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How India, Pakistan can avoid nuclear war

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I was in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 when this great city was attacked by 10 Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists for three days, killing 166 people and leaving hundreds injured. I was also a witness to the huge protest rally that took place three days later outside the Taj Hotel. In my own estimate, over 20,000 people from all walks of life converged there to vent their anger, particularly on Indian politicians and Pakistan.

Never in my whole life I had seen or experienced such anger and rage. I, a 22-year-old young man then, screamed so much that for the next three days I could not speak.

I do not wish to repeat here the slogans I raised along with others, lest I should somehow upset my Pakistani friends. But ‘khoon ka badla khoon’ (blood for blood) was one of them. I am glad that night I found an outlet to express my bottled up emotions else it would have come out in some different form which might have been physical and violent in nature.

I am sure Pakistanis must have felt the same horror and pain when the army school was brutally attacked in Peshawar by terrorists, killing over 130 children. I am not here to make comparisons or to judge which attack was more barbaric just because they can’t (and must not) be compared. In both the places, innocent human beings were butchered for no fault of their own. So many lives were destroyed because some people, somewhere wanted to settle scores and quench their insatiable thirst for blood.

What would happen if there was another 26/11 type attack launched from the soil of Pakistan? We really do not have any answers. In my opinion, such things must not be repeated in the future, but these instances do not take shape as per my desires; and terrorists and their masters would not take my permission before doing any such thing. I as a common man empathize with the people of Pakistan who themselves have lost over 50,000 lives in terrorism-related violence in the past 14 years.

Therefore, all we can do is speculate and guess as to what might happen in the case of another 26/11 attack. The government of India, both under Congress and BJP, has time and again reiterated such an attack would have severe consequences for Pakistan. We are living in dangerous times and the Indo-Pak conflict becomes all the more dangerous considering that both the countries possess nuclear weapons.

In the wake of another 26/11 type attack, India’s so-called Cold Start doctrine could be put to use. Under this doctrine, Army would launch a retaliatory conventional strike against Pakistan inflicting significant harm on the Pakistan Army before any international community could intercede, but not in a way that Pakistan would be provoked to make a nuclear attack.

To counter this Cold Start strategy, Pakistan has come up with tactical nuclear weapons that it says could be used on the advancing Indian troops, thus igniting a ‘limited nuclear war’. Strategic nuclear weapons generally have significantly larger yields, starting from 100 kilotons to up to destructive yields in the low megaton range.

The problem with such an assumption is that things can go out of control, for India doesn’t have tactical nuclear weapons. Many theorists would say that the logic of nuclear warfare means a “limited” nuclear strike is, in fact, likely to trigger a larger nuclear war — a doomsday scenario in which major Indian, Pakistani cities would be the targets for attacks many times more powerful than the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

India has time and again said the response to such an attack on its troops by tactical nuclear weapons would be massive. Considering that both India and Pakistan have over 100 nuclear weapons each, such a nuclear exchange could prove to be cataclysmic not only for these two poor countries, but also for the world.

In order to ascertain the environmental effects of a “small” nuclear war, a study was conducted in 2008 and that was later updated in 2014. It described what would happen if 100 Hiroshima-strength bombs were detonated in a hypothetical conflict between India and Pakistan.

The explosions, the study found, would push a layer of hot, black smoke into the atmosphere, where it would envelop the Earth in about 10 days. The study predicted that this smoke would block sunlight, heat the atmosphere, and erode the ozone for many years, producing what the researchers call without hyperbole “a decade without summer.”

The combined cooling and enhanced UV would put significant pressures on global food supplies. As rains dried and crops failed worldwide, the resulting global nuclear famine would kill around 1 billion people.

We, Indians and Pakistanis, who have so much in common, should not go down this path of mutually assured destruction. It is a pity that a people who lived together for hundreds of years once are today on the verge of annihilating each other. It’s time we reflected on the blunders committed in the past (Partition is one of them) and sincerely tried to resolve our issues sans violence, for it’s never too late to make a new beginning.

The new generation should shake hands.

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.