Pakistan’s full spectrum deterrence (FSD) is a nuclear policy that aims to deter India from aggression and in case the deterrence fails, deny India victory in face of war. It is based on three main principles.
First, as Lt. General (r) Khalid Kidwai says “developing the full spectrum of nuclear weapons in all three categories – strategic, operational and tactical, with full range coverage of the large Indian landmass and its outlying territories. In simple words, India would have no place to hide.
Second, building “appropriate weapons yield coverage and numbers to deter adversary’s counter-massive retaliation” This principle realized in the development of Shaheen-III in 2015, a ballistic missile with a range of 2750KMs. It can reach India’s strategically important islands – Nicobar and Andaman. Moreover, the development of Submarine Launched Babur Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur III provides Pakistan second and third strike capabilities.
Third, having the “liberty of choosing from a full spectrum of targets.” It includes Ballistic Missile Defense, counter-value, counter-face, and battlefield targets. Pakistan has developed an Ababeel missile with 2200Km, a Multiple Independent Re-Entry vehicle (MIRV), which can render India’s newly acquired S-400 missile defense system useless. Michael Krepon and Travis Wheeler rightly suggest that “if New Delhi decides to absorb the costs of ballistic missile defenses for high-value targets, along with the radars to accompany BMD deployments, these expenses will be in vain.”
— South Asian Voices (@SAVoices) November 4, 2016
In the face of the growing threat of India’s hegemonic designs, Pakistan’s FSD policy ensures that a major war is avoided at all costs. It provides Pakistan the escalation dominance due to multiple options in the usage of nuclear devices where India runs short of responses and thus averting all-out nuclear war. Pakistan’s nuclear establishment has added nuclear rungs to the escalation ladder. This deters threats ranging from sub-conventional to strategic levels.
Pakistan’s FSD policy is India-centric and it must not be a threat to any other nation of the world except if anyone dares to threaten its sovereignty. Moreover, the country regards the usage of nuclear arms as “weapons of last resort” yet it reserves the option of first use. Especially if India implements its cold start doctrine, Pakistan will have the right to use tactical nuclear weapons (Nasr) against aggressive Indian forces entering Pakistan.
Pakistan’s FSD has kept the Indian army in barracks for it provides deterrence of all forms of aggression through the combination of strategic and conventional forces. Pakistan has achieved FSD by ‘plugging gaps’ and developing a nuclear triad, that is building nuclear-tipped missiles to be launched from air, land and sea.
Fahad Aziz Taherani is the Coordinating Editor at Global Village Space (GVS) News Publication. He has a keen interest in Central Superior Services of Pakistan. He tweets at fahadtaherani. The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.