Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jun 10, 2002
Industry & Economy - Science & Technology
THE Pakistani military has benefited from the following sources in its efforts to acquire a missile capability:
Largely indigenous with some Chinese inputs: Mainly the Hatf-1 (100 km and 500 kg) and Hatf-2 (300 km and 500 kg). Plans for their serial production, at least of Hatf-2, were reported to have been abandoned due to their unsatisfactory performance.
Totally Chinese: Hatf-3, which is believed to be the Chinese M-11 (300 km and 500 kg); and Shaheen I, which is believed to be the Chinese M-9 (700 km and 500 kg). Shaheen -I is also sometimes called Hatf-4.
Totally North Korean: Ghauri-I, which is believed to be the North Korean Nodong (1,300 km and 500-750 kg); and Ghauri-II (claimed to be 2,000 km and 700 kg), also North Korean Nodong. Ghauri-I is also sometimes called Hatf-5.
Of uncertain origin: Shaheen-II (claimed 2,000 plus km and 1,000 kg). It was displayed in a military parade in March 2000 and described by Pakistani commentators as a road-mobile, two-stage missile. According to some reports, it is nothing but the Chinese DF-15; according to some other reports, it is actually the North Korean Taepodong. In the past, some Pakistani analysts had also referred to it as Ghaznavi.
Stolen: Scuds of Soviet origin stolen from Kabul when the Najibullah Government fell in April 1992 and the Afghan Mujahideen captured power. Number and type not known.
The Pakistani military uses its claims regarding its missile holdings and firings as a phychological warfare (Psywar) weapon to reassure its own personnel and public about its nuclear delivery capability; to create concerns in the minds of the Indian public; and alarm in the international community about the so-called dangers of a nuclear confrontation if they do not pressurise India to settle the so-called Kashmir dispute to its satisfaction. As part of this Psywar, different names are often used for the same missile and their performance characteristics are exaggerated. It has also been carrying out its periodic firings as part of this Psywar over its territory, without any firing over the sea in the hope of thereby being able to prevent foreign intelligence agencies, including those of India, from accurately monitoring their performance characteristics.
Commenting on this, in a study made after the firing of the Ghauri-I missile in April 1998, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) of the US said: "Diverse public pronouncements by various Pakistani officials have tended to obscure rather than clarify the present status of Pakistan's missile programmes. The confusion is greatly magnified by the diversity of nomenclature, as the number of missile names evidently greatly exceeds the number of actual missile types."
This tendency of Pakistan could be seen in the announcements emanating from Pakistan about the missile fired on the morning of May 26, 2002, too. Pakistani officials have described the missile fired as Hatf-III with a range of 290 km.
However, Pakistan's Information Minister, Mr Nisar Memon, has described it as the first in the Ghaznavi series of missiles. When Shaheen-II was displayed in a military parade in March 2000, Pakistani commentators had described that too as the first in the Ghaznavi series of missiles.
The name Ghaznavi was first used in public by Dr A. Q. Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, after the firing of the Ghauri-I missile in April 1998. He said that Ghaznavi would have more advanced performance characteristics than Ghauri-I with a range of 2,000 Km. Western experts had deducted from his statement that Pakistan probably intended to buy the Taepodong from North Korea, where it was still under development, and rebaptise it as Ghaznavi.
While we should take due note of Pakistani claims, even if exaggerated, it is at the same time necessary to draw the attention of the US, Japan and other Western countries to the possibility/dangers of Pakistan utilising the increased cash-flow since September 2001, to add to its nuclear-missile capability through additional clandestine purchases from China and North Korea.
The firing on May 25, 2002, of a North Korean made Nodong (I?) missile, baptised Ghauri by Pakistan in 1998 to hoodwink its own population and the international community that the missile was the result of research and development by its own scientists, should be a matter of greater concern to the Bush Administration in the US and Japan than to India, because it provides one more piece of evidence, if it was needed, of the nexus between Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment and the nuclear-missile establishment of North Korea, which has been placed by the US President, Mr George Bush, in what he described in his State of the Union Message of January 2002, as the axis of evil.
This nexus was first established during the second tenure of Ms Benazir Bhutto as the Pakistani Prime Minister (1993-96) when she made a clandestine visit to Pyongyang and subsequently nursed by the Nawaz Sharif Government and the Musharraf regime.
Pakistan was initially paying for the missiles and spare parts partly in kind (Pakistani, US and Australian wheat to meet North Korea's acute food shortage in the 1990s) and partly through supply of nuclear technology to help North Korea in the development of its own military nuclear capability.
During the last three or four years, Pakistani nuclear scientists and engineers have been working in North Korea and North Korean missile experts in Pakistan. Since September 2001, the increased and still increasing cash flow into Pakistan from the US, the European Union and Japan has enabled the military regime pay for the North Korean missiles and related technology in hard currency.
Since the beginning of this year, there has been a large-scale movement of military goods under military escort to Pakistan from China along the Karakoram Highway passing through Baltistan and Gilgit. While most of these containers were said to contain spare parts and replacements for the Chinese arms and ammunition and aircraft in Pakistan's arsenal, one should not rule out the possibility that the Chinese might have accepted a Pakistani request made last year for the movement of the missile-related goods from North Korea by train and road across China and then along the Karakoram Highway to avoid movement by sea which could be detected by the US.
Gen Pervez Musharraf is hoping that the missile firings would dilute, if not remove, the reservations in the minds of the Armed Forces and the Pakistani public about him and about his determination to resist outside pressure vis-à-vis India.
India was already aware of Pakistan's possession of Chinese and North Korean missiles under the camouflage of indigenous missiles and one can be certain that this must have been factored into our thinking and planning. What is equally important is that India should highlight to the US, Japan and other countries the nuclear-missile nexus between Pakistan and North Korea and the threat that this could pose even to them and to international peace and security.
(The author is former Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.)
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