The speculation over US plans for securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, in the event of their capture by the Taliban, has not gone unnoticed by the strategic community in India.
“Let’s examine the scenario they’re talking about. Imagine the Taliban managing to capture even a single strategic nuclear asset, either on their own or by the tacit or active assistance of elements of the Pakistan security forces, whether rogue or not. Who would you presume to be their primary and most possible target?” asks one brasshat.
Then answering his own question, he says, “India is obviously the most natural and most achievable target for them.”
“Of course we’re concerned about such a situation. We’ve thought about it. Any government would be foolish to have failed to imagine such a scenario and planned for it,” he says, adding, “Sure, the US is concerned. But just because we’re not openly talking about it doesn’t mean it isn’t a worry for us.”
What would be the options available to India? Would India work with the US to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, which could be dispersed over multiple locations? Or could one imagine India to launch a nuclear strike of its own if apprehending a strike from across the border?
“India has a no-first-use policy. At the same time, it would be very difficult to assuredly secure absolutely all dispersed weapons. The best bet is for the US to make sure the Pakistan Army does not lose control of the weapons,” he answers, adding, “Hopefully, the US can gain the confidence of the Pakistan Army and work with them to secure the weapons before such an eventuality can come to pass. That is what the US really needs to work on. Information shared about weapons and locations can go a long way in helping the Pakistan Army gain the confidence of the US too. Zardari had indicated Pakistan may be doing something to the effect. This is something of incomparable importance to India. Even though we may not be talking about it too much.”