Truck-mounted missiles at defence exhibition in Karachi, Pakistan. Photo by SyedNaqvi90, Wikipedia Commons. Largely spurred by the loss of East Pakistan1, and a perception of a hostile, bigger and better-armed India, Pakistan had achieved a capability “to rapidly assemble a nuclear device if necessary” around the late-1980s2. During this period, the Cold War was at its peak and Pakistan imbibed an important lesson: that from 1945 onwards, the two nuclear-weapons armed adversaries, USSR/Warsaw Pact and NATO, have confronted each other through proxies in distant parts of the world – but never fought each other directly. Simultaneously, Pakistan experienced first-hand the methods used by the US-Saudi combine (i.e. the use of mujahideen) to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan and concluded that such irregular forces served two vital purposes; one – they provided a low-cost, asymmetric and disruptive option against superior conventional forces of the USSR; and two – they made the Soviet Union spend disproportionate amounts of resources on countering the asymmetric threat with little or no damage to the sponsoring states3. It is thus no coincidence that Pakistan’s ‘proxy war’ against In...