Reproducing my piece from last year written here

When it comes to making sure no nuclear threat emanates to its nation, no other nation has done more than Israel. While Israel has had nuclear weapons for a long time though it neither denies not confirms it, it has made every effort possible to make sure none of its neighbors or state inimical to it acquires nuclear weapons. It attacked the Iraqi nuclear site in Osirak in a daring raid, it has used high tech viruses to set back Iranian nuclear program recently and remains committed and prepared to strike at Iran if need be.

Compare this with Indian response to Pakistani attemptst o acquire nuclear weapons. After India conducted it first nuclear test, Pakistan decided it had to acquire nukes as well by hook or crook. Well it has been that way ever since and as famously said by their PM Bhutto, ready to eat grass if required. AQ Khan set out to collect technology and equipment to produce nukes in Pakistan. While it became open knowledge world wide of such attempts, there were no attempts by Indian security agencies to mount any counter operation to sabotage such attempts one way or the other by using diplomacy as well intelligence ops. The Siachen operation comes to mind as to how an intelligence operation preceded the actual operation that pre-empted a similar Pakistani move. Why did India fail to undertake intelligence operations to stop or sabotage Pakistani attempts?

India did have penetration into Pakistan’s nuclear establishment but a slip by Morarji Desai in late 70s alerted the Pakistanis who eliminated all moles.

Israel, after the Osirak attack put together a plan to bomb Kahuta circa 1982. It required Indian bases for this and wanted a joint Indo-Israeli operation. But Indian leadership refused to make it look like a joint operation and also refused to provide Israel any bases to stage the attack. The reason was to not provoke Pakistan and start another war. Hardly becoming of a major power which had more to lose from a nuclear armed rogue neighbor than a short war if it did happen. Why did India not provide to Israel even bases for a unilateral strike? The same prime minister was in charge who so triumphantly won the 71 war against Pakistan and conducted India’s first nuclear test. Was it our intelligence agencies that failed us and didn’t advise the PM properly? Was it our armed forces that advised the PM against it for say lack of preparation for another war? Well highly doubt the armed forces were not ready as India had Siachen taken under its control and under Gen Sundarji organized the most massive exercise of the time which almost came to the brink of war.

The Pakistanis, once they got the F-16s in the eighties immediately warned India of taking out Trombay if India in any way helps Israel or undertook a strike operation itself. Once this threat was conveyed, it completely put Indian leadership in a shell and allowed Pakistan a full decade of unimpeded time to develop the bomb culminating in the 98 tests.

India’s lack of cohesive and sustained action to scuttle the Pakistani nuclear program and also the refusal to allow even the Israelis to undertake an operation didn’t make any sense. Today the bungling of that time is costing India dearly as Pakistan keeps wielding the nuclear threat and continues to sponsor and carry out terrorist activities while the risk averse politicians keep coming up with knee jerk reactions. But the question remains, was it a combined failure of Indian intelligence, diplomacy and political leadership or was it just the political leadership that failed or did our Intelligence did not have the wherewithal to undertake operations to finish off Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program ?