Thursday, May 07, 2009

Who controls the nukes?

The Defense News carries this report of India war gaming on the Punjabi border with Pakistan using its elite Kharga Corps.

NEW DELHI - Even as Pakistan's Army battles Taliban fighters near the capital Islamabad, India's elite land forces, capable of hitting deep inside enemy territory, have begun exercises in Punjab along the Pakistani border. The Ambala-based Kharga Corps, a rapid-action force of 15,000, is equipped to operate behind enemy lines and to carry out a proactive strategic role.

The exercise is being conducted as a two-sided exercise to practice the elite Kharga Corps in their operational tasks," the Defence Ministry said in a May 4 statement. "The Army aims to validate its doctrine of proactive strategy through the exercises."
A senior Defence Ministry official said the weeklong exercise began May 3 at Barnala along the Indo-Pakistan border.

"A large number of tanks, infantry combat vehicles, artillery guns and specialist vehicles continued these maneuvers by day and night under near warlike conditions," according to the ministry's statement. "A parachute drop by airborne troops and other heliborne operations was also undertaken to supplement the offensive by the mechanized forces."

Indian defense forces have been preparing for operations behind enemy lines and incorporated a new military doctrine to this effect in 2004. The Army has 5,000 elite soldiers, trained at unknown locations by Israeli troops, who can swiftly enter enemy territory and even operate behind enemy lines, Indian Army sources said.

According to Debkafile, the Kharga Corps has not been alone but war gaming with elite Israeli officers. This may or may not be true. Certainly, the relationship between India and Israel has only grown closer in recent years, and given the current threats/realities from Islamic militants groups which both countries have had to grapple with, it makes sense for them to ‘share’ knowledge and expertise.

I would loved to been a fly on the wall during the planning scenarios because I would suspect the Indians have been fine tuning a plan to take control of Pakistan’s nukes in the event the civilian Pakistani government collapses outright or spirals into civil war.

Time will tell, but we should remember neither India or Israel can afford to have an Islamic insurgency simpatico to either Iran or Al Qaeda in possession of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. And for the Indians, how often does this kind of opportunity come to potentially disarm and rendered your enemy relatively nukeless? Frankly, I would only be surprised, if the Indians were not war gaming for an eventual incursion into Pakistan.

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