Economic Threat May Push Pakistan to Use Nuclear Weapons
By Nadeem Iqbal, journalist, The News on Sunday; correspondent, Inter Press Service, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Pakistan has laid down scenarios under which it may use nuclear weapons as a last resort - if its survival is threatened by India not only militarily but by strangling its economy or stopping access to shared water resources, says a new report by Italian nuclear physicists.
The report says nuclear weapons would be used:
(1) if India attacks Pakistan and conquers a large part of its territory,
(2) if India destroys a large part of Pakistan's land or air forces,
(3) if India proceeds to pursue the economic strangulation of Pakistan,
(4) if India pushes Pakistan into "political destabilization or creates large scale internal subversion."
The report on Pakistan's nuclear policy, released in January, was prepared by nuclear physicists Paolo Cotta-Ramusino and Maurizio Mart-ellini of the Landau Network, an Italian arms control institution.
Their report consists of a 25-question survey and has data from meetings with think-tanks, nuclear experts, retired and in-service diplomats and generals, foreign ministers, journalists and peace activists.
The study's aim was to assess the impact of the Afghan war on the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons and continued tensions with India, which may have serious effects on the nuclear situation in South Asia.
The report's release came at a time when India has severed road and air links with Pakistan and many hawks in India have been demanding that New Delhi withdraw from the Indus (river) Waters Treaty signed in 1960 by India, Pakistan and the World Bank.
Source: Interpress News Service. Asia Times, February 6, 2002. Available online at http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=7266