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Sushma Swaraj to engage with Pakistan after Bangkok talks

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Image: MEA

Islamabad: India and Pakistan are set to hold the third bilateral engagement at the top level in less than 10 days with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reaching Islamabad on Tuesday for a conference on Afghanistan.

While speaking to reporters in the Pakistani capital, Swaraj said that it was necessary and appropriate for her to hold talks with PM Nawaz Sharif and his Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

Following an impromptu meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Paris on the margins of a global climate change conference on November 30, the national security advisers of the two sides met in Bangkok on December 6 and discussed all major issues, including Kashmir.

Swaraj is expected to take this process forward during her likely meetings with Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif and his Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on the margins of what is called the 5th Ministerial Conference on Heart of Asia Istanbul Process.

This is also the first ministerial visit from India to its South Asian neighbor since the then external affairs minister S M Krishna went to Pakistan in 2012.

But the visit is likely to include more.

After the Bangkok meeting between India’s Ajit Doval and Naseer Khan Janjua of Pakistan, along with foreign secretaries S Jaishanker and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Swaraj is also expected to take up a host of other issues.

A joint statement issued by the two sides in Bangkok said: “Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues including tranquility along the LoC (Line of Control that divides the two counties).”

Sushma Swaraj’s visit has evoked keen interest in diplomatic circles and among stakeholders.

“What seemed impossible just weeks ago has turned into a remarkable, almost unprecedented, round of diplomacy at the very highest levels,” the Dawn newspaper said in an editorial ahead of the Indian minister’s visit.

“The meetings must, first and foremost, be welcomed by every right-thinking Indian and Pakistani. Not talking to each other should be an unacceptable state of affairs when it comes to the two South Asian neighbours.”

The main purpose of the visit though is the conference — The Heart of
Asia Istanbul Process — that was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey.

The Fifth Ministerial Conference is expected to adopt a forward-looking Islamabad Declaration entitled “Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Connectivity in the Heart of Asia Region”. (IANS)

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“A Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan Can Lead To Worst Global Food Crisis”, Say Researchers

While the impacts of global warming on agricultural productivity have been studied extensively, the implications of sudden cooling for global crop growth are little understood

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Nuclear War
Nuclear weapons must be eliminated because if they exist, they can be used with tragic consequences for the world. Pixabay

 A war between India and Pakistan using less than one per cent of nuclear weapons available in the world could lead to the worst global food crisis in modern history, say researchers.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said that sudden global cooling from a limited nuclear war along with less precipitation and sunlight could disrupt food production and trade worldwide for about a decade — more than the impact from anthropogenic climate change by late (21st) century.

While the impacts of global warming on agricultural productivity have been studied extensively, the implications of sudden cooling for global crop growth are little understood, according to the researchers. “Our results add to the reasons that nuclear weapons must be eliminated because if they exist, they can be used with tragic consequences for the world,” said study co-author Alan Robock, Professor at Rutgers University in the US.

Robock co-authored a recent study in the journal Science Advances estimating more than 100 million people could die immediately if India and Pakistan wage a nuclear war, followed by global mass starvation.

For the new study, the research team used a scenario of five million tons of black smoke (soot) from massive fires injected into the upper atmosphere that could result from using only 100 nuclear weapons.

That would cool the Earth by 1.8 degrees Celsius (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and lead to eight per cent lower precipitation and less sunlight for at least five years.

The researchers included those climate changes in computer simulations by six different crop models for four major crops that account for 90 per cent of global cereal production in terms of calories.

They found that corn calorie production would fall by 13 per cent, wheat by 11 per cent, rice by three per cent and soybeans by 17 per cent over five years. Total first-year losses of 12 per cent would be four times larger than any food shortage in history, such as those caused by historic droughts and volcanic eruptions, the study said.

Nuclear, Atom, Bomb, Atomic, Science, War, Radioactive
A war between India and Pakistan using less than one per cent of nuclear weapons available in the world could lead to the worst global food crisis in modern history, say researchers. Pixabay

Analyses of food trade networks show that domestic reserves and global trade can largely buffer the loss of food production in the first year. But multiyear losses would reduce domestic food availability, especially in food-insecure countries.

By year five, corn and wheat availability would decrease by 13 per cent globally and by more than 20 per cent in 71 countries with a total of 1.3 billion people. Corn production in the US and Canada — representing more than 40 per cent of global production — would drop by 17.5 per cent.

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According to the researchers, 16 million tons of smoke could arise from a nuclear war between India and Pakistan since they now have more and bigger weapons and their potential targets are larger. (IANS)