The world was stunned today as nuclear devastation fell on the Subcontinent. Enormous areas of Mumbai, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Delhi were reduced to radioactive rubble in the early hours of this morning. Both Hyderabads have been obliterated, as have Sargodha, Bahawalpur and Jaipur, by weapons thought to have had a yield of about 40 kilotons (the Hiroshima bomb was less than half that).
An Indian strike against Karachi failed, when nuclear-armed Su-30 aircraft had to take evasive action and released their bombs about fifty miles east of Pakistan’s largest city – but then prevailing winds drove massive clouds of radioactive sand across the entire urban area and far along the coastline.
Ground zero for Pakistan’s nuclear missiles 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.
SUBCONTINENT: WHEN THE NUKES CONFRONT!!!
by Brian Cloughley
Note for WoP readers: The following post is a stark presentation of the nuclear Armageddon, a scenario which could beome a reality if sanity between India and Pakistan did not prevail. The war mongers in both the nuclear armed neighbours seem to have absolutely no idea of what a nuclear confrontation could entail between these two nations of the subcontinent. Or perhaps they intentionally have their own axe to grind, oblivious to what could happen to the vast multitude of humanity all across the subcontinent.
Agreed there are differences between the two. This is quite natural. Even when there are two persons, its not always the foregone conclusion that they will have the same opinion on every issue that comes into the orbit of their interaction. Simialrly countries too have differences. But to sort out opposing opinions, differences there is a civilised way. Fighting wars for territories, ideas, hegemony and economic interests is the most brutal way of sorting out such matters for a war in most cases brings nothingg but death and destruction.
India and Pakistan have been having differences on many issues right from the day both countries got independence when they came out of the yoke of British empire in 1947.
Instead of fighting a war which will result in no Kashmir, no India, no Pakistan, leadership in both the neighbouring states need to sit together and seriously make a bid to sort out their differences. If the leaders are sincere in settling the disputes, there will be a solution. God forbid if there is no solution, there will be nothing to discuss, nothing to rule, nothing to take pride of being Pakistani or a proud and patriotic Indian….. [Nayyar]
A version of this essay was published exactly four years ago. The introduction has been updated and some details altered in the text. But the message remains the same: nuclear war is not survivable.
According to an Associated Press report of January 22, “police on the Indian side of the Line of Control have warned residents to prepare for nuclear war. In an English language newspaper, police warned people in Srinagar to build underground bunkers equipped with toilets, collect two weeks’ worth of food and water and ensure they have a supply of candles, torches and a radio.” Is this just bizarre? Or prophetic? Whichever it is, that advice won’t save them because if there is nuclear war in the Subcontinent they will all die – as will everyone else in India and Pakistan, in one horrible way or another.
At this time of tension between India and Pakistan it is well to reflect on the disastrous consequences of conflict. We all hope that something like the mock despatch below, describing a nuclear exchange, is never written. But given recent pronouncements by senior Indian military officers about their readiness for war it seems that Doctor Strangelove still lives in Delhi, and that, against all sanity, the nuclear option is actually being considered.
WORLD PRESS DESPATCH. WASHINGTON
The world was stunned today as nuclear devastation fell on the Subcontinent. Enormous areas of Mumbai, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Delhi were reduced to radioactive rubble in the early hours of this morning. Both Hyderabads have been obliterated, as have Sargodha, Bahawalpur and Jaipur, by weapons thought to have had a yield of about 40 kilotons (the Hiroshima bomb was less than half that). An Indian strike against Karachi failed, when nuclear-armed Su-30 aircraft had to take evasive action and released their bombs about fifty miles east of Pakistan’s largest city – but then prevailing winds drove massive clouds of radioactive sand across the entire urban area and far along the coastline.
Ground zero for Pakistan’s nuclear missiles 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 a million people have died or are dying in Delhi, about the same number as in Lahore, Amritsar, Mumbai and Rawalpindi. Almost the entire population of Islamabad, where a missile landed, ironically, close to Zero Point, has vanished. 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 filthy air – but there are countless more lingering, disgusting, hellish deaths yet to come from the effects of the 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 in their respective emergency centres in Chennai and Quetta, and their leaders have said that they will fight on. But they, too, will die, with all their ministers and advisers, when the winds and rains spread radioactive death through the region.
The countries cannot fight on, or even survive as nations. Countless millions of refugees are flooding out of cities all over the Subcontinent. Every main route is verge-to-verge with snail-paced vehicles carrying terrified and hysterical people. The Rawalpindi-Peshawar highway, in a bizarre development, has seen countless thousands of refugees from both cities meeting at Nowshera where there is catastrophic panic and confusion. To the west, the Khyber Pass is choked. Similar scenes are evident in satellite pictures of the Mumbai-Pune road and at Hapur, halfway 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.
Tension heightened in the Subcontinent after clashes along Kashmir’s Line of Control in early January 2013, and, following well-publicised threats from Indian military chiefs, both sides prepared for war. They sent reinforcements to the border and moved missiles and warheads to emergency deployment positions. This activity was detected by foreign intelligence services and even by commercial satellites, but international concern died down after an initial burst of comment.
In a tragic series of actions, both nations moved towards nuclear catastrophe. The cause was a comparatively minor airstrike by India against a supposed incursion by Pakistani soldiers. Such reaction was at first resisted by India’s prime minister but insisted upon by extreme nationalists and military chiefs. Pakistan was expecting such action and struck back by bombing an Indian airfield. There were several more tit-for-tat operations; then all-out war began.\
Update: The situation in the region is worsening minute by minute.
Satellite pictures show clouds of nuclear dust being blown erratically in every direction. There have been torrential rains, carrying radioactive particles. Nuclear grime is dropping on the Karakorams and the Himalayas from where most water in the Subcontinent originates, and all northern rivers will be terminally contaminated. Hot, swirling, nuclear-polluted sandstorms in the deserts of Rajasthan, Sindh and Balochistan have been driven into both Punjabs, the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.
Reports from Colombo, Rangoon, Kathmandu and Kabul indicate rapidly increasing levels of radiation. The 70,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan are being evacuated, necessitating the world’s biggest ever airlift. Iran has closed its borders, and the roads from Afghanistan to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are choked.
The UN Security Council is sitting in an emergency session, but it is a handwringing colloquy rather than a meeting that could alleviate the staggering disaster. Some forty nuclear weapons have 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 dispassionate satellite cameras hundreds of miles above the earth that will record forever the desolation and carnage that are the result of pride, miscalculation – and nuclear weapons. – End of World Press despatch.
The writer is a South Asian affairs analyst. Website: http://www.beecluff.com
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