Can India save itself from Pakistan Battlefield Nukes ?
Can India save itself from Pakistani Battlefield nukes is an intensive question since we have to take multiple factors like employment of warfare and maneuvre tactics along with aggressive employment of military hardware like drones , Surface-to-Air Missiles , Satellite surveillance and more to counter these real-time threats.
Pakistan’s policy of “N-deterrence” against an Indian Conventional Attack especially when once Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq told his Indian counterpart, “If your forces cross our borders by an inch, we are going to annihilate your cities.” One of the cornerstone of Pakistan’s deterrent policy against Indian Forces is the Nasr Tactical Missile which it describes as the “low-yield battlefield deterrent”which it can use to counter Indian Armored and Mechanized Units tearing into the Pakistani soil. Pakistan believes that it can utilize Nasr to effectively counter Indian Army while its own conventional forces lagging behind India’s , both qualitatively and quantitatively can’t counter an Indian Invasion.
Tactics matter a hell lot in the art of modern warfare. Soldiers are no longer employed as cannon fodder on battlefield and smart tactics are used to outflank the enemies and destroy them. The first thing India would use to save itself from Pakistani battlefield nukes is TACTICS. The one tactic I love , which Indian Army can implement against Pakistan is “ “Hugging the Enemy” developed by Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov, Commander of the USSR’s 62nd Army as a means to bash Germans. I will describe it in words here :
“…Get close to the enemy’s positions: move on all fours, making use of craters and ruins: dig your trenches by night, camouflage them by day; make your build-up for the attack stealthy, without any noise; carry your Tommy Gun on your shoulder; take ten to twelve grenades. Timing and surprise will then be on your side. …Two of you get into the house together – you, and a grenade; both be lightly dressed – you without a knapsack, and the grenade bare; go in grenade first, you after; go through the whole house, again always with a grenade first and you after…
There is one strict rule now – give yourself elbow room! At every step danger lurks. No matter – a grenade, then on again! Another room – another grenade! A turning – another grenade! Rake it with your Tommy Gun! And get a move on! …Inside the Object of attack, the enemy may go over to a counterattack. Don’t be afraid! You have already taken the initiative; it is in your hands.
Act more ruthlessly with your grenade, your Tommy Gun, your dagger, your spade! Fighting inside a building is always frantic. So, Always be prepared for the unexpected. Look Sharp!..”
Indian Army can use this tactic to negate Pakistani nukes by inserting our divisons in densely populated Pakistani regions like Punjab. If Pakistan resorts to battlefield nukes then it would effectively endanger its own population also making Pakistan lose its status and face in international society and will create a soft spot for India. Even in that case how much damage would Pakistan had inflicted on India is quite questionable.
Indian Air Force can also play an important part if it manages to control the airspace as it can utilize its Military Satellites ( which Indian Armed Forces ) are quite heftly capitalizing upon which then can be neutralized by Pinaka Mk.2 rockets ( whose guided rockets outranges Nasr ) or Armed Helicopters and Drones ( if India acquires them ).
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said in 2017 against a question at the annual Air Force Day press conference on how the IAF planned to respond to Pakistan’s store of tactical nuclear weapons that ,“As far as the Air Force is concerned, it is not only with tactical nuclear weapons, but any target across the border, we have the ability to locate, fix and strike targets across the border” .
Though IAF currently lacks some necessary capabilities like JSTARS-AWACS-like platforms to differentiate real-time threats from decoys , India is advancing fast on such capabilities which will make it easy to hunt for those tactical nukes by Indian Forces. Use of SAM assets like QR-SAM and S-400 can effectively negate Nasr any advantage over Indian forces with an effective surveillance needed to be enforced to keep Indian Formations out of Nasr range.