Is the US indispensable for Pakistan’s defence?


Not any longer

Other than ‘Can Pakistan survive sans aid?’, the other most common question or myth about the Pakistan-US relations is the supposed indispensability of the US’s military assistance for the former. Having taken care of the first question in this space earlier, this becomes even more relevant to consider the growing public pressure in Pakistan to redefine Pak-USA ties while getting out of the American led war-on-terror.

The generally propagated line is that Pakistan requires the state-of-the-art weapons and relevant spare parts from the US due to perceived threats from India to the existence and sovereignty of Pakistan, which has a reasonable basis due to the history and unresolved conflicts between the two nations.

This notion is based on US’ state-of-the-art weapons providing Pakistan with credible defense against the Indian threat. While this is indeed true that most of Pakistan’s weaponry is US manufactured and believed to be state-of-the-art but there are some interesting considerations. First of all will it actually serve to defend our nation from foreign aggression, especially from India (the new strategic partner of USA), with most of them having features that could be remotely jammed by USA (e.g. F-16s)? Also of equal importance is the question that will we be able to get hold of the supply of spare-parts and ammunition in case of a conflict or will we be left high and dry? Even more relevant is the consideration of, if not this, than what other options do we have?

Well the American weaponry provided under the SEATO and CENTO treaties in the 1950s and 1960s certainly did not serve the purpose of an effective defense in 1971, and in 1965 or for that matter in the battle of Rann of Kuch with American arms embargo pushing Pakistan to the edge of the cliff when it needed those supplies the most. The US claimed the weapons were provided for use against the USSR alone (implying they were not to be used in the face of an Indian invasion which was effectively the biggest ally of USSR in South Asia at the time). Reliability is what went missing for Pakistan from then onwards.

One could point out to the Pakistani victories in different battles specially the whipping of Indian forces in the Rann of Kuch and the astounding displays of our air force during the 1965 war but these Pakistani victories and holding off of enemy attacks were more due to the ultimate bravery and self sacrifice by the men fighting on the front than the weaponry which ran out of ammunition due to the American embargoes placed on Pakistan at the most crucial times during the various wars – rendering its armed forces effectively disabled in the face of existential threats to Pakistan.

Moreover all our major strategic defense projects in the last few years involved China and not the US. To list a few, Pakistan and China worked jointly on projects such as: JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircrafts; the Nuclear Submarines Project and the civil-nuclear cooperation.

Even more importantly, the successful development of the tactical nuclear weapons programme by Pakistan has effectively neutralized the Indian ‘Cold-Start Doctrine’ and essentially closed the door on any external Indian aggression. This has answered the biggest challenge of them all – effective defense against an all-out Indian aggression.

What does this mean? It means that Pakistan is now one of the few countries in the world to possess the plutonium based high impact yet small range nuclear bombs which can wipe off an entire enemy brigade off the face of the planet or take off an entire enemy naval, army or air-force base without actually annihilating an entire city.

This has answered the dilemma against using nuclear weapons for defense in the case of an all-out Indias aggression with the size of Indian forces at over three times that of Pakistan’s. The devastating impact of nuclear weapons on huge areas in most scenarios was expected to wipe out entire cities, a serious consideration against their use even in the case of being at the receiving end of a foreign aggression.

However, with tactical nuclear weapons programme, India’s ‘Cold-Start Doctrine’ has effectively been stymied, allowing Pakistan to bomb an advancing enemy army within its own territory without causing large-scale devastation and international condemnation resulting in such a scenario. The best thing about the programme is that the high damage it can inflict is extremely prohibitive of any military misadventure against Pakistan. The question then is, whether we still really require the weapons from the US to protect us from an Indian aggression? The answer: not anymore.

The above-mentioned development has not only closed the door of foreign aggressions but also provided an opportunity for Pakistan to revamp the security infrastructure and defense programmes. Pakistan should start self-reliant defense weapons development programmes with technology-transfer arrangements in partnership with interested friendly nations ready to deal as equals and not masters, i.e. China, some European States, Turkey, the Gulf states etc.

In addition, we should move towards a leaner but highly effective military. The savings from this and switching to highly cost-effective locally produced weapons can then be diverted towards improving the lives of the masses.


Omer Zaheer Meer is a leading Economist who is also a qualified Chartered Accountant, Financial Analyst and Anti-Money Laundering Expert. He can be reached on Twitter @OmerZaheerMeer, or on mail at: [email protected].


  1. Such beautiful writings with facts are a bliss.

    May Allah protect you for you write truth without fear in the land of pure filled with vested interests.

  2. I think i just read the most convincing post on the subject. Wish our leaders could think out of box too. I hope they read this and standup to america. Well done to author

  3. Thanks Omer for jolting the sleeping Pakistanis, led to this belief by non other than our socalled leaders like Zardari and Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf ofcourse. It is they who believe and promote such fictions just to protect their interests mostly abroad. I would love to see more responses here. I wish to add here that a new anti people breed is creeping in, mostly comprising of Hussain Haqqanis and his likes .They must be reformed or rejected for their highly unpatriotic writings that some how find space in our print medium. May Allah SWT give you and likes of you the courage to bring our self esteem back.

  4. Before extremists took over Pakistan's information space, 'Clever by half' type of this author were ruling that space…thoroghly brainwashing Pakistanis. In this situation why would India need to do anything. If not Extremeists, Delusions like this will finish Paksitan. Pakistan can not live without US help. Period.

    • And your logic is ?
      Your argument is?
      Your research is?
      Your facts are?

      Nothing just period lol Either you are a big mental slave or pretending to be friend when really you must be someone else.

      I have read a lot on the subject and can safely say this author has all the facts well researched and countered the narrative of slavery with a well researched hard fact piece.

  5. @sonu kay You need to open your eyes and read. PAKISTAN HAS TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS. I suggest you read the column again to understand the concept as mediocre minds from across the border cannot understand in one go.

    I am becoming kind of a regular reader for your writings Mr. Omer. It is a great work you are doing with proper research and logic instead of empty emotions. People like you are pride of our nation. Look forward to more from you.

    And i am seriously enjoying the pain of our aman ki asha friends from across the border. Keep exposing the lies.

  6. Oh man. You are really getting on the nerves of liberal fascists. Most of the powerful sections in Pak will not be happy as the narrative of slavery keeps their $$$$$$ flowing.

    But seriously hats off to you. It is rare that people do so much research and dare to challenge the dominant narrative specially if against liberal fascists.
    I wish you the best. Great work you doing here.

  7. Just opened the forwarded link… of world affairs journal to find this amazing column. Not very often we find Pakistani columns reproduced there. Surprised to see such refreshing quality of work in the alternate opinion camp, i would not term it anti usa.

    The writer should also take time to write on the political outfall and impact on Arabs aid to give complete view of this important area. Overall a pleasant surprise out of intellectual circles of Pakistan.

  8. Self Reliance is the best thing being enslaved to west is the worst. Pakistan should trust its own people to do wonders and they will do it. We are still mentally slave to the west.

  9. Can any one in Pakistan think of their life and future without referring India..!! Hope one day it happens, that day would be real independence day of Pakistan. Best Wishes.

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