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Part 2: Will Pakistan now seek nuclear submarines?

Yesterday, we took a look at the impact the Indian Navy’s first nuclear-powered ballistic submarine (SSBN) – the INS Arihant – would have on the strategic dynamics of South Asia. Besides briefly overviewing the Arihant’s capabilities and the advantages it confers to India, we also tried to determine if Pakistan requires an SSBN or even nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) of its own. We offered an understanding of why SSN/SSBN are sought by other navies, their benefits, and their limitations, especially in the tactical sense given the heavy concentration of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) assets in South Asia. Before continuing onto this piece, it would be worthwhile to give the previous article a quick read, especially since it offers valuable context in terms of the question: “does Pakistan have a strategic need for SSBNs?”

Pakistan’s pursuit of assured nuclear second strike capability from land, air and sea has been a cornerstone strategic policy. While its land-based strike forces are expansive (via ballistic missiles of varying ranges of up to 2750km), its air and sea-based deterrence capabilities are only beginning to form in earnest. The availability of lightweight plutonium warheads has made it possible for the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy to deliver a nuclear strike using cruise missiles, which in turn can be delivered using aircraft as well as conventional attack submarines. For example, it is believed that the Pakistan Navy’s next-generation air-independent propulsion (AIP) powered submarines (SSP) being acquired from China will be configured to deliver a submarine-launch version of the Babur.

While SSPs with nuclear-tipped Babur SLCMs (short for submarine-launched cruise missiles) will give Pakistan assured second strike capability, that capability is limited in terms of range. Yes, Pakistan’s land-based ballistic missiles can reach any part of India, but the Babur SLCM cannot. Its range is limited to 700km. That is a problem, but does it mean that SSBNs are the solution?

If Pakistan could somehow muster several billion dollars for perhaps a couple of SSN or SSBN, then why would it not be able to put such money towards longer range SLCM instead? In fact, such a route would be much cheaper (and more attainable) than an incredibly complex system built upon many complex parts (i.e. SSN/SSBN). Granted, the launch tubes in the new Chinese SSPs would have need to be tailored for such a cruise missile, but this is not an insurmountable task.

It is advisable – if not likely – that Pakistan take the route of seriously investing in its cruise missiles. More capable and longer range missiles are scalable, they can be of use to Pakistan’s land-based and aerial delivery assets (maybe even frigates one day). Moreover, such missiles will be a necessity irrespective of platform, even an SSN or SSBN would need them in order to actually be a strategic threat. If Pakistan’s strategic interests do not sit in very distant lands, then why would it need SSNs and SSBNs? It just needs longer-range cruise missiles.

Another factor to consider is Pakistan’s capacity to actually produce an SSN or SSBN. Whatever opinion one has about Pakistan’s abilities, at the end of the day, it will need foreign help. To be put it bluntly, there is not enough internal investment in research and development (R&D) or advanced industry (e.g. safe and effective miniature reactors, shipbuilding materials, propulsion, etc) to allow Pakistan to roll out an SSBN. In fact, even India’s Arihant is the culmination of over 30 years of consistent work, a result acquired from a build-up of extensive investment, trial and error, learning, and proactive leadership. In the best case scenario, it would take Pakistan several decades to come up with a fully capable SSBN; but we are not in the best case scenario, and Pakistan will need help. Is that help forthcoming?

In comparison to the U.S., China has only begun to make serious inroads in its own SSN and SSBN work, but there is considerable work left to do, especially in areas such as noise-reduction. That said, it also has to be understood that SSN/SSBN technology is a crown jewel, and powers – including China – are rarely ever ready to part with their crown jewels. As a general point, it would be erroneous to suggest that China would be willing to sell anything and everything to Pakistan, especially on flexible payment terms, which is indicative of Pakistan’s relatively weak economic ability.

However, on the other hand, making an SSN or SSBN available to Pakistan could offer China some strategic benefits. For example, one could argue that such a factor in South Asia would require India to allocate a higher proportion of its naval assets towards Pakistan, thereby reducing the pressure being applied onto China in the Pacific Ocean. But then it needs to be asked, would China need an SSBN in order to pull this off? Why give Pakistan one or two SSBN when it can equip Pakistan with many more SSP and even multi-mission frigates? One could argue that a generally stronger naval presence on Pakistan’s end – one that does not require SSBNs – could induce additional pressure on India.

We can conclude from the above that (1) Pakistan requires a stronger naval presence, (2) it needs longer range cruise missiles, and (3) its ability to acquire an SSN or SSBN is limited. Furthermore, what is the point of an SSBN when there are no plans for long-range engagement? Where is Pakistan going to fight? Its main engagement theatre is the Arabian Sea, and that area can quickly become crowded with a whole host of friendly and enemy submarines, surface warships, and aircraft – i.e. a dense ASW presence. As opposed to offering a lot of added value, an SSBN could just become a vulnerable target.

With the above in mind, one should not conclude that Pakistan will not work on enhancing its strategic capabilities at sea. It is possible that an effort is underway to bring not only longer range cruise missiles to sea, but potentially even ballistic missiles. However, this does not need to depend on SSBNs, rather, it could emerge in the form of bigger conventionally powered AIP submarines.

For example, consider the Chinese Type 032. Although an experimental design meant for fine-tuning new submarine applications for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the 6600-ton Type 032 Qing-class is a large AIP-based conventional attack submarine. It boasts vertical launch systems (VLS) capable of launching cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, and even ballistic missiles. While the Type 032 will probably not enter production, it is a testament to what is attainable in conventional attack submarine design.

If necessary, Pakistan could possibly seek a large AIP-submarine, one capable of launching submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). Granted, work would have to be done in terms of designing a hull that is fast and capable (the Type 032 is on the slower side), but this (alongside an investment in SLBM as well as longer range SLCM) could be a more realistic route. In fact, it may even be ideal. Yes, it would not have the same range as a SSN or SSBN, but why would that be a concern for Pakistan if it is not planning to engage in very distant waters? A large conventional submarine would be cheaper, quieter, utilize mature AIP engines, and still provide Pakistan a sound sea-based deterrence.


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  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 12, 2016 12:27 am 0Likes

    New moderation rules are now in effect. *All* off-topic posts, insults, etc, will *not* be approved. Ensure that your comments are (1) constructive, (2) professional, and (3) on-topic. Threads will automatically be closed after 48 hours of posting.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 3:08 am 0Likes

    Speculations aside; let’s get to brasstacks. Since the nuclear tests of 1998, this is the
    first EVER strategic development of such scale. You’ve had relatively
    insignificant to somewhat significant acquisitions here and there, but this is
    out of the charts, and frankly this is, which means that Hindustan’s upcoming
    deployment of INS Arihant will not and has not gone unnoticed in Pakistan
    strategic defence quarters, to be exact the Strategic defence command, which
    last year had already established Pakistan’s need for completing triad and attaining
    a sea based capability, after being aware of this development by Hindustan.

    Pakistan’s strategic defence command has given the first signals of what will Pakistan’s
    response be after this renewed destabilization in south Asia yet again. One
    thing is clear. Throughout past, whenever Hindustan has taken such steps by
    first initiating development of nuclear weapons or testing them first (thus
    prompting Pakistan to follow suit in effort to balance out the effects), the
    west has always been quiet or unvocal. If this was a Pakistani initiative, CNN
    and BBC would have run a 3 day marathon by now. This clearly suggests the bias
    Pakistan has to deal with on daily basis.

    Without giving any false perceptions, this capability will seriously threaten CPEC
    security as well as Pakistan’s existing naval capability. It gives the
    capability to Hindustan to sit far out in deep seas and launch sea based
    missiles at Pakistan, with Pakistan sitting naked in face of a tsunami (and
    just for reminder, every weapon in Hindustan’s arsenal is aimed and directed at
    Pakistan and will be used as such. There is no exception on that). While
    Pakistan’s new subs will be able to operate relatively in deep sea, the range and
    true capability problems will eventually kick in.

    Pakistan’s strategic defense command will not allow that, not for long.

    Pakistan should expect renewed threats of war and war mongering by Hindustan once this
    capability is deployed in active service, much like what happened after Hindustan’s
    nuclear procurement as well as in tests, where Pakistan had no choice but to
    balance out the capability. Such is the nature of this relationship Pakistan
    and Hindustan has.

    Pakistan will adopt two pronged approach to this. In short term, anywhere between 5 to
    10 years, a sea based capability will be deployed on AIP subs. We already know
    this. Triad will be completed at all costs. In long term, the solution to comprehensively
    denaturalize the threat is to deploy equivalent nuclear subs. Now there’s all
    kinds of arguments getting thrown now. Pakistan does not have the finances
    (true momentarily), Pakistan does not need a nuke sub, Pakistan will not be
    able to make it and yada yada. Listen to them for now. Realities are different.
    The finances will come, because the need is there and that means there is a
    need. Pakistan, despite all odds, will deploy an equivalent capability and will
    not sit quite with AIP subs only. It’s a tough thing to say and digest for now,
    but it is going to happen now.

    The bottom line: If you want to guarantee CPEC security, and it’s an equal stake of China
    as well, then frankly you cannot do without threatening the hell out of Hindustan
    in the very same manner, and so shall the response be. The status quo will not
    carry on unilaterally.

    One last thing, and this is going to hurt. INS Arihant is simply a paid version of Akula
    class Russian subs. Hindustan spent about 25 billion and 15 years on it before realizing
    that it is more than a lab project. Russians were then “roped in” and provided all
    round technical consultancy from A to Z. There is nothing indigenous in Arihant
    or its weapon systems as of today, and that’s important because Pakistan also does not have
    an indigenous design or capability but will not brand it as such.

  • by WARRIOR
    Posted May 12, 2016 4:56 am 0Likes

    I think we will try to increase range of babur up to 1200 kilometers for use in chinies S 20 class submarines n that’s all we can do atm
    If we can get some type 032 submarines it goona benefit us a lot but its not possible until 2026

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 12, 2016 7:20 am 0Likes

    Welcome back Jigsaww. This time I up-voted you BEFORE I even read your excellent comment.

    Why did Pakistan establish Strategic Command establish only last year the need for a response to this when the Arihant project was in the works for 3 decades? In your assessment it will take Pakistan another 10+ years to deploy a response. Had the issue been taken seriously long ago then the response would already be around the corner, if not already in place.

  • by MT
    Posted May 12, 2016 7:21 am 0Likes

    arihant is by the way more indigenous than any weapon system of Pakistan.

    India had been working on advanced technical vessel since 1978 while Pak was just learning to find means to procure nukes from black market
    India have operated Russian SSN since 1980’s

    Russian did assist in miniaturization of Arihant pressure light water reactor in 10meter hull but let’s remind you that India have invested 15bill $ in building entire subsystem from scratch at current price. Russian or any Western consultancy would be of no use if you lack solid r&d

    k missile family SlBM r&d began in late 90s after 2 version of Marine nuclear reactor Had been developed

    Pakistan hv almost little experience of any reactor design. l ll be surprised if any major components in khushabh and other plutonium nuke prcoessing reactor are made locally

    1.India atomic energy spend 500mill $ yearly alone on r&d for thorium fast breeder reactor Another 100mil $ is put into advanced light reactor in equivalence to AP1000 series of westing house which India expect to develop by turn of this decade

    2.Indian company l&t fabricates reactor components for China and Western companies.

    Source :

    Japan Japan Steel Works 14,000 t 14,000 t x 2 650 6, 12
    JCFC 13,000 t 500
    MHI Nil, uses forgings to make RPVs double

    South Korea Doosan 13,000 t 17,000 t 540
    China CFHI 15,000 t, 12,500 t 15,000 t
    12,500 t 600 5, 5
    Harbin Boiler 8000 t 8,000 t
    Shanghai (SEC) 12,000 t 16,500 t 600 2.5, 6
    China Erzhong + Dongfang 12,700 t, 16,000 t 12,700 t
    16,000 t 600 5, 5
    Total for China 12.5, 14

    India L&T 9000 t 15,000 t? 300
    BHEL 10,000 t
    Bharat Forge 14,000 t

    Source :

    India In India, Larsen & Toubro Ltd., the country’s biggest engineering and construction company, makes reactor pressure vessels for the country’s PHWRs and fast breeder reactor, and steam generators. It has a 9000 tonne open die press which can take 300-tonne ingots and plans 15,000 tonne capacity for ultra-large forgings, and holds ASME N-stamp accreditation. It has been involved in supply of equipment, systems and services for nearly all the PHWR reactors that have been indigenously built, including manufacture of calandrias, end-shields, steam generators, primary heat transport system and heat exchangers. In September 2009 it secured an order for four steam generators for Rajasthan 7 & 8, having supplied similar ones for Kakrapar 3&4. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) plans to form a 20 billion rupee ($463 million) joint venture with state-run Nuclear Power Corp. of India (NPCIL) to build a new plant for domestic and export nuclear forgings at its Hazira, Surat site in Gujarat state by 2011. NPCIL will hold a 26% stake. The plant will handle 600-tonne ingots and have a very large forging press to supply finished forgings for nuclear reactors, pressurizers and steam generators, and also heavy forgings for critical equipment in the hydrocarbon sector and for thermal power plants. According to Government officials, discussions are under way with French firms for industrial cooperation in the manufacture of PWR equipment in India. This would be to enhance the competitiveness of French reactors worldwide. Early in 2009, L&T signed four agreements with foreign nuclear power reactor vendors. The first, with Westinghouse, sets up L&T to produce component modules for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor. It said that this would enable the two companies “to utilize indigenous capabilities for the turnkey construction of nuclear power plants including supply of reactor equipment and systems, valves, electrical & instrumentation products and fabrication of structural, piping and equipment modules for Westinghouse AP1000 plants.” The second agreement was with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) “to develop a competitive cost/scope model for the ACR-1000.” In April L&T signed an agreement with Atomstroyexport primarily focused on components for the next four VVER reactors at Kudankulam, but extending beyond that to other Russian VVER plants in India and internationally. Then in May it signed an agreement with GE Hitachi to produce major components for ABWRs – the two companies hope to utilize indigenous Indian capabilities for the complete construction of nuclear power plants including the supply of reactor equipment and systems, valves, electrical and instrumentation products for ABWR plants to be built in India. In 2015 Westinghouse said that L&T was equipped to produce reactor pressure vessels and other major components for AP1000 reactors. Following the 2008 removal of trade restrictions, Indian companies led by Reliance Power (RPower), NPCIL and Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) plan to invest over US$ 50 billion in the next five years to expand their manufacturing base in the nuclear energy sector. State-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) (BHEL) claims to be the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise in India in the energy-related infrastructure sector, and has provided some 80% of the heavy equipment for India’s indigenous nuclear power program. It is supplying the steam generators for the first 700 MWe series of reactors, at Kakrapar, based on its design for the 540 MWe units. It is in the process of doubling its production capacity over four years from 10,000 MWe of plant per year (Dec ’07), and planned to spend $7.5 billion in two years building plants to supply components for reactor units of 1,600 MWe. It also planned to set up a 50-50 venture with NPCIL that will supply components for nuclear plants of 700 MWe, 1,000 MWe and 1,600 MWe. It is planning to install a 10,000 tonne forging press. It is also setting up an office in Shanghai in 2009 to source castings and forgings. BHEL has set up a joint venture with NPCIL to supply turbines for nuclear plants of 700 MWe, 1,000 MWe and 1,600 MWe and to seek overseas partners to provide technology for this enterprise. In July it announced that it was close to finalising a European partner to take 30-35% of this joint venture. BHEL in 2008 set up a joint venture with Heavy Engineering Corp (HEC) for making castings and forgings for nuclear power plants, based on upgrading HEC’s plant. BHEL was planning to set up a greenfield manufacturing base in India for nuclear forgings and was in talks with UK-based Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd and Japan’s Kobe Steel for possible joint ventures in nuclear forgings. Then in March 2009 BHEL said it was likely to join the Areva-Bharat Forge joint venture to produce nuclear castings and forgings, instead of going it alone, this intention being confirmed in July. Shortly after, it announced a ten-year technology transfer agreement with Sheffield Forgemasters for large power plant components. Another joint venture is with NPCIL and a foreign partner to make steam generators for 1000-1600 MWe plants. Bharat Forge Ltd (BFL) is a multinational company which claims to be among the largest and technologically most advanced manufacturers of forged and machined components, mostly for the automotive industry. It is said to be the world’s second-largest forging company and is extending its activities into the power sector. In 2008 it formed a joint venture with Alstom primarily for manufacturing state-of-the-art supercritical power plant equipment in India, though the enterprise may extend to nuclear applications. In January 2009 it signed a memorandum of understanding with Areva to set up a joint venture in casting and forging nuclear components for both export and the domestic market, by 2012. BFL has commissioned a 400 tonne forging press at Pune, and a 15,000 tonne press is due to be commissioned by 2012. BFL is part of the Kalyani Group – a US$ 2.4 billion conglomerate. HCC (Hindustan Construction Co.) has built more than half of India’s nuclear power capacity, notably all 6 phases of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Project and also Kudankulam. It specializes in pre-stressed containment structures for reactor buildings. In September 2009 it formed a joint venture with UK-based engineering and project management firm AMEC PLC to undertake consulting services and nuclear power plant construction. HCC has an order backlog worth 10.5 billion rupees ($220 million) for nuclear projects from NPCIL and expects six nuclear reactors to be tendered by the end of 2010. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) plans to diversify into nuclear power, and has formed joint ventures in heavy engineering with BHEL and Bharat Forge. It is also creating a joint venture with NPCIL and BHEL to sell 220 MWe PHWR units abroad.

    3.India is by far among 7-8counties in civil nuclear research & among founding member of ITER fusion energy program

    Pakistan contribution is negligible in nuclear technologies. despite having head start over India with smuggled URENCO uranium gen1-4 technologies: Pak is still not able to develop 5th gen enrichment tech

    4.Arabian sea being shallow is not suitable for noisy chinese & indian SSBN which are suited more for deep ocean of bay Bengal;Indian ocean.

    India plans to induct SSK for littoral waters in Arabia sea

    5.SlBM is not a easy technology to develop. China finally managed to have their full fledged SLBM ICBM in 2014 test of JL-02

    China spent 3decade r&d but they did lie about possessing SLBM in form of JL-01 which was a dud.

    Source :According to a 2011 US Department of Defense, the operational status of the JL-1 was “questionable”.[1]

    5 .Does Pakistan expect China to part with sophisticated SLBM technologies.

  • by MT
    Posted May 12, 2016 7:51 am 0Likes

    India is 6th country in world to develop titanium foundries & 7th country to develop HY80 HY100 :2alloys used for hull fabrication of aircraft carrier, frigates warship & all types of conventional ,nuclear submarine.

    India developed this capabilities after 2decades of r&d.Russia had declined to sell titanium steel for Indian build first indigenous aircraft carrier in 2009

    So India proved them wrong using home made Titanium steel ;putting off Russia from all future frigates submarines carrier deal

  • by MT
    Posted May 12, 2016 8:04 am 0Likes

    10 yrs needed to develop;deploy yuan class s20 submarine.

    UK takes 8 yrs to develop and induct SSBN;there is no shortcut in high end technologies.

    If Pak have just started to work on boomers then it must Invest 100mill $ yearly over 15-20yrs to develop prototypes of various subsystems

    China ll not give away sophisticated SLBM SSBN; long range missile (3000km +range)which can be used in future to blackmail Chinese Eastern economic centers

  • by MT
    Posted May 12, 2016 8:21 am 0Likes

    India isn’t expecting it’s first SSN by 2022 which are different from Arihant class ballistic nuclear submarine

    Brazil having investing bill $ of funds in SSN r&d &tied up with France isn’t expecting their 1st SSN before 2025

    pak should target 2040 if there are plans to develop indigenously or they should buy Chinese type 92 if cheen are ready to lease

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 8:24 am 0Likes

    That’s because Pakistan natural strategy is reactive. That’s got to do with a number of things from finances to political strings, but at its core the military seeks to “counter” De-escalative and new threats, not initiate them. This is obvious from Pakistan’s nuclear program, delivery platforms, Nasr induction, to decision to complete the triad.
    Pakistan rarely, or has almost never, taken initiative in destabilizing the status quo. That honor always lies with Hindustan and Hindustan can blame it on China, but that is not our concern, not to mention that risk of a conflict, let alone a war between China and hindustan is next to zero, whereas risk of an all out conflict between hindustan and pakistan is still very high considering hindustand cold start doctrines developed especially for pakistan and the exercises around it nearly every few years, aimed at “validating” aggression into pakistan.
    Pakistan also knew that pulling off a nuke sub will be miracle for hindustan until russia was asked to step in.
    Alarms need not be raised rightaway since a stop gap procedure will be placed in sea leg pretty soon, around same time as hindustan.The comprehensive steps will keep following.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 12, 2016 9:15 am 0Likes

    A couple of points in the article are perhaps debateable.

    First, the inability of Pakistan to procure “anything and everything” from China. From a financial point, yes but otherwise? I know Bilal has a good point of always erring on the side of caution and preparing for the worst case scenario. That is the correct way to go about planning but I tend to lean more towards your thinking on this, not because it is comforting but I really do believe China’s interest are so tied up with Pakistan’s that it is unthinkable the latter would have much obstruction to pursuing what it deems necessary.

    Secondly, an SSBN is of little value at time of war due to ASW dense environment likely to be found in the Arabian Sea. Would not the very point of SSBN with a very long reach be to able keep the hell away from where it could itself be an easy target yet retain the ability and reach to hit the adversary?

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 12, 2016 9:37 am 0Likes

    That’s the loose wild card – i.e. a Pakistani submarine lurking somewhere by East Africa. The drawback however is the question of how long it can be out there before the men on board are in need of supplies. We don’t have distant naval support infrastructure (e.g. bases), so in war or even severe tension (where India is attempting a blockade) that submarine’s feasible longevity would be a big question mark. As I see it, the value is in having SLBMs and/or very long-range SLCMs, the delivery platform doesn’t need to be nuclear powered.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 11:03 am 0Likes

    That’s great if such a design exists. But given the typical size of diesel electric SSKs and/or nuke capable AIP equipped subs, long range cruisers, especially SLBMs are not really a possibility. Pakistan naval strategy will always have to rely on littoral water ops and AIP subs if it remains in range of 700 to 1000 km. AIP for nuclear mission is inherently a make shift role even while they score very low on db charts. It will not replace the actual need for a full fledge SSN in Pakistan’s “full spectrum deterrence”. I don’t know how long will it take exactly but the need cannot be replaced by AIP equipped subs in long run. My point here is that once you have 2-3 nuke subs deployed against you, you will start feeling the heat of assured second strike from Hindustan, and that capability can either be countered by deploying AEGIS type BMD or by deploying similar deterrence. I think we know which way Pakistan will go.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 11:29 am 0Likes

    Well eventually you’ll have to build up your own expertise. There’s no direction as of now with the mess going on in the country, but again, i have not seen or heard of Chinese turning down defence requests from Pakistan ever. I think if the CPEC take off as it is supposed to be, it will become anyway inevitable to expand your naval capability as well as its fleet size. Deterrence is the best form defence. There is more than a normal opposition to CPEC in Hindustan and it’s causing alarm bells in Hindustan’s gov (no matter how much “we dont care” you hear). You can be sure it will see asymmetrical attacks as well as be on the first target in an eventual fall out. You need to be able to sit out far deep in the sea as well.

    It’s wrong to say SSBN is of little value in a theatre. Detecting something in water is by no means an easy pie, especially when a sub can be just about anywhere. You had all kinds of submarines and tech searching for MH370, never succeeding. The point with these subs is to sit quietly in deep seas (and that’s low on db) until required to come near surface, launch the strike and then hide back. It is not without a reason that these subs are part and parcel of every global power. These monsters are extremely potent weapons.

    Note that in a Pak-Hindustan theatre, the actual limitations of food and supplies will most likely not kick in, since the whole show won’t last more than few days, but that does not mean you should not prepare. Pakistan can always enter into an agreement for supply replenishment with some countries without disclosing ever.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 11:38 am 0Likes

    You do not need any real evidence to believe Hindustan’s (in)capabilities in this or any defence area but i will give you one, just so the audience get it’s right. You may or may not believe it, it’s least of my problems.

    I will not indulge in any useless debate with you.

    Arihant: How Russia helped deliver India’s baby boomer

    I’ve been saying this since day one. Every capability acquired by Hindustan has been bought, taken without permission, or licensed from a foreign supplier under the disguise of indigenous, but that’s understandable.

    Down the page, you’ll also find how Hindustan’s working missiles have been basically designed, developed, and provided for by Russia.

    It’s not that difficult to understand that actually on logical grounds.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 11:46 am 0Likes

    Brazil and France have a very different threat environment than Pakistan.
    If you really want Pakistan to target 2040, then you should target 2030 at least for Arihant.
    No significant acquisition or strategy by Hindustan will ever go unnoticed by Pakistani military for a long enough time. This is the basic principle you should understand.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 12, 2016 12:04 pm 0Likes

    Good link that, an eye opener. Never realised the extent of Russian support was from not only know-how but “show-how” to all the way to give-away. Pakistan can team up similarly with the Chinese (maybe even Russians too in the changing circumstances) and with focused effort attain a similar capability within 10 years.

  • by MT
    Posted May 12, 2016 12:17 pm 0Likes

    Russian site is likely to exaggerate russian help for their PR exercise purpose.Name me one indian missile which is of russian origin

  • by MT
    Posted May 12, 2016 12:36 pm 0Likes

    Arihant ll be operational as we speak. Arindham ll be outside dock as early as jan 2017
    Pakistan not in position to develop Ssbn,SSN over next 2 decade

    indian programme is moving smoothly & ssn contract ll be awarded in 2017

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 1:14 pm 0Likes

    Haha. That’s very typical of you, as always. I understand you have a zeal to prove hindustani’s capabilities but this is not the way to put and debate your arguments. Its amusing that you started out with some claim, which has been adequately refuted with a fact from the source itself, and even then you keep harping the same denial. Please try to be logical.

    There is a hindustani “quoted” in the article. Do you know what quotes are?

    Here is another one.

    The point raised in this article (“In fact, even India’s Arihant is the culmination of over 30 years of consistent work, a result acquired from a build-up of extensive investment, trial and error, learning, and proactive leadership.”) is highly debatable now.

    INS Arihant is a Russian design that came after years of failure and waste of money and resources. I don’t see any better way to put it and sorry i will not put it in the way you want it, just because it’s hard for you to accept.

    As to your question, every missile in Hindustan’s inventory is of Russian origin. I could claim this with facts, but i’m not here to do that, not today. In simple words, Hindustan does not have ANY capability, ANY i repeat, to ever undertake projects of such nature independently.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 12, 2016 1:17 pm 0Likes

    I think sooner or later Pakistan will.

  • by Hindukush
    Posted May 12, 2016 1:34 pm 0Likes

    So in other words India is exactly what you said India is jigsaw,I always had doubts about their so called scientific prowess

  • by U
    Posted May 12, 2016 2:51 pm 0Likes

    Why not discuss the possibility of an AEGIS type system? I am really curious about BMD systems.
    @Admin: please post about BMDs, their usefullness in current scenario, their effectiveness and possibilities for Pakistan. Like an in depth article.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 12, 2016 6:15 pm 0Likes

    Can you be sure Chine won’t assist Pakistan with the acquisition of SSBN and SLBM?

    According to your own opinion China has already assisted Pakistan with all it needs to manufacture and deliver nuclear weapons. If China can help arm Pakistan with means to wreak unimaginable havoc on the region (because China and Pakistan have common interests), why would they draw the line at that and not carry on ensuring Pakistan’s deterrence remains effective?

    Perhaps your are correct in your analysis, China might not see itself as “assisting Pakistan” acquire SSBN, but they would do it all to help safeguard their own interests. Either way the end result is the same. Pakistan acquires the capability it needs.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 12, 2016 8:22 pm 0Likes

    I have a different question: Does Pakistan even need a Nuclear Triad, let alone SSBNs? What exactly is the justification for a Triad given Pakistan’s geography and threat profile? Is anyone seriously arguing that India, with its 100 fission warheads, will take out ALL potential sites of mobile ballistic launchers over 881913 square KMs of Pakistan? Do the math.

    For a country like Israel, which doesn’t really have the space required to effectively hide their nukes on land, it makes sense. As for why the superpowers yearn for the “triad” its more to do with power-projection rather than deterrence. Parking MIRVs in the deep ocean is a statement of power, not a rational defense mechanism. It’s actually an offensive capability, reducing the time to target and (relatively) easily and quickly extending the range of your nuclear arm to the entire world.

    Remember the scene in Red October, when they realize the Soviets have built an “invisible” SSBN? The analyst didn’t say “oh wow, what a great deterrence!” He said “Oh crap! It’s the perfect first strike weapon!” Because that’s what all SSBN’s actually are. Launching a first-strike from land gives too much advance warning, that’s why you have SSBNs. We didn’t survive the Cold War because of SSBNs, we survived despite the SSBNs. Well, that, and plus sheer dumb luck, thank God. Also, SSBN’s are not even good at their (publicly unstated) offensive function, as there is NO WAY to rule out a second strike by any nuclear power with a significant landmass to effectively hide their nukes…

    Whatever makes India think it needs SSBNs is its own problem. It’s probably an ego thing. We don’t need to waste billions proving a pointless point, we’ve already got nukes, that’s all we need. In fact, I’d argue we don’t even need a nuclear triad, as we are not interested in aggression.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 12, 2016 9:06 pm 0Likes

    For some reason my post was deleted, but I’ll summarize by restating the opening question: What is the justification for the nuclear triad at all, for Pakistan, let alone SSBNs? It’s a simple fact that India can’t target the entire Pakistani territory with its 100 fission warheads. And if it can’t neutralize our on-land deterrence, what do we need a naval deterrence for?

  • by Salman Khan
    Posted May 12, 2016 10:04 pm 0Likes

    Jigsaww but they don’t need to reinvent the wheel invented by their allies and boyfriends. Their bromance is really unbreakable, and expect it to last for good. That’s why I believe that there is no point on hinting that none of either’s side equipment is indigenous. This behavior I’ve seen much of the time from my Pakistani defence enthusiasts. I really really hope that this would stop from our side at least. What we should actually focus on is the overall threat posed on each side.

  • by Salman Khan
    Posted May 12, 2016 10:15 pm 0Likes

    I agree with you and disagree with our honorable friend Jigsaww, but not to all extent. We need at least a submarine launched cruise missile. That would provide effective deterrent for now. Jigsaww was advocating that we research into SSNs/SSBNs. Well, that’s not the time for it right now. Now, AIP submarines are at far better advantage for countries like us. What I mean is, that we are in a situation similar to Israel. After a decade, SSNs WILL take over the submarine world, as they’d get smaller and quieter. We should not start massive developments into SSNs as the world hasn’t yet quite adopted them. I mean by the world the countries who can’t have a blue water navy. When these countries too make the shift to SSNs, then we should also. A good example is what we’d see from the French Barracuda over the next years. I believe that many countries would adopt this class.

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 13, 2016 12:57 am 0Likes

    I’ll put it in the pipeline.

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 13, 2016 1:08 am 0Likes

    Although an experimental system, the Type 032 is an AIP-powered submarine capable of launching SLBM. It is a technology demonstrator for various solutions that will go on the PLAN’s current and future SSN and SSBN, but it is clearly possible to construct a large AIP sub.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 2:01 am 0Likes

    That’s correct, except that the article itself (incorrectly) points out 30 years of R&D behind INS Arihant. It’s simply wrong. And that is the impression false branding of products can create in people’s minds, something Hindustan is consistently doing for pretty much every product.

    Seeking foreign help is perfectly OK as long as it is accepted as such. Pakistan of course has no political will or set up to do that, but here we’re accepting that as well as accepted in the article rightly. Correcting something does not always mean it’s done in enthusiasm. I’ve simply stated a fact.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 2:20 am 0Likes

    They’re making it all up- the country is largest importer of defence items in the world which itself is clear indication of absence of any true R&D set up or capability- and that’s perfectly fine as long as it is accepted as such and understood by people as such. Both things are not happening.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 2:26 am 0Likes

    Pakistan is not in a position to develop own SSBN/SSN. Agreed. Besides there’s bigger problems in the country. Though, Hindustan itself is still not in a position to create a mini sub on its own either. We all know this sub is a designed, developed, and provided for by Russia with its weapons, contrary to what has been reported in the media.
    But what i can tell you is that the capability will be countered and that is more important. The 8 subs are still a secretive program. There will be some stop gap procedure installed. You won’t have an easy time in the seas either. I always tell you every threat installed by Hindustan will be countered by Pakistan eventually in similar manner. This is the basis of Pakistan’s military strategy.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 2:36 am 0Likes

    N-triad are independent stand alone concepts, each leg of it. Your land command and control system can stop working (as well as no humans to make those decisions) in case of such an attack in which case you need another leg to be there for deterrence as well as need.

    Also, Hindustan CAN target all of your territory. There’s not much geo depth. Military strategy is always made with backups in mind, can’t rest on assumption of other side going easy on you.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 2:51 am 0Likes

    I put forward a simple point.

    Deterrence is the best form of response.

    You need to be able to deter the hell out of your enemy and that comes with equal or better capability, not less. Your point is completely respected but now that you have N-subs deployed by Hindustan, threat perception will change. Why else would Pakistan voiced concern over this deployment? I’m not saying it will come cheap, but it (the threat) surely will come hanging down on your necks for survival. Also, going for larger AIP subs at twice and thrice the price…why not just go for the real thing? You’d anyway need a 2000+ km range delivery system at that stretch. Also a 6000 t is not suitable for littoral ops. It’s a confusing thought for me at least.

    We cannot draw comparisons with Israel. It’s protection solely lies with US itself. At any point Israel goes into a conflict, US makes sure its every asset is deployed for Israel.

    On that level, Pakistan also does not need nuclear missiles and shaheen 3. Reaching delhi is enough, or is it?

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 4:12 am 0Likes

    Too darn expensive deployment as i see. Will need full fledge fleet of destroyers and shore based systems. Pakistan has no means to do that, financial or technical. It’s better to go the other way, for now.
    Pakistan’s current strategy seems to be inducting relatively cheaper solution of different AShMs, all sea, air, and land launched to take out enemy’s ships in flurry of shots. Which is why new systems have been inducted.
    Idea will require next level of thinking for navy, currently not seen.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 4:18 am 0Likes

    If the CPEC turns out to be what it is supposed to be, Pakistan will and will need to revamp its entire thinking around Navy, which is currently to stay at the levels of green water ops.

    You have at least four major ports to be provided high levels of defence. Karachi, ormara, pasni, and gwadar going into billions of dollars of set up and ops. won’t do with 4 f-22 frigates and 5 AIP subs.

  • by MT
    Posted May 13, 2016 5:02 am 0Likes

    india ll be soon making thermonuclear bombs from its 5-6th generation centrifuge technologies

    Highly enriched uranium ll also be used for next gen SSBN & SSN

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 13, 2016 6:07 am 0Likes

    I’ll reply to the other post, as the above was a double post

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 13, 2016 6:52 am 0Likes

    Your first point above was: “Hindustan CAN target all of your territory.” We’re not talking about range of their systems. I’m asking if they can actually bomb every single part of Pakistan so as to ensure we can’t launch a second strike from mobile ballistic missile….

    You’re also saying deterrence comes with “equal or better capability”…. Not really. Deterrence is ANY response to deter an enemy, period. It doesn’t mean that if they have X, you need X. You can have Y, if it’s effective at deterring your enemy.

    Threat “perception” is just optics. And of course Pakistan will raise objections and concerns, but we need to separate media hype from actual technical considerations in order to make decisions. You can’t claim that because we raised an objection publicly, it therefore means the SSBNs have a case. That’s a circular argument.

    And I’m not drawing comparisons with Israel, I’m actually saying we’re not like Israel. We’re way more secure than Israel. They don’t have the land space needed to effectively hide their mobile nukes. We do.

  • by U
    Posted May 13, 2016 7:10 am 0Likes

    Interesting and informative discussion guys! Good.
    This is SO better that the mess this comment section used to be. I hated it earlier, was nothing but full of crapy 50 plus comments on each post.

  • by U
    Posted May 13, 2016 7:13 am 0Likes

    Thanks! Looking forward for it.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 9:19 am 0Likes


  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 13, 2016 10:33 am 0Likes

    Will you base your strategy on an assumption that Hindustan CANNOT or WILL NOT bomb every strategic or critical coordinates on map? I will not. I’m pretty sure no military in the world thinks or plans that way. You are advocating no need for triad (when your opponent has it almost) based on presumption that Hindustan will be either caring enough, hesitant enough, or incapable enough technically to pull off a nation wide launch on Pakistan. Is that it? This is not the kind of strategy you plan a conflict with, let alone going actually in battle theater. You actually have no guarantee if Hindustan will honor its no first strike policy, or do you? Especially when you have no LR SAM or BDM cover. Moreover, what guarantee do you have that you will not see American support or israeli support for seizing or interfering Pakistan N capability or keeping it from retaliating just in case you’re fried chicken in first hours of war? Why do you think Americans are so keen on keeping a limited “special forces” presence in Afghanistan? Why do you think there’s specially allocated spy sats for Pakistan up there?

    Militaries do not have the luxury to carry out strategies on wait-and-see policy.

    But that’s Ok. It’s your opinion. It can be debated. But the signs on ground are factually different. Pakistan has already taken this decision to move forward with full spectrum deterrence and implementing a N-triad. Perhaps it’s better to trust they must have concluded it with some assessment in mind, or do you think it’s a flawed thinking?

    A triad does not solve all problems, it simply makes it more difficult for enemies to counter it.

    “Deterrence is ANY response to deter an enemy, period” OK, but again, that “any” response is what? A stone would do? It’s a general statement but at technical level, you need an equal or better capability to keep deterrence sustained. With time current deterrence will eventually fade out, so you need to keep upgrading everything around it. Yes, it actually means if your enemy has X, your need X. So the saying goes, slap for a slap. Stone for a brick. But never Stone for a missile. Technical shortcomings/gaps are acceptable but what does it mean? You don’t need a BMD shield for example, if your opponent has it? If you opponent has a stealth capability to sneak into your airspace, you need it as well. Do you think Pakistan will not/never need to upgrade its deterrence with block 52’s or JF-17 block 3 in place? That is the whole concept of deterrence. In absence of deterrence, there is no deterrence, but war. Deterrence is precaution. Deterrence avoids war. Absence of it, creates it. To be able to avoid war, you need to show and signal your strength.

    Threat perception is optics to ordinary public. To military strategists it means a whole lot of different thing. Sure pakistan will raise objections, but there’s a reason to raise objections, to send signals to don’t push Pakistan into acquiring similar capability or do you think Pakistan will come up with no counter to this development and sit quiet?. These are diplomatic things. Pakistan does not raise objection on every thing. Yes i do believe Pakistan has a case for SSBN. Whether or not they acquire is is another thing but the case has been created already. How do you plan to counter SSBNs with SSKs?

    Tactically pakistan may have more land mass than israel to hide stuff but israel is not going up against 6 times bigger enemy, you are.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 13, 2016 2:48 pm 0Likes

    Dude, first of all, you’re confusing the concept of Deterrence, with the concept of Parity (or some other concept that isn’t relevant.) Here’s an example of deterrence: A deterrent for an Attack Aircraft is a SAM Site (or interceptors,) NOT other attack aircraft. That’s not X for X, that’s X for Y. You don’t need an Aircraft Carrier to deter another Carrier, when Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles (which are WAY CHEAPER) will do… etc. etc.

    Secondly, India only has a 100 warheads. Even if they had a thousand more, it wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a retaliatory strike if they launch a first strike. And if they can’t cancel out the possibility of a retaliatory strike, then why would they strike first? (That’s how deterrence works.)

    And you still haven’t actually explained how your SSBN going to prevent a first strike by India? Please explain that to me. You’ve tried making the same circular argument again. Just because the Pak government is saying they want a triad now, it doesn’t prove a case for a triad. You’re basically saying: “well they’re doing it, so they must know what they’re doing!” That’s circular logic and it’s a fallacy. If we all had a $100 dollars for every time the Pak government/military did something actually smart, we’d all be broke.

    Lastly, using hypothetical US/Israeli/UFO-Alien scenarios in which they’ll all team up like the Avengers, to destroy our nuclear arsenal, isn’t going to work, for 2 reasons. #1) It’s way harder to neutralize all hidden land sites and mobile launchers spread all over a country the size of Pakistan then searching for a noisy half-baked SSBN that’s 40 years behind the curve. #2) In your scenario, you can be damn sure our SSBN will be tracked the moment it left port by a US SSN and will be taken out the moment it even thought about launching a missile.

  • by Zaff Hundal
    Posted May 13, 2016 4:30 pm 0Likes

    Agreed. You done it again explained in details for those who don’t comprehend deterrence. I agree with you that Pakistan will or already is thinking of SSNs and that is the need of the hour because India will use its capabilities at first given opportunity. Now with INS Arihant it has the capability to strike Pakistan from far and I’m sure Indian strategists will bring back ‘cold start’ doctrine.
    Now a scenario hypothetically:
    India starts cold start doctrine and it attacks Pakistan.
    Pakistan will retaliate with Nasr. First strike nuclear option.
    India has the edge now with second strike capabilities to destroy Pakistan completely.
    If Pakistan has SSN Capability it will deter India to use its cold start or whatever they wish to start.
    Now I have also agreed with Bilal Bhai that for now as quick solution is AIP Larger conventional sub with more firepower in the short term.
    In the long term I would suggest Drone’s. This technology has by far not reached its full potential. I wrote my dissertation on Drones and this I think could be something to think about in long term basis. So far only Russia, US & UK are researching on drones capable of travelling underwater with a huge punch. What are your thoughts on this????

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 13, 2016 4:49 pm 0Likes

    Well what can I say, Mohsin? Ever since you locked horns with Jigsaww on this page I had been thoroughly convinced of Jigsaww’s argument but now with your last bit of explanation I’m no longer sure which way to tilt.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 13, 2016 5:21 pm 0Likes

    Bilal, is it possible to keep this article open for comments a little longer than the 48hr limit? There is a lot of interesting (and for a change, civilised) discussion/debate taking place here. Would be great to see the guys have some more time on it. Thanks.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 13, 2016 6:02 pm 0Likes

    “If Pakistan has SSN Capability it will deter India to use its cold start or whatever they wish to start. ”

    Please explain how, exactly. They already know they can’t take out our nuclear option with force, which is why they can’t attack. How is adding SSNs/SSBNs into the mix going to change this dynamic?

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 14, 2016 8:53 am 0Likes

    Thread re-opened.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 14, 2016 10:23 am 0Likes

    Ok i have a short answer here and a long answer.

    Short answer:

    What you are saying is that Pakistan does not need a N triad even if its enemy is on verge of completing it. It can rely with sufficient or absolute guarantees on one leg only. Well first off with your argument, why even bother with one leg? Why not just give it all up and rely on conventional deterrent only? Why not halve all your forces and cut the budgets by half. Let your enemies do whatever in their egos. The reality is that no where in the world such a thought is actually exercised whenever possible. China, Russia, US, France, UK, Israel, Hindustan. No one thinks like this and there are military reasons to it, not philosophical. Moreover, whatever the argument from your side, Pakistan is NOT going to do it despite people giving such arguments for ages now. It will complete the triad because the military has assessed it so and you’ve asked them to give you protection. At the end of the day, this is how it works in the military world. Also, we would all agree that since Kargil, the only thing that has kept Pakistan and Hindustan away from war is actually X for X, not X for Y, because both know of similar capabilities.

    Long answer:

    Deterrence, more specifically peace time deterrence, is the ability to use punishment as a threat to deter opponent from offending. In other words, the concept of deterrence is based on capability to threat. It’s by definition about showing what you are capable of to impose damage BEFORE you enter a conflict. In layman term, its your capability to threat or as i say threat the hell out of your enemy. Deterrence is not about seeking guarantees by use of deterrence itself to stop actual attacks (your reference to how will SSBN prevent an attack, i’ll come to that in a while – there are NO guarantees in battle not with one leg, not with three not with ten). Once that point of engagement is reached where you enter war, you are way past peace time deterrence. All bets are off.

    Deterrence is about two things, or has two off shoots: Offensive deterrence and defensive deterrence. Both have own capabilities. This is where you’ve mixed up use of defensive deterrence (X) to counter offensive deterrence (Y). Whereas the exercised concept throughout the world for deterrence at capability level is based on X for X, Y for Y, although you can deploy them interchangeably, which means you’ve compromised on your capability. What this means in simple words is that you need similar capability to carry out the same punishment that you might experience.

    Let’s take your example of attack aircraft vs. SAM sites. You’ve exercised deterrence X to counter deterrence Y. Let’s put it into context with your example. You’ve deployed deterrence X (SAM sites) to counter a possible incoming attack Y (attack air craft). Let’s say you get 100% hits (though that is not going to happen actually ever). Your deterrence X has worked 100%. At this point, going by your way, your team is deprived of deterrence Y of its own, since you would argue for them that deterrence X is enough for you guys. Doing so, you are only taking hits and stopping them but never able to threat the enemy with a similar capability. Hence your enemy is not threatened by you and knows that merely one strike could finish you, not to mention that you will never win this war, only focus on defending yourself. You have effectively lost the war before it started because of your compromise on capability. If i were in this place, i would put both deterrence X and deterrence Y in place and the war might not even start at all. If it did, I would not only stop incoming attacks but also be able to threat as well as carry out them by use of both capabilities. Before i enter the conflict, my enemy knows i have both deterrence X as well as Y, whereas your enemy knows you ONLY have deterrence X. Who has deterred the enemy comprehensively? Now of course this has cost issues to deploy both, but then like i said, you’ve compromised on deterrence and your capability. The overall effect is, your enemy is not deterred by you.

    Let’s take another example. You’ve deployed your constellation of your GNSS sats up there. Your enemy has deployed anti-sat weapons. They also have their own GNSS system. You would argue in this case that you do not need anti-sat weapons since your deterrence X is sufficient, no matter if your opponent deploys a Y (oh and by the way, this is one of those cases where there is no other way to neutralise your opponents GNSS except X for X so you need a similar capability as a MUST). Your enemy knows that in first hours of war, they will take out your GNSS capability with their capability Y and know that you will not be able to do anything about it. What have you done? I would argue for deploying an equal anti-sat weapon system to deter the enemy before conflict starts and have a working ability to use deterrence Y when needed, but nowhere i or my enemy has a guarantee that one of us will be able to prevent the other party from undertaking an aggression, which brings me to your question as to how Pakistan’s SSBN will “prevent” a first strike by Hindustan. That’s what you said right? Well. A triad is NEVER about preventing actual attacks, it’s not a defensive capability at all. The only purpose of a triad is to have an all-round capability to not only deter but also exercise it in multi dimensional ways. If that deterrence serves as avoidance of war, that’s great. So, an SSBN is not a defensive deterrence, it is the Y one.

    Coming to the point, what you are arguing is that Pakistan does not need a triad, since one leg would suffice. You mean to say Pakistan has no need for sea leg when the assumption is that even if the enemy launches 1000 strikes on Pakistan, Pakistan will have a chance. This is pure assumption. You actually have no guarantee here. Will your command and control be working? What about the human factor? What i can see is that you base on concepts on assumptions leading to compromises, fatal ones for you, encouraging ones for your opponent.

    Throughout the world, whenever a country deploys a specific system, the counter to it is developed in exactly similar manner targeted at acquiring similar capability. GLONASS/BEIDOU for GPS. MIRV for MIRV. BMD for BMD. 5th gen fighters for 5th gen fighters. AESA for AESA. Hypersonic vehicles for hypersonic vehicles. Destroyer for destroyer. Triad for triad. SSN for SSN. Lasers for lasers. Even while russia is able to deter Rafales and F-16s in syria with S-400, they have deployed SU-35 and SU-34 also i.e. after getting shot down by Turkey, why? The equal capability is now in place. Only S-400 will not do. And this is low intensity near peace time theatre. Imagine a conflict zone now.

    Of course, no one is stopping you from “trying to” deter a destroyer with a corvette, an eagle with a crow, or an SSBN with an SSK but you’r e not deterring anyone, you’re simply trying to make most of what you have. Your enemy does not take your seriously because you are not serious. And the economy you were trying to build at expense of your security, is now nowhere to be seen.

    Therefore, if your enemy deploys SSBN, you need it as well, though you could try to modify SSKs into taking these roles to deter somewhat but its not true capability but in doing so, you have again tried to “replicate” their capability. Why?

    Lastly, if you are not prepared for all kinds of scenarios, including hypothetical ones, you’re not qualified to sit on the chess board. You can laugh it off with avengers style team and what not, based on the idea that it’s pretty funny to think, you’ve actually not seen it thru to believe it, because anything that CAN happen WILL happen. That at least how you start.

    My assessment actually is in line with how things happen in real life or militaries do threat perception. You’re pushing for something that is not exercised anywhere, which is why It’s not without a reason that Pakistan is trying to complete the triad.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 14, 2016 12:37 pm 0Likes

    1) You said: “What this means in simple words is that you need similar capability to carry out the same punishment that you might experience.”

    Let me remind you: You were arguing that we need SSBNs (i.e. the SAME capability, not “similar”) for deterrence, and I was arguing we don’t. Now you’ve refined your position and said that we just need to cause the “same punishment” using any “similar capability.” GREAT! Because that’s exactly MY point. NOT yours. It’s obvious that the only thing which matters is that both sides can make nukes land on each other, and it is irrelevant which direction or method they come from. So you’re actually agreeing with me now even if you don’t yet realize it.

    2) You said: ” You mean to say Pakistan has no need for sea leg when the assumption is that even if the enemy launches 1000 strikes on Pakistan, Pakistan will have a chance. This is pure assumption. You actually have no guarantee here. ”

    Yep, I do have a guarantee, it’s actually simply math. I can GUARANTEE that 880,000+ square kilometers are sufficient to hide mobile ballistic missiles effectively from a first strike by India, and therefore they will be deterred. Now, what “guarantee” do you have that your half-baked and noisy SSBN is going to survive long enough to even be useful at anything? None. I’m working with a practical certainty, you’re the one working on assumption.

    3) You said: “Why not just give it all up and rely on conventional deterrent only?”

    If it was actually possible for a conventional option to deter a nuclear option, then SURE, go ahead and give up your nukes as they would be, by definition, obsolete. But we aren’t there yet (with current technology), and NO ONE (least of all me) is saying that we give up our nukes. So not only is your point moot, and it signals you still haven’t fully understood the core concept.

    4) You said: ” You’re pushing for something that is not exercised anywhere”

    So many logical errors with this one conclusion of yours… First, again a circular fallacy, and also an argument from authority. Both are crippling logical flaws. Also, technically, it’s a scarecrow fallacy as well. I never said deploying a platform like the SSBN is always useless when one’s enemy deploys one (I actually explained the use for SSBNs for global aggression), I just said it’s useless for us.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 14, 2016 5:02 pm 0Likes

    Again. None of your proposed methods are exercised anywhere in the real life world, no matter how much you twist my words or yours. None of your proposed methods will ever be exercised by Pakistani military itself, no matter how much you twist it. Pakistan has made a decision for triad, after assessing the threat thoroughly. Not a single time you have or will ever be able to refute this simple fact. You can keep arguing no need for it. It’s not going to happen. Sorry. Pervez hoodbhoy can argue against it. It’s not going to happen. Sorry. US can argue against it, It’t not going to happen. Sorry. You can keep arguing no need for it to Hindustan, US, UK, France, Russia. You can take your case to UN or to Moon. No one is going to fall for these propositions because they are absolutely based on assumptions and are in contradiction with principles of deterrence and triad itself. Life does not work on assumptions for any of these nations that are exercising it as you speak (against it).

    You can also keep calling my arguments circular, erroneous, and what not. But at the end of the day, that is exactly what is going to happen in front of your eyes. Let the time speak now.

    I stand with my statement. Pakistan will deploy a stop gap procedure now to complete N Triad and move towards acquisition of SSBN because the case HAS BEEN created already and it MUST acquire it. It’s not a matter of if, only when now. I cannot put a gun on Navy’s head to get an SSBN, what i’m saying is that this exact capability is needed, no matter what you do to replicate it.

    I can see that this is not a debate anymore. Hence useless to argue anymore. I’m not interested in winning arguments. Also, cherry picking lines to argue them selectively is not really the way to debate.

    I leave you with this thought: What you said will never happen. What i said will happen.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 14, 2016 6:00 pm 0Likes

    Jigsaww, sorry to side-track from the debate slightly but just for my benefit can you offer something to refute the following point raised by Mohsin?:

    “In your scenario, you can be damn sure our SSBN will be tracked the moment it left port by a US SSN and will be taken out the moment it even thought about launching a missile”.


  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 14, 2016 9:05 pm 0Likes

    Bro, I’m not “twisting” anything. I pointed out logical fallacies in your argument which you refuse to correct. Your entire argument is based on the following reasoning:

    “This is what our military is doing, therefore it is right, and since I agree with it, I am right.”

    This reasoning is invalid, because it is Circular and an Argument from Authority.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 15, 2016 2:45 am 0Likes

    Ok, great, you pointed out fallacies in my argument. Good for you. I don’t mind that. I’ll put it for time to decide who was fallacious.
    Now check this out from today straight from SPD itself:

    India’s bid for ‘second strike capability’ to put pressure on Pakistan, says SPD official

    “ISLAMABAD: Indian moves towards ‘second strike capability’ would compel Pakistan to follow suit, says an official of Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which serves as the secretariat of National Command Authority.

    “Development of second strike capability … would put pressure on Pakistan to take remedial measures and develop its own version of the capability,” the official said while speaking at a round-table discussion on ‘Growing Challenges to Strategic Stability in South Asia’ organised by the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS).”

    I told you just wait and see man.
    I know how these things play out and it’s exactly as i told you. Exactly.
    You can just take my word for it, or just see them coming true.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 15, 2016 3:19 am 0Likes

    Hi Rashid,

    Sure i can comment.

    The thing is, these kind of arguments are assumptive and apologist arguments. Let’s say for a moment, our SSBN will be tracked the moment they left, is it enough reason for you to stop acquiring your capabilities and start thinking about compromising on them?

    Then it’s true for all your SSKs.
    All your air fleet.

    People who are suggesting such things should also suggest solutions, and this is NOT the solution to say that just rest on one leg, it will suffice. What guarantee do you have there? This logic does not add up at any level. Triad is about complicating options for opponents. As such a move by US will risk involving China directly or indirectly.

    This is an apologist’s way of looking at things. It has never worked for Pakistan and never will. What has worked is capability in place. I said this before, the US is keeping limited special ops presence in Afg for a reason, there’s sats up there for you, most cyber attacks happen on Pakistan, which is why you need to complicate options for opponents here, but the argument put forward is, we don’t need it, or if i said it so i’m right. I mean please. We are not kids.

    If you want to walk into a theatre seeking guarantees, you are in the wrong place. You should be at home then. There are no guarantees. There are only capabilities and nerves. Lastly, saying that “you can be damn sure” is itself wrong- No one is sure of anything.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 15, 2016 3:30 am 0Likes

    sorry for late reply-
    I agree with your thoughts. Adding a third dimension to N legs will complicate Hindustan’s options of thinking about exercising cold start, since both countries will have equally assured second strike option on table. It will prevent Hindustan from initiating cold start or any start. This is also the answer to the question put to you afterwards.
    You also talked about sea drones hunters. It’s the next level of offensive deterrence Pakistan will need proactively or reactively.

    Pakistan may or may not go for larger AIP sub. I think Pakistan is going to go for full fledge capability in coming years now with SSKs modified for N roles for now. Stop gaps. I don’t see much logic in going for larger 6000 t AIP sub at twice or thrice the price of S-20 class. Eventually Pakistan will need it because the pressure will be too high.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 15, 2016 6:50 am 0Likes

    Thanks for the detailed reply. It’s helped to clear up a few things for me and others following this debate. However, I was also looking for an insight in to US’s CAPABILITY, rather than just the intention and recklessness, to pull it off successfully (track and destroy the SSBN) before it even had a chance to launch a missile.

    PS. Regarding your other comment on the Light Attackers thread, I think I will leave that one to Bilal to assess for approvability! It does match the required criteria of on-topic, a chappal is a light attacker of sorts in dhesi circles but still would not want the same chappal aimed in my direction in the very capable hands of Bilal!

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 15, 2016 7:52 am 0Likes

    Hi. It would be wrong to say that US does not have that capability. It certainly has it to have live intel of your ports, subs, critical coordinates, strategic locations, troop movement, tracking of surface and submerged fleet using their own SSNs or sonar and more, which is why it’s important to have more dimensions added. We’ve already discussed the possibility of full, none, or partial availability of PAF’s mainstay block 52’s in a conflict. We also know that intel gathered by US may be passed onto to countries supporting US ambitions in the region against Pakistan.

    However, this is not an enough argument to not pursue it or any capability per say. It is no argument at all. Because without it you haven’t even tried. With it, you stand a chance.

    I don’t think we should look at capabilities from this stand point and neither should focus debate on this. It’s enough to know and keep this back of our heads.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 15, 2016 8:53 am 0Likes


  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 15, 2016 10:35 am 0Likes

    Who told you Time decides what a “fallacy” is? The rules of logic are time and majority independent.

    I asked: “Is what is happening, justified and/or actually needed?”

    You answered: “It’s happening, so therefore it’s needed/justified.”

    And your continuing down the same line, by again pointing out that Pakistan might be about to waste billions on something you can’t actually justify is needed.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 15, 2016 11:22 am 0Likes

    Since you asked Jigsaw a question relating to something I said, I want to respond to his response:

    Jigsaw concluded: “I don’t think we should look at capabilities from this stand point and neither should focus debate on this.”

    Actually, this is exactly the standpoint you should analyze capabilities from, so that it allows you to think outside the box. We know that our land based leg is secure. (Jigsaw even stopped arguing this point, because it’s simple math.) We also know India’s SSBN is not going to degrade our land based nuclear capability. So why do we (given our specific circumstances) need a sea based leg? No case has been made for this other than a fallacious argument.

    India made the mistake of committing to a junk boomer, basically in response to China, out of sheer ego. China actually does benefit from an SSBN program because their dealing with an enemy that’s literally on the other side of the planet. But neither India, nor Pakistan need SSBNs. Pakistan should just stand by and let India commit this error: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake!” Instead we apparently want to jump in and make the same mistake!

    Why not spend some of the extra cash you would’ve wasted on your sea-based leg in developing better land based ballistic missiles? Why not develop maneuverable MIRVs to evade ballistic missile shields? And better and stealthier mobile transportation and storage mechanisms to further strengthen your land based mobile launchers?

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 15, 2016 12:54 pm 0Likes

    Hi Mohsin,

    Thanks for your response. I felt that particular point had been skipped in Jigsaww’s rebuttal and was just curious to know his response to it, purely out of interest.

    I do see your logic in making the land-based deterrent more effective and not as you say “waste” the cash on a sea-based leg, which in your opinion does not significantly (or at all) enhance Pakistan’s deterrent. But IS investing in a SSBN really a waste?

    One of the commenters on this thread laid out a hypothetical situation where India, after it’s sea-leg is operational “brings back” Cold Start and attacks Pakistan. Pakistan responds with Nasr. Now only India only of the two adversaries has the option to “completely destroy” Pakistan. If Pakistan had an equivalent (i.e sea-based-leg) option then India would be deterred from the onset from implementing Cold Start.

    Let’s say I buy into your argument lock, stock and barrel. Pakistan’s land-based deterrent alone is effective. Going for a triad adds nothing or very little to it at colossal expense. SSBN are easily detectable and I’m “damn sure” it will be targeted and destroyed at the onset of any war. Let’s say all that is a fact. What if Indian military planners and leaders fail to see your logic? You say the INS Arihant is mistake. What if the Indian’s capacity to make mistakes does not end there? Are you confident Indian’s would not feel (albeit based on a logical fallacy) their sea-leg gives them sufficient security against the use Nasr to attack Pakistan?

    Your response would be appreciated.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 15, 2016 1:29 pm 0Likes

    I have justified it to those who read.

    Thank you.
    Good day.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 15, 2016 1:59 pm 0Likes


    I stopped arguing.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 15, 2016 2:00 pm 0Likes

    I responded to that guy by asking him to justify this following assertion, which he never did:

    “If Pakistan had an equivalent (i.e sea-based-leg) option then India would be deterred from the onset from implementing Cold Start.”

    Where is this idea coming from? What does a sea-based leg have to do with cold start?? They can’t deal with our land based leg irregardless of whether we have a sea based leg or not. And if they can’t deal with our land based leg, then having a sea based leg is completely irrelevant (given our specific circumstances.)

    As for your question: “Are you confident Indian’s would not feel (albeit based on a logical fallacy) their sea-leg gives them sufficient security against the use of Nasr to attack Pakistan?”

    Dude, if they are that crazy and irrational, then the entire concept of “deterrence” doesn’t even apply (because deterrence assumes rational actors in game theory.) Nuclear War would be inevitable and will be set off due to a million other unknown variables, and again SSBNs would be completely irrelevant.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 15, 2016 3:53 pm 0Likes

    His basic premise is Pakistan does not need a triad.
    I’ve put forward the case for Pakistan needing a triad and achieving in classical way without wasting time.

    There’s nothing wrong with disagreement. It can happen. It’s just two proposals (with the exception that i’m not arguing my wishes, but realities as they are/will/should develop).

    It wasn’t getting anywhere and I want to come to a solution, so I say, let the time be the judge if Pakistan’s decision was correct. Here, apparently bhai sahab is also not willing for it and is adamant on being right with “sound 100% guarantees and damn surety” of sticking to one leg since time cannot decide fallacy, with additional assumptions being:

    1. Pakistan is not or has stopped advancing it land leg since focus seems to be on sea leg.
    2. Pakistan should not multiply its legs since one leg will always suffice even if you go up against full triad.
    3. Attaining a sea based N-deterrent is a waste of budget and capability for Pakistan, even in backdrop of CPEC.
    4. SSBNs are not a requirement for Pakistan since they will be damn surely tracked the moment they left the shore and destroyed by US (but SSKs in sea and land leg are guaranteed Safe).
    5. Pakistan’s SSBN will be half baked and sub standard.
    6. INS Arihant is a mistake and a work of ego (and here we will wait for time to show Hindustan that it was a fallacy).
    7. Even the realistic angle of the whole assessment by SPD and military about completing the triad is false and i am right.

    There’s a saying, “The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.”

    After his selective response by picking few lines from my detailed response where i also logically explained need for deterrence, i understood it wasn’t a discussion to him but a wishful imposition of his wishes upon realities as well as logic.

    It won’t get anywhere.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 15, 2016 5:17 pm 0Likes

    A lot of food for thought in both your and Jigsaww’s arguments.

    Do you know if anyone in the upper echelons of Pakistani defence establishment is advocating the same viewpoint as yours, that there is no need to respond to INS Arihant with a similar capability?

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 15, 2016 6:11 pm 0Likes

    Yes, it is great to discuss and debate and great for “remote” Pakistanis like me to take in the various ideas being proposed here by people like you and Mohsin.
    Overall I am still a tad bit more aligned to your opinion on this though admittedly Mohsin has been successful in tilting the balance in my mind somewhat.
    I do want Pakistan to pursue the triad and push full steam ahead with the matching the Arihant capability with something similar. I am certainly not egoistic. Illogical? If Dr. Spock from Star Trek or bro Mohsin are the yardstick by which to measure then perhaps I am illogical. My reason (one of them) for wanting the triad for Pakistan is slightly offset from those articulated by you. I remember the Pokhran II tests in 1998. Following the tests I was sickened and angered by the daily threats made to Pakistan – “India will dictate Pakistan’s foreign policy”, “We will teach Pakistan a lesson”, “Pakistan will have to accept our regional hegemony”, “Kashmir dispute is now resolved” and on and on UNTIL Pakistan responded with Chagai tests. Then suddenly there was deafening silence from India.
    I would NEVER want India to rub our noses in their capability again. EVER. For this reason I believe in your slap for a slap approach to deterrence. It is a matter of dignity, a matter of the heart. Now I agree, affairs of the heart are seldom logical. For the sake of argument, let’s say sea-leg is a colossal waste of money. It makes zero sense logically but if the alternative is getting a daily reminder by “superpower” India of our perceived weakness I would give anything to counter the threat.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 16, 2016 2:25 am 0Likes

    Since Pakistan’s basic defence policy is reactionary and seeks to restore balance in the region, the logical way would always be to neutralize the effects of any capability attained by Hindustan with a similar capability. Pakistan has never destabilized the balance in past whether it was seeking N-capability, testing it, or adding N subs to the equation all introduced by Hindustan as an initiative. It’s the fastest and surest way without “arguing” proposals. There is no liberty of time. In coming years, new capabilities will be added which will require counter deterrence to be continuously upgraded.

    For example, there is a new development. Hindustan is trying to deploy full fledged BMD cover in coming years. At this point Pakistan has no such cover.

    Would it be enough with having offensive deterrence only or is the logical way to also attain defensive deterrence for Pakistan if the security of citizens means something to us?

    I think we know the answer.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 16, 2016 7:17 am 0Likes

    Firstly, I won’t attack anyone for using an Indian paper. Heck, I didn’t even do that when you backed up one of your points with a quote from The Hunt for Red October! This source (IDSA) is a good deal more credible than a fictional movie.

    I am your average “man in the street”. Not a defence/military expert and not connected to the security establishment of Pakistan or any other country. I have already conceded you have been successful in tilting the balance in my mind, if not quite in favour of your argument, a good deal away from where I started.

    However, my question remains unanswered:

    Question: Do you know if anyone in the upper echelons of Pakistan’s military is advocating the same viewpoint as yours, that there is no need to respond to INS Arihant with a similar capability?

    “Answer”: Therefore, the recent drive by PN’s senior serving and retired naval officers to persuade the security establishment as well as the man on the street of the necessity of a nuclear submarine capability appears ill-founded, if not disingenuous.

    This is IDSA saying PN’s drive for a nuclear submarine is disingenuous. Not quoting any senior PN officer to back up their claim.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 16, 2016 8:27 am 0Likes

    Bro I don’t have access to the “upper echelons of Pakistan’s military.” All I can give you are indications. You now know, that Jigsaw’s claim that no one thinks like me is untrue. You also know the Indians think that the reason the PN had been unable to persuade the “upper echelons” (and they’ve been pushing for this for a while) is because of the reasons I stated. Sure it may be their assumption, but its clearly a reasonable assumption, given how the logic and evidence supporting the argument is so clear. I can’t give you anything more then that…

    But I will say, once again, that it doesn’t matter who agrees with who, and shares what viewpoint… If something is right, then the entire world can say that it’s wrong, yet it will still be right.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 16, 2016 9:28 am 0Likes

    I think i have the answer:

    “It doesn’t matter if Pakistani military or SPD shares or advocates the view point despite their detailed assessments. They are fallacious. Their assessments are fallacious. World’s assessments are fallacious. Everyone, everything, every logic discussed to it is fallacious. Time dare not prove it otherwise, it’s already proven, because I and IDSA have said it (no matter if IDSA is itself unable to convince own military). It has to be right, there is no other possibility, because this is my argument and it’s the only valid one. Period.”

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 16, 2016 9:34 am 0Likes

    Lol. Now now…..

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 16, 2016 10:10 am 0Likes

    Seriously, that particular quote from IDSA, far from validating Mohsin’s stance, flies in the face of what he is espousing. One, it is confirming Pakistan Military’s backing for a nuclear submarine and two, since it a from a think tank of Pakistan’s adversary any of their advice to Pakistan ought to be taken with a generous helping of kala namak. I thought THAT would be logical. fair enough, IDSA does not say a lot about the Arihant either but since IDSA’s advice to India has fallen on dead ears, perhaps it should on Pakistan’s too.
    There is a lot of sense to Mohsin’s argument (to me at least, bearing in mind I’m not a military guy even by a long shot) but I remain unconvinced enough to still back Pakistan’s push for a nuclear submarine.
    The debate is not getting anywhere. Heels are dug in deep. Reminds me of a frustrated cat going around in circles chasing the tip of it’s tails, which of course is moving around in circles with the cat, always JUST out of grasp. Eventually the dizzied cat lies on it back, exhausted and gives up. Now I say this with full authority. I have owned a few cats in my life so please don’t try to refute this.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 16, 2016 10:39 am 0Likes

    Ok dude, if you think the IDSA paper “flies in the face” of my position, then there is really nothing I can say to you. I can hardly believe that anyone can make such a claim, let alone argue with a person who makes such a claim. So have a good day.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 16, 2016 11:39 am 0Likes

    Hi, Mohsin. First of all, my unreserved apologies for any offence caused. None intended.
    Let me clarify a little. Your position that Pakistan ought not to pursue sea-leg is at odds with the thinking at PN, according to just that particular quote from IDSA. What PN decides to do and their reasons behind it are not necessarily refuting your argument against their decision. Just the fact that they ARE doing it “flies in the face” of the argument against it.
    One of the shortfalls communicating on Internet forums is we do not see each other and can misread the others nature or intent sometimes.
    If you ever happen to be in UK, give me a shout and time permitting I will drive you down to RAF museum near me. We will see some old aircraft, talk PAF and Pak politics, argue until red in the face and then cool off with a glass of lassi at my place.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 16, 2016 12:18 pm 0Likes

    Dude of course the PN wants an SSBN when did i deny that? Its a shiny new toy for an ignored child to play with. But that isnt the point. The powerbrokers were not letting them have that toy for a reason. And thats the reason spelled out in my argument and now found it also in that paper. So how does it “fly in the face” of my argument? I never even claimed anyone in pak agrees with me let alone the PN. I said right from the start that even if they all want a SSBN its still a bad decision. apparently the emotions may swing the tide in favor of an SSBN but that wouldnt change the fact that we dont need it, for reasons no one here has actually countered.

    Now jigsaw is hinting im an undercover indian because i cited an indian paper. this is the level of discussion he has devolved to. forget reason and rationality, there never was any in his bandwagon based argument to begin with. but this level of personal attacks are beyond ridiculous.

    and thanks for the offer of lassi, im in canada so i cant take u up on it.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 16, 2016 1:13 pm 0Likes

    “If something is right, then the entire world can say that it’s wrong, yet it will still be right.”

    We are not debating theology and faith here. This is military strategy. It’s based on studies, assessments, logic, experience, and capability. Not theological beliefs. And you are no one to set your own argument as “the right one” just because you said it. What are you? A monarch? You need to provide a logical and workable design to people, something that can be adopted for being credible and functional. Making assumptions and then resting your case on a failure analysis from arch enemy of Pakistan, is not going to do that.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 16, 2016 4:54 pm 0Likes

    Who are these power brokers who wouldn’t let PN have an SSBN? Are they still against it? And if not why have they now changed their stance when your argument would be every bit as valid now with the Arihant around the corner as it was say 10 or 20 years ago?

    I’m not against your argument per se. It is just that I as a “man in the street” want to be as near as 100% sure of what is the best option for Pakistan. To have an SSBN or not to have it. I have read both your argument and Jigsaww’s with great interest. Both raise good points. You defend your stance based on “(clear) logic and evidence supporting the argument” while Jigsaww’s emphasis is on how it works in the “real life world”.
    Before this debate if I had been a Pakistani citizen voting in a referendum for or against SSBN, I would have voted “for” without any reservations. After listening to your case against, I would still vote “for” but with reservations. You have laid out a strong case, backed with sound logic, granted. You have even quoted evidence of others who think the same but in my “man in the street” mind I want to see your argument supported from within Pakistan’s military planners. A “clear assumption” by an Indian think tank that this is indeed the case is not enough to swing the balance in my mind. Call me illogical if you want, I won’t take offense but that is how it is for me.
    Had this debate on something relatively trivial then a good, sound argument based on logic might well have made me change my mind. If Jigsaww, for example, had been advocating using captured jinns to generate electricity and had all the world and all the Pakistanis supported him and only you, based on clear logical argument was against it then I would have voted for you without the least reservation. If time was to subsequently disapprove your argument, so what? Pakistan would still be there and time enough to give Jigsaww’s jinn idea a try. But with something as critical to Pakistan survival as the issue at hand, I can’t afford to take any chances.
    If Jigsaww’s argument for SSBN is based on fallacious logic and I vote for the proposal, down the years if Pakistan is not attacked by India then great. It might have nothing to do with SSBN capability but we would never know. At worst, Pakistan would have poured billions of dollars down the drain on a logically irrelevant capability. However, if war IS imposed on Pakistan and if the SSBN capability proves useful to limit the aggression to any extent then time will have proved it to be a sound decision. And if the SSBN is tracked and destroyed and so is Pakistan subsequently, I can sleep easy to the extent that I did vote for it. No regrets on the decision.
    In your scenario. No SSBN for Pakistan. India is armed with triad. If down the road we have no war, great you will have been proved right. SSBN makes no difference. Billions saved and invested in more useful “toys”. However, in your scenario if war is imposed and it then turns out that Pakistan would have stood a greater chance of survival, even remotely better chance, then what can be done? It will No good saying, “sorry dude, I messed up. Sorry Pakistan is destroyed”. There will be no second chance like there would be with Jigsaww’s Jinn-for-electricity idea.
    To sum up, you have presented a great case. Backed it up with sound logic and reason. I as a layman remain sceptical due to the what is at stake just in case you are wrong. I know you say SSBN does not make an ounce of difference but I am not as damn sure as you. I have reservations. Perhaps given time your argument might sink in better and might come round to your thinking on this. So far, that is not the case.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 16, 2016 6:42 pm 0Likes

    i understand. no worries, thanks for clarifying. as for the powerbrokers, id say its the top leadership of all the service branches. The resources have to be split between them, and the PN clearly didnt convince the rest of the services until very recently. Theyve been wanting an SSBN for a long time. As for why this changed recently, I have no idea. Maybe the Army and Airforce just got sick of the PN whinning and decided to get them their toy… After all the PAF got their new vipers and finally hit that magic 100 quota (almost)… 30 years too late, but never mind the calendar! Our mil strategy is like Shahid Afridis playbook… One half baked plan memorized hours before the match starts, and then just never deviate, no matter the changing conditions…

    But still, just the mere fact the powerborkers waited this long tells us something…. if it was really such a critical issue we wouldve had an operational SSBN by now. I have a low opinion of our military’s decision makers, but they are not completely retarded either, thank God.

  • by Zaff Hundal
    Posted May 16, 2016 8:46 pm 0Likes

    @ Mohsin E.

    Hi there,

    I apologise for replying so late, and I thought that the sentence you highlighted is self explanatory in regards to ‘cold start’ doctrine.
    Well, let me explain what I meant.
    If you familiar with cold start than you should know that its emphasis is that: ” there is room for a conventional war between the two nuclear countries without upsetting a nuclear war”. Now India was in the impression that because they have the edge over Pakistan in terms of numbers whether is army or equipment etc. India thought to strike Pakistan where it’s hurt and in rapid manner. they were right until Nasr was produced by Pakistan. On the Independence Day of Pakistan CHIEF R. SHAREEF declared that Pakistan is ready to deterre any kind of aggression India is planning. Now Nasr as a strategically defensive weapon is to deterre the cold start doctrine.
    However the entire paradigm of deterrence is tilted with India’s accusation of SSBM, why? Because India has not only achieved TRIAD but presenting ever so much danger and pressure to Pakistan with a second strike capability within minutes. This capability has strategically put India in advantage and created and imbalance in the region however India is choosing to justify it and whatever debate it has created (referring to the article you posted) it can feel itself more saver than before. I can refer to a similar situation in UK, France not so long about given up nuclear triad especially see base. Nevertheless the public didn’t agree and they not only kept it but upgraded it to next generation whatever the cost may just for safety reasons. Before someone asks in UK it was during recent election debate and in France during Sarkoisy.
    Coming to my earlier point that India now can bring ‘cold start’ doctrine on the table back as it feels strategically in advantage because of SSBN. India will never stop playing with the idea to attack Pakistan hence my point that Pakistan needs to acquire similar capability to counter such ideas of India. The solution is only to acquire a SSBN to tilt the balance right and also to have the appropriate countermeasures as the enemy but even much advance than enemy. This would have hopefully explain the deterrence part as well. It not always tit for tat for example Indian has also Aircraft Carrier but Pakistan strategic planers didn’t feel to get similar accusations as it has not much significance in creating imbalance, can be countered with other means whether cruise missile or Air defence system or anti ship missile etc.
    Also only relying on land based deterrence is not enough I think as you suggested. The technology is evolving at significant rapid pace hence one has to keep up with it and with the vital once.
    Hopefully I have explained enough for you. The guy from above if you know what I mean. 😉

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 3:56 am 0Likes

    Listen. Please don’t attribute things to me that i have not said. It’s understandable you don’t understand military strategy a little more than at all, but comprehending English shouldn’t be that hard. It’s just more proof you don’t read, you just talk!

    I hope you will not fall below the standards here, just because you’re trying too hard to put weight behind your empty argument.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 17, 2016 6:00 am 0Likes

    The problem with this story is that Cold Start can still be countered with the Nasr i.e. Tactical Nukes, which will target their Armored Divisions. And you haven’t explained how SSBNs have changed or upset this reality (because they haven’t.) So why does this assumption keep popping up that somehow Cold Start is back in play just because they have SSBNs?

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 17, 2016 6:17 am 0Likes

    I only attributed what you hinted here:

    “Apparently your proposition for Pakistan’s strategic command is also driven by an article written by a Hindustani think tank, who is unable to influence its own military/strategic command but Mr.Mohsin here would like it copy-pasted imposed on entire Pakistani strategic command. With those kind of “valid arguments” from you, i’m only convinced of something else about you.”

    And speaking of comprehending English, and standards of military strategy:

    ” It’s understandable you don’t understand military strategy a little more than at all,”

    This statement makes literally zero sense by the way. And I haven’t once been impressed by your comments. I don’t think I’ve seen a single original thought pop in your head, completely devoid of lateral thinking. Which is why I have never initiated a conversation with you here. You’ve never once made a remark that has interested me in the slightest.

  • by Zaff Hundal
    Posted May 17, 2016 7:23 am 0Likes

    @ Jigsaww

    Hi again. This time I will apologise for replying so late.
    You have convinced me with your argument that if you have to go for SSBN than it should the real deal. I was just playing with idea of larger conventional AIP enabled sub for a short term solution since Pakistan cannot afford the other.
    But long term it make sense to acquire the real deal and if you have to spend than why not the SSN SSBN WHICH IS THE SPD going for now I should think.
    For Pakistan acquiring defensive acquisitions tit for tat with India is not incontrovertible otherwise as I explained to Mohsin E. Pakistan would have acquired an aircraft carrier since India has commissioned one. As I argued that aircraft carrier is not as strategically important as the SSBN SSN for number of reasons per se ‘cold start’ doctrine.
    Also Pakistan should invest in amphibious Drones or hunters. This is the next big thing.

    I have to say that the last two-three days there has been a great debate here and I missed due to other responsibilities and I couldn’t find time to get engage in the debate. I hope this continues like this as many different opinions which can be very informative. Keep it up guys. Love it.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 8:16 am 0Likes

    Darn. You are not impressed. Is this what it is about? First off, please understand
    this. I’m not here to impress you; maybe you are but you’re not impressing anyone. That’s what has gotten into you. I’m just saying what needs to be
    said and i say it. You don’t have to sulk on that.

    Also, please don’t draw your own conclusions from my statements. You’ve been doing that all along. I told you you assume a lot. You’ve rested your argument on a think tank (apparently) report from across the border, which itself has failed to impress its own military’s thinking but you want it applied to Pakistan’s deterrence strategy, why?. That is what i said. Did i make it easy enough for you or should i try again? Your flawed understanding of me saying “i’m only convinced of something else about you”, actually meant your naivety and incompetency to debate military matters. This i’m saying with all honesty and i wouldn’t do it, if you were not a Pakistani, because i still care and love every Pakistani, no matter what the disagreement.

    I didn’t think jealousy would be guiding your arguments. It’s really sad. And now you’re making it a personal problem, but I will be looking forward to reading original thoughts from you.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 17, 2016 8:31 am 0Likes

    Polite request. Can you guys please cool the temperature a little bit? This riveting debate amongst two intelligent guys is now beginning to take the shape of a mud-slinging match.
    Polite request. Can you guys please cool the temperature a little bit? This riveting debate amongst two intelligent guys is now beginning to take the shape of a mud-slinging match.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 8:51 am 0Likes

    Your thesis is wrong (as always i should add) because you only stick to what media tells brings your way only.

    With or without announcing, Hindustan will be deploying its own battlefield nukes. Prahaar is under development but never reported in media since it goes against the entire Hindustani media case built around the propaganda around Pakistani Nasr. Of course you never knew about that because you never were made aware of it. Was it enough of a surprise for you? What you see is not always what it seems.

    Prahaar is aimed at neutralizing Pakistani’s nasr coupled with QRSAMs. That kind of capability will encourage cold start even further. So if you’re thinking cold start can be FOREVER countered with nasr, it’s not entirely true. It will need to be advanced.

    The only way to comprehensively deter cold start is by developing and deploying fully developed N-triad, especially when hindustan will have completed it. Along side pakistan will need to keep advancing Nasr and deploy QR SAMs as well down the lane.

    SSBNs are important because it gives the best available stealth capability to Pakistan, from any leg of triad, no matter what your assumptions are.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 8:56 am 0Likes

    I think the problem is people are unable to understand what kind of capabilities and security environment CPEC will require once it is established. Even if pakistan was to say no, china will force pakistan to upgrade its capabilities in naval areas. but i think with time, pakistan and pakistanis will start realizing why they need to move from a green water to blue water navy. You’ve already started on that mission with doing CPEC. 3 more ports will join. apparently it is really hard to make people understand that you won’t be able to guarantee its safety with 4-5 frigates and 5 AIP subs.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 17, 2016 9:42 am 0Likes

    Jigsaww, your last paragraph, “SSBNs are important because it gives the best available stealth capability to Pakistan, from any leg of triad, no matter what your assumptions are.”.

    Can you please explain (in layman’s language) how this best stealth capability is achieved? Is not a mobile launcher on land hidden and camouflaged way stealthier than what on this thread has been described as “noisy”, “easy detectable” SSBN that will presumably be tracked and destroyed before it even thought about launching a missile? Thanks.

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 17, 2016 11:58 am 0Likes

    I don’t think the PN is going to necessarily get an SSN or SSBN. Yes, defence ties with the Chinese are strong, but some things are just going to kept off-limits, Chinese SSN/SSBN chief among them.

    Best case scenario, this is experimental stuff with a lot of teething issues, and Beijing will have to ask, “we need to focus our attention on the PLA’s issues, why are we diluting it by factoring in Pakistan – a country with no experience with SSN or SSBN whatsoever?”

    Even the prospect of a Qing-class variant SLBM-capable SSP is unlikely, but compared to others, it is the most plausible. Ideally, I’d aim for a Soryu-class sized machine, not necessarily with SLBM, but with tubes large enough for dual-use heavy warhead SLCMs suitable for anti-ship and land-attack. The nuclear aspect would just be a bonus.

    As for the rationale behind having a sea-based deterrence. I agree with your points – I didn’t participate because I wanted to read and give some serious thought. The only genuine question I have is – is it possible that we may not be able to cover all of India after an Indian strike?

    To elaborate. We have a finite number of IRBMs, and while we can wreck havoc on the Indian northwest with SRBM and BRBMs, it is our IRBMs that give us complete coverage over the region. Could we with absolute certainty be assured that our IRBMs will be in strong number after an Indian strike? If we are (this is something only the top echelons can determine), then we are fine; but hypothetically, if we are not, then is there a case for a sea-based deterrence?

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 17, 2016 1:41 pm 0Likes

    Welcome Bilal. Im glad that you see the merits of the argument. I’m just going to focus on replying to your posts now as I have limited available time, and much of it has already been wasted, unfortunately.

    As for your question, which is the most critical question that has thus far been asked: the availability of our MRBMs in the event of a nuclear exchange. Im thinking of the Shaheen III mobile launchers specifically, as they are by far the most powerful platform we have for our nuclear deterrence. Even if the game starts with Nasr, it’s the Shaheen IIIs that give the Indian high command nightmares, because that is where the game will end (if it ever starts, God forbid.)

    The thing about such a platform is that neither we, nor the enemy has any idea how many of these we actually have. Let’s say Pakistan only ever manufactured 1 and yet the enemy will have NO CHOICE but to assume that we have enough of them that they pose a critical threat. That’s the beauty of this equation. But that aside, I’m sure we have enough of them (let’s say we have 50 for this discussion.)

    Keep in mind that we can move around and stash these mobile launchers anywhere in the natural mountainous forts of KP and the hills of Baluchistan. It is, for all intents and purposes, a foolproof system. The Indian high command will NEVER have a guarantee that they know where all our Shaheen III launchers are, because they don’t even know how many exist! Let’s say they know the location of 10 of them, how do they know we don’t have a 50? Let’s say they’ve found all 50, how do they know half of them aren’t dummies, and 25 are hidden elsewhere? And that’s just the Shaheen IIIs. We’re not even talking about the rest of the land based nukes we possess.

    The only actual counter-argument to all of this (which no one here has even mentioned yet) is the case of a successful intelligence operation by our enemy. Let’s say RAW successfully infiltrates and gets the exact coordinates and stockpiles of our entire MRBM/SRBM and nuclear tipped cruise missile inventory.

    And still, there’s a counter-counter-argument: In this scenario, if RAW can actually penetrate that far, what’s to stop them from getting the location and cypher codes used to communicate with our SSBN? Furthermore, simply knowing the location of all our mobile launchers etc. isn’t enough, you actually have to be able to destroy them before they launch… a much harder task than tracking down one or two noisy SSBNs, which they would probably already be tracking anyway.

    This is why, I argued that we really don’t need a sea-based leg, given our requirements. India simply has no counter to our land based nuclear capability, so why should we bother spending a dime on a sea based leg? After all, we completely ignored it so far. We knew they were going for an SSBN a long time ago, and yet our high command just said “meh, whatever!” There is no reason to assume that all of a sudden our high command just started taking the ‘grave threats’ of indian SSBNs seriously, other than the PN’s whining. And as you said, it’s possible even now they won’t go for the SSBN.

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 17, 2016 2:02 pm 0Likes

    My principal concern at this point would be a senile slip or spinelessness from the part of our top leadership – i.e. informing the U.S. of our nuclear weapons and their location. In turn, the U.S. could give that information to India (not sure if neutralizing it themselves is a possibility).

    It is a next-level conspiracy (and the solution isn’t an SSBN), but it’s been an idea floated about between think-tankers. Do you think a sea-leg deterrence (i.e. at the level of a tactical nuke-tipped SLCM) on an SSP with a black ops mandate has merit in that context?

    Of course, such a measure would essentially require putting an entire unit out of the spotlight of the NCA, and that has a whole host of implications (not least the “state within the state” problem).

    Furthermore, if relations between the U.S. and Pakistan show the slightest sign of turning sour, that our side would work very hard and very quickly to obsolete any information the U.S. might have; but in the precious moments in between, the black-ops SSP could be our absolute assured deterrence perhaps?

  • by Zaff Hundal
    Posted May 17, 2016 2:24 pm 0Likes

    How should I justify it than. What don’t you understand??? Everything so far is explained not necessarily by me but others contributed to it as well. You just need to brush over.
    Look I will try one more time. If the hypothesis I have given before upon which you still pounding was if India use its cold start and Pakistan uses its Nasr means it has exercised it right to use nukes. Now India will strike first through SSBN SSN and do you assume that they are going fire one or two missiles. I don’t have to spell it out here. They will come with full force with there SLBN and SLCM and not only that they will also try through everything from their land based nukes.
    Now do you think Pakistan will have a chance to retaliate through (as you say only land based are sufficient for deterrence) whatever we have. Well I think the impact issuing to be huge once nuke has landed on our soil will it not destroy most of the things and even our arsenal aeven though it is well hidden (where ever) is there a chance that anything can survive. I don’t think so hence my argument.
    The reaction time of such an attack can not be assured within how many minutes. Let say 15 mins by that time at least 15-20 will be on our way from the otherside. Now given our defence shield which is another topic however how many can we intercept. I don’t want guess I want to sure and I’m sure others or many will agree with me and others who won’t.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 17, 2016 3:03 pm 0Likes

    Well if such secrets were kept with our current politicians I would have already expected them to have been sold to the highest bidder lol. Fortunately, our military can be trusted on this front, at least not to sell them off.

    With that said, you’ve raised an interesting problem, which applies irregardless of whether the military gives these secrets up willingly or not. After all, the CIA, I’m sure, is always trying to get the location of our nukes via old school espionage. Let’s say they succeed, for the sake of this discussion. What can we do?

    Your solution of having a completely off-the-books stash of nukes and delivery mechanism is one solution. However, as you yourself have pointed out, the dangers inherent in this solution are shockingly frightening. #1) without any real oversight of this covert team, in possession of nuclear warheads, even a lone lieutenant could start a nuclear war. #2) It actually introduces another problem as well: what if that lieutenant decides to sell the warheads to the highest bidder? There would be nothing stopping him…

    So I would be very careful with this solution, and would advise against it. Also, there’s just not enough of a systems approach with this solution, it feels too arbitrary and ad hoc.

    Instead, I’d propose to step up the security profile of our nukes so that even if their locations are compromised, it will be next to impossible to take them all out without countermeasures being taken in a timely manner. But I’m sure we already have this solution in place: Dedicated spec ops teams, trained to protect and quickly transport nukes to pre-prepared and hardened sites all over the nation. In that case, even if all the current locations of all our nukes is known, in the event of an attack a response team would be able to disperse the surviving warheads to secondary locations…

    I’d much rather have such a controlled and organized system in place, rather then handing over complete control of a few nukes to our local versions of Jason Bourne (don’t get me wrong, Bourne is awesome, but I wouldn’t even trust him with my nukes! He got his girlfriend killed!)

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 17, 2016 3:15 pm 0Likes

    So you’re saying my drama pitch about a black ops SSP – Kala Billi – isn’t going to stand up to scrutiny? Fair enough.

    On another note. What about a sea-based deterrence which is a byproduct of something else? A case can be made for enlarged torpedo tubes for large (or higher velocity) anti-ship missiles; what if those tubes could also just carry nuclear-tipped SLCM?

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 17, 2016 3:55 pm 0Likes

    Would not an off-the-books stash of nukes and delivery mechanism have no deterrence value in any case due to it being undeclared? Or do you just mean the capability to be there in the event of war only rather than as a deterrence?

    Actually I wanted to pose this question to Mohsin but I think he has had his fill of me and a few others for now. Lol.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:00 pm 0Likes


    Here’s a fact to start with.

    To date humans have explored merely a 5% of the water world, whereas to date, humans have explored almost 100% of the land world. That’s just one example to show how easy and difficult it is to explore both. Cost, technology, vastness, everything matters here.

    To your question: A mobile launcher on land is stealthy only to naked eyes and that too in certain conditions. But as you can guess, naked eye is not used for detection methods in military technology. Once you have something on land, it can be detected by anything ranging from satellites, infrared, radars, human intelligence, SAR imaging, Weapon locating radars, laser detection, to NVG and more. None of these methods actually work on something deep inside water, which is an inherent stealth provider to any thing submerged. The basic detection for submerged objects is used via magnetic sensors or sonar. Lasers are being developed, but these are all limited by depth and other issues. As submarine noise concealing tech gets better, the aim is to generate noise levels no more than background water noise. Newer submarines are getting better and better. Counter technologies will always get better, but water will keep providing the best cover to these machines. Thats is why SSBNs and underwater fleet makes the most critical part of any nation’s triad. Actually, the term second strike is almost always used in context of sea based capability and is almost completely incomplete without sea based deterrent.

    Since SSBNs do not ever need to come to surface, then their stealth is always preserved. AIP subs are even quieter but are mainly aimed for littoral/green water ops.

    You should unlearn whatever any one has told you about SSBNs being noisy and what not. It’s a relative term. I’ve explained it already that our F-16s block 52s are also under restrictions and probably many other systems as well. This is not even an argument worth discussion that since they may be tracked, then they’re useless. It’s stupid. The logical and unapologetic answer to this is, why don’t you get the ability to track your opponents subs also?

    The thing to remember is, You – Pakistan, have already taken on a mission to become a blue water economy, and a blue water economy requires a blue water navy also. SSBN is just the start Pakistan will need. Those who are proposing defending Pakistan’s seas and ports with 4 frigates and 5 AIP subs (2 on verge of retirement) are living in a fool’s hell.

    At the end, i’m also a realist and so should every logical minded person be. Proposals have no value if they are do not sync with reality and demands of emerging threats. Focus should be on proposing solutions which give the best shot in least time and cost.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:10 pm 0Likes

    Sorry. I didn’t mean to make a grownup cry.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:13 pm 0Likes

    I think he feels challenged and for some reason, jealous.
    Strange to me. Really.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:19 pm 0Likes

    Learning and un-learning military tech comes naturally to me. Since there is nothing much there to begin with, I can switch allegiances in a defence-related debate in the blinking of an eye! My work is connected with the deep sea, mainly in the North and Barents Sea but non-military applications.

    I think the idea behind the detectability of a SSBN and say an F-16 is the issue of redundancy. We would have a very limited number of SSBNs and tracking and eliminating the entire sea-leg might be relatively easy, whereas F-16s and Nasrs can easily sustain some losses and remain a threat.

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:19 pm 0Likes

    LOL, I’m sure that show will still sell irregardless so no worries.

    And sure, the cost/benefit of equipping our diesel subs with nuclear cruise missiles isn’t bad, since it’s so cheap to do so.

    At this point, I’ll just say that I was essentially arguing the extreme “NO TRIAD” position just to hammer in the point that we don’t need the SSBNs at all (since we don’t even actually need the triad.) But if we can achieve a triad cheaply (which we can), using current tech with a few modifications, then sure go ahead. Just don’t think that the triad is some divine Trinity without which our entire world will end lolz.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:20 pm 0Likes

    Aray bhai. I said you are trying to copy and paste the entire proposition of IDSA on Pakistani military where it has failed itself to convince Hindustani navy.

    Do you even read what i write? Oh, right…i remember…you already mentioned that…”i don’t even read what you write”…

    That explains.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:26 pm 0Likes

    Please Jigsaww! Extend your “love for all Pakistanis” to me too, a non-resident/citizen pseudo-Pakistani. Kindly refrain from provocative comments. Please.

  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted May 17, 2016 4:26 pm 0Likes

    The discussion has run its course. Closed.

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