India’s nuclear test on May18, 1974, was one of the most significant events in history. Soon after, Pakistan also obtained nuclear-technology expertise and pursued a nuclear program to counter India, which had more conventional force than Pakistan. Pakistan simply followed India’s decision to invest in nuclear energy, and just wanted to secure its borders and deter Indian aggression. It was not and is not interested in any arms race in the region. It is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Pakistan has not signed NPT and CTBT because India has not signed it. Since acquiring nuclear weapons, it has rejected No First Use (NFU) in case of war to counter India’s conventional supremacy. The basic purpose of its nuclear weapons is to deter any aggression against its territorial integrity. Analyst Riffat Hussain, while discussing Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, argues that Pakistan cannot disobey the policy of NFU due to Indian superiority in conventional force. Pakistan’s nuclear posture is based on minimum credible nuclear deterrence, which means that its nuclear weapons have no other role except to counter the aggression from its adversary. It is evident that Pakistan’s nuclear program is India centric. Owing to Indian superiority in conventional forces, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons balance the equation between the two states. In November 1999, Pakistan’s foreign minister Abdul Sattar said that, “more is unnecessary while little is enough”. The National Command Authority (NCA), comprising of Employment Control Committee, Development Control Committee and Strategic Plans Division, is the centre point of all decision-making regarding the nuclear issue. According to security experts, first-use involves many serious challenges because it needs robust military intelligence and a very effective early warning system. However, Pakistan’s nuclear establishment is concerned about the security of nuclear weapons, for which it has laid out a stringent nuclear security system. It should be made clear at all national, regional, and international platforms that Pakistan is striving hard to maintain strategic stability while India is only contributing towards a worsening regional arms race Pakistan made a rational decision by conducting five nuclear tests in 1998 to restore strategic stability in South Asia, otherwise it was not able to counter the threat of India’s superior conventional force. The NCA announced on September 9, 2015, that the nation had resolved to maintain a full spectrum of deterrence capability in line with the requirements of ‘credible minimum deterrence’ to deter all forms of aggression, adhering to the policy of avoiding an arms race. It was a response to India’s Cold Start Doctrine that Pakistan became more aggressive in its approach. Pakistan wants to maintain strategic stability in the region and its seeks conflict resolution and peace, but India’s hawkish policies towards Pakistan force it to take more steps to secure its border. Pakistan’s nuclear establishment is vigorously implementing rational countermeasures to respond to India’s aggression by transforming its nuclear doctrine. It has developed tactical nuclear weapons (short-range nuclear missiles) that can be used in the battlefield. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said in 2013, that Pakistan would continue to obey the policy of minimum credible nuclear deterrence to avoid an arms race in the region. However, it would not remain unaware of the changing security situation in the region and would work to counter any aggression in the region. Dr Zafar Jaspal argues in his research that full credible deterrence does not imply a quantitative change in Pakistan’s minimum credible nuclear deterrence, but it is a qualitative response to emerging challenges posed in the region. This proves that Islamabad is not interested in an arms race in the region, but India’s constant military buildup forces Pakistan to convert its nuclear doctrine from “minimum” to “full” deterrence. It should be made clear at all national, regional, and international platforms that Pakistan is striving hard to maintain strategic stability while India is only contributing towards a worsening regional arms race. The writer is a Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute Islamabad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, June 29th 2018.