The shadow that Pakistan casts over our military minds continues to be disproportionately large. This must change. Areas to the North, North East and the Indian Ocean require much greater attention. The shift in focus must begin now.
Throughout the close to fifty years of the “˜cold war, assessments of thresholds had little or no effect on the conventional force levels and operational plans of the Warsaw Pact countries or the NATO. Nuclear contingencies and employment of nuclear weapons admittedly were considered as options and possibilities on the escalatory ladder. China has nuclear adversaries including India but it continues to give greater teeth to its conventional forces. As a matter of fact in the history of nuclear weapons states it would be difficult to find any country that is as constrained by the threshold of an adversary as we are. The subject requires greater reflection.
Nuclear weapons for nuclear deterrence and a powerful conventional force for dissuasive deterrence must remain the pillars of our military strategy. Therefore notwithstanding Pakistans nuclear threshold we should maintain our focus on strengthening both pillars. Pakistan has convinced us of its low nuclear threshold. We have to now convince Pakistan that it does not matter. We are resolved to retaliate and punish if that Country transgresses our limit of tolerance.
In making a case for not compromising on conventional capability and the necessity to maintain the momentum of offensive operations, it would be incorrect, if it has been conveyed that nuclear threshold is altogether unimportant. In the planning and execution of operations it would remain a key consideration.
Over the last two decades our strategic horizon has undergone changes. But the shadow that Pakistan casts over our military minds continues to be disproportionately large. This must change. Areas to the North, North East and the Indian Ocean require much greater attention. The shift in focus must begin now. Then only can we expect to be well poised as we approach 2020.