THE 2000 NUCLEAR WAR [in the Subcontinent]

August 29, 1999
FYI - posted below is an op-ed piece that appeared in the Pakistani daily
The Nation.
(South Asians Against Nukes)
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The Nation
28 August 1999
Op-Ed
THE 2000 NUCLEAR WAR
By Brian Cloughley

India's draft nuclear 'doctrine' (which it isn't) was greeted by most
countries (and many Indians) with despair. How can adding to the world's
stock of nuclear weapons contribute to the cause of nuclear disarmament and
help social development of hundreds of millions of starving people? Having
been reconnaissance and survey officer of a nuclear missile regiment I
consider this a terrifying document, because all these academics don't know
what they are talking about in terms of likely human suffering. The future
of the subcontinent could be terrible if Pakistan tries to challenge India
to a race to Armageddon.

Worldpress despatch.
Dateline: Washington, Friday, September 3, 2000: The world was stunned today
as nuclear devastation fell on the subcontinent.  Enormous areas of Bombay,
Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Delhi were reduced to radioactive rubble in the
early hours of this morning (11am Washington time). Both Hyderabads have
been obliterated, as have Sargodha, Bahawalpur and Jaipur by weapons that
are thought to have had a yield of about 40 kilotons (the Hiroshima bomb was
less than half that). A later Indian strike against Karachi failed, when a
nuclear-armed Su-30 aircraft had to take evasive action and released its
weapon about fifty miles west of Pakistan's only port city, but prevailing
winds drove massive clouds of radioactive sand across the entire urban area.
Ground zero for Pakistan's nuclear rocket aimed at New Delhi appeared to be
symbolic-India Gate. The city's business area, centred round Connaught
Place, no longer exists, and destruction was total in the diplomatic enclave
of Chanakyapuri and north to Civil Lines, perhaps further.
It is estimated that two million may have died in Delhi, about the same
number in Bombay and Rawalpindi, and the entire population of Islamabad,
where a bomb landed, ironically, close to Zero Point on the road from
Rawalpindi, has vanished. Pakistan's attack on the Trombay nuclear facility
was driven off-target, but inaccuracy, did not matter: the hearts of
Pakistan and India have been laid waste.
There are smoking, contaminated, corpse-ridden ruins for hundreds of square
miles. Millions of people have disappeared-evaporated into the contaminated
air, as if they had never existed; countless more face lingering,
disgusting, disfigured death from the effects of blast and radiation. Water
supplies and crops have been poisoned. Many millions not directly affected
by the explosions will soon, die, and in particularly horrible ways.
The governments of both countries remain functioning, and prime ministers
Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, from their respective emergency centres of
government in Chennai (Madras) and Quetta, have said that they will fight
on. But they will die, too, with all their ministers and advisers, when the
winds and rains spread radioactive death thought the land.  The countries
cannot fight on, or even survive as nations. Countless millions of refugees
are flooding out of cities and towns all over India and Pakistan, heading in
any direction that will take them away from what they fear will be
destruction of all population centres. Every main route is verge-to-verge
vehicles travelling at the snail pace of terrified and hysterical crowds.
The Rawalpindi-Peshawar road, in a bizarre development, has been seen
thousands of refugees from both cities meeting at Nowshera where there is
indescribable panic and confusion. The Khyber Pass is choked.  Similar
scenes are evident in Japanese satellite pictures of the Bombay-Pune road
and at Hapur, half-way between Delhi and Moradabad.  Nowhere on any escape
routes are there hygiene or medical facilities that can cope with the
exodus. Once refugees have exhausted their meagre supplies of food and water
there will be hunger, looting, disease, violence and hideous death on a
colossal scale.
An estimated hundred thousand military and civilian deaths were caused by
tactical nuclear missiles in Punjab, Sindh and Rajasthan. There was mutual
annihilation of Indian and Pakistani strike corps on Thursday morning as the
armour-heavy formations advanced into each other's territory Hundreds of
tanks and aircraft were destroyed. US satellites show that the only
Pakistani airfields remaining are emergency strips in Balochistan from which
about a dozen F-16 are flying missions-to what purpose is not evident.
Half India's Mirage-2000 and Su-30 fleet was hit on the ground, but the
remainder appear to be based in eastern areas from which they are operating
deep into Pakistan territory. According to the last Indian and Pakistani
news broadcasts, the sight or sound of aircraft-any aircraft-causes
devastating panic in refugee columns. Neither side has launched follow-up
nuclear strikes, possibly because of horror at the death and destruction
they unleashed-or perhaps because there is no means of doing so. Bomb stocks
are held far from emergency airfields and it would be impossible to transfer
them, even if military communications are working, which is doubtful.
Foreign intelligence reports indicate that Pakistan's Ghauri missiles, with
the exception of the one targeted on Delhi, were destroyed on the ground, as
were India's Agnis, two of which had been made ready for firing.
Western countries are stunned by the apocalyptic news. Although tension had
been high in the subcontinent, caused by conflict in Kashmir (which many
warned would lead to just this terrible nuclear havoc), Prime Minister
Vajpayee's continued reiteration that bilateral discussions would resolve
their problems gave hope that fighting in that disputed territory would not
spread. Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif seemed to echo New Delhi's assurances;
but in spite of their statements both sides continued to prepare for war.
The countries had sent armored forces close to their border in Punjab,
Rajasthan and Sindh in June and July, and then activated 'bare base'
airfields and moved tactical missiles and warheads to emergency deployment
positions in August. This activity was detected by foreign agencies and
satellites, but international comment died down after an initial burst of
concern.
America's lame-duck president gave conflicting messages to Islamabad and New
Delhi. Mr Clinton at first appeared to criticise Pakistan, but then failed
to follow-up by taking India to task for moving missiles. State Department
sources said today that warnings concerning the belligerent stances of India
and Pakistan went unheeded because President Clinton believed assurances
from both prime ministers that neither was contemplating military action,
but statements by Sharif and Vajpayee and their advisers show that there was
steady hardening of positions. Rhetoric aside, this should have alerted
foreign analysts to worsening situation, but there was no warning when
Pakistani and Indian leaders decided that mutual incursions in Kashmir
presented insults to national pride that demanded military action.
Coincidentally-and determinedly-both sides moved in parallel towards nuclear
catastrophe.  UPDATE: The situation in the region is worsening minute by
minute.  Commercial satellite pictures show clouds of nuclear dust being
blown in every direction. Kashmir has received unseasonal torrential rains,
mixed with radioactive particles. The dust will drop on the Himalayas from
where most water in the subcontinent originates, and all northern rivers
will be terminally contaminated. The climate in the region seems to have
altered to the point of going berserk. Hot, swirling sandstorms in the deser
ts of Rajasthan, Sindh and Balochistan have been driven into Punjab, North
West Frontier Province, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It seems that neighboring
countries are being affected. Reports just in from Colombo indicate rising
levels of radiation.
Tehran has complained in the strongest terms concerning fallout in Kerman,
but there is no-one to listen to such protests-and nothing that could be
done; even were they heard. The UN Security Council is sitting in emergency
session, but reports indicate that it is a hand-wringing colloquy rather
than a meeting that could solve the staggering crisis that has erupted for
the world as a whole. A handful of nuclear weapons has caused devastation on
a scale not seen since the end of the dinosaurs.  All the world can do is
wait until nature takes its course, over the centuries. The subcontinent is
ceasing to exist, and no help will come from elsewhere, as even the most
saintly of aid agencies will not hazard the lives of its workers. No
government could order its troops into nuclear devastation to give
assistance, no matter how desperate the situation.  Survivors in India and
Pakistan will see repulsive, terrifying and hideous scenes never before
witnessed in the world-but there will be no outside eye to observe them,
other than the lenses of unwinding, dispassionate cameras hundreds of miles
above the earth that will record forever the desolation's waste that is the
result of pride, malevolence, intransigence-and nuclear doctrine.
The writer's book "A History of the Pakistan Army" is about to appear in an
Urdu and a second English edition with a new final chapter
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