Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Video Report - Unfair police treatment "an American problem" - Obama

Video Report - USA: Watch Eric Garner protesters 'die' in NYC streets

Hungary summons U.S. ambassador over McCain's 'neofascist' comment

Hungary's Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. envoy on Wednesday after U.S. Senator John McCain called Prime Minister Viktor Orban a "neo-fascist dictator". The United States has become increasingly critical of Orban's government, accusing him of getting too close to Russia since east-west tensions rose over Ukraine. Hungary's foreign minister called in Chargé d'Affaires André Goodfriend over McCain's comments, made in the U.S. Senate during a political spat over the appointment of Hollywood producer Colleen Bell as U.S. Ambassador in Budapest. McCain, a Republican, told the Senate on Tuesday: "I am not against political appointees... I understand how the game is played, but ... (Hungary) ... is on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator, getting in bed with Vladimir Putin, and we're going to send the producer of 'The Bold and The Beautiful' as the ambassador." Bell has since been approved in the Senate and is expected to take up her position in Hungary. "The Hungarian Government ... rejects the words of Senator John McCain regarding the Hungarian Prime Minister and the relationship of Hungary and Russia," Foreign Ministry State Secretary Levente Magyar told national news agency MTI. Noting Orban's Fidesz party has won parliamentary, European, and local elections, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told MTI: "Hungarian citizens ... articulated a very clear opinion that everyone ought to respect." He added that the Hungarian embassy in Washington would contact McCain's office to inquire about the Senator's words and their background. The United States, as well as European Union partners, has also criticized Orban for what they see as weakening democratic checks and balances and attacking non-governmental organizations.

Music Video - Iggy Azalea - Work

Video Report - Cyber security: China & US seek to enhance cooperation

Video Report - How has the President Obama handled Ferguson?

Video Reaport - US officials leak plans for Syria buffer-zone intervention

Russia Wants to Boost Syrian Fruit and Vegetables Imports

Russia's Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday Russia was interested in increasing imports of Syrian fruit and vegetable, after officials from both countries met in Moscow.
It also said in a statement that Syrian Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Minister Hassan Majed Safiya had told Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov of Syria's "need to increase Russian grain exports."
The ministry gave no other details.

President al-Assad: We won’t be a puppet state for the West

President Bashar al-Assad stressed that the Syrians will not accept that Syria be a puppet state for the West, affirming that this is one of Syria’s key goals and principles.
In excerpts from an interview given to Paris Match magazine, which will be published on Thursday, President al-Assad said “To say that the [anti-ISIS] coalition’s airstrikes are helping us is incorrect.”
“Had these strikes been serious and effective, I would say they would be helpful for sure, but it’s we who are battling against ISIS on the ground, and we haven’t sensed any change, especially since Turkey is still providing direct support to ISIS in those areas,” the President said.
Answering a question on the possibility of reestablishing communication with the current French President Francois Hollande, President al-Assad said that this isn’t an issue of personal relations, but rather an issue of relations between states and establishments and interests between two countries’ people.
“When there is a French official or government that would work for the two countries’ common interests, we would work with it,” he added, stressing that the current French administration is working against the interests of the Syrian people and against the interests of the French people at the same time.
“As for me being his personal opponent, I see no logic in that. I’m not competing against Hollande in anything. I believe that his competitor in France now is ISIS, because his popularity is similar to that of ISIS,” President al-Assad added.
The President said that a captain doesn’t think about life or death but rather about saving the ship, because if the ship sinks, then everybody will die, so the priority is saving the country, asserting that remaining president was never his goal before, during, or after the crisis.

China rejects Britain's "moral duty" to Hong Kong

China on Wednesday rejected Britain's "moral duty" to Hong Kong, adding some British lawmakers' attempts to meddle in China's internal affairs is "not acceptable" and "doomed to fail."
"Britain has no sovereignty over, no governance of, and no superintendence over Hong Kong since Hong Kong returned to China in 1997," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.
In an emergency debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Members of Parliament called on the British government to condemn China for refusing a delegation from the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee to visit Hong Kong. Some MPs claimed that as a party of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, Britain still has a "moral duty" to Hong Kong.
The Joint Declaration has made clear the respective obligations and responsibilities of China and Britain on China's resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong and arrangements for the transitional period, said Hua.
"Some British lawmakers tried to use this so-called 'moral duty' to mislead the public and interfere in China's internal affairs. This is not acceptable, and the attempt is doomed to fail," she said.

Kyoto-based NICCO refuses to forget about women of Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, where social norms prohibit women from appearing in public and their rights are limited, the Taliban’s repressive regime and years of war have heavily damaged the country’s heritage and society.
To support the country, Japan and 21 other nations have engaged in a worldwide campaign focused on continuous assistance. The campaign’s motto: “Do not forget Afghanistan.”
The Kyoto-based organization Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development (NICCO) is among the groups working to help people in Afghanistan improve their lives as well as co-organizing events related to the campaign.
NICCO has branches in neighboring Iran, two each in Tehran and Mashhad, a city located near the border with Afghanistan — an area that most international organizations have left amid rising security risks.
“If we don’t help them they will remain forgotten,” said Norimasa Orii, secretary-general of NICCO and manager of the group’s Tokyo office, adding that the group has been helping Afghans for more than 10 years.
Since 2008, the group has been organizing reading and writing courses for women, but it’s often inundated with applications. The group now also offers information-technology and English classes as well as other vocational training.
With the aim of supporting women and giving them an opportunity for education, NICCO used ¥96,928 from The Japan Times Readers’ Fund in the last year to finance its literacy and other education programs.
Since January, the group has taught courses in Afghanistan’s Herat and Ghor provinces.
Especially in Ghor province, where the literacy rate among females is among the lowest in the country, women have limited access to education and little financial independence.
NICCO accepts applicants from 20 villages in the province. “But many people cannot attend such classes because it could cut into their daily wages,” Orii said. “So we try to help them acquire skills that will enable them to make a living on their own.”
Orii said the group has been helping locals in plant cultivation, and that growing saffron bulbs, which produce the world’s most expensive spice, may help them escape poverty.
“Next year we are planning to host workshops where locals will be able to learn how to make jam” using local fruit, so they can sell it as a local specialty, Orii added.
The group also organizes sewing and traditional embroidery courses for women, giving them a chance to use their skills to begin earning even a small amount of money.
NICCO also provides assistance to Afghans who have fled across the border to Iran, where many await a chance to return to their homeland while dealing with discrimination and other hardships.
At seminars organized by the group, refugees can learn about what is happening in Afghanistan, receive information about finding employment and get other help in returning home.
Orii said now that Ashraf Ghani has been elected president, many Afghans are optimistic about the future and think the country is heading in the right direction.
NICCO was founded in 1979 to raise funds for Cambodian refugees. The group changed its name to Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development in 1993 and has broadened its activities, but its fundamental goal remains to free people from poverty and conflict.
“As many areas in Afghanistan are now seeing development,” we can expect livelihoods to improve and a chance to reduce poverty, Orii said.
“As an organization representing a foreign country, we are aware that someday we will have to leave Afghanistan and no longer provide aid. That’s why we are trying to foster locals who will continue our efforts.”

Pakistan: Mian Manzoor Wattoo condemns Police baton charge on blind protesters in Lahore

پیپلز پارٹی پنجاب کے صدر میاں منظور احمد وٹو نے پنجاب انتظامیہ کا لاہور میں نابیناؤں کے جلوس پر تشدد کی سخت مذمت کرتے ہوئے اسے شرمناک فعل قرار دیا ہے اور مطالبہ کیا ہے کہ جو اہلکار اس مجرمانہ کارروائی کے ذمہ دار ہیں انکے خلاف سخت کارروائی کی جائے۔ انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ موجودہ حکومت کی پالیسیوں کی وجہ سے مہنگائی، بے روزگاری، تعلیم، صحت کی ناگفتہ بہ حالت اور بجلی اور گیس کی لوڈشیڈنگ نے پہلے ہی عام لوگوں کا جینا حرام کیا ہوا ہے، اب نوبت یہاں تک آ پہنچی ہے کہ اب معذور بھی انکی بربریت کا نشانہ بن رہے ہیں۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ حکومتی اراکین کو خدا کے عذاب سے ڈرنا چاہیے۔

Pakistan: Police baton-charges blind protesters in Lahore, several injured

In an incident of its own kind, blind protesters were badly beaten by baton-wielding police in Lahore on Wednesday, DawnNews reported. The incident occurred when protesters were staging a rally on Davis Road to advocate for their rights in view of World Disability Day.
In an attempt to prevent the protesters from marching towards the Chief Minister Secretariat, mayhem ensued as police resorted to baton-charging as a result of which several protesters were injured. One of the injured persons was shifted to a hospital. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) member Abrarul Haq said the violence inflicted on blind protesters was condemnable, adding that his party would come out on the roads in protest against the violence. This is not the first incident of its kind in the provincial capital. In June, at least 11 Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers were killed and over 100 people were injured during a clash with police personnel in Lahore. The clash occurred when the administration reportedly tried to remove some barriers from roads around the place. The police action near Tahirul Qadri's Minhajul Quran Secretariat was widely condemned.

Urdu Music Video - Khwabon Kay Ghar - M.M.Ali

Afghan Music Video - Shakib Zahedi - Nazanin

Joint statement issued on post-2014 NATO engagement in Afghanistan

The government of Afghanistan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issued a joint statement on the upcoming non-combat mission of the alliance in Afghanistan.
The joint statement was released following a meeting Bettween President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and the NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels.
They discussed final preparations for NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan from 2015 and issued the following joint statement.
  1. In a spirit of common understanding, we welcome the successful conclusion of the Presidential Elections and a constitutional political transition in Afghanistan, and the establishment of the National Unity Government which has shown its determination to implement urgently needed reforms, including advancing women’s rights and empowerment. We also welcome Afghanistan’s signature and ratification of the Status of Forces Agreement with NATO and the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States.
  1. We honour the joint sacrifices made and applaud the results achieved over more than a decade, during which we have stood shoulder to shoulder to maintain and enhance security, and in support of international efforts to root out terrorism in Afghanistan. We note with great satisfaction that Afghan leaders have voiced their support for the declaration on Afghanistan made at the Wales Summit in September 2014. We will work together to carry forward our partnership and, with the wider international community, to continue to promote security, peace, development, human rights and rule of law in Afghanistan.
  1. The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) are currently in the lead for security throughout Afghanistan. From January 2015, they will have assumed full responsibility for security throughout Afghanistan and the nature and scope of NATO’s support to Afghanistan will change. Today we agree to launch the Resolute Support Mission on1 January 2015. This new non-combat mission will train, advise and assist the ANDSF.
  1. Since the Wales Summit, when pledges for the sustainment of the ANDSF were confirmed, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and donors have reviewed and agreed to contribute to ANDSF funding requirements for 2015. Arrangements continue to be put in place to ensure transparency, accountability and cost effectiveness of contributions.
  1. We agree to strengthen our Enduring Partnership. We will do this by enhancing practical cooperation, including building the capacity of Afghan security institutions, and by initiating political dialogue and regular consultations on a range of topics of mutual interest.  We will also set up a senior level joint task force that will take this relationship forward.
  1. It is our common understanding that the above mutually-reinforcing strands of NATO’s engagement represent a significant continuing commitment and practical support by Allies and partners to Afghanistan. Today, we are proud to have started together a new chapter in our relationship.

Afghanistan among the biggest improvers in corruption perceptions index

Afghanistan has been placed among the biggest improvers in 2014 corruption perceptions index by edging up 4 points this year.
Afghanistan shared the title of most corrupt nation in 2013 corruption perceptions index which was released by the Berlin-based corruption-fighting organization – Transparency International (TI).
However, in this year’s index, Afghanistan was placed among the biggest improvers which includes Côte d´Ivoire, Egypt, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Jordan, Mali and Swaziland.
The rating is based on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean) where a poll was conducted on experts across 175 countries and territories, using a dozen different surveys to rate perception of corruption.
According to the report, North Korea and Somalia were tied as most corrupt, unchanged from last year, scoring just eight.
New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland were among the cleanest countries. But the first place was taken by Denmark which scored 92.

U.S. Envoy Says Afghanistan Aid Tied To Reforms

Asenior U.S. diplomat says continued international aid for Afghanistan will depend partly on progress fighting corruption and human rights abuses.
Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Daniel Feldman, speaking in Brussels on December 2 ahead of a donors' conference in London, said the new Afghan government has shown "commitment to fundamental reforms" but much remains to be done.
Answering to an RFE/RL question during a telephone news briefing, Feldman said donors expect the new Afghan leadership to outline its future strategy to fight corruption and improve the human rights situation in the country.
"A portion of our assistance will continue to be channeled through incentive mechanisms to encourage Afghan progress on a range of reforms, and part of that will be anticorruption as well," Feldman said.  
New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah are due to meet donor representatives on December 3-4 in London.

US airstrikes in eastern Afghanistan target Pakistani Taliban


New Era in Russia-Pakistan Relations?

The Pakistani origins of the Israeli state

By Ishaan Tharoor

"Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state," said then Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq in 1981. "Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse."
It's a strange thing to think about now. Pakistan and Israel are, on the face of it, not kindred spirits. There are no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries-- Pakistan, like many other Muslim-majority states, does not recognize Israel's existence. Israel, meanwhile, has in recent years beencozying up to India, Pakistan's archrival across the border. Pakistani conspiracy theorists routinely hurl invective at the combined plots of RAW, India's top intelligence agency, and the Mossad.
But Zia, an instrumental figure in the Islamization of Pakistani society, was saying something quite obvious: Pakistan and Israel are historical twins.
They emerged as independent states one after the other -- Pakistan in 1947, Israel in 1948 -- following the retreat of the British empire. They were born in blood: Pakistan in the grisly Partition that cleaved British India in two, Israel in the battles of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. And ideologically, as Zia noted, they were both states whose raison d'etre was religion, or at least religious identity.
Pakistan was dreamed up as a haven for Indian Muslims, a state thattranscended geography itself with a western and eastern wing suspended in between thousands of miles of India. (It should be noted that India's secular founding founders never saw their own state as a "Hindu" nation, and that until very recently, there have been more Muslims living in India than in Pakistan.)
Israel was the product of decades of Zionist activism, brought into being after the horrors of the Holocaust as a homeland for Europe's tormented Jewry. Even this cause had an echo in South Asia. Pakistan's founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah was well-versed in the Zionist plight, since he too wanted to make a nation out of a religious community.
As the Oxford historian Faisal Devji writes in his book "Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea," Jinnah "seems to have possessed more books on the problems of European Jewry than on any Muslim people or country." That's not too surprising, given that Jinnah was not particularly religious and envisioned a Pakistani nation that, while defined by Islam, was not necessarily governed by its laws. A similar secular theme ran through the Israeli state.
More tellingly, Pakistan made a direct impression on Israel's rulers in the first years of the country's existence.
In a Haaretz article excerpting work from a new book on Israel and the question of apartheid, South African-born author Benjamin Pogrund explored how Israel followed Pakistan's lead when it came to administering lands and property captured from the Palestinians who had lived there before. Pogrund writes of the challenge that faced David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, in 1948:
In the government debates to decide what to do with the Arab "abandoned property," the prime minister’s special adviser on land and border demarcation, Zalman Lifshitz, argued for the permanent use of refugee property for the political and economic benefit of the new state. He said that countries in similar situations, such as Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia, had taken on vast powers to liquidate refugee property for state use and he urged the Israeli government "to proceed in a similar manner" as "there is no shortage of precedents."
The laws Lifshitz got enacted in 1949, Pogrund writes, were "based squarely" on Pakistani precedent. During Partition, millions of Hindus and Sikhs had fled what became Pakistan, leaving behind property and assets that could be appropriated on behalf of the millions of Muslim refugees streaming in from the other side of the border. For Lifshitz, Pogrund explains, a similar solution made sense for Israel's Jewish arrivals.
It cannot be said if Lifshitz was aware of the irony of the new Jewish state using the legal techniques of a new Muslim state to deprive its own mainly Muslim refugees of their properties. Whichever, he proposed "a new law, similar to the… Pakistani regulations and based on the principles they contain." Pakistani lawmakers, he noted, had drawn on Britain’s Trading with the Enemy Act, but had also introduced new elements to assist expropriation and transfer of ownership: they had created a mechanism for seizing Hindu and Sikh refugee property in Pakistan and its reallocation for the settlement of Muslim refugees from India.
This curious irony could be chalked off as a quirk of history. But both Israel and Pakistan are still grappling with their fragile ideological identities to this day.

Jinnah's dream has so far proved illusory: in 1971, East Pakistan split away following a brutal revolutionary war and became the independent state of Bangladesh. Ethnic and linguistic nationalism trumped a pan-Islamic identity. Subsequent Pakistani governments have both encouraged rampant Islamism and then struggled to contain its extremist, militant off-shoots.
In Israel, the question of how to reconcile with the Arabs on its borders and in its midst remains as potent and vexing now as it did more than half a century ago. As WorldViews has written about before, the right-wing government of current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown little will to enable the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Some ofNetanyahu's allies have specifically ruled it out.
And Netanyahu himself is attempting to push through a controversial lawthat would cement Israel's status as a "Jewish nation-state," privileging the collective rights of Israeli Jews over the interests of Israeli minorities. It's a proposal that plays well among Israel's right-wing, including communities of settlers living in the West Bank.
But it has its critics, too. "Israelis not in the thrall of settler fanaticism need to decide whether they want to be part of the democratic Western world or not," wrote Israeli intellectual Bernard Avishai in the New Yorker this week. He then offered this tidy comparison: "The Jewish nation-state law puts the choice starkly: a globalist Hebrew republic or a little Jewish Pakistan."


On Tuesday, reports out of Pakistan revealed that the country’s second suspected case of Ebola has surfaced in the past twenty-four hours.

The 41-year-old man has been kept under watch in an isolation unit at PIMS Hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan, after showing symptoms comparable to those displayed by people infected with Ebola. The man was reportedly traveling through Uganda last month before returning home to Pakistan. Uganda has not reported any Ebola infections, but has been trying to contain the spread of a sometimes-lethal Ebola-like fever called the Marburg Virus.
Another patient was immediately rushed to a Karachi hospital when his plane touched down on Monday. The patient’s flight reportedly originated in Monrovia, which is Liberia’s capital city and a known Ebola hotspot. Sources told Pakistan’s Tribune that the man had a bad fever when he landed. His blood samples have been sent abroad for testing, as Pakistan does not have the tools to 100 percent confirm an Ebola infection.
Last week, a Pakistani citizen who had been traveling through West Africa was isolated with symptoms related to Ebola. Although he died of Hepatitis C and Dengue, the patients blood samples showed that he had not contracted Ebola.
Islamabad and Karachi and their surrounding metro areas have a combined population of almost thirty million people, which amounts to roughly three times the combined population of Ebola-affected nations Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The latest statistics reported from the World Health Organization reveal that more than 16,000 people have been infected with Ebola and almost 7,000 have now died from the deadly virus.

'Pakistan could have 200 nuclear weapons by 2020'

While many states are downsizing their nuclear stockpiles, Asia is witnessing a buildup. Pakistan, located in a region "most at risk of a breakdown," has the fastest-growing nuclear program, as Gregory Koblentz tells DW.
Pakistan Ghauri Atom Rakete Parade in Islamabad
In report released by the US-based Council on Foreign Relations titled Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age, author Gregory D. Koblentz, an expert on arms control and non-proliferation, identifies South Asia as the region "most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability due to an explosive mixture of unresolved territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and growing nuclear arsenals."
In this context, Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear program in the world. And as Koblentz says in a DW interview, by 2020, the Islamic Republic could have a stockpile of fissile material that, if weaponized, could produce as many as two hundred nuclear devices, roughly equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal.
DW: Why do you claim Asia as a whole is witnessing a nuclear weapons build-up?
The only four countries currently expanding their nuclear arsenals are China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Although each nation's buildup is motivated by different reasons, the combination makes Asia the center of a new nuclear arms race.
China has been increasing and diversifying its nuclear arsenal since the end of the Cold War. This buildup is part of a broader effort to modernize the Chinese military and is also motivated by advances in the US' military capabilities such as long-range precision strike systems and missile defenses.
Major developments include the introduction of road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles and a new generation of nuclear submarines armed with ballistic missiles. These new forces should significantly improve the survivability of China's strategic nuclear forces.
India and Pakistan's slow-motion arms race picked up speed in 1998 when both countries conducted multiple nuclear tests. The ensuing nuclear and missile buildup by both countries shows no signs of abating. Last month, Pakistan tested two missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads: the 900-kilometer range Shaheen-1A (Hatf-IV) and the 1,500-kilometer range Shaheen 2 (Hatf-VI).
Altogether, Pakistan has deployed or is developing eleven different nuclear delivery systems including ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft. India is also fielding an increasingly capable array of ballistic and cruise missiles to complement its nuclear-capable aircraft. Both states are also expanding their capacity for producing highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the two key materials needed to produce nuclear weapons.
North Korea is the newest member to the nuclear club. Although North Korea started with a much smaller base of nuclear and missile technology than China, India or Pakistan, it has exerted enormous effort to develop a nuclear warhead small enough to be delivered to the continental United States by a ballistic missile.
In your report you identify South Asia as the region "most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability." Why is this the case?
South Asia is the region most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability due to an explosive mixture of unresolved territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and growing nuclear arsenals. While the United States and Soviet Union were engaged in a fierce competition during the Cold War, India and Pakistan face more severe security challenges than those of the other nuclear weapon states. The status of the Muslim-majority province of Jammu and Kashmir in India remains a source of dispute between the two states. India and Pakistan have already fought three conventional wars since they gained independence in 1947, including two over Kashmir.
Patriot Raketenabwehrsystem
Koblentz: 'China's military buildup is partly motivated by advances in the US' military capabilities such as long-range precision strike systems and missile defenses'
Since their nuclear tests in 1998, India and Pakistan have fought one low-intensity war (the 1999 Kargil War) and experienced two serious crises spurred by terrorist attacks launched from Pakistan (the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the 2008 Mumbai attack). The geographic proximity of the two countries complicates crisis management since the flight times of ballistic missiles is measured in minutes. Finally, while both states claim to seek only a credible minimum nuclear deterrent, regional dynamics have driven them to pursue an array of nuclear and missile capabilities.
In this context, how dangerous has the ongoing rivalry between India and Pakistan become?
One of the most dangerous aspects of Indo-Pakistani rivalry is the introduction of tactical nuclear weapons in South Asia. During the next Indo-Pakistani conflict, the "fog of war" could take the shape of a mushroom cloud. After the 1999 Kargil War, India developed a new doctrine of rapid, limited conventional military operations designed to punish Pakistan but remain below Pakistan's presumed nuclear threshold.
In response, Pakistan has begun deploying tactical nuclear weapons, such as the Nasr (Hatf IX) short-range ballistic missile, to deter even limited Indian military intervention. Since the conventional military imbalance between India and Pakistan is expected to grow thanks to India's larger economy and higher gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, Pakistan's reliance on nuclear weapons to compensate for its conventional inferiority will likely be an enduring feature of the nuclear balance in South Asia.
One of the most worrisome risks introduced by Pakistan's deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, especially acute during a crisis, is what Scott Sagan calls the "vulnerability/invulnerability paradox."
Pakistani nuclear doctrine calls for the deployment of road-mobile missiles during a crisis to protect them from an Indian first strike. But these weapons will become more vulnerable to theft or terrorist takeover once they leave the security of a military garrison.
The risk that terrorists could breach Pakistan's nuclear security is magnified by the strong presence of domestic extremists and foreign jihadist groups in Pakistan, their demonstrated ability to penetrate the security of military facilities, and evidence that these groups have infiltrated the Pakistani security services.
Another worrisome development is that the Pakistani practice of storing its nuclear warheads separately from launchers, which has provided a strong barrier to nuclear escalation in the past, may be eroding. The introduction of tactical nuclear weapons may lead Pakistan to loosen its highly centralized command and control practices. Due to their short-ranges (the Nasr/Hatf-IX has a range of about 60 kilometers), these types of weapons need to be deployed close to the front-lines and ready for use at short-notice.
Granting lower-ranking officers greater authority and capability to arm and launch nuclear weapons raises the risk of unauthorized actions during a crisis. Another risk is inadvertent escalation. There is the potential for a conventional conflict to escalate to the nuclear level if the commander of a forward-deployed, nuclear-armed unit finds himself in a "use it or lose it" situation and launches the nuclear weapons under his control before his unit is overrun.
How fast is Pakistan's nuclear weapons' stockpile growing?
While there are significant uncertainties about the scope and sophistication of Pakistan's nuclear weapon program, the country appears to have the most aggressive program in the world for producing nuclear material for military purposes. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan currently has enough fissile material, in the form of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, for about 100-120 nuclear weapons.
However, Pakistan is expanding its capability to produce even more weapons-grade material. By 2020, it could have sufficient weapons-grade uranium and plutonium to manufacture more than 200 nuclear weapons, roughly equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal.
Although Pakistan initially focused on the uranium route to nuclear weapons, in recent years it has focused more on the plutonium pathway. Pakistan currently has three reactors at the Khusab nuclear site, 200 kilometers south of Islamabad, capable of producing enough plutonium for six to seven nuclear weapons a year.
In addition, Pakistan is constructing a fourth reactor at this site and expanding its ability to reprocess the spent fuel from these reactors to obtain additional plutonium. Once all four reactors and associated reprocessing facilities are complete, Pakistan will be able to produce an estimated 10-12 bombs-worth of plutonium a year.
Where is Pakistan getting the material it needs to develop these weapons?
Pakistan has a well-developed covert procurement network to obtain the materials it needs to fuel its nuclear and missile programs. During the 1970s, the Pakistani metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan obtained critical information about centrifuges being developed by the Anglo-Dutch-German consortium URENCO. Khan used his personal contacts and a list of URENCO's European suppliers to obtain vital material for the uranium enrichment program for several decades.
China also provided important assistance in the early 1980s in the form of highly enriched uranium and the design for an early-generation nuclear weapon. China has also been the source of key technologies (such as ring magnets) for the centrifuge program and for the construction of the Khusab plutonium production reactors. The Institute for Science and International Security has also documented a number of recent cases of American, Pakistani, Chinese, and Israeli citizens violating US export control laws by attempting to ship dual-use materials to Pakistan.
USA Atombombe Sprengung in der Wüste von Nevada Atompilz
Koblentz: 'During the next Indo-Pakistani conflict, the 'fog of war' could take the shape of a mushroom cloud'
Are there any international attempts or strategies to halt the nuclear arms build-up in the region?
The nuclear and missile arms race in South Asia has not received the same level of international concern as developments in Iran or North Korea. The US tried to prevent arms racing between India and Pakistan after their 1998 nuclear tests but that effort fell to the wayside as other issues gained higher priority.
The terrorist attacks on September 11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan pushed nuclear issues low down on the list of important issues in US-Pakistani relations. Similarly, the rise of China and the potential for greater economic relations eclipsed nuclear weapon issues in US relations with India.
What is your forecast for the region for the next 5 to 10 years in terms of security and the development of nuclear weapons?
Unfortunately, I think that South Asia will remain at high risk for a nuclear crisis of some sort for the next five to ten years. Kashmir will continue to be a source of conflict between India and Pakistan. That territory has existential implications for both countries and will not be resolved in the foreseeable future.
Although Pakistan experienced its first democratic change of government in 2013, the country's history of military coups will limit the ability of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his successors to challenge the authority of the military establishment on defense and foreign policy issues.
In addition, elements of the Pakistani government, such as the Inter-Service Intelligence agency, actively resist efforts at rapprochement with India. At the same time, India has not gone out of its way to assuage Pakistan's sense of vulnerability to its much larger and richer neighbor or pursue confidence-building measures that could reduce nuclear risks on the subcontinent.
The next crisis between India and Pakistan could be sparked by a cross-border military incursion, a mass-casualty terrorist attack, or a high-profile assassination. The growth of nuclear and missile capabilities on the subcontinent since 1998 has increased the risk that such a crisis could escalate in unforeseen and dangerous ways.
As India and Pakistan deploy new nuclear forces, such as cruise missiles, tactical nuclear weapons, and sea-based nuclear missiles, new challenges to crisis stability, deterrence, and command and control will arise. If India and Pakistan don't change their current trajectory, a nuclear crisis, or even worse, is likely to occur.
Gregory Koblentz is an Associate Professor in the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs at George Mason University and author of the Council on Foreign Relations report, "Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age."