One of the most likely places for a major power war or nuclear war is between India and Pakistan. They each have between 80 and 200 nuclear weapons. This is the most likely place where a major nuclear war could break out. It is important for us to understand the situation and the thinking of the two countries.
India and Pakistan have had four major wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. They also have had many border skirmishes and incidents.
There is an insightful video from a 2015 talk by Abhijit Iyer.
India’s military believes that they can defeat Pakistan. India would use all conventional means to beat Pakistan even if Pakistan used nuclear weapons.
Cumulatively from 1986 to 2008, there were 67,000 to 81,000 Indian deaths in Punjab and Kashmir from Pakistan related terrorism. The Punjab insurgency casualty figures include 17,000 military deaths.
The deaths warped Indian military think to include strategies for winning a Pakistan war even in a nuclear war. India was not thinking about using their own nuclear weapons against Pakistan. India’s nuclear weapons are for fighting a war with China.
An India-Pakistan war would be ten times larger than the Iran-Iraq war. Various war game scenarios forecast over 20 million casualties.
India’s Border and Port Security
Indian created a three-tier barbed wire electrified fence from 2007-2008. Indian deaths from terrorism dropped after the electrified fence.
The 2008 Mumbai Pakistan terrorists carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. The attacks caused at least 174 people died, including 9 attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.
India security its coastal cities and ports against a repeat of the Mumbai attacks.
Since 2008 and the securing of India’s border and ports, there have only been about 400 deaths in India from Pakistan terrorism. Pakistan has seen a spike to over 55,000 deaths from Pakistan terrorism.
Abhijit Iyer explains that India kept Pakistan nut jobs out of India and inside Pakistan. The terrorist nuts are wrecking Pakistan.
Only 8 million people read the Indian english press. The rest of India reads Hindi and local language papers and media. Hindi and local language papers ignored the Mumbai attacks after 1-3 days. The non-Hindi papers viewed it like a pub brawl in Ireland.
India’s industrialists did not support going to war with Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks.
India’s War Planners Think About Accepting Large Casualities
India thought about using the Stalin tactic of hugging the enemy. This would mean sending armored brigades to surround Pakistan cities. Any tactical nukes used against Indian forces would cause more Pakistan casualties.
Pakistan has four thresholds for use of nuclear weapons.
1. After enough economic blockade, they would use nuclear weapons. Economic strangulation and economic blockade is a potential threat to Pakistan, if the Navy is unable to counter it effectively.
2. Pakistan would launch if they had nuclear weapons captured or if there was the complete knockout or comprehensive destruction of a large part of the Pakistan Armed Forces, particularly and most importantly the Pakistan Air Force .
3. Spatial threshold – The military penetration of Indian Armed Forces into Pakistan on a large scale may elicit a nuclearized massive retaliation, if and only if the Pakistan Army is unable to stop such intervention. For instance, many analysts, including some Indians, believe that the Indus Valley— the “lifeline” of Pakistan— is one of many other “red lines” that Indian forces should not cross. The capture of key objectives in this crucial northeast-southwest axis might well provoke nuclear retaliation by Pakistan.
4. Political threshold – Destabilization of the country by India could also be a nuclear threshold if Islamabad has credible reasons to believe that the integrity of the country were at stake. Stated scenarios are political destabilization or large-scale internal destabilization which the Pakistan Marines (along with the paramilitary command) were unable to stabilize effectively. One example would be encouraging the breakaway of one or more of Pakistan’s provinces (as in during the Bangladesh Liberation War).
In war games with retired Pakistani military, spies and military planners there was no use of Pakistan nuclear weapons even after each of the first three thresholds were crossed.
Tensions Over Another Attack and Over Water
Tensions are again rising between India and Pakistan in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack earlier this month that killed more than 40 Indian police officers in Kashmir. New Delhi has decided to retaliate in part by cutting off some river water that flows downstream to Pakistan.
Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world. One recent estimate suggests that Pakistan will face a shortage of 31 million acre-feet of water by 2025. Pakistan uses about 104 million acre feet every year for agricultural irrigation.
More than 400 dams are under construction, or planned for the coming decade, in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan; many more will be built across the Chinese border in Tibet. If the plans come to fruition, this will be among the most heavily dammed regions in the world. These schemes both aggravate international tensions and carry grave ecological risks.
Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment concluded that even with a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, one-third of the Himalayan glaciers are doomed to melt by 2100. This might be as high as two-thirds.
Himalayan glacier melting would put the food security of one billion people at risk from 2060 onwards. There will be an initial period of augmented river flow due to glacial melt. The rivers will begin to dry up for part of the year from 2050 or 2060.
SOURCES- Youtube, Wikipedia, Abhijit Iyer, Foreign Policy
Written By Brian Wang.