Pakistan army feels n-brinkmanship can bring India to its knees: Benazir Bhutto

Four years before assassination, Benazir Bhutto said India and Pakistan know they can never use the nuclear weapons in their arsenal

Written by Shyam Bhatia | New Delhi | Updated: February 16, 2016 10:36 am
Benazir Bhutto, india, pakistan, pakistani leader, military leadership, india news Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Express archive photo

Four years before her assassination in December 2007, Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto accused her country’s military leadership of nuclear brinksmanship, but ruled out a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan.

In an interview recovered from a lost archive — it was recorded in 2003 at her Dubai home when she was out of power and in exile — Benazir, commenting on the tactics deployed by the Pakistani security establishment, said: “They think that with nuclear brinkmanship, they can bring India to its knees because they feel no matter how intense the insurgency gets in Kashmir, what can India do?”

“If lndia tries to have a war, the world community will have to come in because they’re both nuclear. And if the world community doesn’t come in, India knows that if they cross towards Lahore, Pakistan will throw a bomb. India might retaliate, but it will still mean that so many people in India will die.”

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“Since 1977, our security establishment was hijacked by pro-Zia (ul-Haq) officers. They have a vision in direct contrast with the political leadership’s vision. They think that Pakistan should have a puppet government in Afghanistan, so that we can get strategic depth all the way to the river Amur.”

Asked if she had ever considered launching a nuclear attack on India when she was Prime Minister — she had two stints:1988-90 and 993-96 — Benazir said, “For God’s sake, never have l ever for a moment woken up with such a thought because l know that nuking any Indian, if l was even mad enough to think that, would end up nuking my own people.”

“This is what l don’t understand about the deterrence because neither India can use the nukes, nor can Pakistan. Because whichever country is throwing that nuke knows there is not enough time/space and is going to get it back.”

This interview forms part of a chapter on Benazir Bhutto in this correspondent’s book ‘Bullets and Bylines, Dispatches from Kabul, Delhi, Damascus and Beyond’, published by Speaking Tiger.

Asked if she could characterise the feelings that most ordinary Pakistanis have for India and Indians, she said, “It changes from times of tension to times of less tension. When there is tension and the troops are at the border, then people hate anybody who’s Indian, irrespective of whether they are Hindu or Muslim or whatever. They say they want to attack us, kill us and destroy our country.”

“But when there is no tension, people really welcome Indians. Indian films are very popular in Pakistan, Indian goods are smuggled across in Pakistan all the time, people are desperate to get Indian visas, travel to India, go visit their families, or go and see the Taj Mahal or the Mughal heritage.”

“Overseas in America… the Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis see themselves as South Asians, there is no hatred at all… they feel their interests are the same, they work together, they socialise together, there is no hatred at all.”

“I feel the only way forward… is to try and see what the European Union did and to have a kind of common market. What makes economies move? In my view, economies move through the service centre, through creativity. So if we open up, people will come to visit Pakistan, our hotels will be full, more hotels will be built, more labour will get jobs, same in your country…”

“All the visitors who come will want to have kebab and tikka and nihari… people will want to buy, they will want to spend… go to museums, to sight-see. It’s the flow of money that strengthens economies and that’s what we all need, whether it’s Nepal or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or India or Pakistan, we all need that.”

 

— Shyam Bhatia is a London-based correspondent

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  1. T
    Tino Den
    Feb 16, 2016 at 8:38 am
    Do not buckle before Americans' empty promises about Kashmir like Ayub Khan and Musharraf for fear of being Isolation. World is not Just Briton and America. Negotiate like a Share otherwise change party sign form Share to Jackal. The rationale of developing nuclear weapons was that stan must have self-reliance to ensure its security. After the hefty losses in the 1948 and 1965 wars and the debacle of 1971, the stani leadership comprehended that no country of great power was going to support stan in a time of crisis against any Indian aggression. Therefore, self-reliance was the crucial idea of stan’s policymakers to make sure that only stan should be responsible for defending itself against any Indian offensive. So I think It is naive to think that international power will resolve our issues when we face any crisis in future
    Reply
    1. S
      Sam
      Feb 16, 2016 at 2:14 am
      And she was killed! So the idea of comingling is pe. stan should continue buying F-16s and teaching their children in madrasas. Saudi Arabia needs madrasa trained labor.
      Reply
      1. V
        Vishnu Sharma
        Feb 16, 2016 at 5:01 am
        She finally sobered up towards the end. Her dad was an out and out India Hater though. When he was in his prison cell on the day before he was hanged and found out that the Indian government at that time had made desperate attempts to the stani government to spare his life, both he and his daughter realized that Indians are not such "bad" people. HIs daughter did tow the general's line though in 1999 and supported both the Kashmir insurgency and the formation of the Taliban
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        1. M
          Mathews
          Feb 16, 2016 at 2:25 am
          The Bhutto Family meant a lot good. But the bullies won and are still behind the steering.
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          1. G
            Gaurav J
            Feb 16, 2016 at 8:29 pm
            USA completely controls stan Army as well as the government now. Otherwise why would they use their own people to fight for Afghanistan. You are the ones who disrespected the sovereignty of Afghanistan. Now stan will have to pay the price for its dirty politics of terrorism in Kashmir and Afghanistan.
            Reply
            1. G
              Gaurav J
              Feb 16, 2016 at 8:46 pm
              We do have a microwave injector that has the potential to rule out the launch part. But Unfortunately its capability is only single use deterrence and our Indian government has no plans to weaponize this defense system. Makes me wonder if Modi is any different from the CIA agent MMS.
              Reply
              1. N
                naveed
                Feb 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm
                If stan launch a single strike against India. Which means stan give permission to India and international community to wipe out stan completely. India will do simultaneous strike from ocean air and land. Being a small country and small economy stan nuclear weapon doesn't make any deterrence to india.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Rabia
                  Feb 16, 2016 at 7:20 am
                  stan has maintained the Nuclear deterrence in South Asia but remember the first nuclear strike may be considered an offence but the second nuclear strike is interpreted as retribution
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    shravan
                    Feb 16, 2016 at 3:40 am
                    ber bhutto was master mind of kashmiri pandit exodus from kashmir.. god made her pay for tht.. good riddence.. next hamidgul also death now..
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Manu USA
                      Feb 16, 2016 at 12:37 am
                      She is quite right. I wish had done that. But, the Musharraf.. A muhajir should have done better.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Mahan Manav
                        Feb 16, 2016 at 3:02 am
                        So many people in die for sure but India won't give a chance to stan for this . Meanwhile stan if uses one we can use 50 of nuclear nal to destroy stan completely .. There won't be papistan on global map afterward
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          David
                          Feb 16, 2016 at 1:54 am
                          Please don't fall prey to this bull from stan side and our secular coolies. The problem is ideological that Islam cannot tolerate others, first not even minor difference in its own ranks, let alone other belief systems.
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            R. Singh
                            Feb 16, 2016 at 3:50 am
                            Add education from JNU. Shift JNU to Mecca
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              autonomous
                              Feb 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm
                              If stan used first strike on us ,first it will be intercepted by us then world will knew that stan launched nuclear strike on india,world countries will condem stan China will remain neutral,stan will rush to u.s once stan realise that India intefaced its nuclear missile successfully with no first use policy India can take actions as its wish on stan.UN council will not interfere. World powers knew Indian defense capability and how powerful we are ,so within 24 hours probably and stan will face its judgement day from India.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                mohan
                                Feb 16, 2016 at 8:57 am
                                Abe , India has more than 1.5billion people. Only 150 million live in cities . In any war if india looses 150 million, it still survives but stan will be ended if it looses 150 millon
                                Reply
                                1. G
                                  Girish
                                  Feb 16, 2016 at 1:11 am
                                  JNU students needs to read this article!!!
                                  Reply
                                  1. B
                                    BM
                                    Feb 16, 2016 at 1:15 am
                                    Why you think she was murdered by Musharraf ? Amazing thing is that Bar Bhutto and Rajiv hi got very well together and would have reached some good understanding, but, both were murdered. Co-incidence or conspiracy ?
                                    Reply
                                    1. Z
                                      ZAIIEEΩ KHASMA%ce%a9
                                      Feb 17, 2016 at 2:50 pm
                                      Don't listen these political leaders, they are liars and they have no credibility in stan , We only love stan Army and ISI and every stani is ISI, India must be declared as terrorist state , India finance TTP from afghan emby, Once America had denied to issue Vissa to MOdi hehehe
                                      Reply
                                      1. Z
                                        ZAIIEEΩ KHASMA%ce%a9
                                        Feb 17, 2016 at 2:47 pm
                                        Indians are simple good for nothing , stop giving news about stan all the time , focus on your poverty , rape rates, intolerance , tortures on Muslims and sikhs in india, Stop hating stan , Tum log Hamara Ball Bhi Bhaka Nahi Kar saktay hehehehe
                                        Reply
                                        1. Z
                                          ZAIIEEΩ KHASMA%ce%a9
                                          Feb 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm
                                          Intolerant india for Muslims and Sikhs , Now after what RSS did with Aamir Khan , Muslims in india should learn that India can never accept them , they will be punished for telling truth
                                          Reply
                                          1. Z
                                            ZAIIEEΩ KHASMA%ce%a9
                                            Feb 17, 2016 at 2:56 pm
                                            Long Live stan Long Live stan Army Long Live stan ISI Long Live Muslims Long Live Khalistan
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