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The Dangers Of An
India-Pakistan War

By  Lord Stirling 
War tensions are being racketed up in the Indian subcontinent, between India and Pakistan. They have fought three major wars since what was once called India in the British Empire obtained its freedom and India and Pakistan split apart. There is great distrust and hate between Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan. The real danger comes from the fact that both are now nuclear armed neighboring states with very short warning times. It has been estimated that the leadership of both India and Pakistan would have as short as two minutes warning once enemy nuclear armed missiles are spotted and confirmed, before first impacts/detonations . That tends to put things on a 'hair trigger'. A surprise nuclear attack would be aimed at dramatically reducing the opposing state's ability to strike back with weapons of mass destruction giving the nation striking first a strong advantage. The response to this is to fire at first warning a full counter battery nuclear attack.
A war could easily escalate from a Indian 'limited non-nuclear surgical strike' into a all out nuclear war targeting not only enemy military sites but also enemy population centers.
A review of Indian and Pakistani weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems shows just how scary the Indian subcontinent is at this present time.
Pakistan's nuclear weapon program dates back to at least 1974 and is very advanced, although not as advanced as larger and richer India's is. Since 1987 Pakistan's nuclear weapons have been miniaturized to allow delivery by Pakistan's Air Force fighters and by its IRBMs (intermediate range ballistic missiles) and cruise missiles (including ground/air/naval surface/submarine launched versions).
Pakistan uses both highly enriched uranium and plutonium for its nuclear weapons. The Khushab nuclear site has sufficient plutonium production for 40 to 50 warheads a year by itself. This site is coming on line and is a major expansion of Pakistani plutonium reprocessing capabilities; a fact that concerns a number of nations including America, India, and Israel. In 2000, US military intelligence reportedly estimated Pakistani nuclear weapons at approximately 100 in number. A number of 200 in late 2008/early 2009 is very probable.
The sixth Pakistani nuclear test (May 30, 1998) at Kharan was a successful test of a sophisticated, compact, but powerful bomb designed to be carried by missiles. The Pakistanis are believed to be spiking their plutonium based nuclear weapons with tritium. Only a few grams of tritium can result in an increase of the explosive yield by 300% to 400%.
The Pakistani strategic capable missiles include the following: the Hatf-X (also called Tipu), 4000 km + range (new, unknown number in service); the M-11, 300 km range (new, unknown number in service); the Hatf-VIII (also called Ra'ad), an air launched cruise missile (new, unknown number in service); the Hatf-VII (also called Babur), a naval submarine launched and surface launched and ground launched cruise missile, 700 km range (up to 1,000 in service); the Hatf-VI (also called the Shaheen-II), 2500 km + range (over 200 in service); the Hatf-VA (also called the Ghauri-II), 2400 km + range (over 100 in service); the Hatf-V (Ghauri-I), up to 1500 km range (approximately 300 in service); the Hatf-VI (Shaheen-I), 750 km range (150 or so in service) the Hatf-III (Ghaznavi), 290 km range (100+ in service); Hatf-I and IA, up to 100 km range (over 100 in service).
In addition to nuclear weapons, these missiles can carry advanced biological warheads, chemical warheads, advanced conventional weapons, and high explosive conventional warheads.
The Pakistani Air Force has the following aircraft types capable of delivering nuclear warheads, as well as a full range of NBC/advanced conventional/conventional weapons: The Chinese A-5s, JF-17s (FC-1), J-10s; the French Mirage IIIs and Vs; the American F-16s.
India's first nuclear weapons test occurred on May 18, 1974. Numbers of actual Indian nuclear weapons vary but assembled weapons are thought to be in the low hundreds with India having perhaps 4200 kg of reactor grade plutonium - enough to build 1000 additional nuclear weapons.
The Indian strategic delivery systems are extensive and include land based IRBMs and cruise missiles (with true ICBMs under development), sea based surface and submarine launched cruise missiles and naval air launched weapons from Indian aircraft carriers, and air launched missiles and bombs.
Indian ballistic missiles include: Prithvi I, Army version with 150 km range and in-flight maneuvering capabilities; Prithvi II, Air Force version with 250 km range; Prithvi III Navy version with 350 km range; the Agni missile family (Agni I, II, III, IISL and the coming V ICBM version) with ranges up to 5000 km. The Agni family of missiles have demonstrated an advanced maneuvering warhead (endo-atmospheric evasive maneuvers, terminal guidance reentry vehicles).
Indian cruse missiles include the: Russian 3M-54 Klub, 250-300 km range with subsonic to Mach 2.9 speeds,; the Israeli Popeye, the Russian P-70 Ametist; the very dangerous Russian Moskit (also called Sunburn). Additionally, the Indian Akash air defense SAM can use nuclear warheads.
The Indian Navy is one of the most powerful navies on earth with nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers and a wide assortment of quality surface and subsurface vessels.
India is one of only four nations (including the USA, Russia, and China) still flying long range nuclear strategic bombers with 17 in service including the Tupolev Tu-142 (naval version of the Tu-95 Bear bomber), the Tupolev Tu-22M3 "Backfire", and the II-38. Fighter jets capable of nuclear missions include the advanced Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI, the Mig-27M, the Mig-29 and Mig-29K (Indian Naval version), the French Dassault Mirage 2000, the French-British Jaguar, and the Indian HAL Tejas.
Global Effects of a regional India-Pakistan War: A nuclear war involving the use of only 50 Hiroshima-sized weapons could cause a "Nuclear Winter" over large areas of North America and Eurasia with catastrophic climatic effects for years. The 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Science' in 2008 published a study that found a war including a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan could create a near-global ozone hole with column ozone losses at over 20% globally, 25-45% at mid-latitudes and 50-70% at northern high latitudes persisting for five years with continuing substantial losses for five additional years.
As the world has kept its attention on several other things lately, like the US Presidential election and transition, the global economic Crash of 2008, Christmas, etc., the old trouble spot of the Indian subcontinent has suddenly gone 'warm' if not 'hot'. If it goes 'hot', the entire planet and all life on our Earth, could be in real trouble.

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