britain, France and Germany sent observers to the American civil war to study battles like Gettysburg. The tank duels of the Yom Kippur war in 1973 accelerated the shift of America’s army from the force that lost in Vietnam to the one that thumped Iraq in 1991. That campaign, in turn, led China’s leaders to rebuild the People’s Liberation Army into the formidable force it is today.

The war in Ukraine is the largest in Europe since 1945. It will shape the understanding of combat for decades to come. It has shattered any illusions that modern conflict might be limited to counterinsurgency campaigns or evolve towards low-casualty struggles in cyberspace. Instead it points to a new kind of high-intensity war that combines cutting-edge tech with industrial-scale killing and munitions consumption, even as it draws in civilians, allies and private firms. You can be sure that autocratic regimes are studying how to get an edge in any coming conflict. Rather than recoiling from the death and destruction, liberal societies must recognise that wars between industrialised economies are an all-too-real prospect—and start to prepare.

As our special report explains, Ukraine’s killing fields hold three big lessons. The first is that the battlefield is becoming transparent. Forget binoculars or maps; think of all-seeing sensors on satellites and fleets of drones. Cheap and ubiquitous, they yield data for processing by ever-improving algorithms that can pick out needles from haystacks: the mobile signal of a Russian general, say, or the outline of a camouflaged tank. This information can then be relayed by satellites to the lowliest soldier at the front, or used to aim artillery and rockets with unprecedented precision and range.

This quality of hyper-transparency means that future wars will hinge on reconnaissance. The priorities will be to detect the enemy first, before they spot you; to blind their sensors, whether drones or satellites; and to disrupt their means of sending data across the battlefield, whether through cyber-attacks, electronic warfare or old-fashioned explosives. Troops will have to develop new ways of fighting, relying on mobility, dispersal, concealment and deception. Big armies that fail to invest in new technologies or to develop new doctrines will be overwhelmed by smaller ones that do.

Even in the age of artificial intelligence, the second lesson is that war may still involve an immense physical mass of hundreds of thousands of humans, and millions of machines and munitions. Casualties in Ukraine have been severe: the ability to see targets and hit them precisely sends the body-count soaring. To adapt, troops have shifted mountains of mud to dig trenches worthy of Verdun or Passchendaele. The consumption of munitions and equipment is staggering: Russia has fired 10m shells in a year. Ukraine loses 10,000 drones per month. It is asking its allies for old-school cluster munitions to help its counter-offensive.

Eventually, technology may change how this requirement for physical “mass” is met and maintained. On June 30th General Mark Milley, America’s most senior soldier, predicted that a third of advanced armed forces would be robotic in 10-15 years’ time: think of pilotless air forces and crewless tanks. Yet armies need to be able to fight in this decade as well as the next one. That means replenishing stockpiles to prepare for high attrition rates, creating the industrial capacity to manufacture hardware at far greater scale and ensuring that armies have reserves of manpower. A nato summit on July 11th and 12th will be a test of whether Western countries can continue to reinvigorate their alliance to these ends.
Riaz Haq said…
The future of war: A special report

The third lesson—one that also applied for much of the 20th century—is that the boundary of a big war is wide and indistinct. The West’s conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought by small professional armies and imposed a light burden on civilians at home (but often lots of misery on local people). In Ukraine civilians have been sucked into the war as victims—over 9,000 have died—but also participants: a provincial grandmother can help guide artillery fire through a smartphone app. And beyond the old defence-industrial complex, a new cohort of private firms has proved crucial. Ukraine’s battlefield software is hosted on big tech’s cloud servers abroad; Finnish firms provide targeting data and American ones satellite comms. A network of allies, with different levels of commitment, has helped supply Ukraine and enforce sanctions and an embargo on Russian trade.

New boundaries create fresh problems. The growing participation of civilians raises legal and ethical questions. Private companies located outside the physical conflict zone may be subject to virtual or armed attack. As new firms become involved, governments need to ensure that no company is a single point of failure.

No two wars are the same. A fight between India and China may take place on the rooftop of the world. A Sino-American clash over Taiwan would feature more air and naval power, long-range missiles and disruptions to trade. The mutual threat of nuclear use has probably acted to limit escalation in Ukraine: nato has not directly engaged a nuclear-armed enemy and Russia’s threats have been bluster so far. But in a fight over Taiwan, America and China would be tempted to attack each other in space, which could lead to nuclear escalation, especially if early-warning and command-and-control satellites were disabled.

Silicon Valley and the Somme
For liberal societies the temptation is to step back from the horrors of Ukraine, and from the vast cost and effort of modernising their armed forces. Yet they cannot assume that such a conflict, between large industrialised economies, will be a one-off event. An autocratic and unstable Russia may pose a threat to the West for decades to come. China’s rising military clout is a destabilising factor in Asia, and a global resurgence of autocracy could make conflicts more likely. Armies that do not learn the lessons of the new kind of industrial war on display in Ukraine risk losing to those that do. ■

Riaz Haq said…
The Future of War Has Come in Ukraine: Drone Swarms

By Eric Schmidt

The innovations that have led to Kyiv’s remarkable successes against Russia will change combat dramatically.

Kramatorsk, Ukraine

My most recent trip to Ukraine revealed a burgeoning military reality: The future of war will be dictated and waged by drones.

Amid a front line covering 600 miles, the Ukrainian counteroffensive faces a formidable Russian force, as it tries to break through to the Azov Sea and stop the Russian overland supply line to Crimea. Between the two armies, there are at least 3 miles of heavily mined territory followed by rows of concrete antitank obstacles, with artillery pieces hidden in nearby forests. The Russian military has amassed so much artillery and ammunition that it can afford to fire 50,000 rounds a day—an order of magnitude more than Ukraine.

Traditional military doctrine suggests that an advancing force should have air superiority and a 3-to-1 advantage in soldiers to make steady progress against a dug-in opponent. Ukrainians have neither. That they’ve succeeded anyway is owing to their ability to adopt and adapt new technologies such as drones.

Drones extend the Ukrainian infantry’s limited reach. Reconnaissance drones keep soldiers safe, constantly monitoring Russian attacks and providing feedback to correct artillery targeting. During the daytime, they fly over enemy lines to identify targets; at night, they return with payloads.

Unfortunately, Russia has picked up these tactics, too. Behind the initial minefields and trenches blocking Kyiv’s advance, there’s a more heavily defended line. If courageous Ukrainians make it there, Russian soldiers will send in drones and artillery. All the while Russia’s army—which excels at jamming and GPS spoofing—is working to take out Ukrainian drones. A May report from the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies estimated that Ukraine was losing as many as 10,000 a month even before the start of the counteroffensive.

Yet Ukraine has continually out-innovated the enemy. Its latest drone models can prevent jamming, operate without GPS guidance and drop guided bombs on moving targets. Ukrainian command centers use personal computers and open-source software to classify targets and execute operations.

Ukraine has also pioneered a more effective model of decentralized military operations that makes its tech use varied and quickly evolving. In the war’s early stages, Ukraine’s government put the new Digital Ministry in charge of drone procurement but left important decision making to smaller units. While the ministry sets standards and purchases drones, the brigades are empowered to choose and operate them. Ten programmers can change the way thousands of soldiers operate. One brigade I visited independently designed its own multilayered visual planning system, which coordinates units’ actions.

To win this war, Ukraine needs to rethink 100 years of traditional military tactics focused on trenches, mortars and artillery. But the innovations it and Russia make will carry on far beyond this particular conflict.

Perhaps the most important is the kamikaze drone. Deployed in volume, this first-person-view drone—invented for the sport of drone racing—is cheaper than a mortar round and more accurate than artillery fire. Kamikaze drones cost around $400 and can carry up to 3 pounds of explosives. In the hands of a skilled operator with several months of training, these drones fly so fast they are nearly impossible to shoot down.
Riaz Haq said…
Why Is Ukraine's Foreign Minister Visiting Pakistan?

Ukraine Arms Likely on Agenda
Pakistan, like many non-Western countries, says it’s adopted a neutral position in the Russia-Ukraine war. But, compared to other countries in the Global South, it’s an outlier in one big way: it’s been providing Ukraine with weapons. Nothing fancy — mainly artillery shells — but Kyiv is burning through massive amounts of firepower and will take ammunition from wherever it can get it. (The U.S. decision to provide Ukraine with cluster bombs makes the coalition’s desperation clear.)

Kuleba — who may be joined by Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov — could ask for more arms during his visit, though that won’t be mentioned in any readout or local press reports.

The reason? Pakistan has yet to publicly acknowledge that it’s been providing Ukraine with arms. The weapons transfers have been covert, taking place indirectly through other European partners. The behind-the-scenes relationship was, however, acknowledged months ago by a European Union (EU) official in a television interview.

India AWOL on Ukraine
It does not appear that Kuleba will stop by New Delhi on this trip. Strikingly, Ukraine’s diplomatic engagement with India is taking place at a lower level. Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian first deputy foreign minister, visited New Delhi in April. And last week, a mid-level Indian diplomat paid a visit to Ukraine.

India, whose leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made recent state visits to France and the United States — continues to remain an ally of Russia and has emerged as a major importer of Russian oil.

India is using its leadership of the G-20 this year to pronounce its rise as a global power. But it’s been absent when it comes to the biggest war Europe has seen since World War Two, seeing it as a sideshow. Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has been dismissive of the Ukraine war, calling it one of “Europe’s problems.”

For his part, Kuleba has harshly criticized New Delhi for its import of Russian oil. He said last August, “Every barrel of Russian crude oil delivered to India has a good portion of Ukrainian blood in it.” Months later, he said India was “benefit[ting] from our suffering,” and called on New Delhi to play a more diplomatic role in the war.

Insurance for the Pakistan Army
Though Kuleba’s visit to Islamabad was requested by Kyiv, it is important for Pakistan — especially its powerful army, which is behind the secret provision of arms to Ukraine. The Pakistan Army has been given a cold shoulder by Washington in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. By arming Ukraine, Pakistan is sending a message to Western powers courting India: we can still be useful to you.

The Pakistan Army is also under criticism domestically and internationally for its crackdown on the party of ex-cricketer Imran Khan.

Pakistani intelligence services have been forcing defections from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) party after violence targeting military installations that followed the violent arrest of the ex-cricketer by paramilitary forces on May 9.

This month, EU Ambassador to Pakistan Riina Kionka said that “the crackdown on PTI and supporters in the aftermath of May 9th is certainly something that we’re paying a lot of attention to.” Khan and others who remain with PTI could be tried under military courts.


Dr. Riina Kionka, European Union's ambassador to Pakistan, in an interview with local media in Pakistan on 21 February 2023 said that Pakistan has been helping Ukraine in its protracted conflict with Russia by sending military and humanitarian aid.[24]

Riaz Haq said…
What’s Cooking Between Ukraine and Pakistan? – The Diplomat

By Umair Jamal

The recent visit of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to Pakistan was far from ordinary. Not only was it the first visit by a Ukrainian foreign minister to Pakistan since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1992 but also it holds significant potential for revitalizing ties between Ukraine and Pakistan.

What sets this visit apart is the exceptional protocol extended to Minister Kuleba, a gesture rarely bestowed upon dignitaries from friendly nations visiting Pakistan.

An incident involving the expulsion of a Russian journalistfrom a joint presser of the Ukrainian and Pakistani foreign ministers led to Russia seeking an explanation from Pakistan. This action, seen by many as in bad taste, could potentially dent ties between Islamabad and Moscow. However, despite this risk, Islamabad complied with Ukraine’s wishes in this regard.

The Ukrainian foreign minister’s visit has sparked intrigue and speculation also because of his meetings with Pakistan’s senior intelligence officials. This is a significant development, as it is rare for a foreign minister of another country to meet with intelligence officials in Pakistan. The fact that Kuleba engaged in such meetings suggests that there may be more at play than just enhancing government-to-government ties. It raises the possibility of Ukraine seeking Pakistan’s assistance in areas such as training of its troops or gaining access to weapons.


Furthermore, the visit of the Ukrainian foreign minister serves as a means for Islamabad to renew its diplomacy in Western capitals. By engaging with Ukraine at such a high level, Pakistan aims to expand its diplomatic outreach and forge new partnerships that can contribute to its strategic interests.

Overall, Minister Kuleba’s visit signifies a promising chapter in the relationship between Ukraine and Pakistan, with immense potential for collaboration and mutual benefit. Pakistan’s current policy suggests that it does not need to take sides and can work with both Russia and Ukraine at the same time and ease their concerns.

It is clear that both countries have strategic interests at play. As events unfold, it will be interesting to see how this visit shapes future exchanges between Ukraine and Pakistan, and how it impacts the geopolitical policies of the two countries.
Riaz Haq said…
Turkey said nearly 200 Pakistani engineers and officials are involved in the Turkish Aerospace Kaan fifth-generation fighter project. (Turkish Aerospace)

The Turkish government has announced that Pakistan may officially join its fifth-generation Turkish Aerospace (TA) Kaan fighter aircraft programme.

In an announcement on 2 August in Karachi, Turkish Deputy Defence Minister Celal Sami Tüfekçi said Ankara and Islamabad would initiate discussions about Pakistan joining the project. “Pretty soon, within this month, we will be discussing with our Pakistani counterparts to officially include Pakistan in our national fighter jet programme (Kaan),” Tüfekçi said.

He also revealed that nearly 200 Pakistani officials and engineers were “already [taking] part in the development of this programme”.

Tüfekçi's announcement follows an early announcement by Turkish officials in February 2022 that Pakistan was a collaborative partner for the development of the fighter aircraft. At the time, the CEO of Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ), Temel Kotil, had said the TF-X (Kaan) was a “Turkish-Pakistani fighter programme”.

However, Tüfekçi's recent announcement suggests that Pakistan's involvement is not yet official. Both Pakistan and Turkey seek a fifth-generation fighter aircraft to replace their fourth-generation Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft.

According to information published by TA, the Kaan is intended to have a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 at 40,000 ft (12,192 m) and a service ceiling of 55,000 ft.

Turkey's interest in making Pakistan an official partner in the project reflects Ankara's ambition to enhance resources and expertise to mature the programme. Pakistan's potential involvement in the Kaan project will almost certainly be supported by the Pakistan Air Force's (PAF's) new National Aerospace Science and Technology Park (NASTP). This facility was established on 4 August at the PAF base at Base Nur Khan near Islamabad.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan nuclear weapons, 2023
By Hans M. Kristensen, Matt Korda, Eliana Johns, September 11, 2023

Pakistan continues to gradually expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems, and a growing fissile material production industry. Analysis of commercial satellite images of construction at Pakistani army garrisons and air force bases shows what appear to be newer launchers and facilities that might be related to Pakistan’s nuclear forces.

We estimate that Pakistan now has a nuclear weapons stockpile of approximately 170 warheads (See Table 1). The US Defense Intelligence Agency projected in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020 (US Defense Intelligence Agency 1999, 38), but several new weapon systems have been fielded and developed since then, which leads us to a higher estimate. Our estimate comes with considerable uncertainty because neither Pakistan nor other countries publish much information about the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

With several new delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors, and an expanding uranium enrichment infrastructure, Pakistan’s stockpile has the potential to increase further over the next several years. The size of this projected increase will depend on several factors, including how many nuclear-capable launchers Pakistan plans to deploy, how its nuclear strategy evolves, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows. We estimate that the country’s stockpile could potentially grow to around 200 warheads by the late 2020s, at the current growth rate. But unless India significantly expands its arsenal or further builds up its conventional forces, it seems reasonable to expect that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will not continue to grow indefinitely but might begin to level off as its current weapons programs are completed.

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