May 28, 1998: The Nuclear Decision
To commemorate the 18th anniversary of Pakistan’s 1998 nuclear tests, Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad, organised a public talk titled “May 28, 1998: The Nuclear Decision” with senator Mushahid Hussain Syed on May 28, 20a16. Members of civil society and representatives from different media outlets and think tanks attended the talk.
Speaking on the occasion, DG SSII and Member National Assembly, Dr. Shireen M Mazari said that after India carried out its nuclear testing 1998, Pakistan had to make some tough decisions facts and was forced to become overtly nuclear. She said if Pakistan at the time had not conducted the nuclear tests, it would have raised doubts about Pakistan’s deterrence capabilities. She noted that we should not underestimate the importance of our nuclear capability in preventing many conflicts from becoming full blown wars with India. Senator Mushahid Hussain said it was India that injected nuclear factor in South Asia. He reminded the audience that following India’s nuclear test in 1998, L K Adwani had threatened Pakistan that the geo strategic scenario in South Asia had changed after Indian nuclear tests and that Pakistan should consider changing its Kashmir policy. He said India linked its nuclear tests with Pakistan and its Kashmir policy. Senator Hussain further stressed that during this period, the international community started pressurizing Pakistan to not go overtly nuclear.
Senator Hussain said India had perceived at the time that even if Pakistan possess the nuclear bomb, it will not be able to resist the US pressure and Washington would not allow Pakistan to test its own nuclear capabilities. He also said that there was immense pressure from President Clinton Administration on the Pakistani government to desist from carrying out nuclear tests. He emphasized that nuclear tests in 1998 injected national self confidence in the people, state and armed forces of Pakistan and also neutralised threat from Indian aggression despite their superior military might. Senator Mushahid said it was the nuclear factor that prevented full fledge war during Kargilescalation between India and Pakistan in 1999. While concluding, Senator Mushahid said Indian nuclear programme is status driven while Pakistan has acquired nuclear capabilities due to security concerns. He also said that Pakistan’s nuclear programme was India specific and also that the over nuclear ideation was the decision of the civilian government and not a military one.